Rodriguez to perform during The Cabot’s virtual 100th anniversary celebration

by Blake Maddux, Correspondent,
WickedLocal.com

Rodriguez to perform during The Cabot's virtual 100th anniversary celebration
Rodriguez to perform during The Cabot’s virtual 100th anniversary celebration

Sixto Díaz Rodriguez, the previously obscure (to Americans, at least) subject of the Oscar-winning 2012 documentary “Searching for Sugar Man,” had been scheduled to play at The Cabot this past April. In what proved to be an optimistic assessment of COVID-19’s staying power, the show was rescheduled for June.

Alas, his visit to Beverly is not among those that are now on the 2021 calendar.

That’s because the singer-songwriter – whose preternatural talent was captured on the early 1970s albums “Cold Fact” and “Coming from Reality” – has been tapped as one of many marquee performers participating in The Cabot’s 100th anniversary virtual celebration on Thursday, Dec. 3.

Though the Herald Citizen’s interview with Rodriguez was conducted by phone in February with the plan of previewing his spring concert, much of what was discussed still serves the same purpose for next week’s celebratory event.

The Detroit native described his family as “musical people who danced and sang.” Thus, Rodriguez grew up in a household of people who played music themselves rather than listening to records on a turntable. “I think they were more live,” he explained.

Mississippi-born electric blues guitarist and songwriter Jimmy Reed is the one specific artist Rodriguez names when asked about his influences. However, he tried to understand the style of “anyone playing guitar,” including folk artists who didn’t “write only boy-girl songs.”

On that latter point, Rodriguez aimed to “broaden the scope” as a lyricist when he began composing songs as a teenager.

“I’m Mexican, you know, so English is my second language,” he said.

“I have a lot respect for the English language … I play with the words,” he added, affirming his interest in how words can be manipulated and used to mean different things.

“Literature is based on experience and personal interpretation,” he also averred, indirectly describing his approach to lyric writing.

Statements like this make it unsurprising that the 78-year-old has a degree in philosophy (from Detroit’s Wayne State University, which he has long lived a few blocks from) and profoundly admires the American philosopher, psychologist, and Harvard professor William James.

“He was very optimistic,” Rodriguez said of the founder of pragmatism. “I’m optimistic. I want to live to be 350 years old. But like you, I can only do one day at a time.”

While this might be true on a personal level, Rodriguez’s lyrics are frequently far from Pollyannish with regard to societal or political concerns. For example, his 1970 song “This Is Not a Song, It’s an Outburst: or, The Establishment Blues” includes lyrics such as “Public gets irate/but forgets the vote date,” “gun sales are soaring/housewives find life boring,” and “Adultery plays the kitchen/bigot cops nonfiction.”

The recent election was nine months away when the conversation happened. As would be expected of a self-described “musico-politico” who has run for local offices in the past, Rodriguez had some thoughts on the matter.

“I’m supporting Bernie Sanders,” he shared. “I made posters for him and I carry them around.”

Asked about the then-non-lame duck Oval Office occupant, he responded, “My first line of the show is, ‘I have something to say to the commander-in-chief.’ Then I put on my hat and I shake my head down. That’s what I think of this administration.”

Expert songwriting and sage-like wisdom aside, Rodriguez is a modest and unassuming human being. That likely comes from decades of being more or less forgotten as a musician (though not everywhere, as the documentary makes abundantly clear) despite his immense talent.

Eight years of previously unexpected time in the spotlight and the economic windfall brought about by extensive touring has done nothing to change this.

“I put a roof on my house. I got new floors and new doors,” is his answer to whether he has afforded himself any indulgences. “I’m proud of the place.”

This is the same house seen in “Searching for Sugar Man,” and which a 2013 MLive article reports his having paid $50 for in 1976.

A Spoonful Of Sugar And James returns to the Alma Café in Mowbray on Friday Sept 27th at 8pm

Sugar and James

A Spoonful Of Sugar And James returns to the  Alma Café in Mowbray on Friday Sept 27th at 8pm. Booking is as always absolutely essential by phone on  021 685 7377. 50 seats only.

This innovative, informative and slightly irreverent performance sees the acclaimed South African singer-songwriter, James Stewart, joining Stephen “Sugar” Segerman, the man behind the rediscovery of Sixto Rodriguez and the Oscar-winning documentary, “Searching For Sugar Man”, to share their respective stories and play and sing some great Rodriguez and South African classic songs.

www.SugarMan.org

A Spoonful Of Sugar And James returns to the Alma Café in Mowbray on Friday Sept 27th at 8pm

Sugar and James

A Spoonful Of Sugar And James returns to the  Alma Café in Mowbray on Friday Sept 27th at 8pm. Booking is as always absolutely essential by phone on  021 685 7377. 50 seats only.

This innovative, informative and slightly irreverent performance sees the acclaimed South African singer-songwriter, James Stewart, joining Stephen “Sugar” Segerman, the man behind the rediscovery of Sixto Rodriguez and the Oscar-winning documentary, “Searching For Sugar Man”, to share their respective stories and play and sing some great Rodriguez and South African classic songs.

www.SugarMan.org

A Spoonful of Sugar and James at The Glencairn Hotel, 31st August 2019

Sugar & James Glencairn

A Spoonful Of Sugar & James
The Glencairn Hotel
31 August

It’s been called “The Greatest Music story of the past 50 years”, the story of this wonderful and talented musician and his journey to his well-deserved and long-overdue fame. But enough about James Stewart 😉 In this innovative, informative and slightly irreverent show, James joins Stephen “Sugar” Segerman, the person behind the rediscovery of Sixto Rodriguez and “Searching For Sugar Man”, the Oscar-winning documentary about the whole story, as the two music journeymen tell their respective tales and play and sing some of the most seminal Rodriguez and South African classic songs. Willem Moller will add his special soulful flair on guitar.

Book tickets here http://bit.ly/SugarJamesGlencairn

Rodriguez Popular in China

Letter from a Chinese Fan:

Dear Mr. Rodriguez and his friends

I am a fan from China. I would like to know when and where Rodriguez will perform next, and how can I reserve tickets?

I’m also very, very curious about whether Rodriguez would consider coming to China for a show. There are so many people here who love his music and his singing. We sincerely expect him to perform in China, which will be a historic moment!

Sincerely,
Yucca

‘A SPOONFUL OF SUGAR AND JAMES’ COMES TO SUIKERBOSSIE

Sugar and James

It’s going to be a very sweet Sunday afternoon in Hout Bay when James Stewart and Stephen “Sugar” Segerman bring their exciting new show, ‘A Spoonful Of Sugar And James’ to SuikerBossie on 5th May. Following a series of sold out, and critically acclaimed, early performances, this entertaining show is looking to move to larger theatres in the near future, so this is a good opportunity to catch this performance from up close.

James Stewart, the well-known South African singer-songwriter from The Usual, and ‘Sugar’, the man behind the rediscovery of Rodriguez, and the film, ‘Searching For Sugar Man’, share their stories, with some classic Rodriguez, South African, and James Stewart original songs mixed in.

The show begins in the late afternoon (6pm) and the ticket price of R270 per person includes a typically delicious SuikerBossie meal of a mini-soup, gourmet burger and dessert. Tickets are already on sale at Web Tickets so book now:  http://bit.ly/SugarJamesSuikerbossie or www.webtickets.co.za

James Stewart

MUSICalchemy

082 807 9544 | james@music-alchemy.com | www.music-alchemy.com

Emmy nominated, multi SAMA award winning, chart topping singer, songwriter and music business entrepreneur.

A Spoonful Of Sugar & James at Alma Cafe 12 April 2019

Spoonful Of Sugar And James

It’s been called “The Greatest Music story of the past 50 years”, the story of this wonderful and talented musician and his journey to his well-deserved and long-overdue fame. But enough about James Stewart 😉 In this innovative, informative and slightly irreverent show, James joins Stephen “Sugar” Segerman, the person behind the rediscovery of Sixto Rodriguez and “Searching For Sugar Man”, the Oscar-winning documentary about the whole story, as the two music journeymen tell their respective tales and play and sing some of the most seminal Rodriguez and South African classic songs.

This Friday!

Sugar and I promised ourselves we’d do a short run and see how it goes…. it’s been amazing.

A Spoonful of Sugar & James intertwines and connects seminal South African songs with a story so seemingly fantastical it seems unbelievable.

Booking is as always absolutely essential by phone on  021 685 7377. 50 seats only.

James Stewart

MUSICalchemy

082 807 9544 | james@music-alchemy.com | www.music-alchemy.com

Emmy nominated, multi SAMA award winning, chart topping singer, songwriter and music business entrepreneur.

 

A Spoonful Of Sugar And James at Noordhoek on 28 February 2019

A Spoonful of Sugar And James

It’s been called “The Greatest Music story of the past 60 years”, the story of this wonderful and talented musician and his journey to his well-deserved and long-overdue fame. But enough about James Stewart. In this innovative, informative and slightly irreverent show, James joins Stephen “Sugar” Segerman, the person behind the rediscovery of Sixto Rodriguez and “Searching For Sugar Man”, the Oscar-winning documentary about the whole story, as the two old friends tell their respective tales and play and sing some great Rodriguez and South African classic songs.
Catch these two on Thursday 28th February at Café Roux in Noordhoek (7.30 for 8)

A Spoonful Of Sugar And James

Music Interview: James Stewart & Stephen “Sugar” Segerman – Getting Sweet On Songcraft, Or An Un-Usual Combination

It’s been called “The Greatest Music Story of the past 50 years”, the tale of this wonderful and talented musician and his journey to his well-deserved and long-overdue fame. But enough about James Stewart”!

In this innovative, informative and slightly irreverent show, James joins Stephen “Sugar” Segerman, the man behind the rediscovery of Sixto Rodriguez and “Searching For Sugar Man”, the Oscar-winning documentary about the whole story, as these two old “choms” share their respective stories and play and sing some great Rodriguez and South African classic songs.

For 20 years, Sugar, as he is popularly known, has been involved in the rediscovery of, and resurgence of worldwide interest in, Sixto Rodriguez. This legendary and internationally acclaimed American folk-rock singer-songwriter, who was a huge success in South Africa from the ‘70’s onwards, was believed to be dead but was found alive and well and living in Detroit in 1997. Since then his career has gone from strength to strength following a series of international tours, the re-release of his albums, and the success of the Oscar-winning film in 2013.

Since then, Sugar has travelled around South Africa, and overseas, giving talks and answering questions about the whole Rodriguez story. He attended the Academy Awards ceremony in 2013, followed by the publishing of his best-selling book in 2015, titled “Sugar Man – The Birth, Death and Resurrection of Sixto Rodriguez”, co-written with his fellow “Musical Detective” in the story, Craig Bartholomew Strydom. For the past 15 years he has also been the owner of Mabu Vinyl, the Cape Town record shop featured in the Rodriguez film.

James Stewart, the Multi SAMA award-winning, EMMY-nominated, chart-topping, singer-songwriter, cut his teeth in classical music with the usual childhood distaste, and then “surfed passionately and messed around with synthesizers” in his early teens. The following decade would see him form his own band, abandon a law career and take a leap into the great unknown. As singer-songwriter for The Usual, he achieved fame with enduring classics like ‘The Shape That I’m In’ and ‘Like A Vision’. Since then ‘Shine’, ‘A Man Like Me’, and many other solo hits, have found their way into hearts and homes across South Africa.

Hear James tell his side of the story and play a selection of songs by himself, Rodriguez and other South African artists.

Listen to these two musical journeymen connect the dots between their respective adventures.

Catch these two on Saturday 9th February at Franschoek Cellars (3-5pm) and then on Thursday 28th February at Café Roux in Noordhoek (7.30 for 8)

Contact:
James Stewart
Email: james@music-alchemy.com
Phone: 082 807 9544

A Spoonful Of Sugar And James

http://www.brucedennill.co.za/music-interview-james-stewart-stephen-sugar-segerman-getting-sweet-on-songcraft-or-an-un-usual-combination/

It’s been called “The Greatest Music Story of the past 50 years”, the tale of this wonderful and talented musician and his journey to his well-deserved and long-overdue fame. But enough about James Stewart”!

In this innovative, informative and slightly irreverent show, James joins Stephen “Sugar” Segerman, the man behind the rediscovery of Sixto Rodriguez and “Searching For Sugar Man”, the Oscar-winning documentary about the whole story, as these two old “choms” share their respective stories and play and sing some great Rodriguez and South African classic songs.

For 20 years, Sugar, as he is popularly known, has been involved in the rediscovery of, and resurgence of worldwide interest in, Sixto Rodriguez. This legendary and internationally acclaimed American folk-rock singer-songwriter, who was a huge success in South Africa from the ‘70’s onwards, was believed to be dead but was found alive and well and living in Detroit in 1997. Since then his career has gone from strength to strength following a series of international tours, the re-release of his albums, and the success of the Oscar-winning film in 2013.

Since then, Sugar has travelled around South Africa, and overseas, giving talks and answering questions about the whole Rodriguez story. He attended the Academy Awards ceremony in 2013, followed by the publishing of his best-selling book in 2015, titled “Sugar Man – The Birth, Death and Resurrection of Sixto Rodriguez”, co-written with his fellow “Musical Detective” in the story, Craig Bartholomew Strydom. For the past 15 years he has also been the owner of Mabu Vinyl, the Cape Town record shop featured in the Rodriguez film.

James Stewart, the Multi SAMA award-winning, EMMY-nominated, chart-topping, singer-songwriter, cut his teeth in classical music with the usual childhood distaste, and then “surfed passionately and messed around with synthesizers” in his early teens. The following decade would see him form his own band, abandon a law career and take a leap into the great unknown. As singer-songwriter for The Usual, he achieved fame with enduring classics like ‘The Shape That I’m In’ and ‘Like A Vision’. Since then ‘Shine’, ‘A Man Like Me’, and many other solo hits, have found their way into hearts and homes across South Africa.

Hear James tell his side of the story and play a selection of songs by himself, Rodriguez and other South African artists.

Listen to these two musical journeymen connect the dots between their respective adventures.

Catch these two on Saturday 9th February at Franschoek Cellars (3-5pm) and then on Thursday 28th February at Café Roux in Noordhoek (7.30 for 8)

Contact:
James Stewart
Email: james@music-alchemy.com
Phone: 082 807 9544

 

Rodriguez Live at The Luckman Fine Arts Complex, Los Angeles | mxdwn.com

https://music.mxdwn.com/2018/08/28/reviews/rodriguez-live-at-the-luckman-fine-arts-complex-los-angeles/

Rodriguez Live at The Luckman Fine Arts Complex, Los Angeles

On a Saturday night, many gathered for a performance of the legendary singer-songwriter and Oscar winner, Rodriguez, at the Luckman Fine Arts Complex on the Cal State L.A. campus in East Los Angeles. Searching for Sugar Man documented Rodriguez’s story of being a Mexican-American songwriter whose two early ’70s albums bombed in America, but who wound up finding a huge audience in Apartheid-era South Africa. Sixto Rodriguez had no idea he was a legend there until a group of fans found him on the Internet and brought him to the country for a series of triumphant concerts.

A little before 8:00 p.m., attendees were enjoying the reception right outside the theater, complete with a taco stand, beverages and a DJ. But those who were seated promptly at 8:00 p.m. were treated to a stunning performance by singer-songwriter Vera Sola.

“Hello Los Angeles,” Vera Sola greeted the seated audience. “We’re about to have a discussion…” she trailed into song. She played a solo set with plenty of arpeggiated guitar and deep vocals. She wandered and slinked about the stage, never missing a beat as she pierced the audience with her intense gaze. She performed songs from her upcoming album Shades and took time between each song to share a little bit about them. “A lot of these songs are funny,” she shared after a particularly dark love song, “Small Minds,” to which the crowd laughed. But the highlight of her set was a cover of Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive,” where she turned disco into folk and showcased the full range of her vocals, from trembling to belting. The crowd cheered during and after the song and she replied, “That’s how I do a disco song.” She performed a couple more songs, each with their own unique story—one about a woman she met in Mississippi named Honey, and another dedicated to her sister with powerful lyrics like, “got the universe inside my body.”

While the audience waited eagerly for Rodriguez to take the stage, a performer by the name of S.K. took the stage, guitar in hand, and performed a couple original songs including “Don’t Go Changing” and “Solution,” as well as a couple covers the crowd got into including Jewel’s “Who Will Save Your Soul” and New Kingdom’s “Mexico or Bust.”

Shortly after, Rodriguez took the stage with the help of his posse, and the crowd cheered as loud as they could. Rodriguez took a seat and was left solo with his guitar on stage. “I always check the tuning—trust no one,” he shared as he re-tuned his guitar. Some phrases he repeated throughout the night included, “I was born in 1942,” “I’m a musical activist” and “I have a few words for the commander in chief,” just to paint a picture. The crowd took the liberty of speaking back to Rodriguez whenever there was a pause. “Rodriguez for President!” One man said, which was followed by cheers. He played a few covers throughout the set, opening with Elton John’s “Your Song” and “Sixteen Tons” by Merle Travis and later playing The Doors’ “Light My Fire.” He performed mostly solo, sometimes accompanied by tambourine or maracas.

Rodriguez shared openly about his political views and activism, sharing that he’d ran for mayor of Detroit, his city of origin. He also shared his distaste for current events, “how about the 300 priests in Pennsylvania?” The crowd groaned along. But he also kept things light at times, joking, “I want to be treated like an ordinary legend.” The crowd hooted and cheered along to songs like “The Establishment Blues,” moving their heads along to the rhythm. “Would you like to know my thesis?” Rodriguez asked the crowd, who were on the edge of their seats hanging on to every word… ” O.R. Oppression will result in revolution!” One audience member replied, “help us, Rodriguez, you’re our only hope!” “Power to the people!” He replied as he got ready for the next song, “You’d Like to Admit It.” About halfway into the set, he put down his hat and put on goggles, which he left on for the rest of the set. “It was only when I left Detroit that I realized people smiled,” he chuckled. The crowd started shouting out the cities they were from… “Berlin!” “East Los!” and Rodriguez looked around the audience, listening with intent. Some sang along to “Sugarman,” one of the more popular songs of the night. Stage lights danced around the audience. After the song, Rodriguez warned, “Sugarman is a descriptive song, not prescriptive. Stay off drugs!”

The stage lights made it appear as though he was playing in a pool of water with flowers bobbing on the surface, adding a soothing element to his folk style performance. Before going into another popular song, “I Wonder,” he shared some words of wisdom: “It’s not kill or be killed, it’s live and let live.” The crowd sang and clapped along. He closed the set with “Forget It,” and everyone waited eagerly for an encore, which they received. He closed the night with a final, “I love you guys and my love is real,” leaving his message of love in the air all night.

Setlist:

  1. Your Song (Elton John cover)
  2. Sixteen Tons (Merle Travis cover)
  3. Inner City Blues
  4. Cause
  5. Let’s Think About Living (Bob Luhman cover)
  6. This In Not A Song, It’s An Outburst: Or, The Establishment Blues
  7. You’d Like to Admit it
  8. Sugarman
  9. Rich Folk Hoax
  10. Sandrevan Lullaby – Lifestyles
  11. I Wonder
  12. Somebody To Love (The Great Society cover)
  13. Forget It

Encore:

  1. Light My Fire (The Doors cover)
  2. Street Boy

Photos by Mauricio Alvarado

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