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.
Like a lot of us, Peter Case found himself with lots of time on his hands during the pandemic. A piano in his living room beckoned him and he started to write songs, a throwback to the rhythm & blues, and boogie woogie he heard as a kid. The result is Doctor Moan, 11-songs, stripped down, without drums, mostly led by his pounding piano.
Case was part of the seminal punk band the Nerves in the late 70’s, before forming the Plimsouls, who had an MTV hit with “A Million Miles Away,” and a spot in the 80’s teen classic, Valley Girl. Since the mid-80’s, Case has led an eclectic solo career that’s seen him garner three Grammy nominations and lots of accolades.
All of his past seeps into the pores of this new, sparse offering, available from Sunset Blvd Records.
We chat with Case about how playing the piano during lockdown took him back to his roots as a kid. He also talks about a new documentary about him that should see widespread release soon.
Savoy Brown was one of the longest-running bands of the British blues rock movement. Formed in 1965 by guitarist Kim Simmonds, the band enjoyed sold-out shows, and hit albums on the Billboard charts. The lineup changed, but Simmonds remained constant for 57 years, until his passing in December of 2022.
At the time of his death, he had just completed his 42nd album, called Blues All Around. Now, that final word from Savoy Brown is being released through Quarto Valley Records. We welcome in the two remaining members of Savoy Brown, Pat DeSalvo on bass and Garnet Grimm on drums.
They talk about working with Simmonds while he was undergoing treatment; he was still giving instructions on how he wanted things to sound from the hospital. They also talk about how he had to adapt his way of playing guitar to accommodate his declining health. Pat and Garnet also reveal possible plans for even more unreleased Savoy Brown material.
Robin McAuley’s career has spanned five decades – Grand Prix, Far Corporation, MSG, Survivor, solo records and more recently, the excellent supergroup Black Swan. In fact, the last few years have been some of his most productive to date. He’s back with a brand new solo album called appropriately, Alive.
He tells us why this album rocks a little harder than the last, and also why there’s push and pull between songs like “Alive” and “Dead as a Bone.” He also recently celebrated a big birthday, and reveals plans for the next Black Swan album.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.