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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.