Brother Larry and MisterG

What can I say about my friend Brother Larry McDonald? He is one of the roots of Jamaican percussion that was instrumental in creating the innovative sounds that have been flowing from the island for so many years. As an originator and sound innovator, he has played with and been involved in some of the most well recognized music of all time. Whether it is friend of the proGram, Toots Hibberts and the Maytals or the legend himself, Mr. Bob Marley, you can find the creations of Brother Larry keeping the rhythms pulsing and the feelings positive. For over 50 year now, Brother Larry’s credits are too numerous to list, but for me his involvement with other originals like Gil Scott Heron and Taj Mahal stand out to me as momentous works. In 2009, Larry put out his first solo effort, Drumquestra, (which was the # 1 album for this radio host for that year) which featured many former collaborators, including Sly Dunbar, Uziah Thompson of Bob Marley and the Wailers and the former Count Ossie drummers known as the “Mystic Revelation Of Rastafari in an orchestra of drummers. Drumquestra also featured former frontmen from bands Larry performed and recorded with, including Toots, Bob Andy, Mutabaruka, Stranger Cole and Dollarman. The album was recorded at a live session at Harry J Studios in Kingston Jamaica by Steel Pulse producer Sidney Mills for Malik Al Nasir’s MCPR label.

I had the pleasure of catching up with my friend Larry as he prepares to set back out to perform with Lee SCRATCH Perry and Subatomic Sound System on the Super Ape returns to Conquer tour. We talked about how working on this album and tour was as a man who has nothing more musically to prove to anyone. He was on many of the original tunes off off Scratch’s “Super Ape” release, so he was able to truthfully talk about similarities and differences in this new album. This work was a redo not a remix! We talked about how Brother Larry feels like he is just finally understanding all he has learned form the years of experience and how he uses his PhD is drum-ology to read a live crowd in order to help keep the groove fresh. We also shared a moment of toGetherness in remembrance of a mutual friend, Richard Segan, who was an influential man in the scene of the world’s music who Larry and I got to know from the heart outward. This is an insightful, fun lovin’ and real cool conversation with a true legend. There might even be talk of a possible itch to create a new album.

The Essence of G Love

For many years, G Love and Special Sauce have been bringing their unique blend of blues infused with hip Hop splattered with Rock-n-Roll and leveled off with some deep grooves into open minds and thirsty ear-holes, as a matter of fact it’s now been 25 years. Their self-titled debut, featuring the hit “Cold Beverage,” wound up going gold and since then the band became known for their well crafted live shows and have made it all happen around the world. Over many of those years, G and I have gotten toGether to promote his shows, talk about new music and heroes of ours. You can flip on back through this website to find a couple of those chats of yesteryear. This year, G is back with Special Sauce to open up their 25th Anniversary tour at the Majestic Theater.

We take some time to talk about the upcoming event in Madison and the special occasion of this particular tour, and G gives a newbie a nice perspective of what kinds of sound melding can be expected if it’s your first time getting some Special Sauce over yourself. We talk about how even when time flies on by, the essence of who you are as a person does not necessarily change and the music one creates, while there becomes more of a catalog, the feeling of it is still fresh. Speaking of fresh, we discuss what prompted the first G Love Christmas album and his yearly gig(s) in Hawaii….and you heard it at the end, he invites me to roadie for that leg of the tour. get inside the essence of G Love by checking out the catch up session above.

Madison Gets a Rebirth

Rebirth Brass Band is known for combining traditional New Orleans brass band music, including the New Orleans tradition of second line, with funk, jazz, soul and hip hop. Rebirth’s longstanding regular Tuesday night gig at the Maple Leaf Bar on Oak Street in the Carrollton neighborhood of Uptown New Orleans is one of the pillars of the New Orleans music scene, and has served as a reliable introduction to the city’s nightlife for many new arrivals to the city. During his speech commemorating the 10th year since Hurricane Katrina, President Barack Obama jokingly mentioned that maybe he’ll “finally hear Rebirth at Maple Leaf on Tuesday night” after he is out of office. The band regularly tours North America and Europe. In 2011, Basin Street Records released the album Rebirth of New Orleans, which reached No. 1 on the CMJ Jazz charts and earned the group a 2012 Grammy Award for Best Regional Roots Music Album. Rebirth also has received an award for “Best Brass Band” from OffBeat Magazine.

I had the honor of speaking with Co-Founder and bass drummer, Mr. Keith Frazier ahead of the January 7th show in Madison at The Stage Door. Mr. Frazier and I painted a little picture of what to look out for at the upcoming gig as well as finding out the difference between featuring on another artist’s album versus getting down to it themselves. I ask about the possibility of a new release as well as the importance o=f community and family in their scene. We find out whether or not, President Obama has had the chance to catch them at their reGualr spot, the Maple leaf and what would happen if Donald Trump asked to come check them out. Great stuff, great band, gonna be a usual great party atmosphere.

Note: This show has been moved to the Ruby Lounge at Liquid.

Rebirth Brass Band

Loki Out & About

Loki the cat loves adventure and playing with friends. When his family moves into a new home on the other side of town, he needs a little help finding his way across town back to his pals. This is the story-line to the new children’s book, “Loki Out & About” by Molly Bandt and Tina Murua. Join Loki and his family in this tale of determination, friendship and weave your way through the journey within a beautiful city scene that is very reminiscent of a familiar Wisconsin area.

I had the opportunity to have a conversation with Molly Bandt about the story behind the story and how Loki’s adventures were not so far off from reality. We took time to discuss the process behind getting a story to form from a shared thought and the work that went into getting this project off the ground as a brand new author. Molly’s adventure is just as interesting (almost) as Loki’s. Not only did Molly turn a story into a book, but she was able to use her painting skills to create the colorful and eye-catching illustration that grace the pages within the covers. The book is published by Orange Hat Publishing in Waukesha, Wisconsin. For more information on where to find this book, whether it’s for a read aloud with family and friends or a cool gift idea for the kid in all of us, Click here.

Illustration by Molly Bandt

Meah Pace Gives Santa The Boot

On Wednesday, December 6th, the world officially got a taste of the new tune “Ho Ho Ho (Santa’s Gotta Go)” with powerhouse soulstress Meah Pace, released on Body to Body Records. This new Christmas song is definitely not restricted to the holiday season with the smokin’ hot, Tina Turner-esque vocals Meah smacks us in the soul with. The track is like one of those special holiday songs that can be timeless in nature, with a reason to be played loudly any time of the year. Last week we spoke with the man behind the track creation, Smoota and he exclaimed how Meah was the one and only voice he could think of to nail this track down. And ohhh was he spot on.

Not only did Meah and I talk about how she took the idea and vision behind this track and make it her own, but we got into what a holiday season is like for her at this point in her life. We took some time to run down a recap of how the year 2017 was for her not only as an artist but more importantly as a creative person. I am so thrilled ot be chatting with a member of the Resistance Revival Chorus, and Meah and I talk about the mission and the meaning behind this group as well as her work with !!!(Chk Chk Chk). Take a moment and listen to the heat behind the hot photo by Amy Touchette.

Photo by Amy Touchette

Mixing it Up With Ed Palermo

Ed Palermo may have gained an international following with his ingenious orchestral arrangements of Frank Zappa tunes, but he’s hardly a one-trick pony. Earlier in the year, the saxophonist released an uproarious double album “The Great Un-American Songbook Volumes 1 & 2”, a project celebrating an expansive roster of songs by successive waves of British invaders, from the Beatles, Rolling Stones and Jeff Beck to King Crimson, Traffic, and Jethro Tull. With his new big band project, released on Cuneiform Records on October 6, 2017, Mr. Palermo is back on his home turf, but the landscape feels strange and uncanny. He is reclaiming the Zappa songbook, filtering Frank through the emotionally charged lens of the polymathic musical wizard Todd Rundgren in a wild and wooly transmogrification, “The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren”. Working once aGain with the same stellar cast of players, Mr. Palermo somehow captures the essence of these iconoclastic masters, making Zappa Zappier and Todd more Rundgrenian.

I had the pleasure of getting toGether with Ed to talk about the new release, how the two great tastes of Frank Zappa and Todd Rundgren were explored and puzzle-pieced with one another. We spoke in detail about Ed’s process for selection sounds to meld and how the feeling and flow of two songs, can make for a fantastic avenue when worked over just right. It was such a short time between the Ed Palermo Big Band’s last two releases and in our chat, we find out how these two albums (I barely finished sharing one before the next was in my ear room) were able to be let loose on the universe in such a quick way. This labor of love that Ed creates has always been such a special listen and feeling provider for me, but we learn how much hobby versus job this is for Ed…including a little love for the Cuneiform Records family. It isn’t easy for people with the same name (Zappa) to use this name while creating their own family namesake’s art, and it was not easy for Ed either. Find out a little more about his dealing with Gail Zappa on the usage of the family name with his creation. This conversation, is a journey I hope you’ll spend time digesting…… It, like Ed’s music…..is delicious.

Smoota Presents Meah Pace

Had a chance to catch up with friend of the proGram, SMOOTA as he presents a new track into the world, “Ho Ho Ho (Santa’s Gotta Go) with soulstress, Meah Pace, released on Body to Body Records. This new Christmas song is definitely not restricted to the holiday season with the smokin’ hot, Tina Turner-esque vocals Meah smacks us in the soul with. SMOOTA and I discuss how the song came to be and how there was only, in his mind’s ear, one voice to knock it outta the chimney. We get into what he’s been up to recently, ranging from a new solo album, work/recording with TV On The Radio, and his time this year in the new Gong Show band.

Next week, on December 6th, the day the track actually drops, I will speak with Meah about the tune. I’ll be giving you the virgin radio airplay tomorrow on the show and oh, by the way…check out the gift of a photo chosen as the track cover provided by Amy Touchette.

Photo by: Amy Touchette

Tony Leone talks Brotherhood

In the middle of one of their most prolific periods to date, The Chris Robinson Brotherhood are riding a creative wave with a slew of studio and live records coming out amidst a rigorous tour schedule that only seems to fuel their fire even further. Their jaw-dropping new album, ‘Barefoot In The Head,’ marks the CRB’s third studio release in just two years, and it finds them pushing boundaries and breaking new ground with more joy and wonder than ever before. Overspilling with stunning musicianship and infectious energy, the album showcases the continued growth of Robinson’s songwriting partnership with his bandmates: guitarist Neal Casal, drummer Tony Leone, keyboardist Adam MacDougall, and bassist Jeff Hill. It revels in the kind of adventurousness that can only come from five artists tuned into the same sonic wavelength.

I’ve had the pleasure in the past to speak with Neal about upcoming shows in Madison as well as the last 3 new releases. This time around I got a chance to pick the brain of Drummer, Tony Leone. We discuss what the show on Sunday, November 19th at The Barrymore Theater will be like for those who miGht be new to the Brotherhood scene as well as why he has the best seat in the house possibly. We dive a little into the making of the new release and how returning to a familiar spot to create, went from black sheet to final product in a couple to few short weeks. We discuss one of the special guest collaborators on the track “Glow” off the new record, Alam Khan, and how his sound and being melding into their sonic and personal scene. It was interesting to hear what Tony said in comparison to Neal when in discussion about the band’s relationship and how, after being together for MANY tour dates and MANY albums in such a short period of time, these brothers keep making a tighter sound for us, and for each other.

Reality Check 1 2 with DoodleBUG

Every year or so I have the chance to catch up with my man Cee Knowledge, AKA DoodleBUG of Digable Planets. For me, its a chance to get into the mind of one of the principals in opening my mind to all the sounds. This time around we got to talk about some of the stops on the insects recent travels and tours. What it was like getting it on out in the eye again toGether as the Digable crew.

Cee Know and I discuss the reunion tour during spring and summer 2016 and how it was followed up with a live record “Digable Planets Live” on Ropeadope Records that dropped late June 2017. We lead you down the path of the question, will there be some new joints complied and released to the world with new rhymes, beast and jazzed-up-grooves? It is always nice to hear an influential artist, someone who is a part of a Grammy award winning group that created something new talk about who were some of the maestros behind getting their artist voice to come out, and both Cee and I release a little of that on you. We also take you back to a classic-ish moment in time and talk about the original meeting of our mutual funky-friend, DeeJay Alex J. It was for similar situations that brought all three of our world colliding. As always, the conversation strays into the land of NBA hoops and we make sure to get our Celtics and Sixers (hats worn just a little titled to the side) talk on the table, both always respecting the others squad. I am also pleased to report, that once any new project is ready to get a listen, I’ll get that listen and then be able to be the bridge to get that freshy fresh over to you.

Introducing The Melody Trucks Band

Family. That’s how I feel about the many people I have met over the years while being in the arts scene. I recently had the opportunity to reach out to Melody Trucks to discuss her new project, The Melody Trucks Band. We got into how the project that started out as an unknown dream, turned into the beginning of a new family scene. Melody shares a few tales of how/when her father, Mr. Butch Trucks, first got a chance to hear her sing at a venue and how the surprise took place and how getting an opportunity to go on close to home tours with her dad will always be moments reflected on as irreplaceable. Being a new group, The Melody Trucks Band as of today have had three shows and we discussed each one slightly and how the band vibes with one another and even how at the end of the Family Jam, local musicians were invited to sit in and jam along. One of the big events on the band’s horizon will probably keep a long standing tradition alive of playing at The Funky Biscuit right around Christmas time. This year’s Brothers & Sisters Annual Holiday Jam is on December 23rd and will be celebrating The Allman Brothers Band and The Lives of Gregg Allman & Butch Trucks will be Featuring Scott Sharrard (Gregg Allman Band), Marc Quiñones (The Allman Brothers Band), Berry Duane Oakley & Other Special Guests including The Melody Trucks Band….What an amazing thing. While thus-far, the core group members have only played amazing cover tunes live, they have begun the creative journey of creating new stories together and I for one am looking forward to hearing what come out of it. One of the folks who adds to the band whenever humanly possible is Issac Corbitt and I would feel remiss if I forgot to call him out for his flexibility.

I have had the pleasure of being within the world of The Allman Brothers family through many great people, whether it was interviews with Derek and Warren or hanging with Chank at Gregg’s show in Connecticut, the warmth that surrounds these people is easily one of the coolest things I have been a part of. You will get that exact same feeling listening to Melody and I talk about the new beginning of this story she was never sure she would ever be telling.

The Melody Trucks Band

Transplant by Marcus Randolph

While known as Robert’s cousin, and a founding member and the drummer of The Family Band, there is way more to the man Mr. Marcus Randolph than the man on the kit in the back. “Transplant”, the debut release from Marcus Randolph My Peeples Peeple from American Showplace Music was released on October 20th and I have been sharing portion’s with the listeners slightly before. I had a chance to catch up with Marcus about the new album to discuss the piecing toGether of the album, from recuperating and recovering from his very own transplant, to how/why we can all relate to the track, “Mad At The World”, to how momma got in on a track and how working with and being a brother to Mr. John Ginty has assisted in getting the project to the finish line. The sounds that fly off this album are in a changing space throughout. From Rock and blues to some soulful grooves, the funk oozes off into your ear and trickles down to your feet. I am sure some stompin’ with take place once it reaches your roots. As listeners and people of music, Marcus and I call on you to check out the style and see how it fits into your zones. Check out out chat here:

Latest Project By Jay Blakesberg

“Eyes of the World: Grateful Dead Photography 1965 – 1995” is a fine art, hardcover coffee table photography book that brings together, for the first time, a comprehensive collection of photographs from a wide range of photographers whose work has captured the Grateful Dead at different times throughout their career. Co-Edited by former Relix editor-in-chief Josh Baron and famed rock photographer Jay Blakesberg, “Eyes of the World” was released on October 23, 2017 via Rock Out Books. Photographers featured in Eyes of the World include such legendary names as Annie Leibovitz, Jim Marshall, David Gahr, Mark Seliger, Herb Greene, William Coupon, Michael O’Neill, Adrian Boot, Michael Putland, Peter Simon, Baron Wolman and, of course, Jay Blakesberg. Included in the collection are iconic images, lesser known photos, and never-seen before seen images – each of them a singular perspective of a poignant moment that together help tell the Grateful Dead’s epic tale through large, bold imagery.

Jay and I played a little catch up since last time we spoke. We got into how this book came to be, the process of picking and choosing moments that represent each time time period/era of the band as well as a few interesting morsels of coolness discovered while researching and pieces the whole project toGether. Take a listen to find out the why and what the image chosen for the cover represents to Jay and Josh and which image even Phil Lesh said” “I’d Never Seen That Before”.

Funk Out Cancer

On Saturday, November 4th, The Majestic Theater will be the spot to “FUNK OUT CANCER” with Phat Phunktion and Mama Digdown’s Brass Band. This concert and silent auction is being held in memory of Kate Gates Falaschi, to help raise awareness and assistance to end the battle for all with this monster. Each year the event happens, I get toGether with Kate’s husband and local Madison musician Al Falaschi (saxophones & vocals in Phat Phunktion) to help spread the word. This year we got another chance to remind folks of the importance of the research that’s ongoing, including a real wild story about one of Kate’s doctors….this is one of these stories you just couldn’t make up. Al also opened up a little about what, after 8 years, is something he really misses about Kate. We discussed the wild times the music will provide and the uniqueness of the shared moments for those in attendance. He rolled off a few names of special guests, including Mr. Jimmy Voegeli of The Jimmys hammering the funk out of it on the B3, as well as special tributes that will be complete one offs specifically for this event.

Al also shared with us some musical endeavors and happening that have been going on in his wide world of playing out. From the Phat Phunktion’s horns section knocking out the National Anthem at the sold out UW Women’s Volleyball match versus Nebraska, to the what’s ups of Steely Dane, it is always good to catch up with local family. Check out the above conversation and the website to see how you can become involved in this event and while this disease touches us all, that just might mean there’s more of us to help end the battles.

Inti-Illimani’s Jorge Coulon

Inti-Illimani is the modern face of the Chilean Nueva Canción movement, a modern world music genre that celebrates a renewal of Latin American folk music in response to the dominance of American and European influence in Latin America during the 1970s and 1980s. After over forty albums, the group is celebrating fifty years of exploring human rights, imperialism, democracy and the Latin American identity through traditional Chilean folk music with an edgy twist. Inti-Illimani was formed by students at Universidad Técnica del Estado at Santiago, Chile in 1967 and became popular in Chile for their song “Venceremos (We shall win!)” which became the anthem of the Popular Unity government of Salvador Allende . In 1973 as they were on tour abroad, General Augusto Pinochet launched a coup d’etat and took power. Having heard of the numerous extra-judicial killings of many fellow artists by Chile’s army, they took up residence in Italy, resulting in “the longest tour in history” as they remained in exile while continuing their efforts supporting Chilean democracy. In September 1988, days after they were no longer banned from Chile, they returned and started touring in the country again. They helped organize the voting down of the referendum that would have re-elected Pinochet.

I had the honor to talk with Mr. Jorge Coulon again recently to promote the Sunday, October 22nd event here in Madison at the Wisconsin Union Theater’s Shannon Hall. We talked about what someone new to the group could expect as well as spending time discussing the latest release, “El Cantos de Todos”, a celebration of the musical traditions and songs of Violeta Parra. Mr. Coulon and I talk about the process of taking these historically important songs and giving them a slightly more modern touch/feel. We talked a little about how it feels to land in the USA of today and I would have been remiss not to bring up a least one of the humanitarian efforts this dynamic group has made a difference in the world by getting involved with. Find out what Mr. Coulon has to say about these things by clicking play above.

Contumbao by Hilario Duran

Hilario Duran makes a triumphant musical homecoming on his new album, “Contumbao” (released on ALMA Records on September 23, 2017). Internationally recognized as a jazz pianist, composer, arranger and bandleader of the highest order, the Cuban-Canadian Duran has been based in Toronto for the past two decades, but his musical heart and soul have remained closely connected to the land of his birth. With “Contumbao”, Mr. Duran has created another compelling entry in a rich and rewarding discography. His earlier albums have earned him three Juno Awards (Canadian music’s most prestigious award) and a Grammy nomination (for 2006’s From the Heart, by Hilario Duran’s Latin Big Band, featuring Paquito D’Rivera and Horacio Hernandez). His playing has also been featured on many other award-winning albums.

I spoke with Mr. Duran about how he was able to take the idea of going back to Cuba to create not only a record, but a family album or sorts. How he walked down the same streets in the now of his life and how that inspired the stories and memories of his Life. We talked about working with the master, Mr. Chucho Valdés on portions of this new record and how as a young man, Mr. Duran used to copy many of Mr. Valdés’ solos with an unmatched respect and a source of inspiration. We discussed the track entitled “Parque 527”, the address from which Mr. Duran spent many years growing up, and the significance of the time spent there on him as a player, but also as a man. We both agreed that the goal of this album was to try and reach out to a wider base of listener-ship, this album has many layers that leave the sophistication of jazz music at home sometimes and goes off into a more dance-able groove, so not only can this record captivate the mind, but also the dancing feet of its listeners. Towards the end of the chat, I found it very interesting to hear Mr. Duran’s response to my question about having a “special place” to go and either create, seek inspiration or just be with yourself.

Warren & The Mule in Madison

On Friday October 13th at 8pm, we in Madison will once again be treated to the sounds of Gov’t Mule as they head to The Orpheum Theater in support of their latest release “Revolution Come…Revolution Go”. For me it is hard to imagine people not knowing of this powerhouse of a group, they have been a staple in my ears and on my shows for years, and I am proud to be a part of the family circle. But just in case, for those who may not be aware, I got together with Warren Haynes to discuss what to expect from the show.

Not only did we take a brief walk through the history of the band, but we painted a quick picture of what new blood to the scene can expect to be a part of. We dove into the new release and discussed the process behind their 10th studio album after 20 years as an evolving entity. We dissected a couple of tracks, the title tune “Revolution Come…Revolution Go” and how it grew and transformed into its final state and how it was almost divided into separate tunes. We got into “Stone Cold Rage” and how if this song does its job, people will understand d the message of the lyrics and the pace and intentness of the music as it fits into the climate of a country poised to become divided. Both Derek Trucks and Yonrico Scott talked to me of the influences of specific “Sages” in their lives, such as Col. Bruce Hampton, and Warren and I got into the importance of remembering where the music originated from with those who played before, and how surrounding one’s self with the right people can inspire the inspiration.
Now, I have been listening to this band since the very first show, which I still have the stub from and Warren and I actually shared in a unique remembrance of the venue and it’s potential wrong way doors. Take a listen, have a laugh and if it fits your space, check them out when they are in town near you.

Songhoy Blues at The Sett

Even though its members are originally from Timbuktu, Mali, the band formed in the city of Bamako after they were displaced from their homes in 2012 during a civil conflict. They decided to start a band to play music for their fellow refugees. In 2015, Songhoy Blues released their debut album, Music In Exile. The new album, Résistance, released on June 16th via Fat Possum Records, shows the bands maturity as artists and melds their vast traditional sounds with the elements of soul, R&B, hip-hop, and rock. The album is full of imagery that takes a listener through the African places built on what feels like foreign tradition, but can be as known to the rest of the world as a stroll down their very own community streets. The album takes the energy of the art and culture and combines it with the groove to make the energy move with its creators and listeners alike. There is even a guest appearance from Iggy Pop to add to the uniqueness of the stories being told.

On Friday October 6th at 8:00 P.M., Songhoy Blues will bring this energy and their musical bridge to Madison at The Sett, Union South on the campus of the University of Wisconsin – Madison. I had the opportunity to talk briefly with lead vocalist, Aliou Touré about what the people in attendance are in for at this upcoming event. We spoke about the energy, and the power of of music and how traveling the world has opened up so many eyes; the band, the listener come and go sometimes with different views and feelings than when the day started. We got into the new album and how the vibes may at first sound like they come from so far away, the meanings, similarities and differences are universal.

Time in the Sandbox with Mindi Abair

If you are not sure who Mindi Abair is, moreover, what a Mindi Abair and The Boneshakers is….well…Mindi is now one of the most recognized and sought-after saxophonists/vocalists out there. As a two-time GRAMMY nominee, she has been electrifying audiences with her dynamic live performances and utter command of the saxophone since her debut album in 2000. No one since Junior Walker has brought saxophone and vocals in one package to the forefront of modern music, with a raucous tone and dynamic stage presence. She has played alongside so many legends and legends to be, it won’t be long until she is uttered as one herself. Mindi enlisted longtime friend and The Boneshakers founder Randy Jacobs (Bonnie Raitt, Was Not Was, Willie Nelson) to inject his brand of Detroit Blues Rock. A 2 1/2 year tour and a live album later, This April Mindi and The Boneshakers decided to record their first studio record. The EastWest Sessions was recorded over five days at legendary Hollywood recording studio EastWest Studios with renowned Blues Rock producer Kevin Shirley (Led Zepplin, The Black Crowes, Aerosmith). The album, which was released September 15, 2017, is a powerful, bluesy, momentous, and deeply emotional journey. The album features a track with iconic blues guitarist Joe Bonamassa, and 2017 GRAMMY® winner in the Best Contemporary Blues Album category, Fantastic Negrito.

I had the true pleasure of kicking back on a call with Mindi to discuss the creation and the feeling of the new release. We got into how the band became a family and the way the songs on this album were shaped into the fun, relate-able and downright funky pieces of art I am honored to be able to share with listeners. Mindi and I were like two peas in a pod, I feel like we could have spoken about music for the entire day, easily. We learn that we both have a place we like to go and escape to and that it is an inspiration for the creation, yet not necessarily the place to crate. When you listen in and I inquire about: “Who would be the coolest call outta the blue to receive a gig offer from” and that turned into, a well that actually happened moment for Mindi. Real cool. This album was released on Pretty Good For A Girl Records which is a part of the Girls Rule type project Mindi has created to help celebrate the achievements of women. We make sure to prop this venture up as it belongs as well. Of course, I have already dropped the Mindi Abair and The Boneshakers names to try and bring them to Madison soon, wherever you are…think about what that could do in your neck of the woods!!

When Antibalas Comes To Town

On Wednesday, September 27th at the High Noon Saloon, I am pleased to say that Antibalas is heading to Madison. They will arrive on the heels of a brand new release that is drenched in traditional form but also as current that the air we breath today. While the wait for the new album might have seemed long, it is certainly well worth it. Where The Gods Are In Peace released Friday September 15th on Daptone Records, pays respect to the forefathers of Afrobeat with compositions spanning nine to fifteen minutes in length. With a blessing from the Fela Kuti legacy early in the band’s career, Antibalas has long been blessed to be re-popularizing and re-energizing the classic Afrobeat sound while adding their distinct New York City grit into the mix. Influences of punk rock, free jazz, and hip-hop are known to seep into their expansive works to define a truly 21st century translation of the Afrobeat genre and beyond.

I had the privilege to have a conversation in support of the show and the album with AMAYO (Vocals & Percussion) to get the vibe and mindset balanced with the ears and entire body. We spoke about the way the new album came together through real life moments that glued the pieces toGether that were floating around the band’s sphere for years. The feeling and power of the energy behind the music shared with other beings was something we seemed to really get, the way the music does form a bridge between spirits of people, and connect them by the Afrobeat grooves. We spent a good chunk of time talking about our mutual friend, and AMAYO‘s brilliant colleague, Miss Sharon Jones and how she was a force, like a guiding lightning bolt that navigated the process of the musical shifts all artists face. We got into how the artists of the Daptone family were altered by her mere presence and that she was the leader of the house of soul. I love it!!! This conversation admittedly was one soul’s opinion and vision of how it is, in order to get an even better feel of how it all pieces together into a severe mind & body changing groove, there are man opportunities to catch them live.

Antibalas – Where The Gods Are In Peace – Daptone Records

Time For Some Ladama

LADAMA is an ensemble comprised of four incredible musicians from across the Americas who create and perform original music, and strive to inspire and engage women and youth in their respective communities to engage in music-making, sound design, composition, and audio production.

LADAMA’s individual mastery as performers in traditions ranging from frevo and maracatu from Brazil, to joropo songs from Venezuela, to cumbia and gaita from Colombia, to soul music from the U.S.A., combined with their experience in border-crossing collaboration that began with the State Department-sponsored exchange and creative springboard of OneBeat, point to group’s high caliber and innovative hybrid approach. They offer an experience to American audiences that is unmatched by any national or international group. As educators and facilitatos, the group draws from specific cultural contexts of the communities they serve to prove a foundation for participants to use music as a basic form of personal expression to address issues most pertinent to them.

I had the pleasure of chatting with Sara Lucas about what people in Madison will be in store for with both a workshop and a set of Ladama’s music on September 16th as part of the 2017 Madison World Music Festival. We talked about how open to all sizes, shapes and abilities the workshop is….no prior knowledge of the sounds or movements of a particular region of the world, just an open mind and a sense of having fun. That conversation slid nicely into what to expect from a set of music when Ladama is on stage. The connection this group will make with a Madison crowd is something I look forward to being a part of. No doubt, you will hear many of the tracks off their newly released, self titled album on Six Degrees Records. Take a listen in to our time toGether and you can even find out what kinds of music/sounds Sara and some of her band-mates are soaking in to inspire, to reflect and to move on forward into this world with.

Ladama on Six Degrees Records