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.
#309 - Jay Aston of Gene Loves Jezebel - New Album - Dance Underwater
UK’s Gene Loves Jezebel formed in the early 80’s and had their biggest success in the US with songs like 1986’s “Desire” and “Jealous,” which hit #1 on the Alternative charts in 1990.
Now, the band is back with their first new record in 14 years, Dance Underwater, which contains a killer single, appropriate for the time, “Summertime.”
We talk with Jay Aston about bringing the original lineup of the band back together for this new record, and working with David Bowie’s producer, Tony Visconti. Plus, he sheds light on the difficulties of having his brother, Michael, tour with his own version of the band and the confusion that it causes fans of their music.
Comedian Christopher Titus first gained notoriety for his comedy special “Norman Rockwell is Bleeding,” where used his own warped version of the American family dynamic as a topic. Now he’s promoting his eighth special, “Amerigeddon,” a show where he hilariously aims to “put to country back together.”
Titus also talks to us about his upcoming feature film, Special Unit, described as “Agents of Shield with midgets and handicapped people.” He tells us what inspired him to do that show, which features many disabled actors in it.
We also delve into what started him down the path to comedy. Christopher Titus is playing the Dayton Funnybone for two shows on Weds, June 28th. More information can be found at christophertitus.com
#304 - Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull - The String Quartets
Odd Fact: Ian Anderson has had a #1 album every 22 years in the US
Jethro Tull has released over 30 albums in their 50-plus year history, making them a staple on rock radio all over the world, with songs like “Aqualung,” “Living in the Past,” and “Bungle in the Jungle.”
The band has never been afraid to take chances, and their latest project is a perfect example. Jethro Tull – The String Quartets, is a collaboration with the Carducci String Quartet. It’s an opportunity to take many of the most recognizable tracks in the band’s catalog and present them in a classical setting.
This left turn has proven quite successful, as the album has recently hit #1 on the Billboard Classical Albums chart. It’s also the first Tull album to come out exclusively through Pledge Music.
We welcome back to the program Tull frontman Ian Anderson, who talks about the inspiration for this unique project, why they chose to record the album in old churches, and what to expect from an upcoming tour. Plus, Anderson talks about the latest Jethro Tull album to get the deluxe reissue treatment, Songs From the Wood.
Multi instrumentalist Jason Falkner played in the Three O’Clock, Jellyfish and the Grays before embarking on a solo career in the mid-90’s. He’s also played with numerous artists, including Beck, Air and even Paul McCartney.
Falkner’s latest project is an unlikely collaboration with him and low fi pioneer R. Stevie Moore. The new album, Make It Be, meets their two styles midway, with songs mostly written by Moore, featuring backing mostly by Falkner. He talks about how the pairing came about and how both of them chose which songs to record. Falkner also addresses his successful Bedtime with the Beatles series, and how soon we’ll see a new Falkner solo album.
Fascinating behind-the-scenes look at a concert tribute to Big Star’s swan song
For an album that was deemed unreleasable at the time of recording and has never had a proper running order, Big Star’s Third has certainly gotten its due. It’s now considered one of the greatest albums of all time. After the sudden passing of Big Star frontman Alex Chilton in 2010, an all-star group of musicians got together to pay tribute, including Mike Mills of REM, Mitch Easter of Let’s Active, Chris Stamey of the dB’s and members of the Posies. They found that the magic they created was worth continuing.
After playing live shows all over the world, they decided to document things with Thank You Friends – Big Star’s Third Live…and More, a DVD/CD combo just released by Concord Bicycle Music. To talk about it, we welcome in the musical director of the project, Chris Stamey. He also talks about playing in a post-Big Star band with Chilton and what led to him releasing Chris Bell’s single “I Am the Cosmos” on his own label in 1978.
Chip Taylor is best known as the songwriter for both “Wild Thing” and “Angel of the Morning,” but there’s so much more to him than just those two songs. For one, he’s written hundreds of other tunes, including “I Can’t Let Go” for the Hollies, and “Try a Little Harder” recorded by Janis Joplin.
Taylor got his start in a rockabilly group, Wes Voight and the Town Three, who were signed to a subsidiary of King Records back in 1958. He released a series of critically-acclaimed solo LP’s in the Seventies before retiring from music in the Eighties.
After returning to music in the mid-Nineties, Taylor has been on a hot streak as of late, releasing an average of an album a year. He’s also issued several successful records with fiddle player Carrie Rodriguez. His latest release is A Song I Can Live With.
Georgia native Jennifer Paige scored one massive hit in 1998, the seductive pop of “Crush.” The single went to #3 in the US and topped the charts in Spain, Denmark, Russia, New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa. Despite recording a strong debut album, she had no further hits in the States. Her promising sophomore album, Positively Somewhere, had the misfortune of coming out the week after 9/11 in 2001. She returned with a third album, Best Kept Secret in 2008, but lost both of her parents and was diagnosed with melanoma the same year. Not surprisingly, she lost the desire for music.
Now, she’s healthy and has returned with her fourth album Starflower, funded by a successful Kickstarter program. We talk what got her back on the path to music, her collaboration with Coury Palermo, and the fact that she’s been one of the voices on the successful “Nationwide is on your Side” ad campaign.
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.
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.”