“A Way with Words” is a call-in public radio show about language. It’s heard across the country and around the world by broadcast and podcast.” This program is co-hosted by Martha Barnette, who is also a journalist and the author of several books on language, as well as Grant Barrett, who is a dictionary editor and linguist specializing in slang and new words. Sometimes the two of them bring this show out on the road where folks get to join this popular public radio’s lively show about language for a fantastic evening! Slang, dialect, etymology, language change, new words, and a whole lot more are on the agenda. Martha and Grant will explore the amazing oddities of English, from the very old to the very new — plus host a language Q&A where you can find out what you’ve always wanted to know. You’ll come away enlightened and inspired! These events are packed, lively occasions filled with language-y wows, linguisticky goodness, and bookish goofing around. Martha and Grant have already wowed them with packed houses in New York City, Washington, D.C., Indianapolis, Dallas, San Diego, Arcata, California, and Portland, Oregon.
I was able to catch up with Martha and Grant ahead of the March 7th event being held at the University of Wisconsin’s Union Theater’s Shannon Hall. We paint a little picture of what someone who has never been to a live “A Way with Words” event or someone who has no idea what the show is about, can expect. We talk a little bit about the fun times to be had by the entire room and some of the challenges Martha and Grant face while performing in a live setting as opposed to being in the comforts of the studio. For me personally, this show is so much about community building and adding steps to the bridge to one another, so we talk a little about how this show unites and is a source of connection for so many who may not otherwise think they have walked down similar paths. The truth is, whether live or on the radio or in a podcasted format, “A Way with Words” brings the cool nerd out of all of us, so maybe it’s time to let your inner nerd find some commonality with a word.
A quick “G”-view of a book for all. My friends Dan and Claudia sent it my way to check out and I couldn’t help but want to add a few thouGhts.
Dan Zanes’ House Party (A Family Roots Music Treasury).
Publisher: Young Voyageur (December 11, 2018)
“No matter the generational gaps, learning styles & abilities or cultural differences between the people who share in this collection of sung tales, the ability to distinguish who is leading the conversation and teaching or learning while in mid-share can be wonderfully unknown. The connections in this songbook collection can be shared by anyone and everyone. It is another bridge to the then and now and the what’s next that we all have a map for. Each of us holds a different shaped key that opens part of this treasure. The treasures range from the colorfully simple illustrations (masterfully accomplished by Donald Saff) that depict portions of the tale and provide some insightful opportunities for answers as well as more questions.
The map within each song provides some of the why of where the stories came from, and the who(s) that have been behind the creation of and/or the pushing forward of the tales. There are steps to take to get to that “X” marks the spot location by pointing us to places to find out more, museums, books, which albums have renditions of the songs – since we all learn our best in different ways, the maps may take different routes and the treasure for each of us may look different at first, it’s those differences that are celebrated within these pages – and encouraged. Find your way, whatever that is!
Don’t forget for those kids of all ages within and around all of us – those who either know how or have the desire to learn, there are notes and chords for singing and playing each tune. (Music notation and all around inspiration by Claudia Eliaza)….Amazing! How these songs and stories opened and shaped the heart and mind of Dan Zanes and his family is just one window into what this music can be all about. You and your family, students, friends…..people you just met get to crack open your own windows in as soon as your open up the first page of House Party.”
The final portion of the program helped take the shape of a moving moment in time, frozen toGether.
Bamboula Rhythm- Johnette Downing & Scott Billington
Remember The Time- Hot 8 Brass Band
Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)- Hot 8 Brass Band
A Real Thing- Vivian Sessoms
Gringo Suave- Michael Whalen & the Fire Brigade
Go Go Bird- Michael Whalen & the Fire Brigade
Old Men ON Cocaine- Mike Dillon & The Mallet Men
Mr. Gatekeeper- Mike Dillon & The Mallet Men
Can’t Get Enough- Griz
A Caged Bird / Imitations of Life- The Cinematic Orchestra Ft. Roots Manuva
Give Light- Kelly Hafner
Wanna Come Down- Ibibio Sound Machine
Masquerade- Small Feet
Now And We- Thollem
According To Our Sun- Thollem
The second portion of the proGram had the moment in time, shared and still:
Ice Cold Beer- Vin Mott
Mind Trouble- JD Simo
Walk Trough This Life- Tedeschi Trucks Band
Shame- Tedeschi Trucks Band
Don’t Let it Fool Ya- Andy Frasco & the U.N.
**Excerpt of pre-recorded conversation with Andy Frasco**
Up/Down- Andy Frasco & the U.N.
Waiting Game- Andy Frasco & the U.N.
My Soul Sensation- Nicole Willis & Banda Palomita
Genius- Ina Forsman
Police Chase- Jake Najor And The Moment Of Truth
Cruise Control- Jake Najor And The Moment Of Truth
Sure Don’t Miss You- The Dip
Advertising- The Dip Ft. Jimmy James & Delvon Lamarr
It’s All Over Now- Alexis Evans
Chocolate Seller- Alexis Evans
It’s Not Wrong- Alexis Evans
The first portion of the proGram gave it to you the way it is in the middle of there.
Spider Training- Daniel Pemberton
Cemetery Splat- Daniel Pemberton
Dublin Blues- Steve Earle
Call Me Lucky- Dale Watson
Giving It All Away- Seth Walker
You Can’t Pull The Wool Over My Eyes- Catherine Russell
Errand Girl For Rhythm- Catherine Russell
Straighten Up and Fly Right- Jeff Goldblum & The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra Ft. Imelda May & Till Brönner
Valley Of The Giants- Allison Miller’s Boom Tic Boom
Diamonds On The Crown- Tiffany Pollack & Eric Johanson
Whip It- The Reverend Shawn Amos (Live Over Sunday Breakfast, Van Nuys, CA, 2016)
Where Did You Sleep Last Night (In the Pines)- Uncle Nef Ft. Sami Stevens
Is It Just Me- Sugaray Rayford
Time To Get Movin’- Sugaray Rayford
Train 66- Black Cat Biscuit
Goin’ Home- Black Cat Biscuit
Palace Of The King- Seth Rosenbloom
Nature Of My Blues- Katarina Pejak
Long Gone- Boogie Beasts
Inside- Boogie Beasts
What the Devil Made Me Do- Chris O’Leary
In 2017, Andy Frasco reached a fork in the road. Renowned for a jubilant jambalaya of rule-breaking rock-n-roll his career kept rolling ahead at full steam. To date, he had released three independent albums, chronicled a German gig in front of 15,000 screaming fans on the recent live opus “Songs from the Road”, made jaws drop at festivals such as Grandoozy, Firefly, Mountain Jam, Summer Camp, Rock am Ring, Rock im Park and Electric Forest, generated millions of streams, launched Andy Frasco’s World Saving Podcast, and performed at festivals alongside icons such as Peter Frampton, Gary Clark Jr., The Revivalists, Snoop Dog, Dr. Dog, Joe Walsh and Kendrick Lamar, to name a few. After a string of wild shows (and wilder nights) on tour somewhere in the heart of America, one morning sounded a very loud wake-up call for the singer, songwriter, performer, and namesake of Andy Frasco & The U.N.
I had the chance to chat with Andy ahead of the March 6th show in Madison at the High Noon Saloon. Their first headlining show here in Madison and it sounds like Andy really loves the spaces, places and faces in our little city. We got into what someone who has never heard of his band could probably be in store for at the show. We talk about the lifestyle adjustments he made leading up to the brand new album (dropping tomorrow) aptly named, “Change of Pace” and how working with Widespread Panic‘s Dave Schools resulted in a song-centric album that brings attention to life, not just the party. We learn a little about what his podcast is all about and also what artists he would share to my listeners if given 42 minutes of greenarrowradio to proGram. Even tho there has been a change to his pace, there is no change to the man or the good time energy he will be sure to bring to everything he does. Take a listen for yourself!!
The final portion of the proGram didn’t allow the resources falling from the sky to go to waste:
Sa Ra- Vivian Sessoms
One Thing Leads To Another- Vivian Sessoms
Eden- Vivian Sessoms
Intro- Doobie Powell
Walking Up- Doobie Powell
Summon The Fire- The Comet Is Coming
Hightop Sneakers -Ran Blake/Claire Ritter Ft. Kent O’Doherty (live)
Integrity- Ran Blake/Claire Ritter (live)
Blue Monk- Ran Blake/Claire Ritter (live)
Soul Shoutin’- Chicago Soul Jazz Collective
The Times They Are a Changin’ (edit)- John Raymond & Real Feels (live)
***Excerpt of pre-recorded conversation with John Raymond***
The Times They Are a Changin’ (edit)- John Raymond & Real Feels (live)
Momamajobas 2- Marilyn Mazur
Shabalasa- Marilyn Mazur
The second portion of the proGram made sure you were heading in the right unknown direction:
Some Things- Victor Krummenacher
Corvette Summer- Luther Russell
Deep Feelings- Luther Russell
The High Side- Sonny Landreth (Live)
***Excerpt Of Pre-recording Conversation With Mr. Sonny Landreth***
The Milky Way Home- Sonny Landreth (live)
The Don’t Shine- Tedeschi Trucks Band
Signs, High Times- Tedeschi Trucks Band
Got Love If You Want It- JD Simo
Mister Zen- Kate Dunton Ft. Bob Mintzer
She Gave Me the Keys- The Dip
Sea Snake- The Dip
Old Engine Oil- The Budos Band
Slippery Slope- Michael Whalen & the Fire Brigade
KAEPtain AmeriKKKa- Anu Sun Ft. Farrah Boule & Mike Larry
Vice Grip- Anu Sun
The first portion of the proGram had itself stuck on your by it’s icy dangler.
Long Time To Make Old Friends- Reed Foehl
Wish I Knew- Reed Foehl
I’ll See Your Crazy and Raise You Mine- Jane Kramer
Inside View- Dale Watson
Hungover in Jonestown- Amigo The Devil
Silver & Gold- Elliott Peck
Good For You I Guess- Elliott Peck
Keep It Simple- Tiffany Pollack & Eric Johanson
When The Time Is Right- Glen Clark
No Bird- Seth Walker
Cool Drifter- Katarina Pejak
Why You Gotta Be That Way- Ina Forsman
Run- Stephen Bailey
Number 9- Stephen Bailey
Ooh Poo Pa Doo- Datura4
Evil People Pt. 2- Datura4
Mysterious Visions (An Introduction)- Nancy
Bootz (Are Made for Walkin’)- Nancy
Innovative Southwest Louisiana-based guitarist, songwriter, and singer Sonny Landreth is one of those musician’s musician. His blues slide guitar playing is distinctive and unlike anything else you’ve ever heard. His unorthodox guitar style comes from the manner in which he simultaneously plays slide and makes fingering movements on the fretboard. Mr. Landreth, can play it all, like any good session musician. His distinctive guitar playing can be heard on recordings by John Hiatt, Leslie West and Mountain, and many other rock & rollers. Sonny Landreth brings together blues, jazz, Cajun, zydeco, and rock music, creating a style that’s increasingly appealing to a wide array of listeners. Each of Landreth’s two solo albums is woven from the various musical styles he picked up in southern Louisiana, his home since the age of two. His ability to meld these loosely associated deep South genres has earned him a broad following, and, with twenty years as a professional musician, his resume is packed with a who’s who of of a crucial musical legacy. I invite you to do some research on the importance of Mr. Landreth to the musical communities, many of them and find the spot where his sound, his style hits you just right he is still, in my opinion, an underrated star that we have been fortunate to share a sky with.
I had the honor of spending a little time with Sonny ahead of the February 28th show at the Stoughton Opera House billed as “Marcia Ball/Sonny Landreth: Two Great Bands One Great Night”. And that is should be!. We find out what the flow of an event like this should be like for any newcomers to the scene. We spend a perfect amount of time understand the way Sonny does what Sony does. So often, we as listeners get all caught up in the sounds we hear, but we don’t always know the things that go into it. Sonny shares a little insight on the “Music Behind The Glass” that is what he does. We get into what a a hometown crowd does for any musician, but the reasons behind his 2017 release “Recorded Live In Lafayette”, really solidifies what a good time home-cooking can make for the music and the recordings. I always want to be in the decision making process of how what tunes get captured on a live album, so we find out a little of that selection process as well. We talk abut our mutual friend, Mr. Derek Trucks and how the stylings of others and being able to learn with and from other innovative, genre busting artists adds to not only the sound, but the songwriting. This is another one of those talks that I find myself thinking back on and saying to myself, “it’s no wonder I really dig this dude”.
Photo by: Brian Blauser
John Raymond is making a name for himself as one of the most promising, genre-bending musicians in jazz today. With a singular voice as a trumpeter, flugelhornist and composer, Mr. Raymond is “steering jazz in the right direction” (Downbeat Magazine) by pushing it’s boundaries, seamlessly incorporating indie-rock, folk and electronic influences into his music. Mr. Raymond has performed with artists such as Kurt Rosenwinkel, S. Carey (of Bon Iver), Orrin Evans (of The Bad Plus), and Cory Wong (of Vulfpeck) among others. He has released six albums since 2012 – four with his primary band Real Feels (w/Gilad Hekselman & Colin Stranahan), each receiving praise from Stereogum, the New York Times, Downbeat, JazzTimes and more. John has also established himself as a sought-after educator, both as Professor of Jazz Trumpet at Indiana University and as a guest clinician and soloist at schools around the world.
I had the pleasure of chatting with John ahead of the February 20th show in Madison, as John Raymond & Real Feels hits up Arts & Literature Laboratory to open doors into spots where music may not have yet found. John and I set the stage for folks who may not be familiar with him or his music and with words, he guides us through what new ears to this scene can expect in a live setting. We get led down the path that helps map out just how John has found his open mindedness towards music and his “Voice” in the jazz community (and beyond). With the release of a brand new album to support, “Live Vol. 2”, we get a little insight as to how Real Feels interpretation of a timeless classic got started, worked on and presented. All of this ties in nicely with learning how working with artists from many musical syles & genres has backed into the vision and feelings of Real Feels. As always, the best way to find out just what’s what, is to catch one or more of their shows.
Photo by: Andrea Canter
The third portion of the proGram made sure to be prepared for it. Encrypted coordinates shall be sent:
In Search of Mona Lisa- Santana
Deep Under Darks- Paris Monster
Deathbed Song- Paris Monster
Tout Comprendre C’est Tout Pardonner- Gabriel Teodros Ft. Khingz
Around the Way- Gabriel Teodros Ft. Julie-C & Mikaela Romero
Summer’s Gone- Michal Menert & the Pretty Fantastics
**Pre-recorded conversation with Michal Menert**
From The Sea- Michal Menert & the Pretty Fantastics
Ketchup And Po’boys (outro)- D∆WN
Dreams And Converse- D∆WN Richard
The second portion of the proGram saw things through the screen-door….clearly:
Reparate- Nicole Willis Ft. Banda Palomita
Naggin’ On My Mind- GA 20 Ft. Charlie Musselwhite & Luther Dickinson
Boom Boom, Out Go the Lights- JD Simo
Bloodless- Andrew Bird
Speak Slow(ly)- Joe Policastro Trio
**Pre-recorded Conversation With Joe Policastro**
Bloodshot- Joe Policastro Trio
I’m On Fire- Joe Policastro Trio
The Revelator- Sugaray Rayford
No Te Calles- Making Movies Ft. Rubén Blades
Rhythm Of The Night- RoSaWay
Cry For Another- Claude Fontaine
I’m Alive- Beres Hammond
Stop Pressure- Max RubaDub Ft. Rocker T & Jamalski (Blunkskull Remix)
There’s a Man- Malou Beauvoir
I No Know- Ugochi Ft. Tony Allen Chicago Afrobeat Project
**Pre-recorded conversation with Ugochi**
White Rhino- Ugochi Ft. Tony Allen Chicago Afrobeat Project
The first portion of the proGram went in, and found it’s way inner:
Saint Phillip Avenue- Jeff Burnham and the Insiders
The One- Jeff Burnham and the Insiders
Color Me In- Reed Foehl
Hard Lines- Elliott Peck
David Buxkemper- Dale Watson
Capture- Amigo the Devil
If I’m Crazy- Amigo the Devil
Neon Tree- Old Mexico
Bird Song- pat mAcdonald
Angel Of Mercy-pat mAcdonald
The Prettiest Train- Victor Krummenacher
Inside- Seth Walker
Hey! Yeah!- Deer Tick
Younger- Mountain Goats
Blankets- Craig Finn
Fake It- Holiday Gunfire
Do You Remember Me- Santana
The Original Doo-Wop Spacemen- Trudy And The Romance
Talking To Myself- Luther Russell
Anchor Bay, California based electronic music artist and producer Michal Menert draws breath from the world that surrounds him, transmuting daily inspiration into music that is singularly his own. Michal co-produced the chart topping Pretty Lights album “Taking Up Your Precious Time”, and it was only natural that he was the first artist to join Pretty Lights Music. His debut solo album “Dreaming of a Bigger Life” was released in 2010, followed by 2012’s mega-LP “Even If It Isn’t Right”. In winter of 2015 the highly anticipated “Space Jazz” was introduced to the world, followed by fall 2015’s debut release by his band Michal Menert & the Pretty Fantastics, “1”. Just this Winter, he and the Pretty Fantastics put out another ear and mind opening album, “From The Sea”. His no boundaries type approach has opened up very cool experiences and opportunities to collaborate, support, work with artists of all sorts, including Dead & Co., Mickey Hart, Bassnectar & Umphrey’s McGee are just a small sample. Committed to a community driven approach to collaborative creativity, Michal works hand in hand with producers he chooses for his own record label, Super Best Records. A dynamic and ideological producer, collaborating and working closely with a new generation of hip-hop & EDM producers, this is one artist who is dedicated to bringing a new musical vision to life free from limitation.
I had a chance to talk briefly (we had a wacky phone connection) with Michal ahead of his February 20th show in Madison at the High Noon Saloon. We got into what one who doesn’t know could in a nutshell believe they are getting into when they walk into this show. We talk about how the music he creates has been influenced by the world around him and who helped open his ears to it all and I can’t help but notice that they way Michal approaches his creation of music, is very similar to how I go about trying to proGram greenarrowradio. We did get a little time to talk about the creation of latest album, “From The Sea” and how it went from the seed to the exploding flower of sonic goodness, I have been fortunate to share with he listeners.
Photo by: Bad Astronaut Photography
This world needs a healing force, a soothing voice and Ugochi, a warm spirit who has become extremely versatile and creative with the range of music she is able to perform. Her musical interests span all corners of the globe. She fuses her choreo-poetic style of spoken word with her unique singing ability in order to generate a more powerful word sound attraction and that sound has been described as “lively, energetic music that makes your feet move and heart think”. As a multidisciplinary artist, she has written a one woman show about her families immigrant experience as well as written poems that have been honored in an international anthologies. She has also been saluted by internationally renowned literary organizations and has shared the stage with several established (and diverse) artists such as Common, John Legend, Femi Kuti, Edwin McCain, Seun Kuti, Maxi Priest, Malik Yusef, Umphrey’s McGee, Blitz the Ambassador, Yellowman, Queen Ifrika, Shaggy, Queen Ifrika, Vieux Farka Toure, Bushman, Fatoumata Diawara, Stephen Marley, King Sunny Ade, and Me’Schell Ndegeocello. The music of Ugochi is rich with poetic harmonies and uplifting ideas and has helped bring her tomany lands around the world. In 2003, legendary Chicago diva Chaka Khan saluted the emerging artist as “someone who will have a long life in the music business,” when she was selected as a semi-finalist on Star Search. Ugochi also wrote the only original song for the critically acclaimed “Red Hot and Riot Compilation,” in honor of the late Fela Kuti and global AIDS awareness. The song, “So Be It”, was performed by R&B star Kelis.
I had the honor of spending a little conversation time with Ugochi to discuss her upcoming event in Madison on February 16th at Café CODA, where she along with the Afro Soul Ensemble will be spreading the good deep feelings and positive energies. We get into what that experience miGht feel like for a newcomer to her scene. We dive mind first into what makes her spirit open to the ideas and rewards of collaboration in all communities of the arts, with a spectrum artists and bands from all walks of life. We touch on the importance and influence of Chicago, social-justice and the give back of music and the arts, and how it all fits in in the year 2019. I do enjoy knowing how artists put together a collection of their works into an album form, so we dissect her latest release, “Love Shot”, which features friends of the program Mr. Tony Allen and the Chicago Afrobeat Project. Her eclectic and versatile nature shines through when asked which artists/album/songs she may choose if locked in a room with a 6 CD changes for a day. I’d like to be a fly with big ears on those walls.
Hailed by Downbeat for its “deft analysis of choice repertoire,” and by the Chicago Reader for its “diversity of approaches to all kinds of source material,” the JOE POLICASTRO TRIO is Chicago-based alternative jazz trio led by bassist Joe Policastro features guitarist Dave Miller and drummer Mikel Avery. While firmly rooted in jazz, the band’s open-minded, inclusive nature draws upon a wide array of musical styles and sources while still keeping the aesthetic of an acoustic trio intact. “Nothing Here Belongs” (JeruJazz Records) marks the fourth release by the band. The new release follows in the wake of “West Side Story Suite” (2013), “POPS!” (2016), and “Screen Sounds” (2017), all of which highlighted the trio’s ability to remake unlikely songs in its own raw, highly idiosyncratic fashion. The new release, by contrast, for the first time showcases the trio’s captivating body of original music, while also including characteristically bold arrangements of other artists music. True bands feel like a rarity in jazz these days, especially ones who hone their craft as consistently as this one does. In addition to their long-running thrice weekly residency at Pops For Champagne in the Chicago, the band has been extensively playing together throughout the US and Canada having even performed for President Barack Obama. As sidemen, Joe Policastro (Jeff Hamilton, Pat and Debby Boone, Phil Woods, Diane Schuur), Dave Miller (Clarice Assad, Patricia Barber, Algernon), and Mikel Avery (Joshua Abrams, Theaster Gates, Rob Mazurek) have shared the stage with a wide array of musicians but dedicate collectively to this trio. Whether highlighting the original music of its members, re-contextualizing modern music, or performing jazz classics of the likes of Thelonious Monk, Chico Hamilton, or Charles Lloyd, the trio readily displays its singular approach, sound, texture, and simultaneity.
I had the pleasure of catching up with Joe ahead of the Trio’s February 9th date at Café CODA in Madison. We get into what an audience at this event can expect from the performance with open minds and ears attached. We take a deeper dive into the new album, “Nothing Here Matters” and how it grew from the seed of an idea into the bold flower that is now available for the world to digest. We ebb and flow around improvisational skills of each member and how it works so well bringing them toGether,and how the music on one of their albums builds and potentially strays even during a live event. I enjoyed listening to how Joe listens to and feels music, we have similar ways about us and I hope with any of the trio’s releases and/or going out to check them in a live setting, you might just find the same to be true.
Beat-driven. Employing heavy elements of funk and soul, Paris Monster closes the gaps between synth-pop & garage; between modern detail and old-school grit. Solid earth. Soaring soundscapes. A mass of noise. Volatility. Vocal singularity. In fall of 2017 they began recording their first full length LP, set to be released in 2018. The album will solidify their dirty, glitchy, lyric-centered, groove-based sound, and will be a milepost in their search for a focused and flexible musical approach. The elements of funk and soul join with lyrical themes of bygone eras in rural settings, characters lost, and mortality confronted. Love achieved, and denied. Americana. Themes in stark contrast to the pounding grooves and electronic mayhem, creating depths and dimensions that could have been otherwise achieved only by dropping a modular synth in the corn fields of central New York or the woods of Connecticut. And maybe that’s exactly what happened. And then the album dropped.
I had the chance to chat with this diverse duo, Josh Dion and Geoff Kraly of Paris Monster about their brand new release, “Lamplight”. We got into how the album got it’s wings to soar, and how this duo got it’s beginnings. We speak about their upcoming gigs with a Madison funky favorite, Turkuaz and what these cats might potentially share with my listeners if they were given the opportunity to take over the proGrmaming of greenarrowradio. I have a feeling if you check out their live show, I will receive tons of thank you cards in the mail. Go ahead. Test that.
Photo By Samuel Fava