Album Reviews

Biscuits for Your Outside Man

Biscuits for Your Outside Man

Artist:     Various

Album:     Biscuits for Your Outside Man

Label:     Music Maker Recordings

Release Date:     06/24/2016

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The Music Maker Relief Foundation does some really great things to keep American music traditions alive. Based in North Carolina, the foundation exists to assist musicians 55 years and older with incomes under $18,000 a year. These musicians are rooted in the Southern musical traditions of blues, gospel, string band, and Native American. Sadly, many of these older musicians were living in poverty, and can’t concentrate on their music. The Music Makers team works to provide grants to help with monthly bills for medicine, food and housing, or with emergency funding in times of crisis.

The foundation’s most recent release is Biscuits for Your Outside Man. The compilation album features a collection of blues tracks about favorite southern foods- chicken pie, cherry pie, greens, and more. Food and music seem to go hand in hand. “Musicians work in restaurants and cooks go to the clubs to hear bands after work in equal measure,” says Bill Smith, the chef of Crook’s Corner, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Piedmont blues is the formal name for the blues traditions surrounding the Carolinas, but expands to include New Jersey all the way down to Alabama. The  style involves rapid finger picking and ragtime-esq piano sounds. You’ll hear a lot of it on this album. Track one, “Cooking Cornbread For Your Husband,” is by Piedmont blues legend Algia Mae Hinton. The songs on this album are just the surface of a much deeper story, and the artists featured are filled with tales worth researching.

Whether you’re a foodie, a blues lover, yearn for a visit to the South, or just like a little bit of history –  this is for you…and for all the musicians out there who work hard for what they love. For info on Music Maker Relief Foundation, please visit www.musicmaker.org.

– Brenda Hillegas

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