As I am on an extended journey, this week I again feature the photos of another crack ND photographer, Kirk Stauffer. What I have enjoyed most about his photos is their vibrant, deeply saturated colors. It takes me back to my film days, when I purposefully under exposed everything by a couple of f-stops to gain that rich, often elusive, darkness -- even in B&W.
Kirk’s photo journey started in the '60s, when his dad gave him a Kodak Pony 828 camera. Over the years he focused on outdoor and travel photography and upgraded his gear. In 2006, Kirk combined his love of photography and live music, and started covering concerts. Since then he’s photographed up-and-coming artists in tiny venues as well as numerous A-List performers.
Kirk's photos have been used by dozens of artists on their websites and press kits. His photography has also been featured in Rolling Stone, on the cover of Pollstar magazine, several album covers, and the front covers of calendars for corporate clients. Kirk enjoys outdoor photography and has photographed many areas throughout the Pacific Northwest. Several of his outdoor photos were featured on two front covers of Honeywell International's corporate calendars.
Kirk is a regular at SXSW and you’ll also find him several nights a week in Seattle venues armed with his Nikon D4 and the new D5. Kirk’s concert photos can be found at www.krstauffer.com.
Here's his breakdown of the photographs you'll see below.
Prine is a titan, a monster songwriter and musician whose work is admired and performed by too many A-List artists to mention. He also has a new album coming out on September 30. It's an album of duets, For Better or Worse.
I remember when, in 1999, Prine was interviewed on NPR about his other duet album, In Spite of Ourselves. He said that he selected the songs with certain women artists in mind to record with him, and was surprised when nearly all said yes. Well, I doubt that any of those this time around said no. Included are: Amanda Shires, Lee Ann Womack, Kacey Musgraves, Holly Williams, Susan Tedeschi, and, of course, Iris DeMent, who toured with Prine after the first duet album.
Jewly Hight has a nice interview with him at NPR Music, which also features one of the new duets. For all those vinyl overs out there, In Spite of Ourselves is finally getting a wax release on July 29. So, double your pleasure, double your fun, get both.
Steve Earle and Alison Moorer
While they are no longer a couple, Earle and Moorer continue to make vibrant music. Earle has a new duo album with Shawn Colvin, and Moorer has been working on new music. After a fine 2015 album and a nice tour with Mary Gauthier, she's gone a bit under the radar. Her Facebook page and website have not been updated in over six months, though she contributed a couple of stories to ND's Summer issue in print.
While some may know her as half of the first couple of Americana, Shires has been an artist of the first order, both before and during her marriage to Isbell. I first saw her some six years ago and was quite taken with her lyrical fiddle playing and cooing vocals that often belied her lyrics. Not only was she one of the highlights of the recent DylanFest at the Ryman with a stunning cover of "Hurricane," her new album, My Piece of Land, due in September, explores many new territories.
"95.8, The Bear Country" just named Rose one of the new "country" artists you need to here. If ND readers will recall, I selected Rose as one of the five artists not to miss at last year's Americana Fest. Since then, she has been constantly on the road and building a solid reputation with the Americana fold.
What new fields has Ms. Giddens not yet conquered? She's on Allen Toussaints' new album, American Tunes, and in September has a gig with the Kronos Quartet. I saw her last her with them and it was spellbinding. Well, she has just added another notch on her belt as she stepped in for multi-Tony winner Audra McDonald in Broadway's Shuffle Along. It has been an amazing year and a half for Giddens who was named by the BBC as the Folk Artist of the Year for 2015.
Patty Griffin and Buddy Miller
ND named Miller as artist of the decade just past. He could be the artist of any decade, as not only can he stand on his own, he is so in tune with so many other artists. Nowhere was that more apparent than his duo AMA performances at the AMA that I have witnessed: one with Lee Ann Womack where they did country duets, and last year with fellow guitarist, Marc Ribot where Miller was in a state of noticeable wonderment. Then, to have him play with Patty Griffin is yet another joy to behold. Wow.
Price is the perfect example of working hard for more than a dozen years, mortgaging your home and worse, to become an overnight sensation. Not only his her Midwestern Farmer's Daughter one of the years brightest spots, her throwback countrypolitan sound of the 1970s, but with an edge, has deservedly brought her an AMA nomination as best new artist.
This band likely brought more new fans into bluegrass than any since Monroe himself. Certainly not your typical band, or typical fans, but boundary cutting yet inclusive, Thile and the two Watsons knew exactly what to do and how to do it.
Kirk's photo of Ortega is probably my favorite of all his photos. He captures more than any other, the spirt of her music and art.
Cash can lay claim to being part of country music royalty while living in New York City for most of her adult life and make essential music her way. While I have all her albums, I did not become a diehard fan till 1990's Interiors where she stepped beyond her comfort zone of tradition to become a more fully developed intellectual artist. Some of my favorite sets since then have been the duo ones with Leventhal. Her one-of-a-kind set last year with Lucinda Williams and Emmylou Harris at the County Music Hall of Fame was to die for.
Tedeschi is co-leader of what has to be the best touring band on the road today, which has been, by the way, nominated for an AMA award this year as best band. The band's set at last year's Christmas Jam in Asheville was beyond compare. You think the Boss puts on a show, the Tedeschi-Trucks Band plays less to the audience, and more to the audience. I guess that's the difference between a band that has a legacy and one that's building one. They were recently profiled by ND.