Singer/songwriter Ralston Bowles is an Americana troubadour born one of two children in Gary, Indiana. The Grand Rapids-based Bowles, a former creative director at Citadel Broadcasting, followed his dream at the age of 50 and made his first record. With two albums in the ether on Judy Collins's Wildflower Records, Bowles has already garnered five Jammy Awards. He's most recently opened for luminaries Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson. This Midwestern minstrel has a sincere sound. Get "You Already Knew That," from Bowles's 2004 debut release Carwreck Conversations, produced by Marvin Etzioni. Currently touring.
Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt & Dolly Parton
As the sky is immense and humbling, so together are the celestial voices of Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, and Dolly Parton. The sound of these three ladies is a whisper of forever. Listen to Harris, Ronstadt, and Parton pay respect to the Neil Young classic "After the Gold Rush," from the 2006 release Trio II.
Artist: Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt & Dolly Parton
Song: After the Gold Rush
Album: Trio II
Delta-blues master Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup (a.k.a. the Father of Rock 'n' Roll) was born in 1905 in Forest, Mississippi, one of two children. By his early teens, he was working odd jobs to help support his family. Crudup picked up the guitar only later in life, by his early 30's. Shortly thereafter, he enlisted with gospel unit The Harmonizing Four. After landing in Chicago, Crudup busked the streets for extra coin and was discovered by Lester Melrose. His most critical writing credit was the iconic "That's Alright Mama," made extremely famous by Elvis in 1954. B.B. King and Big Mama Thornton also covered his songs. For many music acts of the time, royalties were elusively misplaced. For Crudup, this pressed him to move to Virginia, where he found work as a manual laborer and a bootlegger. By the early '70s, his career was resurrected. His collaborations included Sonny Boy Williamson and Bonnie Raitt. Crudup passed away in 1974. Rediscover this great man of blues and rock 'n' roll with "Cool Disposition," from the collection Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup Vol. 1, 1941-1946.
Artist: Arthur Crudup
Song: Cool Disposition
Album: Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup Vol. 1, 1941-1946
Spain's flamenco triple threat Lola Flores, a.k.a. Maria Dolores Flores Ruiz, was born in Cadiz, Spain, in 1923. Her early career included theater, film, and ultimately record-making. In the early '40s, she had her first hit with "El Lerele." In 1950, she reached a global audience with her role opposite George Sanders in Black Jack. Flores's credits include nearly 40 films and dozens of sides. Collaborations include Manolo Caracol, Pepe Marchena, and her husband, guitarist Antonio González. This Andalusian diva passed away in Madrid in 1995. Remember her with "Que Me Coma el Tigre," from the 2005 release Lola Flores, Antonio Gonzalez "El Pescailla" & Flamenco.
Artist: Lola Flores
Song: Que Me Coma el Tigre
Album: Lola Flores, Antonio González "El Pescailla" & Flamenco
Electro-alternative unit Colored Shadows was the short-lived Los Angeles-based foursome of Lucas Field (bass/vocals), Tad Moore (keyboards), Howie Diamond (drums), and Ben Pollack (guitar/vocals). (Field, Moore, and Diamond are now the core of indie-rock band Low vs. Diamond.) Colored Shadows captures an epic atmosphere with celluloid flair. Their highly creative title "Moscow," from the 2004 Colored Shadows EP, reels you in from the first note.
Artist: Colored Shadows
Album: Colored Shadows EP
Legendary Chicago soul unit The Impressions was founded by the late great Curtis Mayfield, Jerry Butler, brothers Arthur and Richard Brooks, and Fred Cash. Leroy Hutson, Nate Evans, Sam Gooden, Reggie Torian, and Ralph Johnson later joined the group. Founded as doo-wop act The Roosters in 1957, the ensemble changed its name in 1958 and began a 25-year run, giving the world iconic soul hits "It's All Right," "Keep on Pushing," and "People Get Ready." These Rock and Roll Hall of Famers released more than two dozen albums and were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2003. "Fool for You," written and produced by Mayfield, from The Impressions' 1968 release, This Is My Country, is definitive.
Artist: The Impressions
Song: Fool for You
Album: This Is My Country