The Latest News of Acoustic Blues & Roots Guitarist Catfish Keith
This issue includes:
Acoustic bluesman Catfish Keith celebrates the release of his seventh solo album. "Pony Run" features some of Catfish's deepest barrelhouse delta blues to date, with special guest Radoslav Lorkovic on piano on three cuts, and solo cuts on his steel-bodied National Baritone and Delphi Guitars, and the stunning small-bodied "Catfish Keith Model" acoustic guitar by UK luthiers Peter Howlett and Tony Revell.
Songs are deep from the country blues well, with a cool Catfish original, "Pony Run" and gems inspired by Walter Davis, Lonnie Johnson, Blind Lemon Jefferson, and King Solomon Hill, a fiddle tune, a Joseph Spence number, and much more.
The album was recorded by Mark Johnson of H.A.M. House Studios in North Liberty, Iowa,
and was produced by Catfish & Penny Cahill. British Rock Art Legend David Oxtoby painted the CD cover, soon to be revealed (See Oxtoby story in this issue).
"Pony Run" and all other Fish Tail titles will be available through all Valley Media outlets, including Border's, Camelot, Tower and others, and on all major internet music sites such as Amazon.com, The Orchard, CDNow, and of course always here at catfishkeith.com.
Catfish featured in new Fingerstyle Guitar
Catfish is in the new issue, #34, Sept/Oct '99 of Fingerstyle Guitar. This is a great issue for National Guitar fans, with Bob Brozman on the cover along with a big, blue National Delphi, and has feature stories on National Reso-Phonic Guitars and Man-of-Steel Bob Brozman, along with sidebars by Catfish and fingerstyle tonemeister Martin Simpson.
The Fish is also in the latest series of print ads by National for the new Baritone Tricone (see page 64 in issue #34, also same photo above). Catfish & Penny send deepest regards and thanks to the National gang, and encourage musicians to try out these wild and wonderful instruments.
Don Young, co-founder of National once said: "Everyday I just get up in the morning and try to make a better guitar." We like that.
Italy's IL BLUES Interviews Catfish
Keith has a cover story in the June 1999 Issue of Italy's premier blues magazine, IL BLUES. Roberto Giuli's extensive interview and photos cover over two decades of Catfish's devotion to the music, including his adventures with Johnny Shines, Honeyboy Edwards and Jessie Mae Hemphill. All in Italian.
New National Reso-Phonic CD is a hit!
The new all-instrumental compilation CD from Time & Strike Music, National Reso-Phonic Instrumental Project is a hit, and is receiving airplay on radio stations around the globe. Catfish contributed two cuts on his new National Baritone Tricone, and five others contributed (all on different styles of new Nationals). Other guitarists include: Steve James, Brooks Williams, Mary Flower, Paul Rishell & Annie Raines (on mandolin!), and label founder Michael Hakanson-Stacy.
The CDs are available direct from Fish Tail, click here for order form.
United Kingdom Tour Sept. 23-Oct 10, 1999
Catfish Keith will embark on his 16th tour of Britain since 1992, and will perform a series of concerts around the country from September 23 to October 10, 1999. Look for dates in London, Kent, Wales, North and Mid England, and Scotland. See our Tour Dates page for details.
A Horse named Catfish?
Fans in England have reported a racehorse competing under the sobriquet of Catfish Keith. The horse is reportedly in fine fettle, and any details would be much appreciated. Please email us if you have any information.
David Oxtoby Paints Catfish on CD Cover
Speaking of horses, the cover art for Catfish's new "Pony Run" CD is by British Rock Art Legend David Oxtoby. Oxtoby has painted Blues and Rock artists as his subject matter for over 40 years, and has his big-scaled paintings and etchings all over the world, and is old friends with many of his rock star contemporaries. These include such household names as Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Elton John, Stevie Winwood, and Jim Capaldi of Traffic. In the 1960's, Oxo ran with the fast crowd in London, dating a supermodel, driving his high-powered motorcycle at blistering speed throughout London and often back to his Yorkshire roots. He also knew Jimi Hendrix when he was starting out in England, and knew him as a gentle, thoughtful person that left us way too early. Now, Dave lives at his longtime flat in Clapham, is in vigorous form, and continues to create masterful pieces, usually to his blaring stereo, probably playing some ancient LP record.
David became a fan and friend of Catfish's over the years and created the stunning painting especially for the CD cover. Special Thanks to Dave Oxtoby!
"Alright! This is a story about my latest trip to Ireland. I'd toured there many times before, but this was my first trip in a couple of years. The tour was the best ever! I started with the Guinness Blues Festival in Dublin where my music was very warmly received by thousands of fans. Highlights there were an "Acoustic Blues Marathon" at a great newer venue in Dublin called Vicar Street. There I got to be on the same bill as old buddies Paul Rishell & Annie Raines, Dublin-based Kentuckian Randall Lee Rainwater, New Zealander Paul Ubana Jones, Rockin' Tabby Thomas from Baton Rouge, and, my personal discovery of the year, the great Geoff Muldaur.
World's Greatest Traffic Jam
Catfish's own story of his latest tour of the Emerald Isle.
The next day at the Meeting House Square in the Temple Bar area, I performed on the Acoustic Stage, and had a ball playing for lots of old friends and new fans. That day I was on the bill with Australian Jeff Lang, Dublin's Delta Bluesman Dermot Byrne, and Tabby Thomas, who really rocked the very attentive 2000 or so people there. It was great to meet Tabby, a friendly fellow, and man he was sounding great with 50 or 60 years in the business behind every note! After the show I got to meet Dermot Byrne's family, including his 94-year old father. I love that! Special thanks go to Guinness Blues Festival organizers Una Johnston and Lisa Tinley for a job brilliantly done.
The tour continued with shows in Ballymore-Eustace (a cracker!), back in Dublin at Whelan's, then to Carrig on Bannow by the sea in Co. Wexford, and the next day to Curracloe, which is on the south coast of Ireland. I learned that it's the longest stretch of beach in Ireland, and a couple of years ago was used in the movie "Saving Private Ryan" for the first half-hour of the movie, for the Omaha Beach/D-Day Invasion at Normandy scene in WWII.
I was playing a midnight gig near the beach, and enjoyed the day and night with my hosts, the owners Kevin & Brid Murphy and Pat, who was managing the joint. Kevin is a real character and told stories of his world travels. He once toured South America and Asia as a skater with Holiday on Ice (among many other things), and in the last few years has "settled down," running The Winning Post on Curracloe Beach, which is a kids arcade, gaming room and cafe, which was first started by Kevin's father, Captain Jack-Tim Murphy back in 1945. Kevin has since gone through a fire, lost the property, got it back, and is continually re-building the place. It's a beautiful part of Ireland, and I was treated like one of the family.
After Curracloe, it was near Athlone, right in the middle of Ireland. This was turf country where they harvest chunks of the earth out of the turf bogs, and dry out and burn the chunks of turf for fuel in the fireplace. It was a strange gig, but all went reasonably well and we were happy to be off to Cork the next day.
The Lobby is one of my favorite venues in Ireland. Cork City is a beautiful town with some of the kindest people in Ireland, and that's saying something! Since I first played Ireland in 1992 I've played at the Lobby and stayed at Monica & Mick Dineen's York House B&B. In Monica's own words, it's a "cheap and cheerful" bed and breakfast with funky rooms outfitted with some of the most odd psycadelic flowered wallpaper you've ever seen in your life! From my little room I can usually see all of Cork, and Mick and Monica make you feel right at home.
People really seem to have music as a central part of life. It seems everybody sings or plays or recites something. Live, spontaneous Traditional Irish Music is ringing from pubs and homes all over the country, and Country music seems to be very popular as well. In general, I've met more well-read, informed, intellegent, good-natured people in Ireland than perhaps anywhere in the world. Police and citizens are not armed, nor do they care to be. This is civilized!
Getting towards the end of my 10-day tour, I rented a car to take me to my last gig in Waterford City. I was on my way, when traffic came to a halt. Slowly, over the next hour, I crawled my way through the seaside town of Yougal (pronounced You'll), where traffic narrowed even further to a single lane creeping through the main drag of little Yougal. I didn't mind; it was a beautiful, sunny day, and lots of people were out for the Bank Holiday Weekend, much like our Labor Day or Memorial Day three-day weekends, and I was hearing some great music to boot.
It turned out to be the greatest traffic jam in the world, because as I drove, there was one act after another: harmonizing street singers with guitars, old-timers with accordions and fiddles, a diggery-doo and percussion act, hippies with flutes, tambourines and dreadlocks. One after another crowds were gathered around each act throwing pounds and pence in beat up hats and guitar cases; an old man wailing a lonesome song on his saxophone, a bagpipe and marching drum squad, and young turks blazing away with uillean pipes, bouzoukis, fifes, harps, fiddles and bodhrans. What a gas!
The Waterford gig went fine, part of another holiday festival called Spraoi (pronounced Spree), which culminated in a huge parade and fireworks that rival any 4th of July. The fireworks woke me from my Tandoori-inspired nap, and I threw on my suit and was off. After the gig, since I had an early flight out of Dublin, I cleaned up, packed up, and drove to Dublin to witness the cool Irish sunrise, and to fly back home to Iowa. Eventually I made it home, and it was great to be back home with Penny and our faithful hounddog, Freckles. But I never will forget the good kind people of Ireland. I hope we return soon!"
Sincerely, Catfish Keith
catfishkeith.com - Pulling Blues Out of The Sky - Issue #3, Aug 12, 1999