Ambrosia released five albums and five Top 40 singles during their original chart run. Their hits included “Holding on To Yesterday,” “How Much I Feel,” “Biggest Part of Me” and “You’re the Only Woman.” For the band’s last tour, an up and coming musician by the name of Bruce Hornsby played piano for them. Well bassist Joe Puerta is an original member of Ambrosia, who followed Hornsby and played in the original Bruce Hornsby and the Range as well. Now, Ambrosia is back out on the road, playing a series of dates.
We talk to Puerta about the what got him playing bass, the origins of Ambrosia, and the struggles they had early on in their career. A couple of other tidbits of our chat include working with Alan Parsons on their early records, and the story behind “Nice, Nice, Very Nice,” which features words by author Kurt Vonnegut.
Tad Robinson is no stranger to soul music – he’s been doing a blend of it mixed with blues for decades, and it’s earned him eight nominations in various Blues Music Award categories. But, this time around, the Indianapolis singer/harmonica player decided to travel to one of the soul music mecca’s, Memphis, to record his latest record, Real Street, coming soon on Severn Records. He got a chance to play with the legendary Hi Rhythm Section, and the results are 10 tracks that sound like they came out of the same stable as Al Green and Ann Peebles.
Robinson tells us what it was like working with these legendary musicians, some of the great stories behind his originals, and why he re-worked songs like Roy Orbison’s “You Got It” and Bread’s “Make it With You.”
It was 50 years ago that three days of peace and music changed the world forever. A new book, Woodstock 50th Anniversary – Back to Yasgur’s Farm from Krause Publications, captures the spirit with a front row seat account of the happenings with author Mike Greenblatt, who was there and lived to tell about it. Greenblatt also tracks down many of the artists who played the festival, as well as some of the behind the scenes folks that made it all possible. 224 pages featuring over 300 photographs, it’s great way to celebrate the 50th anniversary of a half a million strong.
Greenblatt talks about what led him to getting there early to the festival, some of the crazy stories of seeing his favorite bands, and also interviewing Graham Nash, one of the artists he missed (he left early, as did many others).
Chris Carter is a very busy man. He hosts Breakfast With the Beatles, America’s longest-running Beatles show – Monday through Friday 8 to 11am Eastern on Sirius Radio, as well as Sundays on the FM dial in Southern California. But, that’s not all. He also serves up Chris Carter’s British Invasion on Little Steven’s Underground Garage channel Saturday and Sundays too. Carter also owned a legendary New Jersey record store called Looney Tunez (with a Z) and was the bassist for the seminal alternative band Dramarama in the 90’s.
We chat with the Fab Four Fanatic about what led to landing the dream job with Breakfast with the Beatles, getting to talk with both Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, and how particular Beatles’ fans can be. We also talk briefly about his band, Dramarama, who were signed to a major label in the 1990’s and got some MTV airplay.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.