With a career spanning sixteen years and almost twenty albums, Charlie Hunter consistently ups his game as an innovative writer and bandleader. He has worked with incredible and diverse talents like Norah Jones , Mos Def, John Mayer, and D’Angelo, just to name a few. He is widely considered the authority on the seven and eight string guitar, and continues to stun audiences with his ability to simultaneously bust out tasty bass parts, melodic leads and swinging rhythms. Charlie has previously recorded for the venerable Blue Note label, Concord, Ropeadope, GroundUP and others. His recent independent venture is steered by his motivation to release music that most inspires him. Critics have touted his genius technique, but it’s his profound artistic sensibility that propels his original music. His signature style of writing and performing has secured his place as one of today’s great guitarists.
I had the chance to catch up with Charlie once aGain ahead of his October 5th show at the Stoughton Opera House. We got into who will be joining him on stage for the show and we spoke about his new guitar. We tapped into how he stays hip with musical newness and what is what about that instrument and players that preceded him that inspired him to play every part of a song on it, like a one man band of musicians. It’s good to know as soon as he is set to release new music, he will be sure to get it over for me to share with you(s). We also find out what Charlie would play if given some time to take over the program.
By now, The Record Company’s story is a well-known one: a trio of musicians grit it out on their own for years in bars and clubs, join forces in L.A., set up some microphones in a living room, and cut an album that turns their world upside down. Released in 2016, Give It Back To You spawned three Top Ten hits at Triple-A radio (including the #1 smash “Off The Ground”), earned the band a slew of festival appearances and sold-out headline dates around the world, and garnered a GRAMMY nomination. The group made the rounds on late night TV, shared bills with John Mayer, My Morning Jacket and Nathaniel Rateliff among others, and racked up more than ten million streams on Spotify. Even at their very first jam session, it was absolutely clear that the trio was on to something special. With a sound that blended the biting blues of John Lee Hooker with the charismatic swagger of the Rolling Stones, the band went from releasing their home-recorded debut to taking the stage at Madison Square Garden in the span of just eighteen months. As the group’s audience grew, so did their artistry, and when it came time to record All Of This Life, it was clear that their approach in the studio would have to take a big step up to reflect the maturation they’d undergone on the road.
I had a chance to catch up with singer/guitarist, Chris Vos about the upcoming show on September 26th at the Majestic Theatre. We get into the unforgettable beGinning stops on the Fall tour. Those new to the scene will find a band that brings not only the rock, but especially the roll to a live show. We talk extensively about the process of creating and sharing the music on the brand new release, All Of This Life, and how rare it would be for this band to not use a first or second take when recording. Which to me is both fantastic and incredible since this new album is such a great radio set-list building collection, one an architect like me has loved to build with.
Photo By: Cortney Armitage
I found a little time to chat with friend of the proGram, Joe Marcinek as he prepares to hit The Harmony Bar & Grill on September 15th with opening act, The Lower 5th. Joe and I get into what a newcomer to the ever revolving and moment to moment coolness of his Joe Marcinek Band, and on this night in Madison he will feature a couple of the members of local favorites, Natty Nation. We spend a few moments teasing the brand new album, “JM3”. We get into the two incredible musicians that round out that organ trio album and we find out if the crowd in Madison will hear any of the new material. Joe and I will be talking aGain in November when the album drops to get more insight into the process, the work and the goodness that turned out in this new sound.
P.S. I will be airing something off the new album this week on the show.
Jake Shimabukuro’s wholly unique approach to the ukulele started early. As a youngster growing up in Honolulu, Hawaii, he started playing the instrument at the age of four, learning the basics from his mother, Carol, and then developing his craft further by studying the likes of musical masters such as Eddie Kamae, Ohta-San and Peter Moon. As he matured, Jake also found inspiration from guitar players, drummers, pianists, and singers. Even athletes helped fuel the intensity of his artistic fire. Jakes’s records have topped the Billboard World Music Charts on numerous occasions, and as a live performer he has become one of the hottest tickets around. He’s played with world-renowned orchestras and at prestigious venues such as the Hollywood Bowl, Lincoln Center and the Sydney Opera House, and has dazzled audiences at music festivals including Bonnaroo, SXSW, the Playboy Jazz Festival and Fuji Rock Festival. He even performed for that rarest of audiences: Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Not too shabby for a humble young man from Hawaii and his trusty ukulele.
Jake and I have spoken to one another since the very beGinning We have offered each other our thoughts on all the music. I look forward to my yearly conversation with him to see where he is being inspired by and how direction-different he is able to make that ukulele go. This time is even more special as we get to talk about his upcoming show on September 24th at The Overture Center For The Arts, right here in my backyard of Madison, Wisconsin. We get deep into his brand new album, “The Greatest Day” and how it developed into a split of six originals and six covers. Take a listen to our chat and hear how one Hendrix tune is crafted into another Hendrix tune to weave a magical sound masterpiece. And to personalize it a little more, we learn what Jake might have done for a career if music was not the path he was fortunate (ad so were we) enough to make a living doing.
In his early twenties, Lipbone Redding migrated from North Carolina to New York City with his guitar. After a brief stint as an actor, carpenter, bartender and producer for the Museum of Sound Recording, he promptly became a subway musician. From the swampy farmlands and beach towns of coastal North Carolina. Lipbone was steeped in the musical tradition of Soul, Boogie and Blues. Early on in his career, Lipbone honed his guitar and people skills among the underground caverns of New York City, In 2002 his craft allowed him to travel and make a living wherever life took him: India, Europe, South America, New Orleans, San Francisco. Along the road, he forged lifelong collaborative relationships with producers, DeeJays, artists and masters around the globe. Since 2012, in order to maintain a lifestyle of 200 engagements per year, Lipbone has returned to his roots and has sprouted new shoots. An uncanny vocal range, a nylon string guitar, a wooden spoon duct-taped to his foot and a lifetime of stories are all he needs to get the party started. While he mostly tours as a solo act, he is known to collaborates regularly with other musicians and his trio, The Lipbone Orchestra. He has shared the stage with many great artists including Marcia Ball, John Mayall, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Tab Benoit, Cyril Neville, Jimmy Hall, Jonathan Edwards, Rita Wilson, Shemekia Copeland, Tommy Castro and others. Lipbone has taken his singular vocal instrumental style to a new level by playing guitar and producing all of the instrument sounds while simultaneously singing and storytelling without the use of electronic effects nor a loop pedal. This might just be the kind of thing you want to check out?!
I had the chance to catch back up with my pal, Lipbone before he heads to Madison on August 31st to play a special House Concert at an East-Side bungalow. Sounds like the right place for him. We get into what people who have not heard him can expect from this nomadic music warrior, as well as a quick backstory of how he got from there to here. He gets to go to so many amazing places in his ‘Beautiful Flying Machine”, so we get to find out a stop or two that recently blew him away and where he likes to retreat off to in order to just refresh and retool himself for the next portion of his organic journey. What would Lipbone play to the listeners if given the opportunity to take over the show, find out by clicking into our conversation and then check out where he is playing next that is close to you.
Photot By: Margaret
Some live albums are so good they become the recordings those artists are known for. Frampton Comes Alive and Cheap Trick at Budokan were monster hits and catapulted the groups to rock superstar status. Cody Diekhoff, too, has big hopes for his first live Chicago Farmer first live album, Quarter Past Tonight, a two-disc set that was independently released on August 3. A touring musician for twenty years with a quarter century of writing songs under his belt, he has seen the type size for his moniker grow steadily larger on festival posters over the years. He called his 21-song 2005 debut album About Time, and the same title would have fit for the new live album, recorded December 1-2, two sold-out nights at the Apollo Theater in Peoria, IL in 2017. This is a solo record with Cody being the only performer, singing and playing guitar as well as harmonica as Chicago Farmer. Fans have requested a live album for years with a love for his stories and banter as much as his songs.
I had the chance to catch up with Cody to discuss the new album as well as the Brewgrass Fest event he is playing with Charlie Parr and the No Name String Band on August 31st at The Edgewater in Madison, Wisconsin. We talk about how stories and storytelling became a big part of his life and how the people in his small town became the center of his attention as he created his delivery on presentation these tales. We also get a chance to hear just how he felt about finally getting a live album out there for himself and his followers. What was really great was learning about some of the heroes of a small town kid who is able to put himself in the shoes of others and keep it real and easy to relate to. Take a listen to our chat and I have a feeling you might go out and take a look or listen to more from Chicago Farmer yourselves.
Photo By: Scott Preston
We Banjo 3 is a band from Galway, Ireland that plays a blend of traditional Irish, old time, and bluegrass music they call “Celtgrass”. The band is composed of two sets of brothers, Enda and Fergal Scahill and Martin and David Howley. Their debut album Roots of the Banjo Tree was released in 2012 and was named “Traditional Music Album of the Year” by The Irish Times. This was followed by the release of Gather the Good in 2014. Siobhan Long, music critic for the Irish Times, writes “We Banjo 3 are a musical Betty Ford Clinic, almost single-handedly rehabilitating the much maligned banjo in 4 short years.” In 2016 the band released their fourth album String Theory which debuted at Number One on the Billboard Charts and they also were selected to play for President Barack Obama and Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the annual “Friends of Ireland” luncheon held in Washington, DC around Saint Patrick’s Day. President Obama praised the band’s show calling it, “Great music. Incredible performance.”
I had the chance to speak with David Howley (Banjo, Vocals, Guitar) about the groups return appearance at this year’s Milwaukee Irish Fest on August 17. We discuss why Milwaukee feels like a second home to the band and what people in attendance can expect once they hit the stage. We also dive into the creation of their brand new album, “Haven” and how it came to be created and what some of the underlying sentiments are base don feedback and conversations with fans and listeners. At the end of out time toGether, you will find out what bands David would steer us to if we wanted to get a deeper sense of music that is similar to the sounds of We Banjo 3.
Photo: Amos Perrine
Jon Spencer, THE BLUES EXPLOSION MAN who put the BELLBOTTOMS on BABY DRIVER!
The Top Cat who spread the Secret Sauce in BOSS HOG!
The Rockabilly Right-Hook from Heavyweight Outlaws HEAVY TRASH!
The Swank-Fucking Master of PUSSY GALORE!
Often imitated, never duplicated, the original NYC underground-rock legend returns from the wilderness with twelve red-hot hits, each more powerful than the last! This is Garage Punk for Now People! A wizard’s brew of rhythm & blues and subversive dance grooves, weaponized with sci-fi skronk and industrial attitude, calibrated for the Revolution, a ball-peen hammer of sound guaranteed to destroy any post-modern hangover! Pulsing with energy, clanging with excitement, and dripping with radioactive soul and raw emotion, Jon Spencer opens up his heart like never before, exploring man’s modern condition with caustic guitars and outerworld crooning, asking and answering the musical question, “Is it possible to torch the cut-throat world of fake news and pre-fab, plastic-coated teen ennui with the cold hard facts of rock’n’roll?”
THE ANSWER IS YES!
SPENCER SINGS THE HITS! This is the truth serum America has been craving, the beginning of a rock’n’roll special counsel that takes no prisoners and puts the squares on ice!
I had the great pleasure of chatting with Jon about the upcoming album, as well as the July 30th show in Madison at the High Noon Saloon supporting Melvins. We get into the making and creating of the new tunes, and how doing it as a “solo” artist took on meaning. We paint a quick picture of what a newcomer to the scene could expect from the music of Jon Spencer as a solo artist and the people who are working out on tour helping him bring the fire to us. I have to admit that Jon’s music in all the bands mentioned above have always held a special place in my musical shaping existence, so getting to discuss the hows and whys and such with Jon was a thrill. We also find out just what he would spin if given 45 minutes of this radio show to program.
Photo Credit: Michael Lavine
Larry Keel is described by music critics and reviewers as the most powerful, innovative and all-out exhilarating acoustic flatpicking guitarist performing today. He has absorbed the best lessons from his Bluegrass family upbringing, both sides deeply steeped in the rich mountain music culture and heritage of Southwest Virginia. From there, he has always integrated that solid musical grounding and natural-born talent with his own incomparable approach to playing amplified, acoustic guitar and composing original music. He’s also got a knack for choosing interesting and appealing material from all realms of music with guts, whether it’s a tune written by a fellow song-writer/musician friend, or a surprise cover from any number of musical acts all over the map. The combination is pretty irresistible, and has earned Mr. Keel the highest respect and billing among the top acoustic and jam rock musicians alive, and some now, sadly, gone. Larry Keel has a variety of musical formats he presents throughout the year; especially look out for his core band, The Larry Keel Experience.
On Friday, July 13th, The Larry Keel Experience will be making the good times and good luck happen at The Edgewater in Madison, Wisconsin. I had the honor of catching up with Larry about the upcoming event, and what a newbie to the scene can expect when they make their way out. We spend a little time talking about some of the fellow musicians he has been privileged to work with, learn from and call friends throughout the years and what things rub off from those moments. We also learn about a potential timeline on a new album that is currently in pre-production as well as some of the music Larry would share with my listeners if given control of the board for a bit. Also, I think it is pretty cool to know that he will be thinking about me and Mustapha when he cuts the grass. Check it out, the chat and the show.
Photo By: Jim Dimitroff
As the phenomena of instant connection and the need for constant self-improvement further implant their tendrils into our culture, the ability to truly connect with each other and ourselves has begun to fade. As we all reach for our smartphones to gaze upon the manufactured perfection of the lives of those we admire, we lose sight of what makes our own lives important. Nashville’s Langhorne Slim interlaces this theme throughout his new album. “Everyone’s searchin’ for something better around every corner, but it’s already right here,” he says. “We’re all born whole — through livin’ we fall apart…” The songs on Langhorne Slim’s newest album, “Lost At Last Vol. 1”, which dropped November 10, 2017, challenge the idea of social rigidity: the attitude that there’s a “correct” way for us to live and a side we should be on. He urges the world to see through the idea that by following that path and focusing only on fitting the mold, one will have lived a good life. He re-interprets the sound of the free-spirited yet vulnerable every-man heard on 2015’s “The Spirit Moves” and brings forth anew the call for us to abandon “the fold” and re-connect with ourselves and each other.
I had the complete pleasure of speaking with Langhorne Slim about this latest release and how it grew from the seed to it’s own unique flower. We paint a water-colored picture of what the people in Madison, specifically what a newcomer to the scene can imagine will occur on June 23rd at the High Noon Saloon when Langhorne Slim And The Lost At Last Band come toGther with Madisonians. There is a moment of reflection where thinking about a special space to get away or create is contemplated and who or what might have rubbed off on the skill of connectable storytelling. When we discussed his recent playing and relationship with our friends (family), Victor and Janet of Nineteen Thirteen, we get a tease of the potential of something real different being in the works for consumption in the near future. If you’ve been wondering, ‘What is Langhorne Slim listening to these days’, well guess no further, just check out the entire conversation, as it will be sure to pry open your mind into a real cool cat.
Photo Credit: Dawn Hamilton
New Orleans Suspects began playing together back in 2009 as a pick-up band at the Maple Leafin New Orleans. The band is comprised of some of the most seasoned, highly respected players in the NOLA scene, bringing that “Big Easy” feeling wherever they play. Back in the day the group called themselves The Unusual Suspects. Their chemistry was undeniable and by the summer of 2011 they decided to tour full-time and created a new brand for their sound, renaming the band New Orleans Suspects. They quickly began attracting large crowds from coast to coast and in just a few short years they’ve released four albums and established themselves as one of New Orleans’ best supergroups.
I had a chance to chat with guitarist of the band, Jake Eckert about the upcoming show at the High Noon Saloon here in Madison on May 11th. We get a feel for what the artists making the music will be bringing to the party and how they will carry a little of that “Big Easy” feeling to out backdoor. The band has a new live album coming out and Jake and I dive into the similarities and differences of creating a live album versus the laboratory feel of a studio album..(from the two minds of Jake, the producer and the guitarist)..Very insightful conversation about the live beast. Since we chatted in the early portion of JazzFest, we touch base on the pacing an artists needs to have to properly survive this wild festival. Finally, see how we weave the almighty Col. Bruce Hampton into our conversation (on the day of his birth), and how familiar the words Jake shares about him are to what many others have said on this proGram.
Jake Eckert Photo by Eliot Kamenitz
The Father of Newgrass and King of Telluride, Mr. Sam Bush, has long since established himself as roots high royalty. He is revered for both his solo and sideman work, which includes time with Emmylou Harris, Lyle Lovett, and Béla Fleck, to name just a very few. But instead of kicking back and soaking up honors such as an Americana Music Association Lifetime Achievement Award and suite of Grammys and International Bluegrass Music Association trophies, Mr. Bush still strives relentlessly to create something new. The Sam Bush Band tours extensively, appearing at many small venues and large festivals such as the Strawberry Music Festival (Memorial Day and Labor Day), Rockygrass (late July), and every spring at the Americana Festival, Merlefest in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. Sam Bush is known as one of the liveliest performers at these festivals, and makes many guest appearances with the other artists.
I had a great opportunity to catch up with Sam shortly after finishing up at this years Merlefest to talk about the upcoming show on May 12th at the Stoughton Opera House. We talk about the musicians and the music one could expect at this show, and the shared joy that is sure to circle around inside the venue.. We talk down he path of his first meeting with friend of the proGram, Mr. David “Dawg” Grisman, and how he feels after hanging out with him playing, still to this day (which really brought a smile to my face). Hearing Sam describe the recent and first meeting (on stage), with our pal, Mr. Tommy Emmanuel was a complete hoot, and made me wish I was in the crowd witnessing it. We tiptoe around the ongoing ideas for a few different new potential releases, a song the band has been featuring at recent shows and I am willing to bet, the sounds will be as fresh as can be and taking us all together with a joyful noise.
The Sam Bush Band by Shelly Swanger Photography
John Scofield is considered one of the most important guitarists and composers in jazz. His influence began in the late 70’s and is going strong today. Possessor of a distinctive sound and stylistic diversity, Mr. Scofield is a masterful improviser whose music generally falls somewhere between post-bop, funk edged jazz, and R & B. He has prominently led his own groups in the international jazz and contemporary scenes, recorded over 40 albums as a leader (many already classics) and collaborated with current favorites and jazz legends like Miles Davis, Pat Metheny, Charlie Haden, Herbie Hancock, Medeski, Martin & Wood, Bill Frisell, Brad Mehldau, Mavis Staples, Gov’t Mule, Jack DeJohnette, Joe Lovano, Joe Henderson, Dave Holland and Phil Lesh to name only a few. Throughout his career John has punctuated his traditional jazz offerings with funk-oriented electric music. All along, the guitarist has kept an open musical mind and a variety of audiences in the jazz, rock and classical realms.
I had a chance to share some time with John talking about the upcoming gig at The Barrymore Theatre on 4/21 with the John Scofield Joe Lovano Quartet. We discuss what someone who has never heard the music this quartet creates might be in store for at the show, and how John and Joe have known and grown with each other over a lifetime. It is true that this quartet does not hit the road that often, so catch them while you can. We get into how songs are selected and how the group feeds off one another during a set to keep that moment in time, securely unique. It was thrilling to hear of his working with some of the greats, but we single out Chris Wood (MSMW was about to play a show together) and Warren Haynes (John and Warren just went to a cool concert toGether – find out what is was by listening in). The versatility John shows in his music is the type of path I enjoy weaving from set to set, making those sound neighborhoods that otherwise may never bump into one another, and I think John would enjoy walking down the sidewalks with me in the greenarrowradio hood.
Mr. John Scofield
Joe Marcinek Band is an experience you may never forget. That is because each show features a different lineup of musicians creating a different set of music every night. The music is equal parts Chicago Blues, New Orleans Funk, Grateful Dead Psychedelia, and Jazz Fusion for open minded listeners. Joe tours nationally from New York to LA and everywhere in between. Most of these lineups will only happen one time making every night a can’t miss and unique show.
We are fortunate here in Madison to have an artist like Joe always find a way to bring his unique band meld to us. These incredible one off type shows make for such memorable times for both the audience and the band. Once again, the Joe Marcinek Band is heading to Madison to play the Harmony Bar on April 14th. Joe and I took a moment to catch up and discuss who he will be teaming up with to make music for Madison, we discuss recent working with friend of the program, Mr. Alan Evans (Alan played with Joe and is mixing Joe’s new album. We also talk about teaming up with our boys, Groovesession in Cali and did I mention a new album? Oh yes, we talk about a potential dream come true scenario for Joe with this new record, and once it is finished, I’ll be able to put it into your ears first. And as always, Joe and I mention our bridge connection and respect to Dr. Bernie Worrell.
Photo by: Ian Rawn Photography
More of Ian’s work at his FB page and his IG.
In June of 2017 Midnight North released their third studio album: “Under the Lights”. On this full length record, the band left all they had on the court. Recorded by David Simon-Baker (Los Lobos, ALO, Jackie Greene, Mother Hips) at the Greene Room and Allegiant Studios, “Under the Lights” features their eleven best new tunes. Expect twang of of country on tracks like “The Highway Song” and “Greene County”, morsels of soul on the likes of “Back To California”, but mostly good solid rock and roll. With strong melodies and stronger harmonies, for this band it comes down to one thing: the song.
I had a chance to catch up with Grahame Lesh to talk about the upcoming show on 4/14 at the Midwest Music Festival in LaCrosse and here in Madison on 4/15 at High Noon Saloon. We get into what to be ready for at the show and how the newest release will play in and out live. We dive into the making of the album and how the stories experienced on a tour get worked up, and expressed on a recording and how much this group definitely enjoys stretching it out for those who make it out. Grahame shares his insights from playing both the bigger festival scene(s), and holding down their fifth year of Sunday nights at his dad, Phil Lesh‘s exceptional venue, Terrapin Crossroads in San Rafael, CA. If you are looking for some harmony in your life, the music of Midnight North will definitely bring it your way.
While brothers Chris and Oliver Wood have been rooted in music since early in their childhood, clearly at times they have made such different types of music over the years, but the influences of their early lives brings them back when The Wood Brothers create together. The storytelling and unique sounds have been gaining all sorts of musical momentum over the years and have included the stages of many a great place, with great people. Now that they are more of the final act on many of those stages, we get an album to match. The Wood Brothers’ sixth outing, “One Drop of Truth”, dives headfirst into a deep wellspring of sounds, styles and influences. Whereas their previous outings have often followed a conceptual and sonic through-line, here the long-standing trio featuring brothers Oliver and Chris along with Jano Rix treat each song as if it were its own short film. So, grab some popcorn and beer and tune in.
I had the chance to chat once again with friend of the proGram, Mr. Chris Wood about the upcoming SOLD OUT show at the Majestic Theater in Madison on April 12th, with the wonderful Nicki Bluhm opening. We talked about what to expect this time around at the live event as well as dissecting a couple of the tracks on the new release. Chris talks about how working with a variety of artists and art taps into the creative spirit of this band, and we spend a little time talking about Mr. John Scofield in particular as I had just spoke to John about playing with MMW an hour earlier.
Mr. Del McCoury has had a long career in bluegrass. Although originally hired as banjo player, he sang lead vocals and played rhythm guitar for Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys in 1963, with whom he first appeared on the Grand Ole Opry. In the 1980s his sons began performing with him. Fiddler Tad Marks and bass player Mike Brantley joined the group in early 1990s. They relocated to Nashville, Tennessee as they began to attract attention. Fiddler Jason Carter and bassist Mike Bub joined in 1992. Alan Bartram joined the band as bassist in 2005. Mr. McCoury became a member of the Grand Ole Opry in October 2003 and has influenced a great number of bands, including Phish, with whom he has shared the stage several times and who have covered his songs. He has also performed with The String Cheese Incident and Donna the Buffalo, and recorded with Steve Earle. Mr. McCoury has covered songs by artists as diverse as The Lovin’ Spoonful, Tom Petty, and Richard Thompson and has appeared at festivals including Bonnaroo, High Sierra, the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, The Telluride Bluegrass Festival, and the Newport Folk Festival. In 2008, Mr. McCoury started DelFest, an annual bluegrass festival in Cumberland, Maryland, held at the Allegany County Fairgrounds with the Del McCoury Band plays every night at each of the festivals.
I had the honor of chatting with Mr. McCoury to support the April 21st show at the Stoughton Opera House. We spent time talking about the history of Bluegrass music, from when he started to where it is now. We got into a discussion about his soon to be released album, “Del McCoury Still Sings Bluegrass” will drop this May 25th, smack dab in the middle of Delfest and along side the release of his son’s group, The Travlin’ McCoury’s new release. We spoke about his work with Jerry Lee Lewis and friend of the proGram, Mr. David “Dawg” Grisman. We even get a little insight as to the first time Mr. McCoury met up with Jerry Garcia and what could have become of it if Jerry was a little less shy.
It is always a treat to speak with the greats, and in this case, it sure did not disappoint.
Mr. Del McCoury
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.