David Lanz has been putting out music for over 30 years, so you’d think there wouldn’t be any “firsts” left for the award-winning pianist. Yet, his new record, Forever Christmas, is his first-ever album to feature a songwriting partner from start to finish, and his first record prominently featuring a vocalist. The songwriting partner & vocalist is also the love of his life, Norwegian born Kristin Amarie. Lanz talks about constructing the album during last year’s brutal winter, the fabulous artwork that adorns the CD, and plans he has for the new year.
Director Eric Von Haessler has just put out Scarred But Smarter – the Life n Times of Drivin n’ Cryin, an in-depth look at this legendary Georgia band. Through extensive interviews with bandmates & managers past and present, as well as people, like Peter Buck of REM, Ed Rowland of Collective Soul, and Darius Rucker, we get a clear picture of true rock n’ roll survivors. Von Haessler talks about having the band in the studio on his radio show and how it opened his eyes, and set him on a journey to direct this documentary.
TV Eyes was a short lived supergroup featuring Jason Falkner & Roger Manning Jr, who spent time in the power pop band Jellyfish, and drummer Brian Reitzell, who was in the equally melodic Redd Kross. The trio teamed up in the early 2000’s for a debut record that combined elements of early New Wave & Punk, with touches of their previous bands. The result was an album that should’ve turned heads. But, the band was never able to secure an American record label, so the record only came out in Japan. Now, long out of print and fetching top dollar on Ebay, Omnivore Recordings finally sets things right with the release of TV Eyes – not only including the original, nine song record, but also featuring four bonus tracks from an even more rare Japanese EP, Softcore, featuring remixes. We talk to Jason Falkner about the inspiration behind the project, plus what it was like to record with one of his big influences, Paul McCartney.
Some call it Power Pop, others call it melodic rock – either way, Dwight Twilley has been crafting like-minded tunes for over 40 years now. His first hit was the Top 20 smash “I’m On Fire” in 1975. Then, he was back in the Top 20 with “Girls” in 1984. Twilley had a knack for writing radio-ready songs and probably should’ve been a much bigger star, had it not been for record label blundering. Either way, he’s never stopped and is back with a brand new record called “Always.”
Duke Robillard was one of the founding members of Roomful of Blues in the late Sixties. Then, he replaced Jimmie Vaughan in the Fabulous Thunderbirds in 1989. But, his solo career has been arguably more adventurous than either of those two bands. Duke’s love is delving into the various facets of classic American music. His latest offering, Calling All Blues, is a summation of the different styles of blues music, from Memphis to Mexico, from jazz swing to nasty rock, brooding, shuffling, there’s a lot here. We talk to the “ambassador of the blues” about how he broke his hand but continued to play guitar for the new record, playing to blues fans all over the world, and getting to release his new album on vinyl.
PF Sloan wrote an impressive list of songs in the mid Sixties, including Barry McGuire’s “Eve of Destruction,” Johnny Rivers’ “Secret Agent Man,” as well as hits for the Mamas & the Papas, Grassroots, Herman’s Hermits, the Turtles and others. He met Elvis & the Beatles, and hung out with Dylan & Stephen Stills. But, like a lot of staff songwriters, he was employed by a record label run by ruthless individuals, which eventually led to Sloan leaving the music business for many years. Sloan, along with S.E. Feinberg, have just written his autobiography, What’s Exactly a Matter with Me – Memoirs of a Life in Music, from Jawbone Press. In addition, he has a brand new musical endeavor, My Beethoven. P.F. Sloan talks about writing the theme to the T.A.M.I. Show, working with Ann Margaret, and helping produce “Paint it, Black,” for the Rolling Stones
Despite his famous last name, Devon Allman has forged a path uniquely his own, beginning with his band, Honeytribe in 1999, then more recently, the Royal Southern Brotherhood, and his solo career. Now, hot on the heels of 2013’s Turquoise comes Allman’s finest work to date, Ragged & Dirty, an album that straddles Chicago blues with his Southern roots. We talk his improving guitar work, touring overseas, and why he chose to cover the Spinners’ classic “I’ll Be Around.”
Ruthann Friedman wrote “Windy,” which became a #1 smash for the Association in 1967. With it, she became only the third woman to write a number one hit on the Billboard charts. This led to Constant Companion, considered by many to be a great lost folk classic, released in 1970. But, that album never took off and Friedman chose to settle down and raise a family instead. Now, some 40 years later – she’s back with a new album, Chinatown. We talk the inspiration behind “Windy,” what got her out of retirement, and what David Crosby had on the wall of his house that upset his mother.
Davina & the Vagabonds inject a fresh approach to a very classic style of music, a mix of blues & New Orleans-style jazz. The Minneapolis band has just released a brand new record called Sunshine (read our review) , and we mean record, it is available on vinyl as well as CD & mp3. We talk with leader Davina Sowers about her love of vintage music and how it gets infused in her songs. She also tells us how Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups influenced the song “I Try to Be Good,” and how everyone, even Britney Spears, should cover a Fats Waller song.
Singer / songwriter Seth Walker has perfected his own unique blend of blues, soul & folk over his last few records. His eighth album, Sky Still Blue, continues in that vein, proving that people can actually still put together an entire record of good tunes. He talks about moving to New Orleans, turning up the volume on the guitars on this album, writing songs with country legend Gary Nicholson.