Savoy Brown, one of the last of the original British blues bands. led by guitarist Kim Simmonds. Formed in 1965, the band has been through numerous lineup changes, with former members going on to be in Fleetwood Mac, UFO, King Crimson, Foghat and others. The one constant has been Simmonds, who is showing no signs of slowing down. Hot on the heels of the critically-acclaimed album City Night from last year, the band returns with their 41st long player, appropriately titled Ain’t Done Yet. Full of multi-layered guitars and the blues rock that Simmonds perfected decades ago.
He tells us why he decided to layer up the guitars on this album and the stories behind the songs. Plus, interesting tidbits on how he chooses which guitar to play on each song and how he puts together demos. Surprisingly, he also tells us good things that will come of the recent pandemic.
The Kings blasted out of Ontario in 1980 with the one-two punch of “This Beat Goes On/Switchin’ to Glide,” which became a weekend anthem for a large part of both Canada & the US. The parent album, The Kings Are Here, came out on Elektra and was produced by the great Bob Ezrin, who helmed classic records by Alice Cooper, Kiss and Pink Floyd.
Right as all of that was happening in the States, the Kings played to one of their largest crowds back in their native Canada at the Heatwave Festival. Known as the Punk and New Wave Woodstock, the outdoor concert boasted a crowd at around 100,000 people, and featured a bulletproof lineup of Talking Heads, B-52’s, the Pretenders, Rockpile, Elvis Costello and – the Kings, who closed the night at around midnight.
40 years later, this historic performance is finally being made available through the band’s Youtube channel, thekingsarehere. We talk with singer/bassist David Diamond and guitarist Mr. Zero from the Mercedes!
They talk about the painstaking process that went in to the restoration of this historic video. Plus, they tell the stories of how they got hooked up with producer Ezrin and how “This Beat Goes On” / “Switchin’ to Glide” became a surprise hit.
Cheryl Pawelski is one of the founders of Omnivore Recordings – since 2010 they’ve issued over 400 releases, including archival albums from the Beach Boys, Big Star, Gene Clark, Lone Justice, Jellyfish, the Raspberries, Buck Owens, the Knack, the Staple Singers and NRBQ, just to name a few. From their website description, the label says that their releases contribute to “the ongoing conversation between artists and their audiences.”
Cheryl won a Grammy for Best Historical Album in 2014 for Hank Williams – The Garden Spot Programs, 1950, and has been nominated for several others. Omnivore has just signed a deal for the rights to reissue music from CoEd Records, one of the legendary labels of the doo wop era, featuring The Duprees, The Crests, The Rivieras, Adam Wade and others.
Cheryl provided much of the original artwork of these classic releases from her personal collection. We chat how her label acquired the rights to this hallowed material. Besides doo wop, we also chat upcoming releases from Little Richard and NRBQ.
Doug “Cosmo” Clifford was the drummer for the legendary band, Creedence Clearwater Revival – recording seven studio albums, and charting 12 songs in the Top 40, many like “Proud Mary” and “Fortunate Son,” woven into the fabric of our American culture. He helped keep that music alive in the concert scene with bassist Stu Cook in Creedence Clearwater Revisited – a band that just hung up their shoes last year.
With a little extra time on his hands, Clifford did some spring cleaning and came across a stack of tapes that he’d forgotten about – among them a solo album that he recorded back in 1985, but never released called Magic Window. Now, 35 years later, that record is finally getting its release.
We chat about the early beginnings of CCR, what a crazy year 1969 was for the band (3 albums and a historic performance at Woodstock), and how some of his musical buddies have been holding up during this pandemic.
Lisa Mills is a soul/blues singer who belts out her music in a raw, melodic and soulfully-honest way with blues, gospel and soul influences. Born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, she now lives in Alabama. We first talked with Lisa back with her I’m Changing album in 2014.
Her latest project, you might call a soul/blues tour de force – The Triangle. With the guidance of producer Fred Mollin, the idea was to travel, in one week’s time, to three different musical hotbeds – Memphis, Tennessee; Jackson, Mississippi; and Muscle Shoals, Alabama, and record there. But, they took this idea a step further – only recording songs that were originally recorded in each of those cities. The result is easily the finest, most passionate set of songs Lisa has ever put together.
We chat with Lisa from her temporary home in Germany about picking all the great soul covers on the album, plus how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the album’s promotion.
Marty Stuart has won multiple Grammys, had big hits on the Country charts, like “The Whiskey Ain’t Workin” with Travis Tritt, and has played with a who’s who of country legends. In 1999, Stuart recorded a concept album called The Pilgrim. Based on true events from his hometown of Philadelphia, Mississippi, the album is a story of tragedy, loss and redemption. Featuring guest performances from Emmylou Harris, Johnny Cash, George Jones, Ralph Stanley, and more, it was a heady project for sure.
Unfortunately, the album was deemed out of step by his then-record label, who didn’t know what to do with it. Yet, the album’s commercial failure help set Stuart on a truer path musically. Now, 20 years later, he’s revisiting project in a beautiful, hard cover book called The Pilgrim, a Wall to Wall Odyssey from BMG books. The 187 page coffee table item is chock full of essays about the writing and recording process, plus fantastic photographs, many that Stuart took himself. In addition, the set comes with a bonus CD of this landmark album.
We talk to Stuart about the events that led to The Pilgrim, how he chose the guest artists, and what advice Johnny Cash gave him after the album’s commercial failure.
Out of Chicago come The Claudettes – their music grabs elements of jazz, blues, surf rock and punk, and the results are what the band likes to call “garage cabaret.” They’ve just recorded their fifth record, called High Times in the Dark, for Forty Below Records. It was helmed by Ted Hutt, who’s produced Old Crow Medicine Show, the Violent Femmes and the Dropkick Murphys.
The results of the collaboration is easily their best album to date – a perfect showcase for singer Berit Ulseth. Johnny Iguana is the keyboardist, he also writes all the songs. He has an impressive list of collaborations, including being Junior Wells’ piano player, as well as stints with BB King and Buddy Guy.
Canadian rocker Sass Jordan is probably best known in the States for a pair of gritty albums in the mid-90’s and hit singles like “Make You a Believer” and “High Road Easy.” She won a Juno award for Most Promising Female Vocalist of 1989, she’s portrayed Janis Joplin in the off-Broadway musical Love Janis, and she dueted with Joe Cocker on a song from the Bodyguard soundtrack. But, all along, the best word to describe Sass is REAL.
Her latest project, Rebel Moon Blues, embodies that description, featuring seven blues covers, casting a wide net over the genre – from Willie Dixon and Elmore James, to Rory Gallagher and Taj Mahal. Plus, she’s written a brand new original that fits in perfect with this hallowed material. Everything was done live in the studio with her signature, whiskey-soaked vocals over top.
Sass talks about the origin of this project and the fun process of picking the songs. Plus she talks about how she was able to have raw rock hits, even during the height of Grunge.
Robin McAuley is probably best known for his stint in the McAuley Schenker Group in the late 80s/early 90s – putting songs on rock radio like “Anytime” and “When I’m Gone.” McAuley has also spent time in Grand Prix, Survivor and Far Corporation.
His latest project is a star-studded affair – Black Swan features McAuley on lead vocals along with Reb Beach of Winger and Whitesnake on guitars, Jeff Pilson of Dokken and Foreginer on bass, and Matt Starr of Ace Frehley and Mr. Big on drums. The combination of all four of these great musicians manages to sound both familiar and fresh.
McAuley talks about how this all-star lineup came about, how vampires inspired one of the new songs, and how he almost died earlier in the year!
2020 marks Johnny Mathis’ 64th anniversary as a recording artist. He has never stopped touring and recording since his first album was released back in 1956. “Chances Are,” “Misty,” “It’s Not For Me To Say,” and “Wonderful, Wonderful” are just a smattering of his timeless hits.
He continues to stay busy in many ways – he’s recently dueted with both Freda Payne and Dionne Warwick on two new songs, plus Second Disc and Real Gone Music have been reissuing some of Johnny’s albums from the Seventies, including a “lost” record with him and the funk band Chic. In addition, he’s recently guested on the season finale of Criminal Minds.
Johnny is currently on the road with his Voice of Romance Tour, coming to a city near you.
We talk with Mathis about the “Voice of Romance” moniker, plus he tells us how he beat out NBA legend Bill Russell in a high jumping competition (and what he thinks of the hoopster’s singing ability!). Mathis also talks about his other interests outside of music and gives us the story behind his classic song, “Misty.”