MP3 Blind Willies - Needle, Feather, and a Rope
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14 MP3 Songs in this album (58:40) !
Related styles: Rock: Roots Rock, Folk: Folk-Rock, Mood: Fun
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In April 2009 I watched a Frontline documentary, The Released, about what happens to mentally ill inmates after they're paroled. A psychiatrist questioned a man who had spent 21 years in prison for murder and had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. He heard voices. The doctor asked him what the voices were saying. They were hungry, he said, they wanted to be fed and they were afraid. God beat them. "So they start crying. They got a needle. They got a needle and they got a feather and they got a rope. God give it to them, a needle, a feather, and a rope." I laughed. But the words stayed with me over the next few days, and a needle, a feather, and a rope became everything we have, everything we don't have, our fates and temptations, what we do with what we're given, what we don't do, who we become because of what we do or don't do with what we're given.
Needle, feather, and rope are knitting terms, stitches and tools. I thought about all the other images those words conjure. Later I read a paragraph in Kurt Vonnegut's Breakfast of Champions that I understood well. "The prostitutes worked for a pimp now. He was splendid and cruel. He was a god to them. He took their free will away from them, which was perfectly all right. They didn't want it anyway. It was as though they had surrendered themselves to Jesus, for instance, so they could live unselfishly and trustingly--except that they had surrendered to a pimp instead." I grew up on a street in San Francisco where prostitutes and pimps bought and sold themselves daily. The scene under my bedroom window was a circus, a market, a world. There was a church on the corner, an elementary school, community centers, a music school. I'm telling you this so that you know some of my reference points, how the song grew, where the album came from. Between August 2009 and the end of the year, I began playing my songs with Misha, Max, Daniel, and Adam. We're proud of the music we recorded. It's dedicated to Vic Chesnutt.
released 21 March 2011
All songs written by Alexei Wajchman* © 2011(BMI)
Produced by Lemon DeGeorge and Blind Willies
Recorded by Jay Pellicci in June 2010
at Tiny Telephone in SF
Additional overdubs recorded by Charles Gonzalez
at Radical House, SF
Mixed by Justin Phelps (tracks 2, 4, 6, 9, 11, 13, 14)
and Gabriel Shepard (1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 10, 12)
at Hyde Street Studios, SF
Mastered by Paul Stubblebine, SF
The album was recorded and mixed all analog.
CD package is a 6-panel digipak with clear tray. 8-panel foldout insert includes all lyrics and band photos.
Alexei Wajchman: vocal, guitar, harmonica
Adam Coopersmith: drums
Daniel Riera: bass
Max Miller-Loran: keys, trumpet
Misha Khalikulov: cello
Randy Clark: lead guitar (3)
Isabel Douglass: accordion (1)
Adam Nash: guitar slide at end (13)
Ken Rosen: tenor sax (4)
Andrew Walker: bass trombone (1)
Rachel Woods-Robinson: trombone (4, 9, 14)
Capp Street Revisionist Choir: Rachel, Rebecca Pingree, Nicolette Yarbrough, and all the boys
Art Direction, Design: B. Wajchman
Photoshop Genie: Ariel Sommer
Cover illustration and title by Emile B. Klein in
homage to Giulietta Masina, Federico Fellini,
Charlie Chaplin, Baptiste, and all the Children of
*Absolutely Isabel was inspired by a traditional,
Rattlesnake, collected by Alan Lomax
Special thanks to Lemon DeGeorge, John Vanderslice,
Isaac Pingree, Alrik Bursell, our guests, our families
Diggory Records 2011
Blind Willies is Alexei Wajchman, guitarist/singer/songwriter; Adam Coopersmith,
drums; Misha Khalikulov, cello; Max Miller-Loran, keyboard/trumpet; Daniel Riera,
Max Miller-Loran is a trumpeter, keyboardist, producer, and graduate of Berklee
College of Music. He's performed extensively around Boston and the Bay Area with
The Kev Choice Ensemble, The Contemporary Jazz Orchestra, The Dave Scott
Nonet, The Getback, The Berklee Concert Jazz Orchestra and many others.
Misha Khalikulov graduated from UCLA with a concentration in Classical Cello. He's
toured the world this year with Rupa and the April Fishes.
Daniel Riera is a multi-instrumentalist, producer, beatmaker, award-winning (ASCAP)
composer, and arranger. He graduated from Berklee College of Music with a degree
in Music Synthesis.
Adam Coopersmith is a
co-founder of the Brooklyn-based afrobeat band, Zongo Junction.
Alexei grew up in San Francisco's Mission District. After learning to play clarinet and
sax, he taught himself to play guitar and began writing songs at 15.
Blind Willies has played San Francisco's Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, Falcon
Ridge Folk Festival(NY), Berkeley's Freight and Salvage, SF's Great American Music
Hall, The Folk Project's Minstrel Concert Series(NJ), San Luis Obispo Folk Music
Society Concert Series, SF's Summer Sailstice Festival, Yerba Buena Center for the
Arts Zeum, SF Folk Festival, and smaller venues in the Bay Area and NYC.
The Unkindness of Ravens(2007) and Everybody's Looking for a Meal(2008) were
recorded and mixed by Lemon DeGeorge(Jolie Holland, film Genghis Blues) at Crib
Nebula in San Francisco, and mixed and mastered by Paul Carlsen(Nirvana's
Nevermind, Neil Young). Needle, Feather, and a Rope(2011) was produced by
Lemon DeGeorge and Blind Willies, recorded by Jay Pellicci(Deerhoof) at TinyTelephone,
mixed by Justin Phelps(Dresden Dolls, Cake) and Gabriel Shepard(Peter
Case, Frank Black), and mastered by Paul Stubblebine(Ry Cooder, John Lee Hooker).
Confirmed radio play includes Better Days Radio, Vancouver, BC; Pirate Cat Radio,
SF; KPIG, KRSH, WXPN, WFUV Woody's Children, KPFA, WFDU, KALW, KZSC,
KUSP, KYOU, KQED, KDVS, KKUP, WOBC, WTJU, WTSR, WDVX Writer's Block,
WCOM Taproot Radio, Americana Roots, WWUH, KZSU, KRCB, KSCL, WBGU,
KAOS, WTUL, WCBN, KBCS, WEFT, WMBR, KCBX, KBGA, WSDP, WDCB, KXCI,
WRKF, KACI, WLRN, KCSC, WFHB, WMUD, KAFM, Thayrone's The Bone Conduction
Music Show(syndicated), WRFL, WDBX, KGLP, Radio Marabu/Europe/No
Pigeonholes, Hanx/Netherlands, Crossroads/Netherlands, Heart of the Night &
TransAtlantic Acoustic indieheart.com podcasts, indieSF.com, Todd Mack's Off the
Beat-n-Track, Suffolk 'n Cool/UK, CKUA Tom Coxworth's Folk Routes/Canada, WYEP,
WGDR, CJLX, CKHA, WHAY, WBSD, WKZE, WHDD, NHPR, KRCC, KLOI,
CHES Erin Radio, CJTR,
Progressive Roots/WSJF, WHJX, WFJO, KFOK, WMRD-AM, WLIS, WMPG, WXIN,
KVMR, WMUC, WPSU, 2 MAX/Australia, Triplej/Australia, 3 INR/Australia,
2AIR/Australia, 4RED/Australia, Radio Upper Galilee/Israel, Highway 61 Radio Voce
Spazio/Italy, Radio EVW/Germany, Radio ZuSa/Germany, Radio Shalom/Canada.
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