“Moist” Paula Henderson is a baritone saxophone player. She is a longtime member of the constantly shifting collective I call family, Burnt Sugar Arkestra Chamber. She has performed with Melvin Van Peebles‘ group Wid Laxative and has also played with The Roots, Gogol Bordello, Amanda Palmer and TV On The Radio, with whom she appeared on the David Letterman show. There are so many bands, projects and art I could connect Paula to, from Secretary to Nick Waterhouse, from Moisturizer to her work with Reverend Vince Anderson. But the truth is, we met, we made friends and I am so proud to be a part of each and every thing she puts her mind and talent to.
I had the chance to catch up with Paula after a trip overseas to talk about an upcoming cassette release party for her newest work, Actually Electric Experiments and Adventures on EWI. We get into what a EWI is and how that has translated into some new individual mind opening for Paula as well as the way the entire “project” became an event. The journey of this music is an interesting as the music itself. Whenever we get toGether, we relsih on our very first time making acquaintance and I for one, hope you feel more a part of that as yo ulisten in to our conversation. We should all plan a reuninon of our sporits, and this is a great place to start.
She comes from New York, he lives in Paris – her name is Nicolle Rochelle, his name is Antoine Chatenet, and against all the odds of their physical locations, they found each other. After four years of touring Europe with the director Jerome Savary, Nicolle stumbled upon Antoine’s productions on Internet. Instantly upon hearing his songs, she recognized herself within the sound and fell in love with his musical style. That very same evening they met by pure chance in a Parisian jazz club, and GINKGOA was born. From Pop Music, to the Swing of old New York with a mix of Electro-French touch beats, they only have one thing in mind: to make generations of people dance, sway, and sing along to melodies that stay in your head long after they leave the venue. Frequently described as a modern version of the electro-swing heavyweights ‘Caravan Palace’ & ‘Parov Stelar’ due to their energetic live shows and ability to make any audience dance; critics and audiences everywhere agree that GINKGOA has rightfully earned their own place at the top of this list.
I had the thrill of chatting with Nicolle about the upcoming set in Madison on July 14th & 15th at the ever-popular Fête de Marquette. It is really nice to hear how Madison is remembered by artists as they come and go, and Nicolle shares some really nice words about the people who danced with GINKGOA‘s thang last time they came to town to festival up. We set the stage for anyone who missed out last time they were here with a quick nutshell painting of the who and the what. We talk about the brand new (well timed) thumper of an EP “One Time” and how it went from an orb of idea and energy into the beats and story I happily will Summertime share with you. We also learn a little about what would be in a setlist aired out for you if Nicolle had the board on greenarrowradio.
Bent Knee is a band without frontiers. Its borderless sound combines myriad influences from across the rock, pop, minimalist, and avant-garde spectrums into a seamless, thrilling whole. Its latest album, “Land Animal” the groups first for InsideOutMusic/Sony, takes its sound to a new level. It offers a suite of songs full of addictive hooks, lush melodies and enthralling twists and turns that capture the reality of life in the 21st Century—a reality of people and nations in the midst of tumultuous change. It also communicates a ray of hope and desire for listeners to embrace the fact that they’re not alone in their struggles. The band has gone from strength to strength in recent years. Its last two albums, 2016’s “Say So” and 2014’s “Shiny Eyed Babies”, were hailed as significant art-rock achievements. The group has performed hundreds of shows across the world to date. With “Land Animal”, Bent Knee has elevated its storytelling ambitions to create narratives that reflect and refract the currents we’re exposed to in the news every day. But wait…there’s more….
I had the chance to reconnect with members of Bent Knee in support of their upcoming event in Madison at Art In. Spent some time aGain with bassist, Jessica Kion and first timer on the show, violinist, Chris Baum. They will be heading here on The Paper Earth tour, which we find out, has been anything but a wild ride. We spoke about the differences/similarities in the process developing the “Land Animal” and this new work which Madison will get a taste of first hand. I am always thrilled to share tales of learnings about ourselves when we stretch into new circles, and Bent Knee latest work performed with the Boston Conservatory Percussion Ensemble, will prompt you to go check out the YouTube video and leave you wanting to check it all out in different shapes and forms.
Image by: Chris Anderson
Igor Yuzov was born in Germany, raised in Ukraine and studied in Russia. He grew up in the former Soviet Union, where folk music was the norm and rock’n’roll was illegal. A rebellious streak, however, led him to seek out the forbidden music. As soon as it became possible, Igor left Russia for America with his “Folk’n’Roll” band Limpopo and was personally greeted by Ronald Reagan. In 1993, Limpopo won Star Search and their popularity began to blossom. Igor dreamed that Elvis Presley came to him and told him to start playing rock’n’roll. Igor and his Russian friends became Red Elvises and gave street performances on Santa Monica’s 3rd Street Promenade. As their crowds grew larger, the City of Santa Monica ordered them to discontinue their street performances. Evolving over the years, Igor’s music has been labeled “Siberian Surf Rock” which contains humorous lyrics and grooves that forces his audience to dance. Over the past 20 years, Red Elvises have constantly toured all over the world with occasional breaks to record new music and to participate in film and television projects. No matter where they perform, Igor & Red Elvises always bring the party with them.
I had the opportunity to chat with Igor ahead of the July 11th show in Madison at High Noon Saloon. We give new comers to the scene an idea of what to expect from the a Red Elvises‘ show and who will be on stage rockin’ you. Igor and I talk about the party that naturally ensues with their style of music and if you ask me, Madison sounds like the perfect place to get a party started. Igor and I compare the shared international discussions and feelings both World Cup soccer and a musical bridge provide those who are paying attention. I think you will also find it interesting to hear what artists Igor would share with the listeners if given a portion of the show to proGram.
Photo credit: Emily Butler Photgraphy
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
Edgar Winter is a true music legend and pioneer. He has been celebrated across the globe since his 1970 solo debut, Entrance. Even now, with over twenty albums, top hits “Frankenstein” and “Free Ride,” and numerous collaborative efforts to his credit, Edgar Winter has not been satisfied to ride the wave of popular music stardom. His music is always evolving and he is a master at stretching his skill and imagination to produce amazing results. You can get a sense of that continual growth as you go through and listen in to his complete discography. The evolution is real and ever-shaping. He continues to thrill audiences with his live performances, always remaining on the cutting edge of music and style. Mr. Winter is now, just as before, at the very top of his game, and his future looks even brighter than his past.
I had the complete honor of talking with Mr. Edgar Winter as he prepares to rock and roll with the crowd in Milwaukee on July 1st at the world’s largest music festival, Summerfest. We start off putting who and what to expect if you happen to be on your maiden voyage into the music and scene of The Edgar Winter Band. There are always new fans to be had. It is a thrill to listen in on how Edgar has gone about and goes about listening to, feeling and sharing all types of instruments and music. The evolution is real and ever-shaping. We get into how the respect of all things musical happened to him and how much of an influence his brother Johnny truly was on his being. We find out what music Mr. Winter would share with you, the listeners if give as much time on the proGram as he wanted, really. And towards the very end of the conversation, we get an idea of a new project in the pipeline that pays homage to Mr. Johnny Winter, is brother, mentor and inspiration and how it went from being a for profit idea that was not to get off the ground into a “do it your way” respectful offering that will get to our ears in the soon to be.
Photo By: PAUL ZOLLO
When you think of New Orleans, the city’s foremost flambeaux-lit traditions of Mardi Gras, Bourbon Street, voodoo, Po’ boys, beads, gumbo, and second line undoubtedly come to mind. You can also count Big Sam’s Funky Nation amongst those NOLA treasures. Known for a boisterous blend of funk, jazz, rock, and hip-hop, nothing short of seismic live “experiences,” and a whole lot of Southern charm, Big Sam’s Funky Nation might very well be The Big Easy’s best kept secret. Big Sam, the frontman, personally draws on over two decades in the game, spanning everything from 300 shows per year during his days in Dirty Dozen Brass Band and gigs backing up Widespread Panic and Dave Matthews Band to recording and touring with Mr. Allen Toussaint and Elvis Costello. Additionally, he was sought out for a recurring role on the critically acclaimed HBO series Treme.
I had the pleasure of catching up quick with Big Sam in advance of the Funky Nation heading to Madison on June 28th to play the Ruby Lounge. We spoke about what kinda party will be happening when we all get together to celebrate. We dive into the new album, “Songs In The Key Of Funk Vol. 1”, and how not only is it a New Orleans sound, but it heads knee deep into a funk that is beyond one area of the world. Big Sam’s Funky Nation bring their sound to all sizes and shapes of people including the kids….as I recall a great album FUNKY KIDZ….where they get down to the Hokey Pokey. That’s what it’s all about.
Photo Credit: Andy Goetz
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
The story goes that the Big Wu, bound for rock stardom, sold their souls for a case of Old Style beer one thirsty night long ago. The legend and the band live on. Still rocking their powerful, moving, and energizing original music for the fans. A jam band with a unique style and presence, the Wu combine strong, free flowing sonic improvisations and vocal harmonies, with finely crafted songs for all tastes. Oh, and their fans are famously friendly.
I had the chance to catch up with Padre of The Big Wu to talk about the upcoming event on June 6th at the Majestic Theater with opening act, The Grasshoppers. Padre and I talk about the potential of what is and what could be when it comes to the moments leading up to a show, such as the one on the 16th. We get into the new music that will soon be in my hands to share with all you listeners, the upcoming Big Wu Family Reunion, which is August 17 and 18th and this year it is back to being a home game. Finally, we somehow get to talking about how Robert Randolph is the butter on Prince‘s bread…err…something like that. Check it out out for yourself.
Photo Credit: Wandering Skunk Photography
There are many voices and styles of the versatile Shana Morrison. She has been placed in the category of pop with a side of blues and a side of rock. However, it is her ability to add a wide array of diversity to her musical brew that always caught my ear. She has been known to include other ingredients, like country, R&B, and jazz into the mix. Her material seems to be ever-changing and hard to pin down categorically. She began performing with her group Caledonia in the San Francisco Bay area in 1996. Her debut CD, Caledonia, was released on her own label, Belfast Violet Records, in 1998 and picked up by the Monster Music label in 1999. Vanguard Records signed Shana in 2001, and 7 Wishes was released in 2002. Each album received favorable reviews from media outlets across the country while getting solid airplay coverage and support. From there she has toured internationally, shared the stage or played with a long list of incredible artists, ranging from Joe Cocker to Bob Weir. In 2108, Shana is on the new release from her father, Van Morrison and Joey DeFrancesco, adding a whole lot of beautiful soul to an already powerful album
I had the chance to spend a little time with Shana to discuss her upcoming tour stops in Wisconsin. One June 8th, she will at the Barrymore Theatre in Madison and on June 9th, she will be at Wilson Theater at Vogel Hall at The Marcus Center For The Performing Arts in Milwaukee. She’ll be opening for Leo Kottke both evenings. We get into what folks who go and check out her set will be in store for, from material to the other artist joining her. We talk about the new album with her father and what kind of moments of “WOAH” sometimes happen when working with him, and how excited she is for how well the album is charting. We talk about her work with Roy Rogers and what living in Mill Valley provides in the way of influence. At the end of the chat, we find out what music Shana would share if I gave her a half hour of the show to proGram…looks like I have a perfect sub to call to fill in.
Van Morrison & Shana Morrison-Oct 8th 2010-Photo: Art Siegel
MOKOOMBA brings audiences an electrifying blend of Afro-fusion and tantalizing traditional Tonga rhythms. Their mix of Zimbabwean rhythms, Afro-beat and Afro-rock generated exuberant scenes in over 75 concerts in 2017: from New Orleans Jazz Festival to the Sziget Festival. This force of global sound was also featured in/on many popular music media outlets such as Songlines Magazine, Arte TV, Afropop, just to name a few.
The name MOKOOMBA stems from the deep respect that the Tonga people have for the Zambezi River and for the vibrant life that it brings to their music and culture. This exciting Tonga group from Zimbabwe certainly has a unique sound that is set to take the world music scene by storm! Their music is rooted in the local traditions and life in their hometown of Victoria Falls, a town on the Zambezi River named after the spectacular waterfall. MOKOOMBA has brought a unique flavor to a vibrant global music scene that was dominated by sungura, reggae and dancehall, urban and afro-jazz bands at that time of their conception.
I had the wonderful pleasure of talking with bassist of Mokoomba, Abundance Mutori about the upcoming events we in Madison are fortunate to get a chance to be a part of. On June 1st, they will be at North Street Cabaret and then again on June 3rd at the Central Park Sessions. Abundance and I painted a quick image of what newcomers to the sound and scene could expect to see and hear at either event. We discuss the energy and tradition of the group as well as how the group ended up toGether doing what they love. Can’t wait to share in the vibe of Mokoomba as they head back to a place that already loves them….Madison, Wisconsin.
Here Come the Mummies is an eight-piece funk-rock band of 5000 year-old Egyptian Mummies with a one-track mind. Their “Terrifying Funk from Beyond the Grave” is sure to get you into them (and possibly vice versa). Since their discovery, Here Come The Mummies has been direct support for P-Funk, Al Green, Mavis Staples, KC and the Sunshine Band, and Cheap Trick; rocked Super Bowl Village; become a regular on The Bob and Tom Show; played massive festivals like Summer Camp, Common Ground, Voodoo Fest, Musikfest, Suwannee Hulaween, and Riverbend; and sold tickets by the thousands across large swaths of North America.
I had the chance to chat with Mummy Cass about the upcoming show in Madison on May 24th at the Majestic Theater and what the people in attendance can expect if they are first timers to the HCTM’s scene. Mummy Cass gives the role call of the entire cast of characters who will sweat and funk with you on the 24th (or whenever you happen to catch their live show). We get into how they were able to discover the musical gods that reside on Earth from visitors for another location. But for me, the best part of the conversation was talking about the possibility of some brand new music, and how these Mummies are going about nailing down the tracks…you see it’s going to be a live recording and who knows how and when the green light will be on.
Midnight and Cass Funkin’ Out Front
Joyann Parker brings a full range of talent to her performances as an accomplished singer, pianist, songwriter must-hear lead guitarist, currently endorsed by Heritage Guitars in Kalamazoo, MI. She has both control and power that can tear right through you without causing any pain, and it’ll make you feel downright good. She has performed for thousands at major venues and festivals across the country and represented Minnesota at the 2015 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee. She has opened for Grammy winner Robert Cray, taken the stage for Grammy nominee Elvin Bishop in a pinch and is a staple on the most prestigious stages in the Twin Cities.
Joyann’s album “Hard To Love” was released on April 13, 2018 and is garnering national and international attention from critics and fans alike and she is set to head out on an upcoming tour to support this fantastic release.
I had a chance to chat with Joyann about the upcoming shows in and around Wisconsin, including a stop on May 17th at The Brink Lounge. We get into the show that people can expect out of her and her travelling band-mates. We really get into how she is able to write songs that make this guy feel like she was reading some of his journal entries over the years and what flipped on that soul switch in her. We also learn just what is Joyann’s “heading out on the road music” to keep the moments from getting away. Being a Wisconsin girl, Joyann and I will likely continue the conversation over in New Glarus later in the Summer over a tasty beverage and some food cart goodness.
photo by: Jeannine Marie Photography
The Rabbit and the Fallen Sycamore, the third album in a trilogy by singer/songwriter Kristo Rodzevski and his group of jazz progressives, will be released by Much Prefer Records on May 25, 2018. Mixed by celebrated producer Bill Laswell, “The Rabbit…” represents the fulfillment of a musically adventurous idea: Assemble seven world-class improvisers in a studio, establish an environment for pure music-making, and capture all on tape. By partnering with core collaborators Mary Halvorson (guitar), Tomas Fujiwara (drums) and Michael Blanco (bass), then inviting contributions from Kris Davis (piano), Ingrid Laubrock (saxophone) and Brian Drye (trombone), Kristo fermented an intoxicating brew. The bubbling inventions are spontaneous performances without overdubs. Thematically, the album continues themes established in Kristo’s first two releases of this trilogy, Batania (2015) and Bitter Almonds (2017). While those trilogy installments examined the deep feelings for his Macedonian grandmother and mother, “The Rabbit…” explores a transition, the fading significance of his past to his life in the USA.
I had the pleasure of catching up with Kristo to discuss the creation of the final act in this sonic trilogy and how the inner workings of this team of experimenters and improvisers created another album that speaks to the feelings and emotions unlike many other releases. We talk about how rich and full an album of few takes and all different can feel. We get into how tracks were selected as the one to use, how Mr. Laswell took to listening to the original stories and ideas behind the tracks and added a little tweak here or there to accentuate the tales. There’s an eye opening chance to learn a little about one of the tracks and how it makes me feel and maybe we learn a little about the why I feel that way too. The art of the album cover, the physical piece of art that accompanies the music was also created in a very similar fashion as the music….. one take from open-minded communicators makes for brilliant art, all around.
Mars Williams is an open-minded and highly versatile musician, composer and educator who commutes easily between free jazz, funk, hip-hop and rock. He has played and recorded with so many amazing artists across the entire scope of the music landscape, including: The Psychedelic Furs, Billy Idol, Bill Laswell, Ministry, Power Station, Die Warzau, The Waitresses, Kiki Dee, Billy Squier, DJ Logic, Wayne Kramer, John Scofield, Charlie Hunter, Kurt Elling, Swollen Monkeys, Mike Clark, Jerry Garcia, Naked Raygun, Friendly Fires, The Untouchables, Blow Monkeys….see…many different music language spoken. The great John Zorn credits Mars as “one of the true saxophone players–someone who takes pleasure in the sheer act of blowing the horn. This tremendous enthusiasm is an essential part of his sound, and it comes through each note every time he plays. Whatever the situation, Mars plays exciting music. In many ways he has succeeded in redefining what versatility means to the modern saxophone player.”
I had a chance to catch up with mars once again, we had spoken when I was on air on WHUS out of the University of Connecticut a lifetime ago. This time is was to talk about the upcoming event at Arts & Literature Laboratory, with a Mars Williams Duo, with a special guest drummer. We spoke deeply about his new release and a European tour to support the Album “Painted Pillars” with Tollef Østvang. Mars was recently nominated for a very special award and check out our chat to find out who his competition is. Can you say, teacher Vs. student? Of course, I couldn’t let Mars go with talking about one of his projects, Liquid Soul and we started the conversation about perhaps an upcoming Midwest tour? Who knows??
Mars Williams by French Quarter Photography
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
The Claudettes fuse Chicago piano blues with the full-throttle energy of rockabilly and punk and the infectious spirit of 1960’s soul to write a thrilling new chapter in American roots music. Johnny Iguana, who pounds the sound out of his piano has toured for years with his cult-favorite rock band Oh My God, is also a member of the Grammy-nominated groups Chicago Blues–A Living History and the Muddy Waters 100 Band. He has toured and recorded with Junior Wells, Buddy Guy, Otis Rush and more. The band recorded their brand new album, “Dance Scandal At The Gymnasium” with Grammy-winning producer Mark Neill (Black Keys, Paladins, Old 97’s, J.D. McPherson). It was released March 23, 2018 on Yellow Dog Records out of Memphis and on April 13 in Europe/UK on Continental Records Services.
I had the opportunity to catch up with Johnny recently to talk about what newcomers to this band and this sound can expect on May the 5th at The North Street Cabaret for a CD release party and aGain on May 28th at the World’s Largest Bratfest in Madison. We definitely dive into the creation of the new release and how it went from seed to flower, and not only does Johnny fills with pride when talking about his bandmates and he does the same when talking about many of his influences. The music the Claudettes create on stage is something to witness, as it is not easily wrapped into a box or tucked neatly into a genre…it is a sonic experience for open minds and ears that want to notice.
The California Honeydrops celebrate their tenth year together with the release of their 7th studio album and first ever double album, “Call It Home: Vol. 1 & 2”. Even with this fresh release, they continue to tour worldwide. This band draws from diverse musical influences from Bay Area R&B, funk, Southern soul, Delta blues, and New Orleans second-line, the Honeydrops bring vibrant energy and infectious dance-party vibes to all their shows. They’ve taken this party all over the world, playing festivals and touring widely across North America, Europe and Australia. In 2016 & 2017 the Honeydrops were honored to support Bonnie Raitt on her North America release tour. Whether in those high-profile performances or in more intimate venues where the band itself can leave the stage and get down on the dance floor with everyone, the California Honeydrops’ shared vision and purpose remain: to make the audience dance and sing.
I had the chance to chat with Ben Malament, drummer and co-founder of the group, about the band’s upcoming show on May 9th at the High Noon Saloon. We get into what an unexpected audience member miGht expect from their first time at a Honeydrops’ show. We dive into the brand new release, “Call It Home: Vol. 1 & 2”, and how they laid down the double album I am so pleased to be able to share with listeners. I was thrilled to hear abut the touring, and sharing times had with Bonnie Raitt, it’s a nice peek into the window of her coolness. Ben takes a few moments to lead us to some rare grooves that he would share with the audience of greenarrowradio if he were given the chance. This band is hot, and the burnin’ feels so good.
Trio Mokili play roots and jazz-inflected renditions of music from across the African continent: Ethiojazz, Nigerian Afrobeat, Zimbabwean mbira music, Ghanaian Palm Wine, Malian desert blues, and more. Guitarist Nathaniel Braddock is considered a North American authority on African guitar styles, leading the internationally-touring Occidental Brothers Dance Band Int’l and collaborating extensively with musicians from Mali, Ghana, Zambia, and Congo. He is joined on drums by OBDBI bandmate Makaya McCraven and upright bassist Junius Paul. The group is working on their debut album, a mix of live and studio recording capturing the energy of their live improvisations and the sounds of the African golden age.
I had a chance to catch up with Nathaniel Braddock of Trio Mokili as they make their way back to Madison to perform at Arts and Literature Laboratory on April 27th. Nathaniel and I get into what folks in attendance can expect from an evening with this group as far as being a part of that shared moment. We talk about the process of creating a new album when the people collaborating are far apart and how the debut album is coming along. We also learn what Nathaniel would treat the listeners to is give the chance to take over proGramming greenarrowradio for a bit.