Category Archives: Shows

#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.

#294 – Em Rossi – Empty Space

Em Rossi
Em Rossi from her video “Empty Space”

Things are definitely looking up for singer/songwriter Em Rossi.  She’s recently collaborated with Jim McGorman, who’s worked with Avril Lavigne & Paul Stanley, and has also been a guest on our show.  The two of them have put together a series of singles that she’s been issuing on Youtube and social media.

Well, people are responding – Em’s up to 5 million views on the online video channel.  The video for her latest single, “Empty Space,” just premiered on the Huffington Post’s website.  Like many of her recent songs, it deals with the sudden loss of her father and the void that it left behind.  Em’s working toward an eventual full length album, hopefully coming soon.

We talk to her about what got her singing in the first place, the filming of her new video, and how her partnership with Smule has helped her reach even more fans worldwide.

#293 – Delbert McClinton – Prick of the Litter

Delbert McClinton

“Who’s gonna stop me”?

Delbert McClinton has made a career out of doing whatever he wanted.  He got his start blowing harmonica on Bruce Channel’s classic “Hey Baby” – that was 1962, before the Beatles invaded America. In fact, that little old band from Liverpool actually opened for him on an early gig.

Not long after, he began leading his own band, and creating a body of music that defies classification, all the while winning awards in Blues, Country, and Rock.  Delbert’s just released his 19th album, Prick of the Litter, and it’s easily one of the best of his long career.

We talk his love of classic music of the Forties and Fifties, from Johnny Mercer and Charles Brown to Jimmy Reed and Frank Sinatra.  He’s also got his autobiography coming later in the year.

#292 – Marie Trout – The Blues: Why It Still Hurts So Good

Why we love the blues EXPLAINED

Even though the subject matter is often sad, why is it that we feel refreshed when we listen to blues music or attend a blues concert? What is the appeal of this classic form of music in 2017?

These and other questions are posed by Dr. Marie Trout in her new book, The Blues: Why It Still Hurts So Good. Trout is no stranger to the blues, as her husband is legendary guitarist Walter Trout.

She anonymously polled over 1,000 blues fans, plus scholars, musicians and music industry insiders, to find out what it is that makes this form of music so appealing to people all over the world.

She also shares her own blues story – how she almost lost her husband when he fell ill and needed a liver transplant, and how the blues community came together to give assistance.

#291 – John Mayall – Talk About That

John Mayall

He’s 83 years old and is playing 130 shows this year – how does John Mayall keep going?

He’s been called the Godfather of the Blues, John Mayall is into his 8th decade of life and yet is showing no sign of slowing down.  His band has been a proving ground for some of the greatest musicians of all time – guitarists like Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Mick Taylor and Sonny Landreth, plus Aynsley Dunbar, Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, and Jack Bruce.

His brand new record is called Talk About That, and it’s a diverse affair, encapsulating the many twists and turns of his career, giving Mayall a chance to play organ, piano, harmonica and guitar.  Out of the 11 tracks, eight are recent songs composed by him.

As is with every Mayall record, there’s a surprise, this time he’s joined by guitar great Joe Walsh for a couple of tracks, including the searing “The Devil Must Be Laughing.”

Mayall unbelievably has 130 shows scheduled for this year – he shares what keeps him going.  Plus, how not surprisingly, he prefers vinyl over digital music.

#290 – Peter Holsapple – Don’t Mention the War

Legendary melodic songwriter Peter Holsapple is back with a new vinyl 45, his first new solo project in 20 years.

Peter was a touring musician for both R.E.M. and Hootie & the Blowfish

If you trace the roots of Power Pop,  in the Seventies you had the Raspberries, Badfinger & Big Star.  Later in the Nineties you had artists like Matthew Sweet, the Gin Blossoms & Weezer that were able to have commercial success.  But, during the decade in the middle there – the Eighties, it was all about funny hair and keyboards, and it was hard going for the power pop guys.  There were bands like North Carolina’s the dB’s, who released a string of hook-laden albums that gained only a cult following, but are now considered classics.

Singer/guitarist Peter Holsapple not only led the dB’s, he’s also been a member of the alternative supergroup the Continental Drifters, and was a touring member of R.E.M. and Hootie & the Blowfish during their peak years.  Holsapple has just issued a vinyl 45, his first new solo outing in 20 years called “Don’t Mention the War.”

We talk radiofreesongclub.com, the project that helped spur on this recent burst of creativity, plus the excellent music video that accompanies the song.