Episode #403 | First Aired: February 16, 2011
Kentucky Muse gets loud with “Tin Can Buddha: Shades of Blue,” a concert special featuring some of the state’s mainstay blues musicians. Tin Can Buddha members Mitch Ivanoff, Rodney Hatfield, and Lee Carroll are joined by pianists Harry Pickens, Caroline Dahl, and Joe Turley; vocalist Gail Wynters; and other Kentucky performers in a blues piano-themed concert recorded at the Kentucky Center for the Arts in October 2010.
The concert kicks off with the rollicking “Down the Road.” Then, the tempo comes down with Willie Dixon’s classic “Little Red Rooster.” The band plays on, pulling out all the stops on everything from Muddy Waters’ unmistakably naughty “She’s 19 Years Old” to Dahl’s technically stunning rendition of “Tico Tico Medley” and Professor Longhair’s infectious New Orleans classic “Big Chief.”
Off-stage, band members discuss their Kentucky roots, their musical backgrounds, and their history together, including playing in other well-known Kentucky bands like the Metropolitan Blues All-Stars. They also share their thoughts about their on-stage chemistry and the music itself and why it moves them.
The program culminates with the concert’s grand finale, bringing everyone on stage for Big Joe Turner’s “Roll ’Em Pete” and a dueling piano session with the evening’s four featured pianists.
Questions for Tin Can Buddha
The concert KET recorded at the Kentucky Center for the Arts in October 2010 for the Kentucky Muse program “Tin Can Buddha: Shades of Blue” brought together an array of great Kentucky-connected musicians who are part of the Tin Can Buddha “art collective.” Three musicians make up the core of the group: vocalist and harmonica player Rodney Hatfield, keyboard and piano player Lee Carroll, and guitarist and vocalist Mitch Ivanoff, but solid information about them is hard to come by.
KET’s Louisville Life once did a segment on Hatfield and his visual art that you can watch on Louisville Life. Lee Carroll is also listed as a “member of the Exile band and the Judd’s band.”
- Why is the band named Tin Can Buddha?
Once on a trip to Santa Fe, Rodney stopped in to visit his friend, artist Sam Scott. Walking through Sam’s garden Rodney noticed a theme: gongs, a Japanese tea house, Buddha statues. He asked Sam, “Are you a Buddhist?” Sam replied, “I’m a tin can Buddhist.” Rodney let it go at that.
- How do you know each other?
Rodney and Lee met in Lexington in 1972; both had dropped out of UK. They’ve played in numerous bands through the years. Lee met Mitch six years ago in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, at the Blues Society’s weekly jam.
- What brand of gum is Rodney Hatfield chewing in the Kentucky Muse program?
Beeman’s Pepsin Flavored chewing gum.
- What is the Tin Can Buddha art collective?
An expanding group of more than 30 artists and musicians working together on large scale projects strictly for the joy of creating. (We’re sure not getting paid for it.)
- What are your day jobs?
Mitch has worked in a steel mill since he was a teenager, Lee is a franchisee of Papa John’s Pizza, and Rodney is an artist with work in galleries in Louisville, Lexington, and Santa Fe, New Mexico.
- Are the other band members jealous of Lee’s Cave City Hall of Fame induction?
- What are your favorite blues songs to play for an audience?
Anything by Muddy Waters or Howling Wolf.
- Has Mitch always been a singer?
As a young boy Mitch picked up singing from his father, but he didn’t start playing guitar until his 20s.
- We noticed on some of the web sites of galleries carrying Rodney’s artworks that he is “a.k.a. Art Snake.” Art Snake?
A little man that lives in Rodney’s head. (Danny’s not here, Mrs. Torrance.)