David Clayton Thomas is one of the most recognizable voices in all of popular music. He led the hugely successful band Blood Sweat & Tears for around 30 years, having hits like “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy,” and “Spinning Wheel,” before embarking on a solo career in the early 2000’s. His latest project is a true labor of love, Soul Ballads (view entry on Amazon.com) comprises 12 classic R&B tracks, filtered through Clayton-Thomas’ deep resonating voice. In part one of our interview, we delve into this project, talking about his influences from Otis Redding to Sam Cooke. He also tells us why he was reluctant to record “Midnight Train to Georgia” at first.
Jubilee Riots is a new name for an established Canadian band, once known as Enter the Haggis. With their new moniker comes a rejuvenated sound on their latest record, Penny Black. For the new album, the band asked fans to write to them and share their stories as topics for potential songs. Letters came from around the globe – and the result is something any fan of the band will be proud of. We talk with vocalist and songwriter Trevor Lewington about some of the amazing stories that were turned into songs, and why the band chose to change their name.
Dickey Lee has had a long and varied career in the music business, starting out recording for Sun Records in Memphis in the late Fifties, he rubbed shoulders with Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and others. But, he wasn’t able to find success until a few years later when he struck gold with teenage death songs like “Patches” and “Laurie (Strange Things Happen),” then George Jones recorded his “She Thinks I Still Care” and Lee became an in-demand songwriter in Nashville. Since then, he’s written other successes on both the pop and country charts like Austin Roberts’ “Rocky” and Tracy Byrd’s “Keeper of the Stars.” We talk to this multi-faceted artist about befriending Elvis, the stories behind his biggest hits, and how he feels about current country music.
Georgia bluesman Tinsley Ellis has carved out a name for himself in the last 25-30 years as a searing guitarist and expressive vocalist. His live shows have hit all 50 states, and he still plays around 150 gigs a year. His latest offering, Tough Love, is arguably his finest to date (read our review here), veering from shuffling blues, soulful ballads and psychedelic rock. We talk with Ellis about several “firsts” on his new record, running his own label, and his unique writing process.
Spain’s debut album came out in 1995. Blue Moods of Spain was so different, with it’s quiet mood and slowed-down tempos, that it spawned a new genre, slo-core. Now, the band is back after a short hiatus with Sargent Place, their most focused album to date. We talk with leader Josh Haden about recording the album with producer Gus Seyffert, who also worked with the Black Keys. He also talks about tracks from the new album, including “You and I,” which features the final recorded performance from his dad, jazz bassist Charlie Haden, before he passed away. We also touch on the band’s debut album and how it compares to this most recent release.