Simply calling Curtis Harding a “soul man” feels reductive. Yes, his music is undoubtedly soulful and his songwriting is both evocative and provocative, but there’s more to his music than the stock imagery the label conjures. Harding’s voice can convey pain, pleasure, longing, tenderness, sadness and strength…..the entire gamut of emotions. Yet still, “soul man” seems too simple a description for musician like Curtis, a man who has lived multiple lives as a musician, participated in different scenes, and brought all those varied sounds and experiences together to carve out his own unique niche.
I had the pleasure of chatting with Curtis about the upcoming show in Madison on March 21st at the Majestic Theater. We give props to the band that’ll help create that night’s vibe, dig a little bit into that “Slop and Soul” sound and experience that he is getting well known for and we spend some quality time talking about the growth of him and his craft between the two releases, “Soul Power” in 2014 and “Face Your Fear” in 2017. We discuss some of the new things happening with him, such as his recent appearance playing with Jon Batiste and Stay Human on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, his work on the Sundance TV period drama series, “Hap and Leonard” and we get a glimpse into the styles of music and the flow Curtis would give the listeners of greenarrowradio if he took over proGramming for a bit.
Curtis Harding at the Echo (Photo by Andie Mills)
Jake La Botz hit the road at fifteen. He became a man of many crafts, including time spent as a roofer, boilermaker, factory worker, and obituary writer. In the midst of this he learned how to play guitar. He played on the streets and in the juke joints of New Orleans, Chicago, and the Mississippi Delta, finding kinship with some of the last of the pre-war era bluesmen: David “Honeyboy” Edwards, “Homesick” James, and “Maxwell Street” Jimmy Davis. He has become known for his “Tattoo Across America Tour”, where he tours the country performing at tattoo shops. He is also known as an actor in films in which he sometimes sings his original songs: RAMBO directed by Sylvester Stallone, ANIMAL FACTORY directed by Steve Buscemi and others are part of his resume. Jake has toured extensively in the U.S. and Europe and has opened for Ray Charles, Etta James, Dr. John, Mavis Staples, JD McPherson, Buddy Guy, Jr. Wells, Taj Mahal, Buckwheat Zydeco, Tony Joe White, John Hammond, The Blasters and a host of other greats.
I had the pleasure of chatting with Jake about his upcoming stop in Madison on March 7th at the High Noon Saloon opening for Lucero. We get into why the pairing of his music works with opening for a band like Lucero and who he is bringing along with him to share his stories. We talk about how he became the man and the musician he is today, which I learn he and I share the same “he was my favorite person growing up” about our respected grandpas. We spend some time getting a feel for how his latest release, Sunnyside on Hi-Style Records went from its beGinnings to a point where I have been able to share with listeners.
Friend of the proGram, Mr. Robert Cray has been bridging the lines between blues, soul and R&B for the past four decades, with five Grammy wins and over 20 acclaimed albums. For his latest project, Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm (April 28, 2017 / Jay-Vee Records), the Blues Hall of Famer traveled to Memphis with his friend, renowned Grammy Award winning producer Steve Jordan, to make a classic soul album with Hi Rhythm, the band that helped create that sound. Mr. Cray has a style that is easily recognizable, he has always had a unique sound to himself and when that first note of a tune is hit, it is comfortable knowing what is abut to come with the rest.
I had the opportunity to discuss the upcoming show atThe Barrymore Theatre in Madison on March 8th with Mr. Cray. We got into a role call of his band-mates/friends and how they inspire him to keep on getting better at their craft. We compare and contrast the latest release, Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm to his 1983 (second album release), Bad Influence. Last time Mr. Cray and I spoke we talked about how if he was not a touring successful musician/artist, he would be some kind of cook or chef, so we find out what would be on the menu today. We also learn what he would play on greenarrowradio, if I walked out of the studio and left him in charge for a bit. Once again, it is a thrill to talk to an artist who is equally as talented as they are down to Earth. Take a listen above to hear for yourself.
Whether you know Jorma Kaukonen from his legendary hall of fame work with bands like Jefferson Airplane or Hot Tuna, or as a singing/songwriting troubadour spinning and telling his tales as a solo artist, his dynamic style is captivating. Jorma has a natural way of making the music, and the story not only sound good, but it feels right and relate-able. He is one of those artists that makes it comfortable to get a look at life from his take. Fortunately, we will get to take a shared ride down the same path as Jorma heads to the Stoughton Opera House on February 15th.
I had the honor of talking with Jorma about how the music and the times do some changing. We chat a bit about storytelling and storytellers, even sharing which book remains one of those we were first introduced to that stuck. The thing I have always liked about Jorma is the things he does for music and to enhance the learning experience of those around him. The work being done at Fur Peace Ranch is just one example of some of the cool going on in his scene. We share thoughts about three of his friends and instructors, and friends of the proGram, Mr. Tommy Emmanuel, Teresa Williams & Larry Campbell. While learning why Jorma prefers live music and what makes a good show, in his opinion…Jorma shares a nice word or two about the Stoughton Opera House.
Todd Clouser is a man who makes the journey happen his way, from moment to moment. He takes it as it goes and makes one step after the other count. Todd is one of these cats who has the ability to not only tell the story with his songs, but use his songs to communicate on another level to those who listen. I have been able to watch his sound and style grow over the course of time and that one thing…time…seems to bring the paths of similarly minded communicator to the steps of Todd’s musical door. I have watched the paints mix to create the newest of colors with some brightness and some darkness none other have duplicated. We all search and seek and dream and believe what we believe…somehow Todd has been a voice I can believe in musically, but it’s the person, the being of Todd Clouser that I am most fond of. I had the chance aGain to ask him a few questions about what’s been going on and how he is. The newness just about to come off his plate is the release of a new record for starters. Thus story-line begins on at a sold out gig on a cold Minnesota night. It features Todd talking to the room with his voice and guitar, Mr. JT Bates on drums and percussion and friend of the proGram, Mr. John Medeski on Hammond B3 Organ and Fender Rhodes, and is named: You The Brave: Live at Icehouse.
This new live recording on Ropeadope Sur is the truth, in real time of making the sounds that linked up the trios paths to that very moment, where creating meets pulse. I am proud to be someone who has been walking the paths with Todd for a few more than a few years now and to see the others who cross path to be with and create with him puts a huge smile in my heart. Todd takes a little time out of his day in Mexico to chat about the new album, working with the coolness over at Ropeadope Sur and a little about our ongoing almost project with Medeski Myself and Todd, where I am featured on power tools… We talk about vulnerability, travel and home. EarGrab some here:
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.
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.
I had the chance to spend a little time chatting with Texanna, Brennan and Ben of King Cardinal before they head to Madison on August 17th to play The Frequency. Hailed by Marquee Magazine for their “excellently crafted Americana” and Westword for their “raw, gut-wrenching emotion,” Denver’s King Cardinal push raw roots rock into lush, sonically daring territory with hints of cosmic country and delicate folk. Building off the success of two acclaimed EPs as well as dates with Ben Sollee, Sam Outlaw, and Darlingside (in addition to a performance at the iconic Telluride Bluegrass Festival), the band is set to release their debut album, ‘Great Lakes,’ which was recorded over seven days at Texas’ famed Sonic Ranch Studio with GRAMMY-winning producer/engineer Ted Young (Israel Nash, Banditos).
In this conversation, the trio explains a little about what the Madison crowd can expect to see and hear when they get a live taste next week. We took a good amount of time discussing their first proper album set to be released towards the end of September and how all the time spent together has allowed for the release to be refined and and reflected upon while taking the bare bones and collectively providing the skin and orGans to be masterfully applied into place. We tapped into the Telluride experience and what I found very interesting was the “What have you been dialed into musically yourselves” question and what they have been putting into their ears as they get a little down time or on travel days. It also turns out that living near the Colorado mountains and all that it offers is a great place for these artists to relax, refresh and escape it all when needed.
The first notes of a good tune, just like the first meetings of two people, give us a lot of interesting insight. I was not surprised at how quickly, Mr. Stephane Wrembel and I hit it off as we discussed his upcoming show in Madison on Sunday, April 2nd at Café Coda. Stephane shared that the event will be a soup of his compositions and the latest respects to Django will accompany those originals.The sounds he has been a part of have resonated with me for years of listening and radio sharing. We discussed which Pink Floyd album we would pick if we were to be stranded on an island…I think by the end we narrowed it down to which album would we NOT have with us. We walked through the musicians on tour and the new album(s), Django Experiment I & II and how making it their own started by recording it like it was a live show, minus the crowd. We discussed how even though this is an album that is an inspired by and a tribute to, Django, how it is in no way an example of being a cover band. I think one listen through and you will certainly agree. It was also a little surprising to learn how the sat down and produced two albums worth of music, when only the one was the oriGinal intention. We spoke of the influences of Django Reinhardt, the energy and explosion of New York and the love love love of Zappa. I learned if I give Stephane thirty minutes of my show, that it is very likely the listeners (and myself) will want an hour. Radio, and particularly the conversations with the artists I choose to speak with always help my eyes and mind open up wide to understand what music means/does to people, artists or otherwise…so when we talked about the timeline of Stephane’s life, the way music was/is as he has gone from nomadic creator to world traveler, I felt like this cat is one of those that people that others will want to create artistic experiments around, to celebrate the contribution and imprint left….and he’ll make you think about an apple differently than you may have before. Also, Stephane reveals a secret he intends to do each year on January 23rd. Oh, it’s in here.
Please enjoy our conversation and maybe get yourself out for a great show.
I had the great opportunity of discussing the upcoming show at the High Noon Saloon on February 8th featuring Mr. Wayne THE TRAIN Hancock with the man himself. When I decide to reach out to artists to hear it from them, I always want it to be someone who I really want to introduce to the people that may not have ever heard of, or heard the sounds of. There are always chances for that and for those who may not have ever run into THE TRAIN before, take a listen in here to this one. We walked through what any unexpected audience members are in store for, the process by which The Train created the songs that fill our minds with such stories and images like a fresh page flip in a book we always wanted to open. We dive into how a couple of tracks take form and shape on the newest release “Slingin’ Rhythm”, released end of 2016 on Bloodshot Records. This conversation is raw and so enlightening. When Wayne THE TRAIN Hancock comes to a town near you, you can rest assured that you are going to get a long and winding show filled with sounds that he calls out off the cuff and it will always be a show that is unique to that niGht…. I ask you to tell me what else you could want from a night out? Be it Rockabilly, Western Swing, Juke-joint Jazz…whatever you want to try and call it, the music created has that feeling of an old blanket with the sensation of a new body wrapped up under it with you.
It has been 10 plus years that I am proud to call Jake and I musical friends. Creator and listener. It is nice to know that my opinions mean something to a guy who is both a phenom of an artists but even more so of a great person. I have watched him grow as a musician and an experimenter with sound, and on his latest release, “Nashville Sessions”, Jake works with Nolan Verner on bass and Evan Hutchings on drums to make an album of tunes quite different than his previous bundleof releases I have happily supported over the decade. You get some of the same flavors, but listen to our chat to find out some of the nuisances that are clearly unveiling before your ears. You too will hear that Carlos Santana zip and that Eddie Van Halen rip & tear. The way Jake relays how the new album went from an idea, with no real plan at first to its final stages where a G like me gets to share it with you, the listeners is fascinating. Jake will be heading to Milwaukee for a show at the Pabst Theater on November 6th. I am sure folks around here will be able to see/hear exactly what I mean about Mr. Jake Shimabukuro if/when they take the journey through the ukulele with him.
Heading into Madison this Sunday is JJ Grey and Mofro..bringing that sweet Southern Soul to a place that’ll keep warm to music like this. JJ’s newest album Orange Blossoms is making a splash all around music, hitting the tops of charts all over and we spend a little time here visiting with the album and its relationship to one other album of Mofro’s that seems to have a similar feel. Orange Blossoms is another Alligator Records release and this one is finding JJ in full musical bloom himself. There are hard hitters and soulful swayers, it is a complete album that is comfortable in its roots and the main people behind its blossoming, JJ and Producer Dan Prothero. There is a beautiful bevy of bandmates on this release and all of them deserve the same recognition I give to JJ, as I am sure he would tell you—it wouldn’t be the same without ’em.
check out our chat here.
What exactly is Intergalactic dirty guitar grooves for earthling weirdos. Razl (Raul Huelves) discuss that and more on his highly infectious guitar-and-beyond ridden groove-a-thon, Rotnova. We take the time to discuss the positives and let’s call them some learned experiences about putting out your own work, and we learn some insight as to who Razl would love to form a touring trio with, then the fun of imagining it begins. This album is for us earthling weirdos focused on funky fusion of a jazzed world experience meshed with the sound of maybe how Robots might play?
Listen it to find out more: Check out our conversation here.
Known for his work in the 80’s with Hanoi Rocks and current work in New York Dolls, Sami and I actually spent time talking about a recent project and new album: Mad Juana’s Bruja on the Corner is a different species of gypsy swinging rock, with mystery and an allure still undefined. We spend a little time talking about some of the previous gigs Sami has had in his career, including time with some of greenarrowradio’s pals, we also find out what Sami’s set-list built around Mad Juana would look like and when you might get a chance to see them live at a venue near you..and you.
Check out our conversation here.
On the 11th &12th of September, watch out Wisconsin coz Backyard Tire Fire is heading in. First on Thursday they will be rockin’ at the Rave in Milwaukee and then the next night at the Annex in Madison. I had a chance to talk with singer/songwriter/band mate/brother Ed Anderson about the brand new album out on Hyena Records titled: The Places We’ve Lived, the places he finds his songwriting superpowers and those fist place Cubbies of his hometown area. Ed really seems like the type of guy you want on stage making sure your night is a solid time, so if you are in the areas listed in Wisconsin or close to any spots Backyard Tire Fire might be heading, maybe its a show for you….
Find out all we spoke about right here.
Backyard Tire Fire
The Places We’ve Lived–HYENA RECORDS 2008
Heading into Madison on Tuesday night at the Majestic Theater, the Derek Trucks Band will certainly be a show to talk about. One of my favorite innovators of music makes a moment to chat with me right before he finishes work on a brand new album. If you have never seen this group of artists work together, it truly is a journey of sound and through it. In this conversation we talk about the new album (but not too much) & the various projects Derek has recently been evolved… err, involved in(?), give props to the core of the band and there is even chatter about the Tampa Bay Rays (Say What??).
Listen to Derek and I chat it up here.
Vince is known for his work in the group Leftover Salmon, but one of his recent projects is in Madison tonight, Great American Taxi. Alternative Americana created from the roots of the earth traveled so often by this group of songwriters and musicians. Your head would spin adding up all the miles the members of Great American Taxi have traveled individually, and in just over two years together theyâ€™ve added a whole lot more to their travelogues. From their home in the high country of Colorado to the shores of the Pacific and back again through the grain belt of the Midwest heading further east to the Atlantic Ocean, Taxi has ridden the highways spinning yarns and delivering high octane music to all who show up at their live shows and consume their 21st century Americana sound. Great American Taxi traffics their collective past helping create their new Americana without borders brand of music.
Sounds like what I am talking about!!
Check out my chat with Vince right here.
Tony has been quite busy ever since we first met up with him years ago. Take some time to check out the “what’s” and “where’s” and how it is all happening in our most recent chat. There is a pretty big name sponsor, dates booked for every home game of a powerhouse southern college football program and some switches in the entire make up of the sounds he is producing these days.
Check out more on Tony Tyler here at his myspace page.
Listen in on our conversation here.
Throughout his decades-long career, Mister Dan Hicks stood as one of contemporary music’s true eccentrics. While steeped in folk, his acoustic sound knew few musical boundaries, drawing on country, call-and-response vocals, jazz phrasing, and no small amount of humor to create a distinctive, albeit sporadic, body of work which earned him a devoted cult following. He attended college in San Francisco, where he switched to guitar and began playing folk music. He returned to the drums, however, when he joined the Charlatans, one of the Bay City’s first psychedelic bands. Although the Charlatans were short-lived — they issued only one single during their existence — they proved influential throughout the San Francisco musical community and were one of the first acts to play the legendary Family Dog. formed the acoustic group Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks in 1968 as an opener for the Charlatans, but soon the new band became his primary project. After adding a pair of female backing vocalists — “the Lickettes” — the group issued its debut LP, Original Recordings, in 1969. After a pair of 1971 records, Where’s the Money? and Striking It Rich, they issued 1973’s Last Train to Hicksville, which proved to be a very successful album for the Hot Licks. This is a re-visit conversation for Mr. Hicks and I as I welcome him into New England for a July 26th show in Fairfield, a July 28th show in Northampton, and on July 29th at the Barn in Brooklyn CT. We have a few laughs and there is some talk of new material and the potential arrival of a potential new album.
Check out my time shared with Mr. Dan Hicks here.
Its always fun to meet up with people for conversations while they are on the road. This is no exception. I had the pleasure of grabbing a few moments of the well documented Grateful Dead historian’s time. David will be coming to Bridgeport Connecticut two times in the near future and I would venture to say it will be two ‘not to be missed ‘ shows. With a brand new album out (TWISTED LOVE SONGS), his Grateful Dead hour, and a passion for the southwest, David and I chat about so much in such a short time and I invite you all to check out our conversation here.
For all the info on David, his tour and his history CLICK HERE for the David Gans website.