Took some time to catch up with friend of the proGram, Nikki Armstrong to discuss the new release from Mama SpanX called “State of Groove”. We talked about the influence and mastermind behind the name “Mama SpanX”, our beloved friend Mr. Melvin Sparks (rest well my brother), the way this album came toGether from the initial vision of what the Mama SpanX brand can become to the way it hits hard and heavy, in your face in a live setting. We talk a little about Etta James’ former drummer giving Nikki a track to consider and the piece of the puzzle that it Mr. Lou Donaldson. The important pieces to the success of this album are: Steve Johnson on guitar Julie Sax on alto sax, baritone sax and flute, Steve Sadd on tenor and soprano sax, Harlan Spector on keyboards and B-3, David Abercrombie on 6 string fretless bass, and Ben Beckley music director and drums.
Personally, I think once you listen to this conversation, you’ll want to listen to the entire album a few times and I hope vice versa, since this chat is definitely an extension of years of musical shares and love of similar sounds, Nikki and I can keep the rocket in the pocket as needed, but both of us like to let it out to blast off from time to time.
BIG Congrats to Lorlinda Art who did the original photo and art work for the Mama SpanX CD cover “State of Groove! We are so proud of you Lady! “
All the years of being a part of the family that radio provides has done my mind and soul quite well. I get to discuss art with artists and every now and then, I locate a being that is a similar being as I. I talked with Adam Rudolph for the first time on air a couple years ago and we hit it off like old friends, with the music being the guide. Well, Adam has a new album out with his Adam Rudolph’s Moving Pictures project called “Glare Of The Tiger” on Meta Records and through M.O.D. Technologies. You can imagine my delight when setting up another chance to run through this sounds existence from start to finish. We talked about how the relationships of the musicians transforms the music into something else, a research and development model based off concepts Adam has in mind and heart. How to take the music and feelings of then, and turn them into something fresh and traditional as the now. We talk about the feeling of the music created, not just how it makes you feel inside, but a way to truly relate to the sonic adventure the music catches you in ans where it can take you. Being able to share the work of people I believe in is something I hold high above my head, I wear it like a crown I am proud of, and Adam reminds me of why I always found a home next to a radio, music and the sharing of ideas toGether. It’s the people who share what’s within them that matter so much to me, and when I get time to bring the vice of the art to you, not just the saleable commodity, it truly feels like the circle is complete. Please enjoy this half hour conversation about the new album, but know that it is as much about living as it is about this particular moment in art, or art history.
Took the opportunity to catch up quickly with friend of the proGram, Mister Mina Girgis as The Nile Project heads back to Madison to perform in two shows (for students ranging from Kindergarten through seniors in high school) on March 6th at The Overture Center as part of the Onstage Student Field Trip event. Along with the two shows, there will be some knowledge transfer about how the decisions people make truly affect all beings on this planet. Mina defined the mission of The Nile Project and the musicians associated with this years tour, the commitment to making a change and being a bridge between Africa and students of all ages around the globe to help hear and share ideas to foster the growth of the Nile citizens. The two shows will open ears to the sounds of the regions along the Nile River as it flows with life, different in may ways, yet so similar that people quickly become united as one when the sounds and styles get explored together. Take a moment to reintroduce yourself if you are familiar with the concept, and if this is new to you, please take a listen to to our conversation as it may be you who holds an important key to keeping the smallness of our world united.
I had the pleasure of talking with Ruthie Foster, as she prepares for the March 9th show, “Rise Up & Sing” at the Memorial Union Theater’s Shannon Hall along with the Blues Heritage Orchestra. As we recorded this conversation, we were both experiencing the oddity of 60-70 degrees weather in February, so the complete vibe of our shared time was that of a backyard patio hangout….Ruthie and I spoke about what one can expect from her and this event, her soon to be released album “Joy Come Back” and how the title is within the tale of the personal growth of finding and keeping the real you. Ruthie and I agree that on top of our guitarist list is friend of the proGram, Derek Trucks and she shared how he was quick to agree to work on the title track and how his sound of his soul really took the track to the place it was meant to be..it’s the relationships we make that help get us there. I even got a chance to speak with Ruthie’s five year old daughter, Mia about which game is her favorite on Playstation. I sure know that I’d love to have Ruthie as my neighbor to push togetherness, love and celebration through music, I think the real has found her.
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.
On Thursday, January 19th at the Orpheum Theater in Madison, Wisconsin, People will be treated to the thrill of a show that is The Devil Makes Three. Even though they are rooted in alt-country/blues/gospel, it is my opinion, the music is open for personal interpretation as to what you want to call it (if you like putting sounds into genre-type boxes), but for this music listeners and sharer, I go by the feelings it provides me and the listeners. I had the pleasure of discussing what people in attendance can expect from the instrumentation, the versatility of the artists and the potential repertoire of tunes we may be treated to. I spoke with Pete Bernhard not only about what to expect if you’ve never seen this band, but we dissected the creation of their latest release “Redemption and Ruin” on New West Records. We discussed the process of choosing from songs of years gone by that are so inspirational to many people…how they decided as a group to alter the interpretations to add a little TDM3 stamp on the sounds. Choosing which songs to leave pretty much the same all while working in the same room with some musical icons including, Jerry Douglas, Tim O’Brien, Emmylou Harris, Darrell Scott and Duane Eddy. Quite an challenge and risk to try not to ruin songs many of us have on our lists of some of the great songs available. Take a listen to our conversation for a little enliGhtenment, a lot of insight and a reminder to give this group another listen after hearing a little of how they do the things they do.
The Devil Makes Three 2015
I had the chance to catch up with my boy, Mister Rourke as he putout another ear-bendind, mind altering album under The Coalition, titled “Instant Classic” with his boy, Atticus Shadrack Cole. We dissect a few of the tracks and go into where the original beats-N-grooves come from and how they were laced up, the layers of sonic exploration and how it reflects an open mind and the true nature of one’s intellectual properties. Rourke reminded me of the new Club d’Elf album “Live at Club Helsinki”, dropping on January 10 and who were the artist collaborators on the album, (including friend of the proGram, Mr. John Medeski) and who will be going out and doing shows with the crew(s) that I proudly call family. We all will be better off once I have a copy of the new album to share with your ear-holes. This is another example of how much appreciation architects of sound can have for one another while building completely different things. Mister Rourke and I have a spot where we intersected long aGo, and I am always grateful this bond has been formed. Check out our conversation to kinda get a hint into why.
I had the pleasure of chatting it up with Rench of Gangstagrass to promote the upcoming show Sunday, December 18th at the Frequency here in Madison. If you have never heard, or heard of Gangstagrass, Rench and I dive into what could surprise your eyes even before your ears catch the drift. He takes the time to discuss the process of finding the right team members for such a distinct project and how visions meld with open minds. Rench shares a story that all artists should hear and remember as they hustle to get noticed, how once and a while, you just get a call out of the blue and even end up with an Emmy nod for your efforts.
We take a side road and discuss the two places he goes to get away from it all and get lost in it, as well as what tunes he would share with the greenarrowradio listeners if I happened to give up a half hour of my show to his musical ways. Check out this chat and discovery why two great tastes sometimes DO taste so great toGether.
Gangstagrass Making their way to madison 12/18/2016
It is always a pleasure to become pals with people you dig. I dig Kimmy for so many reasons. The way she sees so many things is very similar to the way I do. So it was too long since we had a radio conversation and this one, like all the others was as smooth and cool as she is. We cracked open her diary and spoke about all the things she has been working on recently. Lead dancer in a Debbie Allen, yes, THAT Debbie Allen, Christmas production in Los Angeles (this part is so Fame fun and beyond). Kim opened up about some the growth of those incredibly challenging roller-skating moves and body twisting contortions as well as a few other skillz she has added to her vast repertoire. We discussed the second collaboration with Atmosphere on a track called “Won’t Look Back” on their latest release and the process which led to the final product. As we often do, we just talk deeply and intently on songs/sounds and the way of the world we weave through, and how great it is to have things happening, and the way they go down.
Throughout it all, the we drop occasionally back to the influence Mr. George Clinton had on her as well as the mutual respect they shared without outgrowing the experience. This conversation is well worth the time you spend getting into the place the SPACE QUEEN sets aside in her mind, and oh yeah, of course she was doing her side of the chat in her van under an L.A. banana tree.
Kim Manning & George Clinton with PFunk on stage at the Avo Session in Basel, Switzerland, Thursday, Nov. 12, 2009. (AP Photo/Keystone/ Georgios Kefalas)
The second portion of the proGram shaped up to be that of legends. Had the pleasure recently of talking with Mister Ricky McKinnie of The Blind Boys of Alabama. Featured that talk as part of this show before they make their way into our Madison community for a little holiday cheer.
Free At Last- The Blind Boys of Alabama
*Pre-recorded conversation with Mr. Ricky McKinnie of The Blind Boys of Alabama*
You Got to Move- The Blind Boys of Alabama Ft. Bennie Pete & Carl LeBlanc
I’ll Fly Away- The Blind Boys of Alabama Ft. The Hot 8 Brass Band
Mr. Brown’s Theme- Funky Destination
Sweet of Love- Funky Destination
Children of the Grave- Brownout
Inner City Blues- Brian Auger
The Swinger generation- Alex Puddu
Rocksteady Boogaloo- B Side Players (live at the Belly Up)
Comin’ Atcha (Scrimshire remix)- Madeline Bell
¡Cafeteando!- Dos Santos Anti-Beat Orquesta
El Puerto de Animas- Dos Santos Anti-Beat Orquesta
Pogo Porn- Club des Belugas ft. Karlos Boes
Something Unique- Bahama Soul Club
Dizzy’s Bounce- Bahama Soul Club ft. Brenda Boykin
M1- Silvano D’Auria
Deja Vu- Peanut Holmes
Interlude 1- Ross McHenry
Stateless- Ross McHenry
Last of the Dogons- Jay Daniel
Boolin- Jay Daniel
Paradise Valley- Jay Daniel
I had the pleasure of speaking with Mr. Ricky McKinnie, who used to be the drummer of the group and now is one of the singers as the Blind Boys of Alabama prepare to be in Madison on December 1st with Liz Vice at the Memorial Union’s Shannon Hall. I am always excited to speak with people who have changed the face of music, and this it yet another opportunity to hear it from a legend’s mind. We spoke about what the audience can expect from not only a Blind Boys’ show, but a very special treat of a Blind Boys of Alabama Christmas Event. We spoke about the greatest gift Mr. McKinnie could receive this year and that is YOU coming out and sharing in the moment of the show. The Blind Boys of Alabama have an incredible amount of material to choose from, Grammy awarded material of their own, traditional spirituals and perhaps even one or two off their new album they are wrapping up with the one and only, Taj Mahal. So, tell one and tell all that the Blind Boys are coming to town!!
I had the opportunity to catch up with Carnage The Executioner as he sets out on his “The MN Mean Movement III” Tour with a stop riGht here in Madison on Friday, November 18th at The Wisco. Also performing is Taiyamo Denku, Conscious Object, RamBunxious Music, Reakt20, and Neu Dae. Jeddy Dread will be DJing and LiquidForm will be hosting. Carnage and I discussed what a newcomer to his scene is in store for and why it could easily be the greatest Hip Hop experience you will be a part of. From rappin’-it to loopin’-it to destroyin’-it in a renaissance man beatboxin’ way, Carnage promises to deliver on the “This is unlike anything you’ve witnessed before.” We get a deep understanding and definition of what the MN Mean Movement is all about and why it is resonating with people all over. Participate and get out of your bubble with a performer’s performer…. while opening your mind and ears to something that’s so in the moment, you’ll get lost and found within each beat. This conversation takes you to the tip of why going to check out a live event can reinvent the way you think about the state of the music of today. Very little sounds off limits. Be in the moment, be in the Movement.
For more on the event head over HERE and click around.
Had the chance to catch up with our friends Janet Schiff and Victor DeLorenzo of Nineteen Thirteen as they prepare to put on two sets this coming Friday, October 28th at Arts & Literature Laboratory. As Halloween approaches, it will be quite the thrill to have the mystery and surprise of cello and percussion to hold your hand through the evening hour. In this conversation, Janet and Victor will tease you into needing to know more about the sound they create that has left audiences on their feet and momentarily weeping with emotion. We talk briefly about the growth of the music and compositions prepared and tinkered with by the duo as they create a sonic banter with the ease of friendly conversation. It’s these real people that make this for us. Together we explore how the newest album, “The Dream”, set to be release on 11/11/2016 and the release just put out on May 13th of this year, “Music For time Travel”, have been both a guide and a direction. As I have offered up an opinion when asked what this music is like, and we have had the pleasure of Janet and Victor’s time on the proGram often…..I can honestly admit that it is like nothing else I have ever soaked in, and it tickles your insides through each ear on its way down to your souls. But of course, who am I to tell you about it? Check out this conversation for a clue, and maybe we will see you down at Arts & Literature Laboratory to share in the mystique.
Check out of conversation here:
Having the opportunity to catch up with artists who always push themselves and their boundaries is another one of those things I enjoy about the music scene I have gotten myself a part of. Andrew McPherson is one of those people who exemplifies many of the ways I look at sound and style, musically and otherwise. We have kept a long standing check in and check out period of our lives and this time around I catch him just finishing up his latest release by a project he calls, Peppermoth. The album titled “Now You Hear Me” is a statement into the ambient music that has always been around in Andrew’s mind. So the whole “Why Not” conversation inside ones mind took over and out came the workings of this new tale of music. This is a far reaching stretch compared to so many of those Eccodek releases the listeners of this radio proGram have dugg into over the years. That’s entirely what relationships are about, change over times. In this conversation, we chat about process and feel, time and space as well as those defining moments once again in an artists life on which path and where is it leading. I hope you’ll find out which fork in the road Andrew decided on by checking out the sounds of Peppermoth, and see how it can fit into your times.
I had the opportunity to chat aGain this year with Neal Casal as he and Chris Robinson Brotherhood head back to Madison for a show at the Majestic Saturday, October 15th. I want to make sure to thank Neal for making himself available on the tour scene to give you, the greenarrowradio listeners, a little extra shake. Last year there was not an empty seat in the building and no one left disappointed. Well, maybe the folks who didn’t get in did?! We spoke about what can be expected as they grace the stage for an evening of real music making. We also took time to discuss the new album ANYWAY YOU LOVE, WE KNOW HOW YOU FEEL which is out now Via SILVER ARROW RECORDS. The conversation about the place where the recording of this new release took place is one for the musical ages as I believe Neal paints the picturesque setting perfectly as a spot you and I should be jealous of working at. It sounds like a place to remember, just like this will be a show not to forGet. It also was a special place that held a ton of new inspiration for writing and recording, which totally benefits the listeners and the concert goers. This group of sound brothers is a tight entity musically, but they are also connected by the spirit of being real. I hope you’ll take a moment and check out not only this conversation, but if that isn’t enough, try some of their tunes and then maybe even get down there to see them live. This is not just another rock band.
I had the pleasure of discussing life and music with Mr. Tony Moreno as his latest project, released on Mayimba Jazz, “Short Stories” is ready to hit your ears. The record is the culmination of over four years of playing with a group made up of close friends and artistic companions, and in many ways it represents a piece of the process of rebuilding for Tony. It also represents Tony’s gratitude — the recording itself was made possible by an outpouring of love and support from the wider musical community, from friends and strangers alike. Hurricane Sandy put a giant dent into the world of so many, and it certainly did a number on many musicians, Tony being one of them. In our chat, he talks about some of the people and ways people made a difference in his ability to continue on in his chosen career and love of music. We talk a walk down Jazz history lane when Tony reveals how he first met Mr. Elvin Jones and the ease in which they became fast family…..love. We learn of a unique bond between him and his mother, who always kept music as the pulse to their lives. There are many revealing moments in our conversation, from ballads to rebuilding, but most of all it is the true story telling nature of an educator, drummer and man who understands what makes the difference in this world….LOVE. Over the years I have had the honor of speaking with many people who show a love for what they do, I can add Mr. Moreno to that list of an appreciator of people, art and the sounds that bridge us all together. I hope you’ll take time to go enjoy his album as well as checking out this moment in time shared by two people who dig the stories, both short and long.
It is always a great reminder of why we build bridGes when two friends of music get together to talk about the sounds, the process and the results. Eljuri is one of those people I hold close to my musical heart as we kinda started out at the same time forging different paths for sharing. It was like we never skipped a beat. We had a chance to discuss her latest release, “La Lucha” on Manovill Records when it was still in that fragile stage of people’s ears just getting a chance to hear it. Her connection to the international flavor of her family as well as her beloved New York City keeps her eye and mind on the happenings around her as it pertains to all people, and how she has a voice for those who otherwise may not be heard. Just like the way her and I, and several other music sharers out there feel about her, Sly & Robbie must as well, as they make another guest appearance on this album to help give it a little extra sumthin’ sumthin’that only those magicians of sound can do. While she blazes on the guitar for sure and does climb the ladder of social justice on this album, her connection to you as a listener is clear, concise and connected. I am happy to share our conversation with you, and feel free to join the discussion with others.
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.
Alsarah and I snuck in a brief time to chat about the upcoming show as part of the 2016 Madison World Music Festival. The band goes on at 7:30pm and will energize the Madison scene with their stunning East-African Retro-Pop. We used our time together to paint the scene of the stage before they hit us with the richness of the groove they produce, as well as offer up some thoughts on how this music is a bridge to community forming, acceptance and dance dance dance. Alsarah shares her thoughts on the start to finish flow of the groups soon to be released new album, Manara, on Wonderwheel Recordings. While she is a part of a few different projects over the years, I wanted to find out what were some of the lasting experiences of working with the slew of inspirational and talented individuals like those attached to The Nile Project, which she was a part of recently. I think the answer will not shock you, but remind you of the value of time spent with others for a common good and how when you don’t get much time to be toGether, the importance of using it wisely. Alsarah & the Nubatones could be one of your good memories form this years Madison World Music festival, so if you can, maybe you should.
I had the honor of speaking with Mr. Johnny Kalsi, the founder and leader of The Dhol Foundation as they embark on their very first ever tour of North America toGether as a group. While they travel the globe with the mission to promote and expose the indigenous sounds of the Dhol Drum to the Masses, I am thankful that the 2016 Madison World Music Festival is one of their stops. We are so lucky. They will hit the stage at 9:30PM on Friday, 9/16 on the beautifully back-dropped Memorial Union Terrace. Always engaging the audience with the full Power and energetic performances. The Dhol Foundation have been wowing the crowds with their dynamics, whirling arms and thunderous beats. The group’s musicality is formed from a rich tapestry of culture, passion and their love for World Music. While they tour, they absorb influences from collaborators, record them on an album and deliver them on stage with the mighty muscle powerhouse that is The Dhol Foundation. Johnny and I had a chance to touch on what to expect from the show in Madison (although seeing i s most likely believing) , some of the history of the sounds created and the people who are influenced and influences as well as the process of the business and making art that sticks. We got a sneak peak into the new album coming out in early 2017, “Stick To The Drum” and we will be fortunate to hear a few of the tracks off it at this world music celebration. Johnny has been a part of many groups of artists that I have personally listened to and shared over the years, so the thrill of this chat was true and I hope you dive in deeper to this music if the spirit moves you.