Category Archives: Shows

340 – Seth Walker – Are You Open?

Emphasizing the groove

Carolina native Seth Walker has released a string of fine albums over the last decade, with Are You Open? being his 10th long-player. While groove has always been a part of his music. This time around, it seems to have taken on a more prominent role.

He recently spent some time down in Cuba, and that certainly had an influence on things. Walker also talks about doing a lot of the recording at home, touring with Ruthie Foster, and even painting the front cover of his latest disc.

339 – Zev Feldman of Resonance Records – Wes Montgomery and Bill Evans archival releases

No record label has done more for the genre of jazz over the last decade than Resonance Records.  The California independent has unearthed gems from a who’s who of jazz, from John Coltrane and Jaco Pastorius, to multiple releases by piano great Bill Evans and guitar master Wes Montgomery.

Those last two artists are the subject of Resonance most-recent projects.  Evans in England features previously unheard live performances from 1969, while Back on Indiana Avenue culls a collection of studio and live tapes of Wes Montgomery right before he became famous.

We chat with Zev Feldman, the co-president of the label, about the crazy stories that led to unearthing these releases by two of the legends of jazz. He also tells us what new project the company is working on for the Christmas holiday.

338 – Southern Avenue – Keep On – Second Album Blends Many Styles For a Unique, and Very Memphis, Sound

Southern Avenue - photo by David McClister

Soul is an over-used term.  What it’s supposed to describe is music that’s real, human and authentic.  There’s a Memphis group that embodies that term, mixing elements of R&B, blues, rock and gospel into something that’s unique, and very much southern and from the streets – hence the appropriate name Southern Avenue.  They’ve just issued their sophomore album, Keep On, on Concord Music.

Recorded at Sam Phillips’ legendary studio, the record serves up a dozen examples of their potent approach to a classic sound. Led by Israeli-born guitar virtuoso, Ori Naftaly, and fiery singer Tierinii Jackson, the group is rounded out by Tierinii’s younger sister, Tikyra, who plays drums and sings backup, and keyboardist Jeremy Powell. They’re currently on a tour that will take them coast to coast in the US before heading overseas.

We chat with Naftaly about what got him to relocate 6,500 miles from his home country and settle in the U.S. He tells us how growing up in the church gives the Jackson sisters a very authentic backbone for their music. He also sheds light on how the band hooked up with legendary soul man William Bell for one of the songs on their new album.

337 – Toad of the Cryan Shames – “Sugar & Spice,” Advice From the Byrds, and Those Great Harmonies

The Cryan Shames came out of Chicago in the mid-Sixties, scoring a minor national hit with “Sugar & Spice” in 1966. Yet, several of their other songs, including “It Could Be We’re in Love,” did very well in major cities around the country. The band was signed to Columbia records and released three albums that still hold up today.

The Cryan Shames became known for their intricate harmonies melded over jangly melodies, reminiscent of bands like the Byrds and the Beatles. The group broke up in 1969, but has reunited several time over the years.

We chat with lead singer, Toad, who remains active with the band. He tells us the origins of the group and their record contract. Plus, he reveals a piece of advice that Roger McGuinn of the Byrds gave him that helped steer the band in a different direction.

336 – Eric Jerardi – Muscle Shoals-infused new album Occupied

Eric Jerardi
Photo by Allen Farst

Dayton, Ohio guitarist Eric Jerardi has been honing his craft for decades. From his humble beginnings winning a Battle of the Bands back in 1989, to going solo a few years later, to a string of critically-acclaimed albums and hundreds of gigs all over the world – Eric has kept at it for over 30 years now. But, just because he’s been doing things a long time, doesn’t mean he can’t still surprise.

His brand new album, Occupied takes the blues that he’s mastered so well and adds in a big helping of soul courtesy of Muscle Shoals – the result is hands-down his finest effort to date.

He tells us what it was like recording with some of the legendary musicians that played on the record, plus what producer David Z brought to the project.

Jerardi also talks about playing Icon Fetch host Tony Peters’ wedding, the one and only time he’s played in a church.

335 – Van Duren – Waiting – New Documentary & Soundtrack

Van Duren

Van Duren emerged from the same fertile Memphis music scene that gave us cult heroes Big Star. In fact, Duren was one of the many artists interviewed in the 2012 Big Star documentary, Nothing Can Hurt Me. In an odd twist of fate, Van Duren has gone from being interviewed in a documentary to having a documentary made about him.

Waiting: The Van Duren Story, debuted in Memphis last November. The origins of this film are about as crazy as you can get, involving fans from halfway around the world. In anticipation of the film being released publicly, Omnivore Recordings has assembled a fantastic, 12-track overview of Duren’s largely unknown career. Yet, the music on this disc shows an artist that needs to be heard.

We chat the unlikely circumstances that led to this new documentary. Plus, he goes through some of the tracks on the film’s soundtrack, including songs recorded with former members of Big Star. Plus, he talks about the possibility of new music from him.

334 – Carmine Appice – Guitar Zeus

Legendary drummer Carmine Appice got his start in hard rock pioneers Vanilla Fudge. He’s played with Jeff Beck, Pink Floyd, backed Rod Stewart, and led bands like King Kobra and Blue Murder, all the while, setting a standard for rock drumming that’s unparalleled.

One of his most impressive projects, is also his most under-appreciated. Guitar Zeus began as a pair of albums in the mid-Nineties, featuring a venerable who’s who of guitar slingers, including Slash, Yngwie Malmsteen, Queen’s Brian May, Bon Jovi’s Richie Sambora, Ted Nugent, Neal Schon of Journey, and many more. But, because of poor distribution and little label support, these great performances went largely unheard.

Now, Carmine is re-issuing Guitar Zeus – all the tracks from the original project, plus some newly recorded ones – for a total of 32 songs. And it features some of the finest drumming of Carmine’s career.

Appice also tells us how he helped a young John Bonham get started, plus the crazy story behind Rod Stewart’s “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy,” which he co-wrote.

333 – Billy Vera – Harlem to Hollywood and “At This Moment.”

New Billy Vera autobiography from Backbeat Books

Billy Vera has spent his entire life in the entertainment business.  Although he is best known for his 1987 surprise #1 hit “At This Moment,” he’s also had roles in many movies and TV shows, and he’s written and performed some of the themes for those TV shows.  But, it doesn’t stop there.

Vera has had a long career as a voice-over announcer, so odds are you’ve probably heard him at one time or another.  He’s also an avid record collector and music historian who’s penned the liner notes to many collections and box sets, even winning a Grammy for his work on a Ray Charles set.  His twists and turns are documented in his new book, Harlem to Hollywood from Backbeat Books.

He talks about what he learned from having both of his parents in the entertainment business growing up, how the first song he ever got published became a hit for Ricky Nelson.  We also discuss what it was like winning over the hard-to-please crowd at the legendary Apollo Theater, getting signed to Atlantic Records, and writing a #1 hit for Dolly Parton.

Of course, we save room to get the story behind how the TV show Family Ties helped propel a six-year old non-hit of his to the top of the charts.

332 – Tony Joe White Tribute

Singer/songwriter Tony Joe White passed away on October 25th at the age of 75.  A singular artist who will never be replaced, White created an entire genre of music all his own, Swamp Rock.  A purist in every sense of the word, he even recorded his latest album in a horse barn.

Tony Peters had an opportunity to talk with White just a few months ago, on the eve of the release of his latest album, Bad Mouthin’.  Much of the interview centers on the stories behind the songs on the record – many of which are tributes to the artists that influenced him over the years.

He also tells us the stories behind his two most-famous songs – “Polk Salad Annie” and “Rainy Night in Georgia,” which Brook Benton took to the top of the charts.  White also recalls being asked to join Elvis Presley on tour and what a thrill that was.

We also found some bonus interview footage where he discusses his role in a recent movie by Shelby Lynne.  Join us as we pay tribute to Tony Joe White.

#331 – AJ Croce – Croce Plays Croce

AJ Croce – photo credit: Sebastian Smith

Singer, pianist, and songwriter A.J. Croce, the son of Jim Croce, has spent nine albums forging his own musical path. often mining elements of soul, folk and pop.  In fact, he released one of the finest albums of 2017 called Just Like Medicine, which was produced by legendary producer Dan Penn, and featured a song co-written with the late Leon Russell.

Croce’s latest venture is a series of shows, Croce Plays Croce, where he performs the songs of his famous father along with some of his own compositions, which is coming locally to the brand new Levitt Pavilion in Dayton on September 6th.

We also talk to him about recording his dad’s song, “I Got a Name,” which was featured in a Goodyear commercial starring Dale Earnhardt, Jr.