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Welcome! "The Evening Blues" is a casual community diary (published Monday - Friday, 8:00 PM Eastern) where we hang out, share and talk about news, music, photography and other things of interest to the community.  

Just about anything goes, but attacks and pie fights are not welcome here.  This is a community diary and a friendly, peaceful, supportive place for people to interact.  

Everyone who wants to join in peaceful interaction is very welcome here.

Hey! Good Evening!

This evening's music comes from guest deejay, Johnny the Conqueroo.  So let me take up a piece of valuable, above-the-fold real estate, to say, thanks JtC!  Excellent work!

A Brief History of the Dobro

The Great Dobro Sessions - Fireball Mail (Various Artists)

The Great Dobro Sessions is a 1994 compilation of some of the best dobro players of the contemporary era including: Mike Auldridge, Curtis Burch, Jerry Douglas, Josh Graves, Rob Ickes, Pete "Bashful Brother Oswald" Kirby, Stacy Phillips, Tut Taylor, Sally Van Meter, and Gene Wooten. On this song, Fireball Mail, each player takes turns playing a verse. Listen closely and you'll hear the different styles.The Great Dobro Sessions

"99 percent is a very large percentage. For instance, easily 99 percent of people want a roof over their heads, food on their tables, and the occasional slice of cake for dessert. Surely an arrangement can be made with that niggling 1 percent who disagree.”

  -- Lemony Snicket

“A little rebellion is a good thing.”

  -― Thomas Jefferson

News and Opinion

Been wondering who to blame for the fiasco that we are currently experiencing?  Here's a candidate for you:

The Man Who Invented the Government Shutdown

How Jimmy Carter's attorney general changed congressional budget showdowns forever

Congressional authority to set the federal budget—the “power of the purse” as it is known—is a pillar of the American form of government.  For the first 200 years or so of American history, it was also sort of ignored.

Until 1980, there was no such thing as a “government shutdown.” ... But at the end of the Carter Administration one man changed all that with the stroke of a pen.

His name: Benjamin Civiletti.

As Jimmy Carter’s attorney general, Civiletti was asked for a legal opinion parsing out what exactly the federal bureaucracy is supposed to do when Congress doesn’t pass a budget by deadline. ... Civiletti based his opinion in the Antideficiency Act of 1870, enacted by Congress to stop the then-routine practice of agencies intentionally overspending, secure in the knowledge that Congress would eventually have to pick up the tab. ...

The “legal authority for continued operations either exists or it does not,” he writes. And to those who argue that federal agency operations ought to carry on even without appropriated funds because Congress doesn’t mean for the government to shutdown, he responded thusly: “Faithful execution of the laws cannot rest on mere speculation that Congress does not want the Executive branch to carry out Congress’ unambiguous mandates.”

US default would be a catastrophic event for global economy

You know, if it takes a cataclysmic event to get our elected misrepresentatives to pay attention to something other than partisan power plays, we really ought to consider whether they are worth keeping.  Further, we must consider that they are the product of a system that doesn't do 99% of the people as much good as it ought, since they only pay attention when the 1%'s interests appear to be in jeopardy.
Why America Needs a Stock-Market Crash

A week into the partial government shutdown, and there's still no end in sight to America'€™s latest self-inflicted fiscal crisis. The two sides, in particular the House Republicans, appear to be getting even more intransigent, and the October 17th deadline for a possible breach of the debt ceiling is now looming. ... Absent an unexpected softening in attitudes over the next few days, it may well take some outside intervention to break the deadlock.  ...

Something more drastic is needed, and my candidate is a stock market crash. ... I'€™m not talking about a cruncher on the scale of Black Monday, in October of 1987, when the Dow plummeted by twenty-three per cent in a single trading session. (An equivalent move now would lop about thirty-three hundred points off the index.) But I am talking about something significantly bigger than the market slippages we'€™ve seen in the past few days. (The market fell by 136.34 points on Monday, and closed at 14,936.24.) How large it might be, nobody can say for sure. But if the market fell by, say, three or four hundred points for three days in a row, and then lurched down another eight hundred points, or even a thousand points, the effect would be salutary.  ...

One reason that we can be confident that a shift would come about is that, just five years ago, something pretty similar happened. In September, 2008, at the height of the post-Lehman financial crisis, an unlikely coalition of conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats voted down Hank Paulson'€™s TARP bank bailout. Wall Street promptly went lulu, dropping almost eight hundred points in a day, and that did the trick. Despite some bleating and harrumphing, echoes of which we hear to this day, the House promptly reversed course and voted for the seven-hundred-billion-dollar bill that the Bush Administration had proposed. ...

To be sure, things have come to a pretty pass when a nation that thinks of itself as the world's greatest democracy has to rely on a conniption in the markets to discipline its unruly and irresponsible representatives, but that's about where we are. As evidenced by what happened in 2008, it's where we've been for some time.

Chris Hedges is not in a cheerful mood:
The Folly of Empire

The last days of empire are carnivals of folly. We are in the midst of our own, plunging forward as our leaders court willful economic and environmental self-destruction. Sumer and Rome went down like this. So did the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian empires. Men and women of stunning mediocrity and depravity led the monarchies of Europe and Russia on the eve of World War I. And America has, in its own decline, offered up its share of weaklings, dolts and morons to steer it to destruction. A nation that was still rooted in reality would never glorify charlatans such as Sen. Ted Cruz, House Speaker John Boehner and former Speaker Newt Gingrich as they pollute the airwaves. If we had any idea what was really happening to us we would have turned in fury against Barack Obama, whose signature legacy will be utter capitulation to the demands of Wall Street, the fossil fuel industry, the military-industrial complex and the security and surveillance state. We would have rallied behind those few, such as Ralph Nader, who denounced a monetary system based on gambling and the endless printing of money and condemned the willful wrecking of the ecosystem. We would have mutinied. We would have turned the ship back. ...

The anthropologist Joseph Tainter in his book “The Collapse of Complex Societies” looked at the collapse of civilizations from the Roman to the Mayan. He concluded that they disintegrated because they finally could not sustain the bureaucratic complexities they had created. Layers of bureaucracy demand more and more exploitation, not only of the environment but the laboring classes. They become calcified by systems that are unable to respond to the changing reality around them. ...

Our elites and bureaucrats exhaust the earth to hold up a system that worked in the past, failing to see that it no longer works. Elites, rather than contemplate reform, which would jeopardize their privilege and power, retreat in the twilight of empire into walled compounds like the Forbidden City or Versailles. They invent their own reality. Those on Wall Street and in corporate boardrooms have replicated this behavior. They insist that continued reliance on fossil fuel and speculations will sustain the empire. State resources, as Tainter notes, are at the end increasingly squandered on extravagant and senseless projects and imperial adventures. And then it all collapses.

Our collapse will take the whole planet with it.

Ted Cruz Could Force a Debt Default All by Himself

Here’s a cheerful thought as Congress remains deadlocked over the debt ceiling and the hours tick away toward default: Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), who basically forced the shutdown and whose own private polls have convinced him that it has been a glorious success, at this point could probably force a default and global economic calamity on his own—if he were so inclined. The Treasury Department says U.S. borrowing authority will expire on Thursday.

How could this happen? Because the Senate can move quickly when necessary, but only by unanimous consent. Let’s say Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) strike a deal today (that’s looking unlikely). Cruz surely won’t like it and has said repeatedly, “I will do everything necessary and anything possible to defund Obamacare.” If he’s true to his word, he could drag out the proceedings past Thursday and possibly well beyond. “If a determined band of nut jobs wants to take down the global economy, they could do it,” says Jim Manley, a former top staffer for Reid. “Under Senate rules, we are past the point of no return—there’s not anything Reid or McConnell could do about it.”

US shutdown: Senate talks break up as fears grow over markets' response

The last ongoing talks to avert US default broke up on Sunday evening without resolution amid signs that investors were growing increasingly nervous that politicians would not reach a deal in time.

Democrat majority leader, Harry Reid, appeared briefly in the Senate to say he had a "productive and substantive" discussion with Republican Mitch McConnell and was optimistic about a deal, but suspended public proceedings until 2pm on Monday while his backroom talks continued.

The only outward sign of movement from the White House came in a Sunday afternoon phone call with House minority leader Nancy Pelosi, in which President Obama reiterated his insistence on Republicans agreeing to end a government shutdown and extend the debt ceiling before he would negotiate any budget concessions.

Political veterans in Washington have warned of an investor backlash if markets reopen this week with Republicans and Democrats still unable to agree to raise the US debt limit. The New York Stock Exchange is open on Monday, despite the Columbus Day public holiday. Crucially, bond traders do not return until Tuesday.

Early currency trading in Asian markets, showed the dollar sliding against the yen and other leading currencies on Monday morning in reaction to the weekend's continued impasse.

China holds up a mirror to the US, the reflection is not particularly flattering.  Worth reading in full:
Commentary: U.S. fiscal failure warrants a de-Americanized world

BEIJING, Oct. 13 (Xinhua) -- As U.S. politicians of both political parties are still shuffling back and forth between the White House and the Capitol Hill without striking a viable deal to bring normality to the body politic they brag about, it is perhaps a good time for the befuddled world to start considering building a de-Americanized world.

Emerging from the bloodshed of the Second World War as the world's most powerful nation, the United States has since then been trying to build a global empire by imposing a postwar world order, fueling recovery in Europe, and encouraging regime-change in nations that it deems hardly Washington-friendly.

With its seemingly unrivaled economic and military might, the United States has declared that it has vital national interests to protect in nearly every corner of the globe, and been habituated to meddling in the business of other countries and regions far away from its shores.

Meanwhile, the U.S. government has gone to all lengths to appear before the world as the one that claims the moral high ground, yet covertly doing things that are as audacious as torturing prisoners of war, slaying civilians in drone attacks, and spying on world leaders. ...

Moreover, instead of honoring its duties as a responsible leading power, a self-serving Washington has abused its superpower status and introduced even more chaos into the world by shifting financial risks overseas, instigating regional tensions amid territorial disputes, and fighting unwarranted wars under the cover of outright lies.

As a result, the world is still crawling its way out of an economic disaster thanks to the voracious Wall Street elites, while bombings and killings have become virtually daily routines in Iraq years after Washington claimed it has liberated its people from tyrannical rule.

Is America a bubble?

The 2011 agreement lifted the ceiling until 2013. The first 2013 agreement suspended the ceiling for only three months. It's likely that the next agreement will only hold for a matter of weeks.

Capitol Hill staffs freely admit that they don’t know how the debt limit will be routinely raised going forwards. Dispensing with his predecessor’s practice of radiating confidence amid chaos, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has said that he’s “nervous” and “anxious” that the U.S. will breach the debt ceiling. President Obama was more blunt: “I think this time is different,” he told CNBC, adding that markets “should be concerned.” ...

A scary possibility is that the market price on the U.S. political system doesn’t reflect what market participants are coming to believe about it: that a once capable and reliable system is now dysfunctional and unpredictable. That raises the possibility that a pivotal event could move markets dramatically because traders are prepared to believe, and to begin trading on, a much more pessimistic assessment of America’s political system. If everyone were moved to act on that belief simultaneously -- by a debt-ceiling crisis, for example -- the results could be earthshaking. ...

But spectacular crises aren’t the only way a political system can fail. A Congress that can’t routinely legislate to address problems (such as aging infrastructure) and take opportunities (such as immigration reform) will, over time, meaningfully harm the country’s growth prospects. And it will do so in a way that’s hard to notice, and thus hard to fix: People don’t much miss the three-tenths of a percentage point worth of growth they didn’t have that quarter. But compounded over time, it’s a disaster. Crises can happen slowly, too.

Joe Stiglitz:
Inequality Is a Choice

Asymmetric globalization has also exerted its toll around the globe. Mobile capital has demanded that workers make wage concessions and governments make tax concessions. The result is a race to the bottom. Wages and working conditions are being threatened. Pioneering firms like Apple, whose work relies on enormous advances in science and technology, many of them financed by government, have also shown great dexterity in avoiding taxes. They are willing to take, but not to give back.

Inequality and poverty among children are a special moral disgrace. They flout right-wing suggestions that poverty is a result of laziness and poor choices; children can’t choose their parents. In America, nearly one in four children lives in poverty; in Spain and Greece, about one in six; in Australia, Britain and Canada, more than one in 10. None of this is inevitable. Some countries have made the choice to create more equitable economies: South Korea, where a half-century ago just one in 10 people attained a college degree, today has one of the world’s highest university completion rates.

For these reasons, I see us entering a world divided not just between the haves and have-nots, but also between those countries that do nothing about it, and those that do. Some countries will be successful in creating shared prosperity — the only kind of prosperity that I believe is truly sustainable. Others will let inequality run amok. In these divided societies, the rich will hunker in gated communities, almost completely separated from the poor, whose lives will be almost unfathomable to them, and vice versa. I’ve visited societies that seem to have chosen this path. They are not places in which most of us would want to live, whether in their cloistered enclaves or their desperate shantytowns.

Europe prepares to come clean on hidden bank losses

Euro zone countries will consider on Monday how to pay for the repair of their broken banks after health checks next year that are expected to uncover problems that have festered since the financial crisis.

Nobody knows the true scale of potential losses at Europe's banks, but the International Monetary Fund hinted at the enormity of the problem this month, saying that Spanish and Italian banks face 230 billion euros ($310 billion) of losses alone on credit to companies in the next two years. ...

Finance ministers from the 17-nation currency area meeting in Luxembourg will tackle the issue of plugging holes expected to be revealed by the European Central Bank's health checks next year. ...

"The effectiveness of this exercise will depend on the availability of necessary arrangements for recapitalizing banks ... including through the provision of a public backstop," Mario Draghi said on Friday. "These arrangements must be in place before we conclude our assessment," he said.

Not to worry, the big 4 American banks are not going to come clean anytime soon:
Buried in Fine Print: $57B of FHA Loans Big Banks May Have to Eat

The nation's four largest banks are holding $57 billion of seriously delinquent loans that they've been slow to move into foreclosure over concerns that the Federal Housing Administration, the government mortgage insurer, will refuse to cover the losses and hit them with damages, according to industry sources.

The banks — Bank of America (BAC), Citigroup (NYSE:C), JPMorgan Chase (JPM), and Wells Fargo (WFC) — have assured investors in the footnotes of quarterly filings that the loans are government-insured and therefore pose no threat to their bottom lines, even if they end up in foreclosure. What's more, the banks have used these supposedly iron-clad government guarantees as a pretext for continuing to classify the loans as performing and for holding no reserves against them. ...

In the event that an FHA-backed loan goes into foreclosure, the lender has the right to file a claim for reimbursement of losses. However, the FHA's guarantee does not apply if lenders are found to have violated underwriting or servicing standards, or to have engaged in misconduct. Banks can also be held liable for treble damages under the False Claims Act if they are found to have "falsely certified" that mortgages met all FHA requirements.

As a result, the banks face hefty losses if the loans go into foreclosure because there is no guarantee that the FHA will cover them, asserts Rebel Cole, a former Federal Reserve Board economist who is now a professor of finance and real estate at DePaul University in Chicago.

"Edward Snowden is a Patriot": Ex-NSA CIA, FBI and Justice Whistleblowers Meet Leaker in Moscow

Secret FISA Court Extends NSA Phone Spying

The secretive U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has approved a request made by the National Security Agency (NSA) to continue its dragnet collection of records on all U.S. phone calls.

In what it claimed to be move for transparency, the office of the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper made the announcement late Friday. ...

Clapper, sparked outrage when it was revealed earlier this year that he "outright lied" to the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee when said the NSA does not collect data on U.S. citizens, shortly after the first NSA revelations had been published.

Edward Snowden Speaks Out Against NSA "Dragnet Mass Surveillance"

New York Times says UK tried to get it to hand over Snowden documents

The editor of the New York Times, Jill Abramson, has confirmed that senior British officials attempted to persuade her to hand over secret documents leaked by the former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

Giving the newspaper's first official comments on the incident, Abramson said that she was approached by the UK embassy in Washington after it was announced that the New York Times was collaborating with the Guardian to explore some of the files disclosed by Snowden. Among the files are several relating to the activities of GCHQ, the agency responsible for signals interception in the UK.

"They were hopeful that we would relinquish any material that we might be reporting on, relating to Edward Snowden. Needless to say I considered what they told me, and said no," Abramson told the Guardian in an interview to mark the International Herald Tribune's relaunch as the International New York Times.

The incident shows the lengths to which the UK government has gone to try to discourage press coverage of the Snowden leaks. In July, the government threatened to take legal action against the Guardian that could have prevented publication, culminating in the destruction of computer hard drives containing some of Snowden's files.

The perfect epitaph for establishment journalism

Like many people, I've spent years writing and speaking about the lethal power-subservient pathologies plaguing establishment journalism in the west. But this morning, I feel a bit like all of that was wasted time and energy, because this new column by career British journalist Chris Blackhurst - an executive with and, until a few months ago, the editor of the UK daily calling itself "The Independent" - contains a headline that says everything that needs to be said about the sickly state of establishment journalism:

independent headlineIn other words, if the government tells me I shouldn't publish something, who am I as a journalist to disobey? Put that on the tombstone of western establishment journalism. It perfectly encapsulates the death spiral of large journalistic outlets.

Lest you think that the headline does not fairly represent the content of the column, Blackhurst, in explaining why he would never have allowed his newspaper to publish any of the documents from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, actually wrote:

"If the security services insist something is contrary to the public interest, and might harm their operations, who am I (despite my grounding from Watergate onwards) to disbelieve them?"
2500+ Killed by Drones in Pakistan, Names of Victims Now Available

Seven Red Cross workers kidnapped by gunmen in northern Syria

Gunmen kidnapped a team of seven workers from the International Committee of the Red Cross after stopping their convoy early on Sunday along a roadside in northern Syria, a spokesman said. ...

Syria's state news agency, quoting an anonymous official, said the gunmen opened fire on the ICRC team's four vehicles before seizing the Red Cross workers. The news agency blamed terrorists, a term the government uses to refer to those opposed to President Bashar al-Assad. ...

Much of the countryside in Idlib province, as well as the rest of northern Syria, has fallen into the hands of rebels over the past year and kidnappings have become rife, particularly of aid workers and foreign journalists.

Syrian TV, chemical inspectors' hotel targeted in bomb attacks in Damascus

More Syria rebel groups leave U.S.-backed command amid worry ‘moderates’ will be shut out

The moderate rebel command at the center of U.S. policy in Syria is becoming increasingly marginalized as dozens of militias peel away to form rival, Islamist alliances in a move that could leave the Obama administration with no battlefield partner in the fight to topple President Bashar Assad.

The Supreme Military Command and its forces, known collectively as the Free Syrian Army, are reeling as 40 or more affiliates this month have signed onto two new umbrella groups, both with agendas that are at odds with the U.S.-backed opposition’s long-stated vision of a democratic, pluralistic Syria. ...

The two emerging Islamist umbrella groups are known as the Azzaz Declaration Signatories in the north and, in the capital, Damascus, as the Army of Islam. Though both groups are nascent, their arrival hardens the conflict’s turn from an anti-authoritarian rebellion to a Sunni Muslim campaign to overthrow a regime led by the minority Alawite sect and replace it with a government “consistent with the principles of Islamic law.”

That’s a far cry from the U.S.-backed opposition’s vision of a secular democracy with protection of minority rights.

The Evening Greens

NWP 12: "New Normal" for Tar Sands Pipeline Approval

Sierra Club Staff Attorney Doug Hayes explained in an interview with DeSmogBlog that NWP 12 is for utility projects with up to a half an acre of stream or wetland impacts, and has never been used for tar sands pipelines before Keystone XL's southern half. ...

After protestors succeeded initially in delaying Keystone XL, Big Oil has chosen a "new normal" stealth approval method: the non-transparent NWP 12.

This avoids the more strenuous National Environmental Protection Act permitting process overseen by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which requires public hearings and public comments for major federal pipeline projects. ... "The Corps is abusing the nationwide permit program. Nationwide permits were intended to permit categories of projects with truly minimal impacts, not tar sands oil pipelines crossing several states," said Hayes.

Utilizing tricky legal loopholes, Transcanada used NWP 12 to push through Keystone XL's southern half in February 2012, calling each half acre segment of Keystone XL's southern half a "single and complete project." The Army Corps of Engineers agreed despite the fact that Transcanada refers to the pipeline at-large as the "Gulf Coast Pipeline project."

"What the Corps is doing is artificially dividing up these massive pipelines, treating them as thousands of individual projects to avoid environmental review," Hayes explained. "In this case, there were 2,227 crossings of federal waterways, so the Corps has treated the Gulf Coast Pipeline as 2,227 'single and complete projects,' each of which qualifies under NWP 12."

Brazil Agribusiness Lobby Set to Appropriate Native Land and Timber

Now, about all of those fabulous, high-paying, skilled labor jobs that the energy sector is going to bless local economies with.  This story should remind labor why it should not support destroying the environment in order to remain employed.  Labor is just as expendable as the environment for the capitalist exploiters that promote the destruciton of both:
Nearly 300 contractors replaced with temporary foreign workers

As hundreds of pipefitters and welders arrived at Husky Energy’s Sunrise project for their weeks-long shifts, a company spokesperson told the crew of approximately 270 this would be their last.

Their replacements?

An equal number of temporary foreign workers brought in by Saipem, a non-union Italian company specializing in oil and gas construction projects.

Over the next 30 days, dozens of temporary foreign workers from Mexico, Ireland, Portugal and Italy were arriving at the site 60 kilometres north of Fort McMurray, waiting for turnover.

By Sept. 27, the original workers —all contractors with Toronto-based Black & MacDonald— were gone.

“Layoffs are pretty standard when there’s no work to be done, but there was plenty of work for us to do out there,” said Louis, a commuter from Napanee, Ont. and an active member of Pipefitters Local 488 in Edmonton. “Plain and simple, a bunch of qualified Canadian citizens who needed work were replaced.”

"If all the branches of government are so helplessly captured by industry that they will do nothing to stave off climate change, then the people must rise up and take the defense of the environment into their own hands."

  -- Ron Seifert, a Tar Sands Blockade spokesman

Rally Against Mass Surveillance

October 26th, 2013 in Washington, D.C.

Right now the NSA is spying on everyone's personal communications, and they’re operating without any meaningful oversight. Since the Snowden leaks started, more than 569,000 people from all walks of life have signed the petition telling the U.S. Congress that we want them to rein in the NSA.

On October 26th, the 12th anniversary of the signing of the US Patriot Act, we're taking the next step and holding the largest rally yet against NSA surveillance. We’ll be handing the half-million petitions to Congress to remind them that they work for us -- and we won’t tolerate mass surveillance any longer. is a coalition of more than 100 public advocacy organizations and companies from across the political spectrum.

Click here for more information

Blog Posts of Interest

Here are diaries and selected blog posts of interest on DailyKos and other blogs.
What's Happenin'

Columbus Day: Indigenous People of the Americas

Smackdown in de Niall aisle:

Truth in the Age of Niallism

Abandoned: Mark Twain Branch Detroit Public Library

What's missing from the shutdown debate

Stringent Income Verification Requirements for Obamacare Could Easily Undermine ACA Rollout

A Little Night Music

A Brief History of the Dobro

Dobro is a registered name owned by the Gibson Guitar Corporation, over the years it has become a generic term for wooden bodied guitars with a metal cone and spider form of amplification, the proper term for these particular guitars are resonator guitars, but for the sake of confusion both terms can be used interchangeably.

The resonator guitar is a relatively modern musical instrument newcomer. In its current form was invented in 1928 by John Dopyera, incorporating a metal cone attached to the strings to amplify the sound above the din of accompanying instruments typically played in jazz and swing bands of the era. This metal cone gives the guitar its distinctive vocal metallic sound so associated with blues, bluegrass, country and Hawaiian music. The resonator guitar comes in two general styles, the roundneck is usually played in the regular Spanish position either with a glass or metal slide. The squareneck which has a rectangular neck and is generally played lap style with a bar, usually made of metal but sometimes glass, with the guitar laid flat facing upwards with the player in the sitting or standing position. The roundneck version is typically played by rock or blues musicians and is commonly referred to as "slide
or bottleneck guitar" and also can be played in a fingerpicking style. The lapstyle squareneck is generally thought of as a bluegrass or country styled instrument although there are crossovers in both styles. Forerunners of the resonating guitar are the Weissenborn and the National Steel Guitar. The following is a breakdown of various resonating guitar genres. Enjoy.

Hawaiian Music

The guitar was first played as a "steel" guitar, in the late 1800's by laying a metal bar across the frets and raising the nut to move the strings further from the frets. This technique is thought to have been originated by Joseph Kekuku, a Hawaiian schoolboy, who discovered the sound while walking along a railroad track strumming his guitar. He picked up a bolt lying by the track and slid the metal along the strings of his guitar. Intrigued by the sound, he taught himself to play using the back of a knife blade . This distinctive sound became a mainstay in Hawaiian music and soon spread to the continental US and was hugely popular from circa 1915 to the '30s. Source

The sound of the Hawaiian guitar was eventually picked up by blues, traditional mountain, folk, country, bluegrass and even jazz musicians.

Sol Hoopii - Palolo

Solomon Ho'opi'i Ka'ai'ai was born in 1902 in Honolulu, Hawaii, the youngest of 21 children. He began playing ukulele at age three, and soon included guitar and Hawaiian guitar in his playing. He stowed away on an ocean liner in 1919 and ended up in San Francisco. From there he made his way to Los Angeles, where he formed a trio with Glenwood Leslie and Lani McIntire.

His first recordings in 1927 featured hot improvisation over jazz and blues tunes. He switched to electric lap steel around 1935. He performed in many movies, including "Bird of Paradise", "Waikiki Wedding", "Song of the Islands", and a few Charlie Chan movies. He also performed in the soundtrack to the Betty Boop cartoon "Betty's Bamboo Isle".

In 1938, Ho'opi'i gave up his career in secular music to join the crusade of evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson. He made few recordings until his death in 1953 at the age of 51. Source

Sol Hoopii plays a steel body Hawaiian guitar on this cut.

Jim and Bob "The Genial Hawaiians" - St. Louis Blues

Jim Holstein and Bob Pauole were a musical duo known as Jim and Bob, the Genial Hawaiians. They performed on the radio in Chicago and made a handful of impressive recordings that were released in the 1930's. Bob Pauole was an exceptional steel player with great tone and phrasing. Their recordings exhibit a nice interplay between the two musicians. Unfortunately very little is known about Jim and Bob. No one even knows for sure what became of them after the mid-1930's.  Source

Bob Pauole plays a steel body Hawaiian guitar on this cut.

Early Blues Music

The resonator guitar is also significant to the world of blues music, particularly the Southern style of country blues that grew out of the Mississippi Delta and Louisiana. Unlike country and bluegrass players, most blues players play the resonator guitar in the standard guitar position, with the strings facing away from the player. Many use slides or bottlenecks.

One of the few Delta Blues players to play lap style in the 30's was Black Ace, also known as B.K. Turner. He toured and recorded with his mentor Oscar "Buddy" Woods, who also played lap style Resonator guitar and Lap Steel. Woods, who was fifteen years older than Ace, taught him his guitar playing techniques.  Source

B.K. "Black Ace" Turner - I Am the Black Ace

Black Ace was the most frequently used stage name of the American Texas blues musician, Babe Kyro Lemon Turner (December 21, 1905 – November 7, 1972), who was also known as B.K. Turner, Black Ace Turner or Babe Turner.

Born in Hughes Springs, Texas, United States, he was raised on the family farm, and taught himself to play guitar, performing in east Texas from the late 1920s on. During the early 1930s he began playing with Smokey Hogg and Oscar "Buddy" Woods, a Hawaiian-style guitarist who played with the instrument flat on his lap.Turner then bought a National steel guitar, and began playing what one later critic called "Hawaii meets the Delta," smooth and simple blues.

In 1937, Turner recorded six songs (possibly with Hogg as second guitarist) for Chicago's Decca Records in Dallas, including the blues song "Black Ace". In the same year, he started a radio show on KFJZ in Fort Worth, using the cut as a theme song, and soon assumed the name.

In 1941 he appeared in The Blood of Jesus, an African-American movie produced by Spencer Williams Jr. In 1943 he was drafted into the United States Army, and gave up playing music for some years. However, in 1960, Arhoolie Records owner Chris Strachwitz persuaded him to record an album for his record label. His last public performance was in the a 1962 film documentary, The Blues, and he died of cancer in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1972.  Source

Black Ace plays a National steel Body guitar on this cut.

Oscar "Buddy" Woods - Lone Wolf Blues

Oscar "Buddy" Woods (c. 1895 – December 14, 1955) was an American Texas blues guitarist, singer and songwriter.

Woods, who was an early blues pioneer in lap steel, slide guitar playing, recorded thirty-five tracks between 1930 and 1940. He recorded solo and as part of the duo, the Shreveport Home Wreckers, and with a six/seven piece group, the Wampus Cats. Early in his career he backed Jimmie Davis on some of his recordings. Woods's best known song was "Lone Wolf Blues", from which came his billing as 'The Lone Wolf'.

He was born around Natchitoches, Louisiana, with the birth year variously listed as somewhere between 1892 and 1900. In October 1940, Woods made his final five track recording for the Library of Congress. Local records suggest that Woods continued to live in Shreveport, and after his recording career was over, he played again as a street musician and at dances.

Woods died in Shreveport in December 1955. Source

Oscar "Buddy" Woods plays a National Steel Body guitar on this cut.

Frank Hutchison - KC Blues

Born in Logan County, West Virginia, United States, Hutchison is considered to be the first white rural guitarist to record the blues, as he cut several tracks for Okeh Records. He worked as a coal miner at various coal mines in Logan County, West Virginia, both before and after his career as a recording artist.

Hutchison is considered to be one of the finest performers of the "white country blues" genre of early folk music. One of his more famous recordings is "The Train That Carried My Girl From Town." His recording of "Stackalee" was included in Harry Smith's 1952 Anthology of American Folk Music, and influenced a number of musicians during the 1950s and 1960s folk revival.

Some years after his recording career had ended and after he left the Logan County coal mines, Hutchison and his wife operated a store in Lake, West Virginia, where he also served as postmaster. He worked as a riverboat entertainer on the Ohio River and eventually moved to Columbus, Ohio.

He died in 1945 at a Dayton, Ohio hospital, of liver disease, aged 54. Source

Frank Hutchison plays a standard guitar with a raised nut on this cut.

Early Country Music

The resonator guitar was used in older country music, notably by Bashful Brother Oswald of Roy Acuff's band among others, and is still very popular in contemporary country music although the pedal steel guitar has become more common in use.

"Bashful Brother Oswald"  Kirby - End of the World

Beecher Ray Kirby (December 26, 1911–October 17, 2002), better known as Bashful Brother Oswald, was an American country musician who popularized the use of the resonator guitar and Dobro. He played with Roy Acuff's Smoky Mountain Boys and was a member of the Grand Ole Opry.

Though he released only a few recordings as a solo artist, he played as a session musician on numerous records, including the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's 1972 triple album, Will the Circle Be Unbroken.

Oswald died on October 17, 2002, at his home in Madison, Tennessee, at the age of 90. Source

Shot Jackson - Born to Lose

Shot Jackson (born Harold Bradley Jackson, September 4, 1920–January 24, 1991) was a country music guitarist best known for playing Dobro and pedal steel guitar. He also designed and manufactured guitars under the name Sho-Bud.

Jackson moved to Nashville, Tennessee, Tennessee in 1944 to play on the Grand Ole Opry, in Cousin Wilbur Westbrooks' band. After a short stint in the Navy, Jackson joined the Bailes Brothers on KWKH's Louisiana Hayride program, playing steel guitar. After the Bailes Brothers left the Hayride, Jackson stayed behind, playing with artists like Webb Pierce, Jimmie Osborne, Red Sovine and the Tennessee Mountain Boys.

Jackson left the Tennessee Mountain Boys to play electric steel guitar for Roy Acuff's Smoky Mountain Boys. He designed a pedal steel guitar with Buddy Emmons, marketing it under the name Sho-Bud. Eventually Jackson left Acuff to devote more time to his burgeoning company, still finding time to play on records by Melba Montgomery, including her hit duets with George Jones.

From 1964 until mid-1965, Jackson was back playing with Roy Acuff, but was badly injured (along with Acuff) in a serious car crash. After he recovered, Jackson started performing with his wife, Donna Darlene. Around the same time, he began to market a new guitar—a seven-string resonator called the Sho-Bro.

His professional playing after that became sporadic, but included two albums with Roy Clark. He sold Sho-Bud to Baldwin-Gretsch in 1980, selling his instrument repair business three years later. He was inducted into the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame in 1986. Not long after suffering a stroke (his second in less than ten years), he died on January 24, 1991. Source

Bluegrass Music

The resonator guitar was introduced to bluegrass music by Josh Graves, who played with Flatt and Scruggs, in the mid-1950s. Graves used the hard-driving, syncopated three-finger picking style developed by Earl Scruggs for the five-string banjo. Modern players continue to play the instrument this way, with one notable exception being Tut Taylor who plays with a flat pick.

Tuning for the resonator guitar within the bluegrass genre is most often an open G. Occasionally variant tunings are used, such as an open D.

Notable techniques are hammer-ons and pull-offs, allowing for rapid note playing. The left hand barring technique, when playing single notes, is akin to playing a standard guitar with only one finger on the fretting hand. So when you hear Jerry Douglas or Rob Ickes explode in a series of rapid, intricate runs it is due to these techniques. Another notable technique is slants, forward and reverse slants allow the player to diagonally lay the bar across the frets to utilize chords and notes that would other wise be very difficult to realize.

The following is a small sample of some notable bluegrass players.

Buck Graves - Flatt Lonesome

Josh Graves (September 27, 1927 Tellico Plains, Monroe County, Tennessee – September 30, 2006), born Burkett Howard Graves, was an American bluegrass musician. Also known by the nicknames "Buck," and "Uncle Josh," he is credited with introducing the resonator guitar (commonly known under the trade name of Dobro) into bluegrass music shortly after joining Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys in 1955. He was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Honor in 1977.  Source

Buck Graves is the godfather of modern bluegrass dobro, he was the innovator of three finger picking (banjo style) which produce the had driving rolls as is so common in today's bluegrass dobro technique.

Gene Wooten - Foggy Mountain Rock

Gene Wooten (born June 5, 1953 in Franklinton, NC, died November 7, 2001 in Nashville, TN) was an American dobro player and multi-instrumentalist.

He became serious about playing music professionally while a student at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, and ultimately moved to Nashville, TN in 1977, where he landed his first professional job as a musician with Wilma Lee Cooper. He fast became a regular on the Grand Ole Opry. His work as a dobro player took him on the road and in the studio with numerous well known Bluegrass stars including the Osborne Brothers and Del and Ronnie McCoury. In 1994 he shared a Grammy Award with Jerry Douglas, Josh Graves, Rob Ickes, and others for his work on the all-star dobro album called The Great Dobro Sessions. He was also known as a member of the Country Gazette, and the Sidemen which were the house band of musicians at the famous Station Inn in Nashville, TN, a coveted position he held for more than ten years. For three years, he was named dobro player of the year by the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass in America. He recorded one solo album.
Late in his career he was best known for playing on Patty Loveless' award winning acoustic album, Mountain Soul.

Gene Wooten’s craftsmanship with wooden instruments of all kinds impressed his peers. He worked for various musical instrument manufacturers, repairing instruments for some of the world’s most famous Bluegrass musicians. He was especially appreciated for his ability to work on the dobro.

Tut Taylor - Maggie

Tut Taylor (born November 20, 1923) is an American bluegrass musician.

Taylor played banjo and mandolin as a child, and began playing dobro at age 14, learning to use the instrument with a distinctive flat-picking style. Taylor was a member of The Folkswingers in the 1960s, who released three LPs; he recorded his debut solo effort in 1964. Later in the 1960s, he played with the Dixie Gentlemen and in John Hartford's Aero-Plain band.

Taylor became a local Nashville, Tennessee fixture. In 1970, he co-founded the instrument shop GTR there, soon after releasing another solo album. He also co-founded the Old Time Pickin' Parlor, a Nashville venue noted for performances of old-time music, as well as Tut Taylor's General Store.

At the Grammy Awards of 1995, he was awarded the Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album for his work on The Great Dobro Sessions with Jerry Douglas.

Mike Auldridge - Pickaway

Mike Auldridge (December 30, 1938 – December 29, 2012) was widely acknowledged as a premier resophonic guitar (the instrument formerly referred to as a Dobro) player. He played with The Seldom Scene for many years, creating a fusion of bluegrass with jazz, folk and rock.

Born in Washington, D.C., Auldridge started playing guitar at the age of 13. His main influence through his early years was Josh Graves who also sold him his first Dobro. Auldridge last played with Darren Beachley and The Legends of the Potomac bluegrass band. Past bands include Emerson and Waldron, Cliff Waldron and the New Shades of Grass, Seldom Scene (of which he was a founding member), Chesapeake, The Good Deale Bluegrass Band, and John Starling and Carolina Star (which featured three original members of The Seldom Scene). Mike was also a member of the touring bands of Lyle Lovett and Emmylou Harris.

Just one day prior to his 74th birthday, he died on December 29, 2012 at home under hospice care in Silver Spring, Maryland after a lengthy battle with prostate cancer.

Mike Auldridge was one of the first dobro practitioners to explore new forms beyond the standard bluegrass framing, opening the door for Jerry Douglas and Rob Ickes and others to take the instrument to a new level. RIP Mike.

Jerry Douglas - Little Martha

Gerald Calvin "Jerry" Douglas (born May 28, 1956 in Warren, Ohio) is an American resonator guitar and lap steel player and record producer.

In addition to his thirteen solo recordings, Douglas has played on more than 1,600 albums. As a sideman, he has recorded with artists as diverse as Ray Charles, Eric Clapton, Phish, Dolly Parton, Paul Simon, Mumford & Sons, Keb' Mo', Ricky Skaggs, Elvis Costello, and Johnny Mathis, as well as performing on the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack. He has been part of such notable groups as The Whites, New South, The Country Gentlemen, Strength in Numbers, and Elvis Costello's "Sugar Canes". Since 1998, Douglas has been a member of Alison Krauss and Union Station, touring extensively and playing on a series of platinum-selling albums.

Douglas lives in Nashville, Tennessee with his wife, Jill. The couple have four children. Source

Jerry Douglas is arguably the best technically to ever have played the instrument, although I prefer Rob Ickes basically because of his bluesier sound. Jerry's version of Little Martha gives me goose bumps.

Rob Ickes - Flatt Lonesome

Rob Ickes is a dobro (resonator guitar) player. A Northern California native (born 1967), Rob Ickes [rhymes with "bikes"] moved to Nashville in 1992 and joined the contemporary bluegrass band Blue Highway as a founding member in 1994. In addition to his work with Blue Highway, he also regularly performs with Three Ring Circle and his own jazz trio.  Source

Did you notice I featured the song Flatt Lonesome twice?  Why? It is my all-time favorite dobro song and Rob Ickes is my all-time favorite dobro artist.

Of course due to time and space constraints I have omitted many great resonator artists, namely Sally Van Meter, Cindy Cashdollar, Leon McAuliffe, Bob Dunn, David Lindley, Doug Cox, Phil Leadbetter, Bukka White, on and on. Thank you for reading...JtC

It's National Pie Day!

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Come on over and sign up so that we can send you announcements about the site, the launch, and information about participating in our public beta testing.

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Originally posted to DFH writers group on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 05:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Team DFH.

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