Klyph Black and Rumor Has It
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Klyph Black and Rumor Has It

Band Rock Blues


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"Shocked Jams With Black"

By Joanne Pilgrim

(07/17/2007) What was to have been a solo show by Michelle Shocked at the Stephen Talkhouse in Amagansett last Thursday turned into an extraordinary and compelling collaboration when Klyph Black, an East Hampton musician, joined her on electric and slide guitar.

Mr. Black, who has performed at the Talkhouse for many years with various bands, and was the club’s sound engineer, was on hand for an afternoon sound check when Ms. Shock inquired if there was a guitar player around who could “play something between New Orleans and blues,” as he explained on Monday.

The guitarist, whose bands include Rumor Has It, the Zen Tricksters, and Donna Jean and the Tricksters with Donna Godchaux from the Grateful Dead, volunteered. A veteran musician, he has also played on the Talkhouse stage with Albert Collins, J.J. Cale, and the Band’s Levon Helm. On Monday, he and another East Hamptoner, Mama Lee Lawler, opened for the Subdudes.

“We didn’t rehearse,” he said of last Thursday’s show. “She just kind of said, I’m going to do this. We jammed through the whole set. The only song I really knew was ‘If Love Was a Train.’ ”

The audience — and Ms. Shocked —loved it. A Texas native, Ms. Shocked’s songs are something of a country-rock-folk-blues urbanized hybrid, with strong vocals. Mr. Black’s background riffs and guitar solos simultaneously added an edge and expanded their soulfulness.

A feisty woman who called herself “bodacious,” Ms. Shock started the show with a howling scream, and ended it with one, too. In between, she belted it out on songs chosen by going backward through the alphabet, starting with titles near the Z end.

Performing in between official tours — she has a new album coming out in September — Ms. Shocked said it’s hard to put together a show, so she used the alphabet instead, beginning with “When I Grow Up,” and including “Strawberry Jam,” “Come a Long Way,” and “Anchorage.”

On “Repo Man,” she and Mr. Black played face to face, their guitars inches from each other, creating a musical exchange. During another song, sung largely a cappella, she stopped and turned to him, inviting him to play solo. “Go ahead, Captain Kirk,” she said. “Go where no man has gone before.”

During “Graffiti Limbo,” Mr. Black’s guitar accompanied an extensive dialogue about politics. Ms. Shock told how, onstage in South Africa, she had called President Bush the “worst president ever.” Those three words, she said, created a ripple.

“I was eviscerated, y’all,” she told the crowd. “I was, like, vaporized,” for speaking out, even by her “cherished fans.”

“Klyph, what a night to remember,” Ms. Shocked said to the guitarist at the end of the show. “Take it home,” she told him, during “If Love Was a Train.” They left the stage arm in arm.
- The East Hampton Star


Klyph Black & Rumor Has It
Back Street Blues Club | 07.06.01
Klyph Black took a break from his normal gig with the Zen Tricksters to perform a Blues based show with his band Rumor Has It at the Back Street Blues Club on Long Island Friday night, July 6, 2001. Klyph, whose musical style is deeply rooted in the blues surrounded himself with an amazing group of musicians that reflect his love for this indigenous form of American music.

Rumor Has It consists of Klyph Black on guitar, lap steel, dobro & vocals, Al Buonanno on bass, Christian Cassan on drums, Pete Levin on Hammond organ, John Sparrow on guitar, Kenny Lehman on alto sax, Jordan “El Trumpetto” Katz on trumpet, and Arno Hecht on tenor sax. Klyph was joined by guest musicians Billy Titus from Rainbow Trout on Guitar as well as his Trickster band mates Jeff Mattson and Tom Circosta.

I’d just like to take a moment to say a few words about this eclectic assemblage of musical talent:

Arno Hecht: Formed the "Uptown Horns" and has toured with J.Geils, Buster Poindexter and the Rolling Stones on the Steel Wheels Tour.
Kenny Lehman: Co-wrote and Co-produced the 1st Chic album that awarded him with a Gold Album and a Gold Single along with being nominated for a Grammy. He performed with the Manhattan Transfer and Peggy Lee. He also Co-wrote the music to a play called "Tamer of Horses" with Joe Morton and owned an independent label that had a #1 dance hit "Angel Man" in the mid 80's John Sparrow and Klyph have been writing and playing acoustic shows together for years. He also did the Black & Sparrow CD for their tour in Switzerland.
Jordan Katz: Plays with Rainbow Trout and God Street Wine.
Pete Levin: Has toured with God Street Wine and is currently on tour with the Zen Tricksters.
Al Buonanno: New York based studio musician that has toured with PM Dawn, Rhett Tyler, Boston Pops, and Laura Brannigan.
Christian Cassan: Multi-instrumentalist as well as a Producer. He has produced music for Minster Hill, Julia Brown and Louis Atlas (to mention a few).
For those of us who know Klyph from his work with the Zen Tricksters this was an opportunity to see how Klyph’s love for the blues contributes to his musical style as a Trickster, for everyone else it was a chance to get down with some of the best blues music around.

I must admit it was a little weird at first seeing Klyph strap on an electric guitar (He plays Bass with the Zens), but that feeling lasted as long as it took for the sound of the 1st chord to reach my ears. Klyph is not only a monster bass man but is masterfully accomplished on the Guitar, Dobro and Lap Steel.

"I May Be Wrong," a slow blues, showcased Klyph’s raw, growling vocals. He feels the lyrics he sings and this is evident in the way Klyph delivers his vocals. You have no doubt about the meaning of the song.

Bill Titus played guitar on "Grits Ain't Groceries" and "One More Heartache" while Klyph performed vocally sans guitar. At first this was an awkward moment for Klyph who always has an instrument strapped on. But being the true pro that he is Klyph grabbed the mike and belted out the tunes while adopting an onstage persona that reminded me of a cross between Mike Love and Peter Wolf!

The band jammed extensively during the performance of each tune adding to the feel and energy of the evening. As the groove got comfortable it conjured up images of a Chicago Blues Club performance in its hay day! Plenty of solos, tight licks, savage vocals and a group of amazing musicians having a blast!

Showcasing Klyph’s musical diversity was his Lap Steel work on "Sleepwalk." It stirred up images of hitters, greasers, hot rods and your best girl at your side. A truly timeless rendition made even more memorable by the performances of Tom Circosta, Al Buonanno and Christian Cassan.

Up until this night I thought the best version I’d heard of "Messin’ With the Kid" was done by Rory Gallagher at Madison Square Garden longer ago than I should be able to remember. Klyph and the band nailed it!

Jeff Mattson, Zen Trickster founder and lead guitarist, joined the band for "I Don’t Know." The jams were incredible. (An interesting aside was watching how Mattson was riveted to Klyph’s performance, both as a participant and a spectator. It was obvious from the look on Jeff’s face he was impressed with and very proud of his friend and fellow musician.)

I have always liked the Blues but consider myself as far from an expert on the subject as you can get. But, I do know what I felt and experienced and this night was very special. Klyph is one of the gentlest, kindest people you will ever meet. His openness and sincerity comes across in brilliant focus when he plays. What you see is what you get. The band was in lockstep with Klyph and the result was a night of Blues and improv that was a classic!

Do yourself a favor and catch a Klyph Black performance in any of his incarnations, you won’t regret it! Klyph will be doing another Rumor Has It show at the Stephen Talkhouse on Sunday Aug. 19 - should be a great one!

Bob Nielsen

Klyph Black & Rumor Has It
Back Street Blues Club | 07.06.01
Set 1: I’m Tired, Fool Too Long*, I May Be Wrong, I’m Ready, Rollin’ Pete*, The Booty Song, Grits Aint Groceries, One More Heartache, Down The Road*, Backdoor Man, I Don’t Know, Messin’ With the Kid
Set 1: Dallas, Sleepwalk, Honest I Do, Reno*, Now That We’re Thru*, Hoo Doo*, Ring In His Nose & A Ring On Her Hand, Drownin’*, My Next Ex Wife, Next Time You See Me
* Klyph Black original songs

[Published on: 7/11/01] - Jambase- Bob Neilsen


Michael Falzarano - Woodstock Records - "We Are All One"
Donna Jean and the Tricksters - Heart of Gold Records /DIG Records "Donna Jean and The Tricksters"
The Zen Tricksters Zebra Tango Records - The Holy Fool"
"A Love Surreal" "Shaking of the Weirdness"
Black & Sparrow BeZe Records - "Friend & Partner"
Rumor Has It BeZe Records - "First Time for Everything*
Keven Jordan Sony Canada
The Works A&M Canada - "From Out of Nowhere'
Michael Monroe Polarvox Records - "Nights are So Long"
Urgent Manhattan Records- "Castthe First Stone"
Thinking Out Loud"
Vendetta. Epic Records



Derek Trucks,Oteil and The Peace Makers, Govt Mule, Jefferson Starship, David Grisman, J.G.B., Hot Tuna, Merl Saunders
Joan Jett & the Blackhearts. Billy Squire.

Jerry Jeff Walker, Taj Mahal, John Hammond, Doc Watson, Loudon Wainright III, J,J. Cale, Levon Helm, Johnathan Edwards, Lonnie Brooks

Pat Benatar, Albert Collins, Leon Russel, Johnny Winter, Elvin Bishop

J.J. Cale, Levon Helm, Albert Collins, Lonnie Brooks, Hiram Bullock, Peter Rowan,Reggie Workman,
Vassar Clements, Buddy Cage, Ian Hunter, Hilly Michaels, Dave Hole, Hubert Sumlin, Bo Diddley

BERKLEE SCHOOL OF MUSIC - Boston, Mass. VOCAL - Helen Trezelie - NYC