Did you know Blood Sweat & Tears played Woodstock? Why weren’t they included in the film and soundtrack footage? We find out the answer to that and much more as our conversation with former BS&T frontman David Clayton Thomas continues. He discusses how his friendship with bluesman John Lee Hooker helped jumpstart his career in New York, and how no one expected the runaway success of the band’s second album, which sold 10 million copies in its first year of release.
David Clayton Thomas is one of the most recognizable voices in all of popular music. He led the hugely successful band Blood Sweat & Tears for around 30 years, having hits like “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy,” and “Spinning Wheel,” before embarking on a solo career in the early 2000’s. His latest project is a true labor of love, Soul Ballads (view entry on Amazon.com) comprises 12 classic R&B tracks, filtered through Clayton-Thomas’ deep resonating voice. In part one of our interview, we delve into this project, talking about his influences from Otis Redding to Sam Cooke. He also tells us why he was reluctant to record “Midnight Train to Georgia” at first.
Jubilee Riots is a new name for an established Canadian band, once known as Enter the Haggis. With their new moniker comes a rejuvenated sound on their latest record, Penny Black. For the new album, the band asked fans to write to them and share their stories as topics for potential songs. Letters came from around the globe – and the result is something any fan of the band will be proud of. We talk with vocalist and songwriter Trevor Lewington about some of the amazing stories that were turned into songs, and why the band chose to change their name.
Dickey Lee has had a long and varied career in the music business, starting out recording for Sun Records in Memphis in the late Fifties, he rubbed shoulders with Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and others. But, he wasn’t able to find success until a few years later when he struck gold with teenage death songs like “Patches” and “Laurie (Strange Things Happen),” then George Jones recorded his “She Thinks I Still Care” and Lee became an in-demand songwriter in Nashville. Since then, he’s written other successes on both the pop and country charts like Austin Roberts’ “Rocky” and Tracy Byrd’s “Keeper of the Stars.” We talk to this multi-faceted artist about befriending Elvis, the stories behind his biggest hits, and how he feels about current country music.
Georgia bluesman Tinsley Ellis has carved out a name for himself in the last 25-30 years as a searing guitarist and expressive vocalist. His live shows have hit all 50 states, and he still plays around 150 gigs a year. His latest offering, Tough Love, is arguably his finest to date (read our review here), veering from shuffling blues, soulful ballads and psychedelic rock. We talk with Ellis about several “firsts” on his new record, running his own label, and his unique writing process.
Spain’s debut album came out in 1995. Blue Moods of Spain was so different, with it’s quiet mood and slowed-down tempos, that it spawned a new genre, slo-core. Now, the band is back after a short hiatus with Sargent Place, their most focused album to date. We talk with leader Josh Haden about recording the album with producer Gus Seyffert, who also worked with the Black Keys. He also talks about tracks from the new album, including “You and I,” which features the final recorded performance from his dad, jazz bassist Charlie Haden, before he passed away. We also touch on the band’s debut album and how it compares to this most recent release.
It’s one of the strangest stories of any #1 hit. “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” was credited to a fictitious band called Steam, but it was actually recorded by vocalist Gary DeCarlo and some studio musicians. But, because of some bizarre circumstances, he wasn’t able to take credit or benefit from this massive hit single. The band never garnered enough “steam” – pardon the pun – to muster up another hit, and disappeared. Well, the original Steam may be gone, but Gary DeCarlo is still around, and he’s released a new version of “Kiss Him Goodbye,” along with a brand new album called Long Time Comin’. DeCarlo sets the record straight on the stories behind the hit single.
Lisa Mills hails from Mississippi, and there must be something down there in the water, as she’s put together one of the finest, most honest records of last year. I’m Changing, is a mix of blues, rock, soul, Gospel and even a sprinkle of country. Add to it Lisa’s gritty vocals, and you’ve got the makings of a killer record. Yet, this isn’t a totally new project, as many of the tracks were started back in 2005. Mills talks about the long, strange journey that led to this new album.