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A blistering version of a€?Stagger Leea€? occurs seven tracks deep into Danielle Miragliaa€™s most recent album, Box of Troubles. So it is that Danielle Miraglia puts her own stamp on a€?Stagger Lee.a€? Of course, ita€™s not her own composition, but surely a cornerstone of her repertoire. An interview with this refreshingly affable, down-to-earth performer reveals how she became the player and writer she is today.
While her musical aspirations took a back seat during her college career, there was still some dabbling.
When Danielle left Emerson, she felt lost for a while, describing herself as a€?unfocused.a€? She wasna€™t able to translate a degree in writing into meaningful employment.
Danielle had a fantasy about moving to Arizona and starting a whole new life out there, getting a fresh start.
Her first songs, coming off the dissolution of a relationship were (again) a€?cheesy breakup songs,a€? she said. At that point, she was a€?writing a ton,a€? and within about six months she enlarged her repertoire to six decent songs and another six months to beginning her first recording. In addition to the strong, steady thumb beat on the bass strings, Danielle also uses a hollow foot stomp, sometimes amplified. I asked her about the guitars shea€™s favored and she mentioned that the Yamaha her boyfriend got her in high school was a nice beginnera€™s guitar (he took it back when they broke up a€” song opportunity!). Danielle feels that her first two CDs were of little consequence a€” a part of the learning process a€” and that her recording career started in earnest with the album, Nothing Romantic.
In a€?You dona€™t Know Nothin,a€™a€? a reaction to some right-wing radio talk shows, Danielle flashes metaphoric sharpness. The a€?eight oa€™clock shadowa€? then displays his own ignorance, condemning abortion rights marchers on the bara€™s television. Although I first got cold-cocked by a€?Stagger Leea€? and a€?Loud Talkera€? from Daniellea€™s latest CD, Box of Troubles, there are other standouts. Wea€™re ecstatic that wea€™ve caught up to this supremely intelligent and talented performer. Danielle has had purists disagree with her about not following original styles note-for-note. At yet another Tuesday night at the Living Room on New York Citya€™s Lower East Side, a performer in John Platta€™s monthly On Your Radar series mesmerized an audience. The notes rained steady like a metronome, the bass strings rock-solid and the treble, bell-like.
He finished his set, and the audience rose to its feet, giving him an ovation that seemed longer and more fervent than the usual appreciative applause regularly awarded by monthly On Your Radar attendees. Ia€™d made a brief acquaintance with his work back in the mid-a€™90s, when his song a€?Irelanda€? hit the airwaves. A phone conversation a week later would reveal that what Greg called a€?boringa€? turned out to be quite a roller coaster ride as he was pursuing his craft. Although he had a band, he wanted to go to school, so he enrolled at the University of Kansas. In 1980, a a€?benchmarka€? year, Greg moved to New York City, to make or break it as a performing songwriter. Although he played solo, he was a€?looking for a banda€? and sought out guys who were a€?fun to play with.a€? After about two years of different lineups, he certainly found one. Grega€™s solo and co-written work form a treasure-trove of great listening a€” a desert-island collection, which, in my case, according to iTunes, amounts to about five-and-a-half hours. Once people dig into Grega€™s body of recorded work, the reaction usually is, a€?Why isna€™t this guy (take your pick) bigger a€¦ more well-known a€¦ hugea€¦?a€? While we mention a variety of lyrics and instrumental effects, the anchor for everything is Grega€™s voice, a dense baritone that reaches high notes with ease and packs emotion into every line. The live album Between a House and a Hard Place (2002) will give listeners a sample of Grega€™s sense of humor. On The Williamsburg Affair (2009), Greg covers Neil Younga€™s a€?Wrecking Balla€? that Emmy Lou Harris had success with on her Daniel Lanois-produced album of that name. One day during the summer after an evening church service, I noticed a colored picture of an anchor on this mana€™s forearm.
Another decade passed and then we entered a time of technology, laser technology that could remove onea€™s unwanted tattoos! Within the past ten years, it seems that the popularity of tattoos is at an all-time high: expression of oneself through ink on skin is common now. My kids are elementary school age, and we often frequent the public pools in the summers to escape the heat. I work as a counselor in a public school, which gives me the opportunity to visit with many students and their parents. My Hella€™s Angel view on tattoos, unless of course you are in the military, changed about seven years ago.
As I mentioned earlier, tattoos are prominent among professional athletes, especially so in the NBA.
We had rolled into New Bedford, Mass., for the annual Summerfest on Saturday morning, July 2nd, spit out of a twister. By Saturday, I shoulda€™ve been caught up on sleep, but struggled to find the energy for the game of musical chairs at Summerfest.
Over the weekend, each of seven stages off the cobbled streets of the Whaling Museum district grew packed to overflowing. There was no mad dash for us for the first performance at the small canopied area at the National Park Garden Stage.
That first act was a€?Introducing Liz Longley.a€? This proved to be a priority-changing event. I also managed to squeeze in an on-the-spot interview at a surprisingly subdued side room at the nearby, bustling Celtic Coffeehouse.
Her father was a a€?really gooda€? jazz musician who played saxophone and had his own band. Exposure to chorus was minimal in grade school, but when she reached her early teens, she started singing with her dada€™s jazz group and continued until she was 18. Having begun writing on piano, Liz began performing with a friend, Sarah Zimmermann, who provided guitar backup. Additionally, Liz and Sarah performed at fundraisers, in particular a€?Relay for Life,a€? held every year to raise money for cancer research.
They also played professionally at local Pennsylvania folk landmarks Steel City (Phoenixville) and The Tin Angel (Philadelphia).
After high school, Berklee College of Music in Boston was the only college Liz applied to because it offered songwriting as a major.
She still performs on piano when the opportunity presents itself, and thata€™s illustrated by two slow ballads on this CD where she uses her keyboard skills.
Her upcoming shows dona€™t include anything in the New York metro area, but wea€™re hoping this article will change that. The photograph we found online for our a€?Radara€? July ad showed a drop-dead beautiful face, and we wondered if there was matching talent to back it up. High school proved to be the seeding ground for this musical maelstrom, this force of nature.
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Tom Bianchi, her husband and producer on this album, uses an electric violin, a blues harp and a sinuous lead electric guitar with a wah-wah pedal to sustain the cloud of doom that hangs over this historic piece. Her family lived in Everett until she was 8, then moved to nearby Revere, where she grew up.
As kids will, she and some friends tried to form a band, even though no one actually played an instrument. She took a couple of lessons from the aforementioned frienda€™s father who was going to teach her friends to play their instruments. Using an acoustic guitar, shea€™d get together with a friend back home to play and write songs. Her first stop was the open mic at The Kendall Cafe in Cambridge (now closed), just to a€?check it out.a€? She saw people who were very advanced and some raw beginners. However, a€?They had grit to them.a€? Although she cringes when she looks back on her early writing, she still feels that the songs werena€™t all that bad considering her level of development. She was a fan of the late Janis Joplin and would belt her songs out, Janis-style,without giving thought to vocal dynamics or microphone control.
Additionally, she studied the Stefan Grossman transcriptions (written and audio) of the guitar of Mississippi John Hurt. Shea€™s been told, a€?If youa€™re not doing it exactly the way they did it, youa€™re not doing it.a€? For Danielle, ita€™s all about enjoying it and getting into the a€?feela€? of it [we agree]. Although shea€™d seen performers like Chris Smither use this sort of device, she never intended to copy it. She later got an Ovation, then a Guild and then found her first love in a Gibson [lots of blues in those Gibsons]. Thata€™s about when we made her acquaintance (as well as taking note of her impact at the 2009 Northeast Regional Folk Alliance Conference). She uses a nimble Mississippi John Hurt-style fingerpicking pattern for this philosophical gem. Tongue-in-cheek, she asks for a drum machine, and, in a reference to Robert Johnson, Tell me where the roads cross, Ia€™m ready to sell my soul. Ita€™s a plus that finding out how good a writer she is now reinforces our first impression of a highly energetic blues artist. Neither the service provider nor the domain owner maintain any relationship with the advertisers.
His father worked in the design department of WOR Radio, one of the sponsors of the Beatlesa€™ shows at Shea Stadium.
Jim and Tom Paschetto, two other extremely talented friends, joined them to form a band, which they called The Ravioli Brothers. His material included songs by Townes Van Zant, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Jerry Jeff Walker and Happy and Artie Traum. The Greg Trooper band that evolved consisted of Greg on lead vocals and guitar, Larry Campbell on guitar, fiddle and mandolin, Greg Shirley on bass harmony vocals and Walter Thompson on drums.
Although he moved back to New York in 2008, most of his recorded output has been from Nashville. He can shift, mid-note, into a higher range for greater emphasis or break into a yodel if a Hank Williams cover demands it. Its blistering attack of chiming guitar chords and steady tom-tom beat take me back to 1957. It kicks off with a€?Nothina€™ But You.a€? This one chugs through with the urgency it needs to express a guya€™s return to the woman he regrets leaving behind. During the intro strumming of a€?Ia€™m So French,a€? we can only wonder whata€™s happening when the audience laughs as he says, a€?Ia€™m recording here! Ita€™s also not possible to convey the warmth and self-effacing humor of his live performances. Wednesday night, finish the July issue, then get two hours of sleep; Thursday, pedal-to-the-metal from NYC to Fall River, Mass. Newly appointed chair police at the main Custom House stage prevented attendees from saving seats for hours at a time. Seats opened up after each act and the first attendees to dash to freshly vacated chairs near the front became winners.
As usual, we arrived at the festival at about 9:00 am and the first show didna€™t begin until 11. Liz was scheduled to perform 10 days later on July 12 at the Living Room in New York Citya€™s East Village. From the very first notes, it was obvious that we were going to want to see and hear a lot more from this brilliant 23-year-old. I would not be jumping from tent to tent, looking for the best seats, hoping to find something near the front at the big Custom House tent. For her first eight years her family lived in West Chester, Pa., then they moved a little further west, to Downingtown. Her mother was an aspiring singer, but lacked the time and opportunity to pursue it as a career.
Through her dad, shea€™d gotten exposure to Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan and they were her favorites, the ones she focused on. Other events included the high schoola€™s talent show and the senior prom, with both girls performing in their prom dresses.
Liz said that she entrusted major decisions in the studio to producer Glen Barrett and enlisted feedback from her parents to help her decide what, in the end, would be the right sound for her on each track. These include a€?Little White House,a€? seemingly a farewell to her childhood, and a€?Unraveling,a€? another farewell of sorts to her grandmother, suffering from Alzheimera€™s. Her dad told her, a€?If youa€™re going to learn to have a career as a musician, youa€™d better start now.a€? Actually, performing after college was a continuation of what shea€™d been doing since high school and during her four years at Berklee. Contact the seller- opens in a new window or tab and request a shipping method to your location.
You have read and agree to the Global Shipping Program terms and conditions - opens in a new window or tab. Import charges previously quoted are subject to change if you increase you maximum bid amount. Danielle had a Casio keyboard; a frienda€™s father played guitar, so it was assumed that hea€™d show others in the group how to play their instruments. There were writing courses of every kind, including journalism, childrena€™s writing and poetry. She figured, a€?OK, I can fit into this mixa€¦ I can pull this off.a€? She signed up to play the following week and found that others were very polite, offering encouragement. It wasna€™t until she got to the open mic of blues master Geoff Bartley at the Cantab Lounge that her mistakes were pointed out. The practice really evolved from using a foot stomp on stage to keep rhythm and provide percussion. It actually took another year for her to digest and learn what Geoff had taught her.A  a€?It was like I got all the food and then I processed it,a€? she told me. In case of trademark issues please contact the domain owner directly (contact information can be found in whois).
After nearly a year, Greg moved back to New Jersey for a short while and then went to Lawrence, Kan. Around 1979, Jim Paschetto moved to Lawrence and joined Grega€™s band and the idea of writing original material took serious hold.
Campbell, whoa€™s played with Dylan, gets our attention, but anyone in that kind of company would need to be good. One article states that he was writing for Nashville publishers even while living in New York his first time around. The first two albums, Everywhere (1992) and Noises In The Hallway (1996), are out of print and can only be bought as used CDs from Amazon at this point.
Ia€™m skipping ahead of a few favorites to get to the track that ends the album, a€?Ia€™ll Keep It With Mine,a€? a Dylan cover that makes a wonderful honky-tonk slow dance. After a couple of listens, I shared it with my wife and she identified it as a perfect Cajun two-step. Critics are saying that this album is yet another wonder in the series of great Trooper releases.


Then, with breathtaking suddenness it darted upward, taking the hollow in my chest along with it. The chairs were empty and there were no chair police to prevent us from saving a couple of seats for the first act. Wea€™d see her then, of course, since we never miss WFUV DJ John Platta€™s monthly a€?On Your Radara€? series.
Instead, I followed Liz from one stage to the next, seeking the best photos and videos of her that I could get (below).
Her earliest memories involve driving around with her father in the family VW convertible with the top down and music blasting from the car stereo.
The lone cover, a€?People Get Ready,a€? demonstrates a command that allows her to take ownership of the song. While it did come up in our interview, her Facebook page states it more succinctly: a€?In high school, I was a marching band nerd.
If you reside in an EU member state besides UK, import VAT on this purchase is not recoverable. She credits two older boys, her upstairs neighbors, in helping to add to her musical knowledge. She went back again and again and found a€?a whole new crew of friends.a€? They were a€?on the same wavelength,a€? she said. On a gig where she needed to use a box for added height, she found herself rhythmically tapping on the box and liking the sound.
Although she told me that her husband Tom hosts it now, shea€™s still listed as the host on The Burren website.
Danielle developed a a€?roguea€? mixture of what Geoff taught her and the Grossman transcriptions. I was starting to develop a direction and I liked lyric-based folk-rock.a€? Bob Dylana€™s influence crept higher. The track is so amazingly strong that you might cut in on somebody with his girlfriend at the roadhouse, plead temporary insanity and not get your head stove in. Youa€™ll get a taste if you go to YouTube and type in a€?Greg Trooper,a€? but thata€™s only a taste. Texas barbeque, Ia€™m so French!A  We also get to hear him do a€?Ireland,a€? in the only version I have at the moment until I can pick up a copy of Everywhere. As she states on her Facebook page: a€?I grew up listening to Joni Mitchell and Karla Bonoff. James Taylor, Karla Bonoff, Joni Mitchell and Sarah McLachlan were among the names she cited. I was surprised that she hadna€™t sought feedback from anyone at Berklee, but kept to the formula stated above.
One is a version of Joni Mitchella€™s a€?Rivera€? in which Liz hits some high notes that Joni herself might not be able to handle anymore. Danielle and another friend, Brenda, who Danielle said, a€?has a twisted sense of humor,a€? would write songs with ridiculous lyrics.
For Danielle, they included John Irving (for his humor as well as his dramatic flair), Tim Oa€™Brien (Vietnam War novelist, not the bluegrass performer), satirist David Sedaris and Lorrie Moore (a€?humorous and poignant short storiesa€? a€” Wikipedia).
There was an epiphany of sorts in that they both realized life is too short to waste on doing things you have no love for.
Later, she asked a friend to follow her design to make a hollow device like a footrest that she could attach to her stool. Also, she mentioned that it seemed less desperate than standing when playing in a noisy bar. For Danielle, they includedA  John Irving (for his humor as well as his dramatic flair), Tim Oa€™Brien (Vietnam War novelist, not the bluegrass performer), satirist David Sedaris and Lorrie Moore (a€?humorous and poignant short storiesa€? a€” Wikipedia). She finds it fundamentally impossible to repeat someone elsea€™s stylings note-for-note a€” shea€™ll develop her own version instead. His brother, two years older, had been instrumental in turning Greg on to the major rock acts of the day. However, a€?WOR was the first New York album-oriented rock-and-roll FM station,a€? he said. In the early a€?70s, Greg was in his late teens when the work of John Prine and Steve Goodman made an impact. On their way out west, Greg and Richard stopped in Emporia, Kan., to visit a friend and wound up playing gigs in the area for about a year. Then, after two years, although he was doing well at school, he felt antsy to move forward in his desire to a€?make records,a€? so he quit. Also during this time, Greg wrote a€?The Hearta€? with Tom Russell, who was living in New York then.
If great writing, perfect recording and stellar performances are your thing, this is the guy for you. However, a€?WOR was the first New York album-oriented rock-and-roll FM station,a€? he said.A  a€?We still have some psychedelic posters from WOR that my father did the lettering for,a€? he stated. But we didna€™t know her, so we figured it would be a good idea to get acquainted before seeing her at the Living Room. The first two use a full studio band, complete with drums, bass, lead guitar backup, pedal steel a€” the works.
The second is Van Morrisona€™s a€?Moondance,a€? which gives Liz a chance to show off her jazz vocal skills. When I wasna€™t on the field, I was writing music (on piano & guitar) and playing shows. However the world views her as a blues singer, shea€™s well-prepared for original songwriting. Danielle also studied from an instructional DVD of Mississippi John Hurta€™s guitar style by Happy Traum and John Sebastian that combined video and tablature transcription. This included a a€?concert night,a€? wherein the school invited students and parents to come to a performance solely by Liz and Sarah. In contrast, her third album, the latest, Hot Loose Wire, completed right after graduation, is stripped down a€” just her, solo, with either guitar or piano a€” pretty much what we see in concert. When she returned home, Danielle began attending open mics, kick-starting what would become her career. I would be putting together help desk manuals, and then Ia€™d write a song about how miserable I was. Theya€™d bring in a song and other students would dissect it, asking questions like why a word was used in a particular place. The male of the species got off easy this time, but that doesna€™t mean she hasna€™t been watching. Then Ia€™d tell someone to re-boot their computer, which is usually the solution to every problem.
There are a few similar characteristics to the main figure in Suttree, but otherwise, ita€™s all Greg.
In addition, a€?Ireland,a€? included on his 1992 album Everywhere, according to a quote we saw somewhere, was written as a tribute to his wife. There were classes where songs by famous writers were analyzed, and Liz loved it all, soaking up every learning opportunity that came her way.
She tinkered around with some acoustic fingerstyle guitar while in high school, copying selected songs by Randy Rhodes and the band, Heart. The song captured the spirit of Ireland so well that Irish folk diva Maura Oa€™Connell covered it, and the song subsequently saw heavy rotation on Fordham Universitya€™s (WFUV) radio playlist a€” back then, this authora€™s only source of preferred music.
In an online interview, Greg is quoted: a€?I was desperate back then a€¦ I was living in a trailer park a€¦ We were just desperadoes with shitty jobs. A friend and I saw Greg play an inspiring set at the Mercury Lounge in the mid a€™90s and stopped to pay our respects afterward. It was just different, or maybe it was just different for me, chasing the dream of making music.



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