Category Archives: Shows

#304 – Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull – The String Quartets

Jethro Tull The String Quartets
New album from Jethro Tull

Odd Fact: Ian Anderson has had a #1 album every 22 years in the US

Jethro Tull has released over 30 albums in their 50-plus year history, making them a staple on rock radio all over the world, with songs like “Aqualung,” “Living in the Past,” and “Bungle in the Jungle.”

The band has never been afraid to take chances, and their latest project is a perfect example. Jethro Tull – The String Quartets, is a collaboration with the Carducci String Quartet. It’s an opportunity to take many of the most recognizable tracks in the band’s catalog and present them in a classical setting.

This left turn has proven quite successful, as the album has recently hit #1 on the Billboard Classical Albums chart. It’s also the first Tull album to come out exclusively through Pledge Music.

We welcome back to the program Tull frontman Ian Anderson, who talks about the inspiration for this unique project, why they chose to record the album in old churches, and what to expect from an upcoming tour. Plus, Anderson talks about the latest Jethro Tull album to get the deluxe reissue treatment, Songs From the Wood.

#303 – Jason Falkner – Make it Be

Jason Falkner
Jason Falkner

Pristine power pop and low fi collide

Multi instrumentalist Jason Falkner played in the Three O’Clock, Jellyfish and the Grays before embarking on a solo career in the mid-90’s. He’s also played with numerous artists, including Beck, Air and even Paul McCartney.

Falkner’s latest project is an unlikely collaboration with him and low fi pioneer R. Stevie Moore. The new album, Make It Be, meets their two styles midway, with songs mostly written by Moore, featuring backing mostly by Falkner. He talks about how the pairing came about and how both of them chose which songs to record.  Falkner also addresses his successful Bedtime with the Beatles series, and how soon we’ll see a new Falkner solo album.

#302 – Chris Stamey – Big Star’s Third Live

Fascinating behind-the-scenes look at a concert tribute to Big Star’s swan song

For an album that was deemed unreleasable at the time of recording and has never had a proper running order, Big Star’s Third has certainly gotten its due. It’s now considered one of the greatest albums of all time. After the sudden passing of Big Star frontman Alex Chilton in 2010, an all-star group of musicians got together to pay tribute, including Mike Mills of REM, Mitch Easter of Let’s Active, Chris Stamey of the dB’s and members of the Posies. They found that the magic they created was worth continuing.

After playing live shows all over the world, they decided to document things with Thank You Friends – Big Star’s Third Live…and More, a DVD/CD combo just released by Concord Bicycle Music. To talk about it, we welcome in the musical director of the project, Chris Stamey. He also talks about playing in a post-Big Star band with Chilton and what led to him releasing Chris Bell’s single “I Am the Cosmos” on his own label in 1978.

#301 – Chip Taylor – A Song I Can Live With

Chip Taylor
Songs Of Freedom promotional shoot, May 2008

Chip Taylor is best known as the songwriter for both “Wild Thing” and “Angel of the Morning,” but there’s so much more to him than just those two songs. For one, he’s written hundreds of other tunes, including “I Can’t Let Go” for the Hollies, and “Try a Little Harder” recorded by Janis Joplin.

Taylor got his start in a rockabilly group, Wes Voight and the Town Three, who were signed to a subsidiary of King Records back in 1958. He released a series of critically-acclaimed solo LP’s in the Seventies before retiring from music in the Eighties.

After returning to music in the mid-Nineties, Taylor has been on a hot streak as of late, releasing an average of an album a year. He’s also issued several successful records with fiddle player Carrie Rodriguez. His latest release is A Song I Can Live With.

#300 – Jennifer Paige – Starflower

Jennifer Paige

Georgia native Jennifer Paige scored one massive hit in 1998, the seductive pop of “Crush.”  The single went to #3 in the US and topped the charts in Spain, Denmark, Russia, New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa.  Despite recording a strong debut album, she had no further hits in the States.  Her promising sophomore album, Positively Somewhere, had the misfortune of coming out the week after 9/11 in 2001.  She returned with a third album, Best Kept Secret in 2008, but lost both of her parents and was diagnosed with melanoma the same year.  Not surprisingly, she lost the desire for music.

Now, she’s healthy and has returned with her fourth album Starflower, funded by a successful Kickstarter program. We talk what got her back on the path to music, her collaboration with Coury Palermo, and the fact that she’s been one of the voices on the successful “Nationwide is on your Side” ad campaign.

#299 – Brad Gillis of Night Ranger – Don’t Let Up

Night Ranger - Don't Let Up

It’s been an unbelievable 35 years since Night Ranger released their debut album, Dawn Patrol, and their first single, “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me.” The guys are celebrating still Rockin’ America and beyond with the release of their 12th album, Don’t Let Up. Here’s the thing, all the elements that make up a great Night Ranger album are still intact – great harmonies, fiery guitar solos, and choruses you can sing along to.  In 2017, that’s a rare find.

To talk about it, we welcome guitarist and founding member Brad Gillis, who talks about a few setbacks that delayed the album’s release. He also reminisces about Rubicon, a band that he and Jack Blades were in before Night Ranger.  Also, how Night Ranger’s record label knew they had a hit with “Sister Christian,” and actually held off releasing it.

#298 – Matt North – Above Ground Fools

Matt North - Above Ground Fools

Matt North has done a little bit of everything. In the L.A. Comedy scene, he opened for the likes of Marc Maron, Louis CK and Chris Rock.  As a screenwriter, he did Best Western, which won multiple awards, yet has never been produced. As an actor, he starred alongside Jason Alexander in HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, yet was written out of the script after one episode after Alexander left.  As a session drummer, both in Los Angeles and Nashville, he’s worked with Maria McKee, Jay Bennett, Peter Case and Mink Stole.

Over the last few years, North has taught himself guitar and piano and has just issued his first album, Above Ground Fools – ten songs all written by North.  We touch on the twists and turns of his varied career, including what got him playing drums in the first place, and the inspiration behind songs like “Cronkite and Cosell” and “I Sold it All.”

#297 – Shel Talmy – The Creation, The Kinks & the Who

Shel Talmy with the Who
Producer Shel Talmy (center), flanked by the Who’s Keith Moon (left) and Pete Townshend (right).

He helped define the sound of early Sixties’ British rock

The name Shel Talmy may not be immediately recognizable, unless you’re a liner note junkie.  But, you’ve certainly heard his work.  Talmy is responsible for producing all of the early singles for the Kinks including “You Really Got Me,” “All Day and All the Night,” and “Sunny Afternoon.”

He also went on to do the same for the Who, with “I Can’t Explain,” “My Generation” and “Anyway Anyhow Anywhere.”  “Friday on My Mind” by the Easybeats is another credit.

But, probably the band he’s most proud of is one that didn’t make it.  The Creation had everything, catchy songs, a flashy guitarist in Eddie Phillips, an incendiary live show, yet they never even made a dent in the US charts.

The Numero Group is issuing Action Painting, a 2-disc set bringing together everything this seminal band put to tape, including some brand new stereo mixes overseen by Talmy, plus alternate takes, and an exhaustive booklet with multiple essays, session notes, and a treasure trove of pictures – it’s an impressive collection for any fan of mid-Sixties British rock.

We talk to Talmy about the high hopes he had for them, and why they never lived up to his lofty expectations.  We also touch on his work with the Kinks, the Who and the Easybeats.

#296 – Ruthie Foster – Joy Comes Back

 

Ruthie Foster
Ruthie Foster, photo by Sue Schrader

Folk-blues singer covers Black Sabbath on her new album

Austin singer Ruthie Foster defies classification.  Her previous albums have featured covers from the likes of Johnny Cash, David Crosby and Adele, as well as her own originals.  For this new project, Joy Comes Back, her first release in three years, the approach is equally eclectic: she tackles songs by the Four Tops, Mississippi John Hurt and, most notably, a Son House-flavored rendition of Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs.”

She’s also joined by several stellar guests, including guitarist Derek Trucks, bassist Willie Weeks and drummer Joe Vitale.  We talk to Foster about how music got her through a tumultuous chapter in her life, plus why she quit the business and signed up for the Navy several years ago.

#295 – Chandler Travis Philharmonic – Waving Kissyhead vol. 2 &1

Chandler Travis Philharmonic
Chandler Travis Philharmonic – photo by Cliff Spencer

What if we traveled back in time and the tour buses for the Kinks and Louis Armstrong’s Hot Five crashed into each other? Well, we’d have quite a mess on the road, but you might come close to the sound of the Chandler Travis Philharmonic, equal parts rock irreverence and vintage jazz, with a bent sense of humor thrown in for good measure.

The band is celebrating 20 years together and have commemorated the event with the release of Waving Kissyhead volume 2 & 1. Chandler Travis returns to our show to talk the new disc, the band’s ongoing “Best Bedhead Contest,” and why putting lyrics to songs almost always screws them up.   He also tells the story about playing Carnegie Hall on the opening slot for comedian George Carlin.