Category Archives: Shows

405 – Dar Williams – New Book, How to Write a Song That Matters

Dar Williams first garnered attention with her song, “When I Was a Boy,” from her album, The Honesty Room, almost 30 years ago. Since then, she’s issued nine more studio albums, collaborated with many artists, and written several books. Her latest is How to Write a Song That Matters from Hachette Books, to which fellow songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter says “The wisdom and the lessons she shares will illuminate not only the world of songwriters but anyone who seeks the sustenance of a creative life and practice.”

Williams tells us how she went from writing her own songs to teaching others how to write their songs. She reveals that, even if you don’t play an instrument, you can still compose a song. She also discusses ways to positively critique other songs, and how to start an open mic.


404 – Doug “Cosmo” Clifford of CCR – New Album, California Gold, Features Bobby Whitlock of Derek and the Dominoes

Doug “Cosmo” Clifford was the drummer for legendary rockers Creedence Clearwater Revival. He and bassist Stu Cook formed Creedence Clearwater Revisited, and helped keep that great music alive. He’s continuing to go through his “Cosmos Vault,” releasing tapes that he made over the years with his musical buddies.

His latest release is California Gold, a collaboration with Derek and the Dominoes’ vocalist Bobby Whitlock. The tracks also feature the great Donald “Duck” Dunn on bass.

Clifford talks about how he and Whitlock came together, and how, unfortunately, the project never took off. He also talks about the newly released Live at the Royal Albert Hall concert movie, which is available now to stream on Netflix.

403 – Bob Cowsill of the Cowsills – New Album, Rhythm of the World

The Cowsills are the original family band. Formed in Rhode Island, the group started out with a trio of brothers: Bill, Bob & Barry, but eventually grew to include brothers John and Paul, sister Susan and mother Barbara. They had big hits with “The Rain, the Park and Other Things,” “Indian Lake,” and “Hair.”

The Cowsills were the inspiration for the hit TV series The Partridge Family. Then, years later, the group got their own documentary, “Family Band,” which is available on streaming services.

At a time when division is at an all-time high, we need some of that familial harmony once again to bring us together. The Cowsills have regrouped for their first new studio album in almost 30 years, called Rhythm of the World, from Omnivore Recordings.

We talk with founding member Bob Cowsill on how he, brother Paul and sister Susan, put this new album project together, with the trio of them writing the bulk of the songs. He reveals how one song was inspired by a saying from Howard Kaylan of the Turtles, another was written about how Hurricane Katrina affected their family.

402 – Jim Babjak of the Smithereens – The Lost Album

The Smithereens, formed in 1980, with their unique brand of back-to-basics rock n’ roll, seemed the polar opposite of what was being embraced by radio and MTV at the time. Yet, the band became quite popular on both college radio and the fledgling video network, scoring hits with “Behind the Wall of Sleep,” “Only a Memory,” “A Girl Like You” and others.

At the dawn of the Nineties, several bands, including Nirvana, began to cite the Smithereens as a major influence on the burgeoning grunge scene. Ironically, Capitol Records dropped the band because they wanted to focus more on grunge bands.

In 1993, the band entered the studio without a label, self producing for the first time in many years, laying down a bunch of tracks that were shelved when they signed a new record contract with RCA, eventually issuing A Date With the Smithereens. Now, almost 30 years later, these recordings get a proper release as The Lost Album, from Sunset Blvd Records.

We talk with guitarist Jim Babjak about sifting through these 30-year old recordings, and also what’s next for the Smithereens.

401 – Cheryl Pawelski & Brad Rosenberger of Omnivore Recordings – New Buck Owens, Dean Torrence, and Cowsills

Omnivore Recordings has become a music fan’s dream reissue label.  They’ve done archival releases from the likes of the Beach Boys, Big Star, Raspberries, Jellyfish, Laura Nyro, and NRBQ, just to name a few. 

Their latest batch of fall releases is diverse: Bakersfield Gold – a two-disc set featuring every Buck Owens’ song to hit the Top Ten; Dean Torrence & Friends – The Teammates, tracing the history of the other half of Jan & Dean; and Rhythm of the World – the first new studio album in 30 years from the Cowsills.

We chat with label co-heads Cheryl Pawelski and Brad Rosenberger and get insight into how these releases originated, plus what formats they’ll be available on.  In addition, they give some details on what the label is cooking up next.

400 – Dwight Twilley – Wild Dogs reissue and possible new material

If Elvis Presley and the Beatles had a baby it would be Dwight Twilley – that’s how one writer described the Tulsa, Oklahoma native, who had top 20 hits with 1975’s “I’m on Fire,” and 1984’s “Girls.” Twilley has made a career out of making great melodic rock which some call “power pop.” His music continues to be used in popular culture, like his song, “Looking For the Magic,” which was featured prominently in the 2011 horror film You’re Next.

Sandwiched among those successes is the album Wild Dogs from 1986. Produced by Val Garay, who helmed big albums from the Motels and Linda Ronstadt, the record contains some of Twilley’s strongest material of his whole career. But, things got derailed when the head of his record label got indicted on payola charges.

Now, Iconoclassic Records has finally put this underappreciated album back in print, including bonus tracks. Twilley talks about working with Kim Carnes on the song, “Hold On, and teaming with partner Phil Seymour one last time for “Shooting Stars.” He also tells us how soon we should expect new material from him.

399 – Felix Cavaliere – Book: Memoir of a Rascal. “Good Lovin,” “Mustang Sally,” and More.

They were the first white group signed to Atlantic Records, the Rascals blazed a trail with what became known as “blue-eyed soul,” with legendary hits like “Good Lovin,” “Groovin,” and “How Can I Be Sure,” but also created songs like “People Gotta Be Free,” which are still socially relevant more than 50 years after they were written. 

At the heart of the band was singer and organist Felix Cavaliere, who has just written a book – Memoir of a Rascal: From Pelham, NY to the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame. He tells us the stories behind many of his biggest hits, how the band got signed to Atlantic Records, and how the Rascals found “Mustang Sally” before Wilson Pickett.

398 – Jocko of Sha Na Na – New DVD, Sha Na Na’s Woodstock: 20 Years After

At the very peak of the Hippie movement, here comes Sha Na Na to remind everyone that “Rock n’ Roll is Here to Stay.” They were the second to last performers at Woodstock, opening for their friend (and fan of the band) Jimi Hendrix.

After that prime slot, the band went on to high-profile gigs at the Fillmore, best-selling albums, and even a hit TV show in the mid-Seventies. Sha Na Na ushered in a rock revival that continued with the films American Graffiti, Grease (which they were featured in), and the long-running TV show Happy Days.

20 years after their Woodstock performance, Sha Na Na, along with other performers of the original festival, gathered in California for a reunion concert. For the first time, that historic event has been put on DVD as Sha Na Na’s Woodstock: 20 Years After from Liberation Hall. It’s also available on CD and download.

We talk with founding member, drummer & vocalist, Jocko, from the the band. He walks us through the crazy path Sha Na Na took from college vocal group to the Woodstock stage in just a few short months. He also gives his memories of that crazy festival, and the reunion concert that followed.

397 – Nicki Bluhm – New Album, Avondale Drive, features AJ Croce, Oliver Wood, & More.

Nicki Bluhm hails from Lafayette, California. The singer/songwriter released her first album in 2008. She also was a a part of Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers. Her latest project, Avondale Drive, deals a lot with making a fresh start in life – after a divorce and a relocation to Nashville, Bluhm is ready to make music on her own terms.

The new album was produced by Jesse Noah Wilson and features guest appearances from folks like AJ Croce, Oliver Wood, Eric Slick and Jay Bellerose. After listening to her previous work, we think it’s her strongest album to date.

Note: the chirping you hear throughout the interview is a baby duck that decided to make friends while Bluhm was talking!

396 – Sass Jordan – New Album, Bitches Blues

Sass Jordan hit pay dirt in the early 90’s with rock radio hit albums like Racine and Rats, and songs like “Make You a Believer” and “You Don’t Have to Remind Me.” But, she also garnered a Juno award in 1989, and even portrayed Janis Joplin in an off-Broadway musical.

While Covid was raging, Sass issued her first all-blues album called Rebel Moon Blues to critical acclaim. Now, she’s put together another collection, some originals, some covers, called Bitches Blues from Stony Plain Records.

We chat with Sass about playing live in a post-Covid world – how both musicians and the audience both need to relearn how to have fun. Plus, how she dug back to her childhood to pick some of the songs on her new record.