Category Archives: Shows

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.

416 – Mitch Woods – Reissue of Friends Along the Way, featuring Van Morrison, Taj Mahal, and many more

Mitch Woods, photo credit, Jeff Fassano

Mitch Woods and his Rocket 88’s have been playing their unique brand of “rock a boogie” for some 40 years now. Back in 2017, Woods issued a career-defining album, Friends Along the Way, featuring a stellar lineup of guests, including Van Morrison, Taj Mahal, Ruthie Foster, Maria Muldaur, Elvin Bishop and many others.  Problem was, his record label at the time had just decided to focus only on videos, leaving this great album without an audience. 

Now, he’s regained the master recordings and has reissued the album and added five bonus tracks.  He and his Rocket 88’s are out on the road promoting the reissue.

We chat with Woods about how the project got rolling with a “yes” from Van Morrison, plus how he took up residency at the piano bar during the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise

415 – Maia Sharp – new album, Reckless Thoughts, and Songwriting With Soldiers

Nashville transplant Maia Sharp has written songs for folks like Cher and Tricia Yearwood, and produced the likes of Art Garfunkel.  Her last album, Mercy Rising, was one of our favorite albums.  In our review, we called it the “best thing she’s ever done.”  So, here we are with the followup, her 9th solo album, entitled Reckless Thoughts.

She talks about how much fun it was to co-write her catchy, new single, “Kind,” with Dean Fields and Melinda Leigh Smith. How she adds some of the tasty “extras” to her songs in her home studio.

She also tells us about how she got involved with Songwriting With Soldiers, where she meets with a veteran or family member, and writes a song about their story.

414 – Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull – The Seven Decades Tour, and What He Really Thinks of A.I. Technology

One of the most recognizable figures in all of rock music, Ian Anderson has led Jethro Tull since it’s inception in 1967.  With over 30 albums to their credit, selling upwards of 60 million, the band is in rare company. 

The band just issued a brand-new album, called Røck Flüte, and now Anderson is readying the 7 Decades tour, coming to a city near you.

Ian talks about how he gets ready for a tour, how he assembles a setlist in each town, and how, surprisingly, he actually books the travel himself.  He touches on the roots of his latest album, as well as his opinion of A.I. technology.  He also reveals the three Jethro Tull songs he feels he needs to play at every show.  

413 – Beth Bombara – New Album, It All Goes Up

From St. Louis comes Beth Bombara, who’s been releasing her own music for about 15 years now. Her latest album, It All Goes Up, is her strongest to date, full of sonic textures and infectious melodies.  In her own words, the new project is an attempt to bring in “more light, more hope.” 

The songs range from the infectious “Everything I Wanted,” to the heavy rocker “Give Me a Reason.” The album was assembled with her longtime collaborator, Kit Hamon, and features frenetic guitar playing from Sam Golden, as well as a guest appearance by John Calvin Abney.

412 – Grammy award winner Gordon Goodwin on Raymond Scott Reimagined and Other Recent Projects

You may not know the name Raymond Scott, but you’ve probably heard his music.  Many of his compositions have been used, over and over, in the Warner Brothers’ Looney Tunes cartoons over the years. Raymond Scott Reimagined is a collaboration between the Quartet San Francisco, Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band, and the acapella group, Take Six.

Gordon Goodwin did new arrangements of Scott classics like “Powerhouse,” and “Toy Trumpet.”  In addition, with the help of the Raymond Scott estate, an unfinished composition, “Cutey and the Dragon,” was completed by Goodwin, and included on this set. 

Goodwin has won four Grammy’s, including Best Instrumental Arrangement for Disney’s The Incredibles.

He talks about how he went about retooling these great compositions for the modern age, working with all the great musicians. We also chat about a recent collaboration with Patti Austin on For Ella 2, and a forthcoming piano duets album where Goodwin plays both parts himself.

411 – Bill Payne of Little Feat – New Reissues of Sailin’ Shoes and Dixie Chicken, plus Upcoming Tour, and Memoir in the Works

Bill Payne, along with Lowell George, formed Little Feat in the early 70’s, blending elements of rock, country, blues and New Orleans funk, into an immediately recognizable sound.  The band’s second album, Sailin’ Shoes and their third, Dixie Chicken, have recently been given the deluxe treatment – expanding to triple album sets, including the remastered album, bonus tracks and outtakes, and revelatory live footage. 

Payne is currently on the road with Little Feat, who later on in the fall will be doing The Albums Tour, choosing one of those two albums and playing them in their entirety each night. Bill has also played with the Doobie Brothers, members of the Grateful Dead and Leftover Salmon.

He also talks about writing his memoir, which he hopes to have completed by next year.

410 – Cheryl Pawelski – Written in Their Soul: The Stax Songwriter Demos

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 05: Cheryl Pawelski attends the 65th GRAMMY Awards on February 05, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

Written in Their Soul: The Stax Songwriter Demos is a treasure trove of lost soul & R&B recordings from the 60’s and early 70’s, many of which have never been heard before.  Cheryl Pawelski personally had to comb through literally hundreds of hours of recordings in search of these hidden gems.  It’s a project two decades in the making.  The result is a 7-disc set full of surprises – you get nascent versions of songs we know, like “Respect Yourself” and “(If Loving You is Wrong) I Don’t Want to Be Right.”

But the real thrill is the set’s final three discs: 66 songs that were never released by anyone.  Pawelski was working for Concord Music when she began this endeavor.  That was 17 years ago.  She now runs Omnivore Recordings.

We discuss the detective work that went into the project. How she managed to wade through the massive amount of random recordings in search of these soul nuggets.  She also talks about attending the box set premiere in Memphis with many of the surviving artists on this collection.  Pawelski also gives us insight into upcoming releases from Omnivore.

409 – Pete Anderson – Book: How to Produce a Record

Multi Platinum, Grammy-award winning producer-guitarist Pete Anderson is probably best known as Dwight Yoakam’s guitarist from 1986 to 2003. During that time, the duo helped reshape the face of country music. Anderson’s worked with a variety of artists, from Lucinda Williams and Michelle Shocked to the Meat Puppets and Roy Orbison. 

He’s taken a lifetime of musical knowledge and experiences, and distilled it into a new book, How To Produce a Record: A Player’s Philosophy For Making a Great Recording – out now from Jessee Lee Music.

Anderson gives tips that can be applied whether you’re in a large studio, or your bedroom.