Category Archives: Shows

426 – Marshall Chess – New Moves: The Chess Project, and New YouTube Channel & Podcast

Marshall Chess has a long history in the blues.  His father, Leonard, was one of the co-founders of Chess Records, the influential record label responsible for exposing the music of artists like Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, and Sonny Boy Williamson to larger audience.  Marshall produced the trailblazing Electric Mud from Muddy Waters, and the Howlin’ Wolf Album, both were attempts to reinterpret the blues to then current psychedelic rock era.  He was the first president of Rolling Stones Records, and worked on several films, including Cadillac Records, which was based on his family’s record label. 

Now comes New Moves – The Chess Project, several decades in the making.  Once again, Marshall is reinterpreting the music his family helped nurture, this time for the modern age.  With Keith LeBlanc producing, they’ve assembled a top-notch collection of musicians, reimagining songs by Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Little Walter and more. 

Marshall also has a YouTube Channel celebrating the Chess history, and a podcast, where he tells many of the great stories of his life. 

425 – Tom Rush – First New Album in Five Years – Gardens Old, Flowers New

Tom Rush pretty much pioneered the folk movement of the early Sixties, issuing his debut album in 1962.  He’s also credited with putting compositions by Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne and James Taylor on album for the first time, with his LP The Circle Game in 1968. 

We talked with Tom back in 2018 when he issued his album Voices.  Well, he’s back with his first new record in five years out called Gardens Old, Flowers New.  

He talks about how he unearthed one of the songs on the new album from a live recording from 50 years ago. Also, how he wrote a song for his daughter when she was young (now she’s grown up), and how he never intended that one to be on an album. He also talks about Rockport Sundays, a program he started during Covid, where he invites many of his musical friends to play and tell stories.

424 – Van Duren – Archival Release of Underrated Band, Good Question, Entitled Cartwheeling: Live in Memphis

Memphis musician Van Duren was the subject of a recent documentary called Waiting: the Van Duren Story, available to rent at most streaming services.  Omnivore Recordings released an excellent summation of Duren’s career in the form of the documentary soundtrack, then issued his first two solo albums in 2020. 

Next up is Cartwheeling: Live in Memphis, showcasing Duren and his underrated band, Good Question, recorded in an intimate setting amongst friends and family back in 1992. Duren talks about events leading to the concert and why the tapes lay dormant for over 30 years. He also reveals why they chose to cover “Got To Get You Into My Life.”

Duren also tells a great story about having Ringo Starr show up at one of his gigs.

423 – Susan Cowsill – A Christmas Offering From the Cowsills

The Cowsills are the original family band – formed in 1965, they hit pay dirt with their smash, “The Rain, the Park and Other Things” in 1967. Other hits followed, including “Indian Lake,” “We Can Fly” and “Hair.” They even were the basis for the hit TV show The Partridge Family. 

After some time apart, the group reformed in the early 90’s and has been playing and recording ever since. They’ve been a fixture on the Happy Together tour for almost a decade, and they just released a brand new album called Rhythm of the World last year. 

Now, comes A Christmas Offering from the Cowsills. Two of the songs date back to 1992, “Christmastime (Song For Marissa)” and “Some Good Years.” These two songs are joined with a brand-new, acapella version of “Winter Wonderland” – and the EP is now available digitally from Omnivore Recordings. 

We chat with Susan Cowsill about how Christmas is the favorite holiday of the Cowsill family, the origins of these “lost” holiday tunes, and the prospects of new Cowsill material in 2024.

422 – Sue Foley – New Album, Live in Austin, Volume One

In her early twenties, Canadian born Sue Foley, trekked down to Austin, Texas and quickly immersed herself in the fertile blues scene there.  Since then, she’s released 15 albums, garnered tons of awards, including Traditional Blues Female Artist from the Blues Foundation – an award she’s taken home three years now. 

Her latest record is a homecoming of sorts – Live in Austin Volume One takes her back to her roots, recorded at the legendary Continental Club, now out on Guitar Woman Records.

We talk about how she went high quality for the recording of this live album, digging back into her roots for some of the songs, and the prospects of a Volume Two coming soon.

421 – Paul Reed Smith – Eightlock – New Album, Lions Roaring in Quicksand

Paul Reed Smith is a name synonymous with guitarists worldwide.  His PRS line began in the mid Eighties, and ever since then, has produced 1,000’s of high-quality instruments.  If you’ve ever played one, you just know. 

Well, what you might not know is that Smith is also a musician in his own right, who’s played with the likes of Santana and the Doobie Brothers. Smith has assembled a group of highly-respected musicians into Eightlock.  Featuring three drummers, three guitarists, a bassist, and powerhouse vocalist, Mia Simone Davis, they’re issuing their debut album called Lions Roaring in Quicksand, on Steele Records.  

We talk to Paul about how he assembled this unique lineup of high-caliber musicians, the challenges in recording and playing live with three drummers, and why they chose to cover “War” by Edwin Starr.

He also talks about what got him into playing guitar as a young teen.

420 – Danny O’Keefe – New Retrospective, Circular Turns

Danny O’Keefe’s best known song is “Good Time Charlie’s Got the Blues,” which cracked the Top Ten in 1972. Jackson Browne put O’Keefe’s song, “The Road,” on his hugely-successful Running on Empty album. O’Keefe’s compositions have been covered by a wide range of artists, from Elvis Presley to Miranda Lambert, from Andy Williams to Ben Harper. 

His new album, Circular Turns, now out on Sunset Boulevard Records, covers the period from 1999-2017, which saw O’Keefe collaborate with the likes of Bob Dylan, Michael McDonald, Bill Braun, and Fred Knoblach. He also reimagines some of his best songs of the past, like “Angel Spread Your Wings” and “Magdelena” – and the improvements are noticeable.

In addition, there’s a second disc featuring an intimate live performance recorded in 2016. 

O’Keefe talks about what led to this new compilation, and the stories behind some of the songs, including a “collaboration” with Bob Dylan. He also touches on growing up in Washington state and learning from producer Arif Mardin.

419 – Popa Chubby – New Live Album, Live at G. Bluey’s Juke Joint NYC

Roaring out of New York City comes Popa Chubby with his unique blend of blues, rock and soul.  Born Ted Horowitz, he cut his teeth on the late Seventies’ NY punk scene, even joining Richard Hell & the Voidoids for awhile.  He issued his first album in 1994, and he’s never looked back – 38 albums to his credit. 

For his latest album, Live at G. Bluey’s Juke Joint NYC, Chubby took an unique approach: do a live record in a studio, and invite only 50 friends. The result feels like you’re onstage with the musicians. Chubby decided to let those friends help pick some of the songs, resulting in an eclectic mix of hits and rarities, some he hadn’t played live in years.

No overdubs, just Popa Chubby and band. We chat with the guitar slinger, who was in the middle of touring Germany during our talk, about stretching out on some of the songs, interacting with the great musicians, and how he feels about rap music and its lineage to the blues.

418 – Jock Bartley of Firefall – New Album, Friends and Family Features Fresh Renditions of songs by The Doobie Bros, Poco, etc.

Formed in 1974 in Boulder, Colorado, Firefall had several big hits on AM radio in the 1970’s with “You Are the Woman,” “Just Remember I Love You,” and “Strange Way,” but also were known for their excellent musicianship, which got them played on FM radio, with tracks like “Cinderella,” and “Mexico.” 

The band’s latest project, Friends and Family, puts a unique twist on the tribute album.  Firefall’s former and current members have played with many other bands over the years – so you get songs by the Byrds, Spirit, Heart and the Flying Burrito Brothers.  They also tackle songs by bands that they toured with, like the Doobie Brothers and Poco. 

Ultimately, these versions were recorded with the idea of adding something different to the arrangements, turning these familiar tunes into Firefall classics.   

We talk again to founding member, Jock Bartley, about the care that went into choosing each song and why they were chosen.  He also reveals that a Friends and Family 2 is already in the works.

417 – Deena Shoshkes of the Cucumbers – New Album, Old Shoes, and a Guitar Gifted From Nile Rodgers

From New Jersey comes the Cucumbers, who had a college radio hit with “My Boyfriend” in the mid-Eighties. The band was part of the Hoboken music scene, which included bands like the Bongos and the dB’s. 

The two constants in the band are the husband and wife team of Jon Fried and Deena Shoshkes, and they have a brand new album out called Old Shoes, and what I love about it is that what made them so great 40 years ago, that quirkiness, is still thankfully intact.

We chat how they were able to pull in the services of their son, Jamie, to play drums, but they had to do it quickly. Shoshkes also talks about how her husband decided to play banjo on the album. She also tells us a great story about how she was gifted a guitar from producer Nile Rodgers.