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MP3 Demonstrators - Songwriter's Choice

A rowdy bag of swamp-rock anthems, bar-band blues, roadhouse boogies, a honky tonk torch song or two, and some topical rabble-rousers. Terse verse. gritty grooves. Let''s boogie.

17 MP3 Songs
BLUES: Rockin'' Blues, ROCK: Roots Rock


This album is a rootsy slice of Americana from a maverick songwriter with an attitude. The result is: Close-to-the-roots sounds, but up-to-the-minute topics. Like “Road Rage Anthem.” Or “Only Dead Presidents Vote” which starts out, “Have you tried to buy a congressman lately?” and sums up: “Welcome to the teeming ranks of voter second class/Unless you feed the greed machine, it kicks your sorry ass.” One song goes to the mat with the corporate music establishment, and another hits Nashville upside the head. Yes, there are love songs. A love song to the city of New Orleans set to a strutting second-line beat, and a love song to the old steam locomotives called “Come Back Casey Jones” in a careening bluegrass groove. There’s even a tribute to the hokum blues of the 1930’s that makes an Olympic event out of innuendo: “You can dock your dinghy in my harbor any old day.” It’s historical and hysterical.

A NOTE TO THE LISTENER: These songs are guaranteed not to fit any homogenized, top-forty radio format. No lame lyrics, no wimpy love songs, just fun blues ''n'' boogie, and some songs that actually say something.

THE DEMONSTRATORS are a songwriter’s-choice studio band featuring internationally-known roots music artists led by Marty Rifkin (Bruce Springsteen''s go-to guy for pedal steel and dobro) with Teresa James, Bob Malone, Roy Zimmerman, James Intveld and John “Juke” Logan. This gang was hand-picked to kick rambunctious, rootsy grooves into these contemporary original songs.


I grew up in a conservative neighborhood in West Los Angeles. I thought of it as a Maximum conformity suburb, and I was serving 16 to life. A guitar was my weapon to break out of there, and I made my getaway by joining a raggedy, down-at-the-heels, all-girl bar band playing Hank Williams tunes. Sometimes we didn’t get paid. Sometimes we got stranded. That came with the territory. But I had a wandering ear for all forms of roots music, and I subsequently strayed into blues, folk music, and bluegrass – to me it was all related. Then when I heard a bunch of guys noodling around with a Dixieland sound, I took a crash course in piano and joined the Costa del Oro Jazz Band which made some music history along with the rest of the 50’s West Coast traditional jazz revival. But I kept wandering back to the blues. And to roots rock, and honky tonk country music, where there''s a heart-beat rhythm that feels like it came from the lives of real folks. I guess it''s organic.

I started at the bottom as an itinerant musician, and ended up . . . at the bottom as a starving songwriter. So I’ve earned my underdog status the hard way, and I really think the world needs to know what it looks like to me.

Ellen Griffith

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