The Appice Perdomo Project: Energy Overload

One of the key figures in rock and roll history, Carmine Appice has joined forces with multi-instrumentalist and rising studio star Fernando Perdomo to form The Appice Perdomo Project (aka APP), whose debut album ENERGY OVERLOAD was released September 24, 2021 on Cleopatra Records. The album is an all-instrumental, rock-oriented tour de force with fusion influences also readily apparent. Carmine’s always-amazing drumming and Perdomo’s blazing guitar licks and riffs make Energy Overload a tour de force of sound, texture and non-stop heaviness. Carmine has pounded the skins for such iconic rockers like Ozzy Osbourne, Jeff Beck and Rod Stewart (Carmine & Rod co-wrote the hits Do Ya Think I’m Sexy and Young Turks) and he is a founding member of legendary 60s rock bands Vanilla Fudge (You Keep Me Hanging On was the band’s classic hit in 1967…it was featured prominently in Quentin Tarantino’s film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) and he’s a founding member of Cactus. Both the Fudge and Cactus still tour. His playing has also been a huge influence on drummers including Joey Kramer (Aerosmith), Neal Peart (Rush), Phil Collins (Genesis), Brian Taylor (Queen), John Bonham (Led Zeppelin) and countless others. He was inducted into the Classic Drummer Hall of Fame in 2013 and the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 2014. He remains on Rolling Stone Magazine’s 100 Greatest Drummers of All-Time list.

I had the honor to catch up with Carmine and do a little diGGin’ into this blazing new release “Energy Overload”. We dissect a few of the new tracks and learn about the entire process (at times I think we did some algebra?). We talk about the new way of working happened in his new studio with Fernando on this project- and how long it was (and how many songs in) before they actually met in person. Fascinating stuff! We also get into new Vanilla Fudge, with the oriGinal line-up and how Carmine was able to help Tim Bogert (RIP) be a part of it. This was one of thse conversations where I cannot tell you more about it than is actually in it. You have to get an earful of the whole thing to get youself in the know. Carmine is “A Piece” of rock and roll greatness. diGG

Let Love Be Your Guide

Smithsonian Folkways has officially welcomed “Let Love Be Your Guide”, the first duo album by internationally renowned family musicians and family to the proGram, Claudia & Dan Zanes. The collection is a welcoming, freewheeling musical conversation about anti-racism, racial justice, and the joys of community. Conceived during the 2020 Black Lives Matter uprisings and coronavirus pandemic, the songs describe the new terms of togetherness – how we understand it, how we build it, and how we strive for more. Claudia & Dan like to describe their style – rooted in many different traditions including gospel, country, R&B, and traditional Haitian music – as electric folk. At the core it’s two voices and an electric guitar. The eclectic, warm, and accessible music the duo makes reflects the kindness and openness that underpin their message: out of isolation and hardship we can learn how to accept and heal the wounds of the past, and how to change and face the future with grace and compassion, regardless of our age. In addition to the usual ways that music enhances our daily lives, Claudia & Dan imagine that families will use these songs as a starting point for important and uplifting conversations at home. “Let Love Be Your Guide” was written and recorded in Baltimore shortly after the couple moved to the city from Brooklyn at the end of 2019. They had been there just a few months when the pandemic hit and they were left, like all of us, at home. In an effort to connect with others, they decided to record and share a new song online every day, creating a Social Isolation Song Series. The popular series, which was later acquired by the Library of Congress, delivered inspiration and hope by bringing people together when we were forced apart, providing light when things were so dark for the artists and their virtual audience. The series ended after two hundred days. The experience changed the couple as they realized more clearly what folk singers have always known: songs are here to inspire and uplift, but they’re also here to tell the stories and reflect the times, and these were indeed unprecedented and unforgettable times.

I had the pleasure to sit down and chat with family to the proGram, Claudia + Dan about the new release, “Let Love Be Your Guide”. We dive into how it formed out of the Isolation Song Series and how a new place to call home helped build onto the existing possibilities. Stories are told, laughs are definitely had and the inspiration of a first time duo album, by a duo meant to be, are easily felt when check ing out our chat. As always, the best way to dive into a new album is to find a way to get it into your earholes and heart and see how it wraps itself around you. I have a feeling you’ll see how an album about some serious themes can still be inviting to all and a celebration of each of us.

Burnt Sugar Arkestra Chamber: Angels Over Oakanda

Founded by Village Voice icon Greg Tate & co-led with Dayton Ohio monster bassist Jared Michael Nickerson since 1999, Burnt Sugar the Arkestra Chamber is a sprawling band of musicians whose prodigious personnel allows them to freely juggle a wide swath of the experimental soul-jazz-hip hop spectrum. Burnt Sugar was originally conceived as a forum for the New York area improvisational musician to compose, record and perform material which reflects the breadth and depth of American diasparan music in the 21st century. The intent of the Arkestra Chamber, through the deployment of Butch Morris’s conduction system, is to make every performance a fresh interpretation of its constituent parts. Rather than limit ourselves to the straight jackets that the commercial recording industry uses to market contemporary Black Music, Burnt Sugar freely moves amongst many styles, eras and genres to devise its own exciting hybrids. These hybrids are based on a solid foundation of various musical traditions and the use of cutting-edge music technology. In this sense the group mission honors its deepest inspirations, the first post-modernists of American music – Duke Ellington, Sun Ra, Parliament Funkadelic and The Art Ensemble of Chicago. This very accomplished crew has playing credits that range from Cecil Taylor, Charlie Musselwhite, Melvin Van Peebles, Lady Keir, Toshi Reagon, Vernon Reid, Arto Lindsey, DJ Logic, John Paul Bourelly, Gary Lucas, TV On The Radio, Tamar Kali, Mark Ribot, Phish, William Parker, Lizz Wright, The Holmes Brothers, Wadada Leo Smith, The The, David Murray, Thurston Moore, and Joseph Bowie to let you know. Arkestra Conductor Greg Tate says, “Burnt Sugar got the nerve to claim Sly Stone, Morton Feldman, Billie Holiday, Jimi Hendrix and Jean Luc Ponty as progenitors. Our player-ranks include known Irish fiddlers, AACM refugees, Afro-punk rejects, unrepentant beboppers, feminist rappers, jitterbugging doowoppers, frankly loud funk-a-teers and rodeo stars of the digital divide.” All this above is from their website, I call them the daily best unplanned thanG that could happen then, and family.

I had the opportunity to catch up with my man Mr. Jared Michael Nickerson to take a deep dive into the brand new four-song suite titled “Angels Over Oakanda”, which is the group’s first new studio-generated album of original material since 2017’s “All You Zombies Dig The Luminosity”. The album is being released on CD and as a digital download by Avant Groidd Musica September 23, 2021 with a 12” vinyl release to follow in 2022. J & I get into the birth and beGinning life of each track as the entity they are, we talk what could have been, what it is and what is still gonna be for the Arkestra as we all move in a new world way. Truthfully, there are few words I can give you to add to our chat, the experience that is the Burnt Sugar Arkestra Chamber and mostly, the creative beings that comprised the sonic adventures created by beings clearly meant to get after it, as one. Live is the right way to get this kinda Sugar, until then, let this new music into you, and experience.

Songs And Stories With Tom Rush

Tom Rush is a gifted musician & performer, whose shows offer a musical celebration, a journey into the tradition & spectrum of what music has been, can be, and will become. His distinctive guitar style, wry humor and warm, expressive voice have made him both a legend and a lure to audiences around the world. His shows are filled with the deep sincere laughter of terrific story-telling, the sweet melancholy of ballads and the passion of those gritty blues. Mr. Rush’s impact on the American music scene has been profound. He helped shape the folk revival in the ’60s and the renaissance of the ’80s and ’90s, his music having left its stamp on generations of artists. James Taylor told Rolling Stone, “Tom was not only one of my early heroes, but also one of my main influences.” Country music star Garth Brooks has credited Mr. Rush with being one of his top five musical influences. Mr. Rush has long championed emerging artists. His early recordings introduced the world to the work of Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne & James Taylor, and in more recent years his Club 47® concerts have brought artists such as Nanci Griffith and Shawn Colvin to wider audiences when they were just beginning to build their own reputations. Mr. Rush has always displayed an uncanny knack for finding wonderful songs, and writing his own – many of which have become classics re-interpreted by new generations. Today, Tom Rush lives in New England when he’s not touring. His voice has grown even richer and more melodic, and his music, like a fine wine, has matured and ripened in the blending of traditional and modern influences. He’s written a number of new songs. He’s doing what he loves, and what audiences love him for: writing and playing …passionately, tenderly…knitting together the musical traditions and talents of our times.

I had the chance to catch up with friend of the proGram, Mr. Tom Rush about his upcoming show at the Bur Oak in Madison on September 28th. During this “Evening With Tom Rush”, he will be accompanied by a young creative talent, Matt Nakoa. Mr. Rush and I get into a little about how excited he is to getting back out there and sharing songs, stories and time with real people. We talk about the life of his songs and those stories as well as a what he has been up to during the times away from touring. We talk a little about this year’s 50th Shaboo Inn anniversary event he was a part of where one other bands in attendance did a song he does and did. We pondered if a superhuman can capo a pacemaker? And with many adaptations throughout the years, Mr. Rush continues to be a prominent musical voices for people who observe the every day with eyes wide. After tuning into this chat, the only way to really get why Mr. Rush is so important, is to be in a live room with him. Hope you can.

(see Bur Oak Covid policy here)

Photo: Bob Stegmaier

Backyard Tire Fire Is Back

Backyard Tire Fire is back! The Midwestern alt-country band’s forthcoming EP ‘Black Dirt Blue Sky’ dropping today via Black Dirt Records/Royal Potato Family. The five-song collection marks the first new music from Backyard Tire Fire in eleven years. The rebirth of Backyard Tire Fire springs forth with an undeniable burst of musical energy. Fans will cheer the band’s return the way families celebrate a long-awaited reunion. The music radiates a spirit of renewal, like a John Deere tractor turning over a patch of rich soil. And the musicians pack more passion into the material than a team of horses in their prime, eager to work. The recordings show how much bandmates Edward David Anderson, Matt Anderson, Scott Tipping and John Ganser are happy to play new songs together after a decade-long hiatus. ‘Black Dirt Blue Sky’ is loaded with moments that coax smiles and recall good memories. “Carefree Kids” inspires nostalgia, while “Truck Stop Shower” negotiates the ups and downs of a life lived hard with guest vocals by Garrison Starr. The band’s experience touring the USA and recording a series of timeless alt-country records in the early aughts informs the present-day energy of tunes like “Little Wren” and “House Of Cards.” Holding up alongside the best of Backyard Tire Fire from years past, the music shines with beauty and joy, like light at the end of a long tunnel. Backyard Tire Fire will return to the stage for a handful of select performances, including their own Black Dirt Music Festival in Bloomington, IL on Saturday, September 11 to be headlined by fellow Illinois band, Wilco.

It’s been a few years now, but I had a chance to reconnect with Backyard Tire Fire’s founding member, primary songwriter and friend of the proGram, Edward David Anderson. We talk about the new music, where it came from and how it was made ready to go down as a BTF collection. We dissect a couple of the tracks, so that feeling of being there when pen hits paper or strings get strummed for their birth is true. We also talked about life, where it was, where it’s been and some hopes for where it could be going and how all that translates into stories, the reason this band means so much to me…it’s the stories and how they are easily relatable for me as both a listener and a music sharer. A few years back when chatting with Cody, (Chicago Farmer), he and I discussed the influences they bounced off one another and same thing goes down in this chat. This is why is we his songs seem to “get us” is discussed. There might even have been mention of a children’s album and book. Say what? If you’ve been waiting, that part is now over and it’s time to get reconnected with a little Backyard Tire Fire of your own. I think this new EP is a great place to (re)start.

Overpass By Marc Johnson

Marc Johnson was born in Nebraska in 1953, and he grew up in Texas. By age 19, he was working professionally with the Fort Worth Symphony, and while at North Texas State University, he played & recorded with fellow student Lyle Mays. After graduating he toured & recorded with Woody Herman, before becoming, at the age of 25, the bassist with the Bill Evans Trio, following in the footsteps of masterful players including Scott La Faro, Gary Peacock and Eddie Gomez. Mr. Johnson’s many recording credits since then include discs with Michael Brecker, Bob Brookmeyer, Gary Burton, Jack DeJohnette, Eliane Elias, Peter Erskine, Bill Frisell, Stan Getz, Joe Lovano, Lyle Mays, Pat Metheny, Ben Monder, Paul Motian, Enrico Pieranunzi, & Wolfgang Muthspiel, among other visionaries. His first ECM recordings were with his own Bass Desires quartet, who released 2 important albums, Bass Desires & Second Sight. The bassist subsequently recorded for the label as a member of John Abercrombie’s trio and appears on the guitarist’s discs including Cat’n’Mouse & Class Trip. He has also contributed to ECM albums by guitarist Ralph Towner (Lost and Found), pianist John Taylor (Rosslyn), saxophonist Charles Lloyd (Lift Every Voice) and bandoneón master Dino Saluzzi (Cité de la Musique). Leader dates have included Shades of Jade and Swept Away – both featuring Eliane Elias, Joe Lovano, & Joey Baron, with John Scofield also appearing on Shades. Overpass, recorded in January and February 2018 at Nacena Studios, in São Paulo, was produced by Marc & Eliane Elias and is set to be released on 8/27 on ECM Records. With Overpass, recorded in Brazil in 2018, Mr. Johnson makes a decisive & intriguing contribution to ECM’s solo bass recordings. It is an album that takes note of that tradition and Marc has said that Dave Holland’s Emerald Tears was among the solo recordings that fired his imagination almost half a century ago and builds upon it in a personal & imaginative way.

I had the opportunity to catch up with Mr. Johnson about some of the ins and outs of the new album, Overpass. We dissect a couple of the tunes to get that feeling of being inside the music, as well as the process by which the album was put toGether. A Solo double bass album, this music while some may be familiar by name, provides me, as a listener and a sharer a chance to see/hear….feel the same differently. I invite you into that same feeling by checking out our conversation, but also by finding the tunes on this album, that do the same for you.

Liv Warfield Is All That And More


Liv Warfield began building her legend, in of all places, Portland, Oregon. Despite having no formal background in singing, she gained the respect of local superstars and became an icon in her own right. While she takes cues from musical influences like Nina Simone, Etta James, Sade, Tina Turner, & Mary J. Blige, Liv has carved out a style all her own, which can best be described as “alternative soul with a lil’ bit of Rock ‘n’ Roll.” In 2006, she self-released her debut album “Embrace Me.” By 2009, she caught the eye of the one-and-only Prince and ultimately joined his group the “New Power Generation.”

imaGe used w/permission from LiV

After touring for several years & soaking up as much knowledge as she could from the ultimate music mentor, Liv made her big splash on the national scene in 2014, 1st as a featured artist for Vh1’s “You Oughta Know” campaign, and then with the release of her major label debut album “The Unexpected,” which was executive produced by Prince. What followed were show-stopping performances on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” “The Late Show with David Letterman,” and “The Arsenio Hall Show;” a 2014 Soul Train Music Award & nominations for two others; a BET Best New Artist Award nomination; & high-profile cosigns from Lionel Richie, Cindy Lauper, & Nancy Wilson of HEART. That same year, Warfield’s performance closing out Essence Fest was hailed as one of the most memorable after shows at the New Orleans House of Blues. In 2015, the accolades only kept growing, w/Liv and the NPG Hornz being named one of the top 10 bands to see at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. It’s no wonder she has left celebrities like Letterman declaring it’s time to “cancel show business!”

Fast forward a little closer to this moment today and the release of Prince’s Welcome 2 America certainly reminded me of just how much Liv has been instrumental in bringing a special joy to my ear, my heart and my radio proGram. I had the true pleasure of catching up with Liv about the music of Welcome 2 America being released out to the world, working with Prince and the trust & education that comes with it. We spend some time talking about the great new and fresh-feeling music being released very very soon with Joon Moon and how yet another music page is being turned with this effort. I am a true believer that Liv can turn as many musical pages as as can be held in the library. There are stores we share, there is some poetic waxin’ and of course there is the “So…how did you come to the attention of Prince?” was definitely run through. Although, Liv Warfield may be synonymous with the work she has done with a true one-of-a-kind, there is a reason this visionary of life’s art chose her to be on the “team”. Because of this unique dubbing by a king, I am not one to keep this chat only abut the music. Liv and I talk about the person, not just the powerhouse of an artist that she is and I think when you are done getting to know her, you’ll see why I believe now is the time for all of us to Liv better!

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Under Tito Jackson’s Spell

Tito Jackson has spent his entire life tempting music lovers w/soulful harmonies interwoven w/curvaceous rhythms as a member of Motown’s greatest discovery, The Jackson 5, and presently as a multi-faceted solo artist. His unyielding passion for blues, R&B, pop, and other music forms is the secret to his boundless energy & unique achievements in the ever-changing & at times heartless business. In 1962, before the Jackson 5 & the Jacksons, Tito performed in a local group called The Jackson Brothers. After competing & winning local talent shows in and around Gary, the precocious brothers were victorious again on the most prestigious amateur stage of all — Manhattan’s Apollo Theater. In that same year Tito & his brothers made their first studio recording, titled “Big Boy.” Not only did it turn out to be a local hit, but it set the stage for a partnership with Motown Records and appearances on the top-rated Ed Sullivan Show, American Bandstand, Soul Train, & later, their own primetime television series in 1976, on CBS. In addition to this, Tito and his brothers’ soaring popularity with America’s youth was so captivating that they were captioned in a Saturday morning, ABC TV animation series. Tito and his brothers signed with Epic Records and officially came under a new name, The Jacksons, in 1976. In 1978 he co-wrote the songs “Everybody,” “Destiny,” and “Push Away” for his new record label. As the group The Jackson’s, including Tito, they self-produced the Destiny album. Later, for the Victory album Tito produced, wrote, and sang on “We Can Change The World,” which was featured on their popular Victory Tour. A father of three men (Taj, Taryll, and TJ), known to the music world as 3T, Tito works closely with his sons. This is consistent with the fine direction that he received from his loving mother Katherine & his caring father Joe. In addition to working with sisters Janet, Rebbie, & La Toya, Tito has worked with countless fine musicians, singers, and producers. One of the performing highlights of the remarkable career of Tito Jackson is the unforgettable reunion performance on one of histories most watched television specials, Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever (1983). The show signaled a pivotal point in his dazzling career and an auspicious focus on likely the greatest performer to ever grace a stage, Michael Jackson. In 1997 Tito and his brothers were ceremonially honored as inductees of the well-respected Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. In September 2001, nearly 17 years after their last performance together, all 6 Jackson brothers reunited for 2 performances at Madison Square Garden for a 30th anniversary special commemorating Michael’s solo career. Tito’s initial success with the recording masterpieces “I Want You Back,” “Never Can Say Goodbye”, “I’ll Be There,” (best selling single in Motown’s history), and other mega-hits is the start of an amazing journey thru modern musical immortality. Tito also rocks the world through various riveting live shows with his brothers, his own band & the BB King Blues Band. His brother Michael had this to say about him, “Tito is very quiet and soft, but can be really strong when necessary. He’s always there when we need him and manages to project an inner calm which is vital within a family unit”. Those statements have proven to be consistently true through the ups and downs of the exciting but rigorous show business lifestyle. As an international artist, Tito has garnered great respect from peers & fans alike. His emphasis on fairness & loyalty in the music business community is a hallmark of his selfless style. This legend’s mark on music history & the rich legacy that he established is one that has stood the test of time and is one that will flourish for as long as there is a song to sing!

I had the complete honor to sit down and chat it up with this living legend, Hall Of Famer and a true gentleman, Mr. Tito Jackson. Mr. Jackson and I spent time discussing his new release “Under Your Spell” on Gulf Coast Records. We get into a few of the tracks and how the amazing lineup of accompanying artists added their “them” to the project. We talk about the lead single “Love One Another” and moreover, the video for this anthemesque tune that reminds us all about this simple thing…and its the list of the who Mr. Jackson has in the video to help get that message out. Of course, no good chat with a one and only member of the most influential family in pop music/culture goes on without some stories of the then and how it got all of us to the now, toGether. I am honored to have had the chance to do my little part to help spread this message and hope you’ll dig into the album and this conversation to see what’s what (and even a hint of what’s possibly next…did someone say Sly Stone?).

Greener Lines

The mid-section of tis week’s proGram added a hint of tint and tilt to the scope:

Rock Me Baby- Tito Jackson Ft. George Benson & Claudette King
Love One Another- Tito Jackson Ft. Stevie Wonder, Bobby Rush & Marlon Jackson

~~
I’m a Sinner- Bette Smith Ft. Jimbo Mathus
***pre-recorded conversation with Bette Smith***
Signs And Wonder- Bette Smith Ft. Luther Dickinson
Human- Bette Smith
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Is That You?- Tim Reynolds & Michael Sokolowski
Glow Worm- Photon
Estimated Prophet- Dave McMurray

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Basic Goodness- Danny Mayer
Born 2 Die- Prince
Same Page, Different Book- Prince
BF Holiday- Let Your Hair Down

The Good The Bad The Bette

Wild rock & soul singer Bette Smith traces elements of her life-affirming new album “The Good, The Bad and The Bette” to her childhood in rough Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. Musically, it connects to the gospel music she heard in church and the soul music on the corners. This injection of soul music and gospel into rock & roll powered a breakout in 2017’s “Jetlagger,” which received raves from NPR, Paste, American Songwriter, Billboard, MOJO, and a feature in the New York Times. Not just a critics’ darling, the album rose to #1 on the Roots Music Report chart and topped off a banner year with a celebrated appearance at the Montreux Jazz Festival. For this latest release, out now on Ruf Records, the Brooklyn, NY native enlisted Drive-By Truckers’ Matt Patton and engineer/drummer Bronson Tew as producers at Dial Back Sound in Water Valley, MS; Patton has previously helmed projects by Jimbo Mathus and the Dexateens as well as contributed to albums with Dom Flemons, Seratones, and Candi Staton. He played bass on “Jetlagger,” which was produced by Jimbo Mathus and the two found a kinship and shared vision. She says, “When I called on my producer Matthew Robert Patton, I told him that I wanted a southern rock soul/Aretha Franklin/’I once was lost but now I’m found’ theme.” He in turn enlisted guests North Mississippi Allstar Luther Dickinson (guitar on “Signs and Wonders”) and fellow DBT member Patterson Hood (vocals on “Everybody Needs Love”) to join him on the new album.

I had the pleasure of chatting with Bette about the upcoming event at the High Noon Saloon on August 15th. We really get into how the people at the reason Bette brings it out on the road. She hopes to get to know the folks who feel the music, feel the stories and just feels it. We spend time walking, almost dancing though some of the tracks on the album, where they came from and how they piece toGether that almost diary feel to this record. This album has many angels to it, the soulfulness one would come to expect, the bluesiness one needs and that rockin’ feel that one might have been hoping for. Seriously now, if you like to allow your body, mind AND soul to be moved, Bette is your guide. Bette also takes a little about the artists she might think round out a set along with her new music and to me, I am think an extended set of Bette Smith is just what the doctor ordered.

New World Blues With Alastair Greene

As Alastair Greene’s prolific and acclaimed career rounds the corner into a third decade, he finds himself arriving at a new, yet familiar destination. Following a 2018 live album that celebrated the 20th anniversary of his noteworthy Alastair Greene Band, the singer-songwriter/guitarist returns with an inspired solo collection, “The New World Blues”, and a tonic for these times. “I’m not a prophet by any stretch of the imagination,” Greene says. “But, this record is even more relevant now than when I wrote it in 2019. A much in-demand guitarist and vocalist, Greene traveled the world, touring with the legendary Alan Parsons Live Project from 2010 – 2017, as well as stints with Starship featuring Mickey Thomas and, most recently, Blues Music Award-winner Sugaray Rayford. His work with Parsons, in particular, sparked a conversation with renowned multi-instrumentalist and producer Tab Benoit at a Las Vegas blues festival. In 2019, Greene signed with Benoit’s Whiskey Bayou Records label.

I had the opportunity to catch up with Alastair ahead of the August 11th show along with Tab Benoit here in Madison at The Barrymore Theater.. We painted a brief picture of what is to be expected when he hits the stage. Believe me, if you are fans of Tab Benoit, you’ll want to pay attention to this. We spend a good amount of time talking about the album that came out late last year that he is touring on the back of “The New World Blues” and how it was recorded and where some of the songs originated from and how the openness of working with Tab opened new sonic doors, thus created an album of songs that have a feel of each artist within it. Alastair was also kind enough to think of a few artists he might build a set around one of the tracks off this brilliant album, to me that list could really extend all over that bluesy/rocksy scene and well beyond. Check out the show, check out the album and feel this music for yourself.

Cole Bales Of Black Light Animals

Black Light Animals are a psychedelic soul group hailing from the Midwest. Taking equal influence from ’70s Italian horror soundtracks, Wu Tang samples, and Ziggy Stardust-era David Bowie, their sprawling debut album explores themes of humanity, social media obsession, political division, and the concept of “amusing ourselves to death.” Sonically rich and full of spaghetti western guitars, psychedelic keyboards, hip hop rhythms, and lush vocals, “Playboys of the Western World” comes off as some forgotten ’70s film soundtrack, while exploring themes very much relevant to today. Black Light Animals’ “Playboys of the Western World” will be available August 20th on limited vinyl, CD and streaming/digital formats via Groove King Records.

I had the chance to catch up with frontman of Black Light Animals, Cole Bales recently to dive a little deeper into the creation of both the band and this stellar debut album, “Playboys of the Western World”. We get into how it all went from there to here both as a group and as song creators. We chat a bit about the differences for him between B.L.A. and another group ole is in, a more soul oriented outfit, The Freedom Affair and Cole even takes a little time to choose a track off the new album that he would build a set around for the radio show, and what other things he’d surround that track with. It is always a pleasure to dig into an album and after several listens and shares, and still be unsure what to actually call the sounds.. Hoping you all with dig in and wonder with me.

Talkin’ His Way with Grant Calvin Weston

Grant Calvin Weston was born June 6, 1959 in Philadelphia, PA. He became interested in drums at the age of 6, when he (and his neighbors) discovered his talent for rhythm as he beat on every car on the block. In North Philadelphia he saw musicians like Stevie Wonder, The Jackson Five and James Brown at the Uptown Theatre, which further fueled his creativity. Seeing his attention focused on the drummers, his father bought him a small set. In high school Calvin learned to read music and played second snare in the drum ensemble. He co-founded the group Bad Influence which played in cabarets and clubs around Philadelphia. At 17, along with bass player Jamalaadean Tacuma, (his close friend from Philly) Calvin joined Ornette Colemans Prime Time Band which toured extensively in North America and Europe. After recording four albums with Prime Time, Calvin went on to play and record with guitarist James “Blood” Ulmer, until 1990, when he joined John Lurie’s Lounge Lizards. During the late 90s and beyond, Calvin recorded and toured with Billy Martin (Medeski , Martin and Wood,) Tricky, Eyvind Kang, Derek Bailey, Marc Ribot, John Zorn ,James Carter, Gypsys Reloaded (with Melvin Gibbs and Jean-Paul Bourelly), Free Form Funky Freqs (with Vernon Reid and Jamaaldeen Tacuma). He has also played on several movie soundtracks including “Get Shorty”.

I had the pleasure of talking with G. Calvin Weston about one of his latest projects, “Stone Church” with Jim Kost, released today via Ropeadope Records. We get into how this album came to be. On our way in that talk, we get into a few stories about Mr. Ornette Coleman, whom he worked with for years at a very early age. Within those stories, we learn how G. Calvin did it, learned how to find himself inside the rhythms, contnuing to be an “improvizationalist”, finding how what he does know can assist in the deeper learning of finding his voice. Man, this is gold!! We circle back to how that influenced his playing on “Stone Church”. Of course, we could not be stopped from hinting about new music that is coming out soon, as you all know how much I like to be one of the first to get the newness into the universe. After talking with G. Calvin, it is so simple to me to see just why I have always leaned into the way he did what he do.

Joe Marcinek Talks JMB4

Joe Marcinek Band is an experience you will 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 that magical Jazz Fusion. Joe tours nationally from New York to LA and everywhere in between. Most of the lineups will only happen one time making every night a can’t miss show. The group has featured many prominent special guests including Bernie Worrell (P-Funk, Talking Heads), Melvin Seals (Jerry Garcia Band), George Porter JR (The Meters), Ivan Neville (Dumpstaphunk), Alan Evans (Soulive), Kris Myers (Umphrey’s McGee), Tony Hall (Dumpstaphunk, Dave Mathews & Friends), Shaun Martin (Snarky Puppy, Kirk Franklin), Allen Aucoin (the Disco Biscuits), Jason Hann (String Cheese Incident / EOTO), Erik “Jesus” Coomes (Lettuce), Borahm Lee (Break Science), Jennifer Hartswick and Natalie Cressman (Trey Anastasio Band), Mike Greenfield (Lotus), Borham Lee (Break Science), Steve Molitz (Phil Lesh & Friends / Particle) Joey Porter (The Motet / Juno What), Fareed Haque, Scott Metzger, Nate Werth (Snarky Puppy) Garrett Sayers (The Motet) Allie Kral (Yonder Mountain String Band), Freekbass, Vinnie Amico and Jim Loughlin (moe.) and that list keeps growing.

I had the chance to catch up with our brother to the proGram, Joe Marcinek about the brand new release,JMB4, We get into the process leading up to these songs on this album, the songwriting experience and this all-star band featuring himself, drummer Nikki Glaspie (The Nth Power), bassist Tony Hall (Dumpstaphunk), and keyboardist/organist Shaun Martin (Snarky Puppy). In addition, JMB4 includes special guest appearances from a pile of talented friends including Eric Gales, Roosevelt Collier, Eric “Benny” Bloom (Lettuce), and Jason Hann (The String Cheese Incident). We are even able to talk a bit about getting back out on the road and we don’t hesitate to give props to the visual and concept artist behind the art, Yhali Ilan. Always spreading the joy and love of the music and the art, Joe Marcinek with whomever he’s playing with is going to be a fun and “in the moment” time.

Art by: Yhali Ilan

Nate Smith & Kinfolk At Madison Jazz Festival

For nearly two decades, Nate Smith has been a key piece in reinvigorating the international music scene with his visceral, instinctive, & deep-rooted style of drumming. He holds a diverse & ample résumé, which includes work with esteemed jazz leading lights such as Pat Metheny, Dave Holland, Chris Potter, José James, John Patitucci, Ravi Coltrane, and Somi among many others. His 2x GRAMMY-nominated debut album, KINFOLK: Postcards from Everywhere, sees Nate fusing his original modern jazz compositions with R&B, pop, & hip-hop. He’s also ventured into the pop/rock world with recent collaborations with Vulfpeck spinoff band The Fearless Flyers, Brittany Howard (of Alabama Shakes) & performances with songwriters Emily King and Van Hunt. In recent years, through a series of viral videos, he has emerged as one of the most influential & popular drummers of his generation. His videos have been viewed millions of times and have inspired countless musicians and fans. In September of 2018, he released his first ever solo drumset album Pocket Change. As a composer and arranger, Nate received two (2) GRAMMY nominations for his composition “Home Free (for Peter Joe)” for best instrumental composition & best arrangement (instrumental or a cappella).

I had the complete pleasure to share some of the cool with Nate about his upcoming trip into Madison to play at Breese Stevens Field as part of the 2021 Madison Jazz Festival. We get into the who and what KINFOLK of this stripped down version of the band will be sharing with us (including some not yet released material), the making/feeling “it” of the music toGether. We find out how important the ears are an instrument & we get into an artists relationship w/our mutual friend Laura Hanifin as a story telling/conceptual image-taker on his projects of then now and the future. Get into this one and feel summa that cool ooze off you too.

Photo by Laura Hanifin from Pocket Change Album: Waterbaby Music: 2018

Isaiah Collier & The Chosen Few

Isaiah Collier & The Chosen Fewfully explore moments of the past, present, and, yes, even the future. The new album Cosmic Transitions is a Five-part suite that addresses interpersonal relationships during a Retrograde period. The recording of this project took place on September 23rd, 2020 at Rudy Van Gelder‘s legendary studio where greats like John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter, Joe Henderson, and many other great musicians expressed what they felt in those moments. Isaiah Collier is a Chicago/Brooklyn based multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger, curator, activist, motivational speaker & educator. He is probably most known for his work as a saxophonist, and drummer with this group. His sound/approach is drawn from the influences of John Coltrane, Roscoe Mitchell, Wayne Shorter, Ari Brown and Gene Ammons and he has shared the stage with many distinguished artists—Chance The Rapper, Lewis Nash, Waddada Leo Smith III, Junius Paul, James Carter, Rene Marie, Marquis Hill, Bennie Maupin, Rudy Van Gelder, Angel Bat Dawid, Kahil El’Zabar and many more. He is one of many bright stars from Chicago and will bring the Chosen Few to Madison on June 12th for two shows at Cafe Coda as part of the Madison Jazz Festival.

Isaiah Collier & The Chosen Few are heading into the festival on the heels of a fresh new music release. A release filled with a wide range of human emotions and musical possibility, Cosmic Transitions was crafted with the full intention to awaken those who hear it. Each part of the Suite weaves into the next. Not for the faint of heart, the album sets out to be a timestamp for before and after. Enjoy the journey. And enjoy our conversation about the upcoming event (who will be making the moments with us),the creation of these newest sonic adventures and the giving of and beyond the music.

Whole Nother World with Patti Parks & Kenny Neal

It is always nice to et introduced to a new artist. For me, the new album by blues/soul singer Patti Parks is my first ear meeting with her. She’s releasing a new album entitled Whole Nother World, which is produced by GRAMMY AWARD-nominated blues great Kenny Neal. Patti, a Buffalo, NY native and a Buffalo Music Hall of Fame inductee, is, as expected, really excited about the release of this collection of songs. Recorded in Baton Rouge, Louisiana at Brookstown Recording Studios (Kenny Neal’s studio), Whole Nother World was released on May 28 on Mr. Neals’ Booga Music label. Along with producing the album, Mr. Neal arranged and also performs masterfully on it. A riveting live performer, Patti has a soulful, sensual voice that does immense justice to her uplifting blend of Chicago blues, Memphis soul and tasty funk.

I had the opportunity to cacth up with both Patti and Mr. Neal to dive in a little deeper into this fantastic new release. We get into the history of some of the songs, including a story of loss and regain. We learn both how Patti worked differently on this album that work previous, with her being in a whole new element Mr. Neal’s hometown and in his revered studio. It was also really fascination to get an idea of how Mr. Neal goes about creating, using his ears to see what the story is and how it gets to the place he might have heard it in his mind….legends do! Of course, there’s the music and then there’s the give back. Patti has been a working nurse and is creator of the Nurs’n Blues education program, which she developed to help high risk children at drug rehab centers, so we made sure to give some shout outs to this great work.

DQB Heading To Madison

Dirk Quinn is the guitarist for the jazz/funk band that coincidentally bears his name. Based out of the beautiful city of Philadelphia, the Dirk Quinn Band (DQB) travels extensively throughout the US and Canada e=where they are met with smiling faces and ready to groove bodies. Utilizing over a decade of steady performing, they have developed a unique and in the now style – one that appeals to a wide variety of music listeners with a wide array of fans always seen in attendance at their events. It is the band’s infectious energy and interplay along with great melodic sensibilities, rhythmic experimentation and an accessible modern edge, keeps the Dirk Quinn Band as a mainstay atop any list of all that jazz and funk improvisations at its most engaging. I have been a fan of their musical creations for a long time, personally.

I had the chance to catch up with the four cats that’ll be heading to Madison at Garver Feed Mill on June 9th to tear things up and bring those good feelings. We got into what people in Madison can expect from this foursome as they get prepared for an evening of in the moment groves that can twist and turn on a dime. The main theme seems to be “That Feel good energy”. Speaking of feeling good….we had to talk about their latest release “The Milton” and find out how the new music came toGether during some of these crazy times. I’ll be honest, I didn’t know all four cats were gonna join the call, but it was a great chance to feel their energy as individuals, and listening to them talk about what song off the new album they’d choose to build a radio setlist out of was fascinating. I think it was for them too. Check out our chat, checkout the band live and hey, check out all the years worth of music the DQB has put out just for you.

Get Up Or Cry by Almog Sharvit

Innovative composer & bassist Almog Sharvit announces the release of his debut album as a leader, Get Up Or Cry, on May 28, 2021, via Unit Records. Together with his band members Adam O’Farrill (trumpet), Brandon Seabrook (guitar & banjo), Micha Gilad (piano, keys, synths) & Lukas König (drums), Almog creates an amusement park of a record. After years of exploring & absorbing art in a wide variety of media, Almog possesses his own personal and compelling style, both in performance and composition. Get Up Or Cry was recorded in a single day at Wonderpark Studios in Brooklyn. In post-production, Almog applied experimental techniques usually found in pop & electronic music to the songs – the record features filter sweeps, heavy distortion and compression, and creative automation and panning that he gladly says “will knock the dust off your stereo.”. My suggestion is you turn it up real loud and listen to each part a few times over….like exiting the ride at that amusement park and quickly running back in line to get after it aGain.

I had the chance to catch up with Almog about the new album ahead of its end of May release. We get into the importance of getting those right musicians backing this project – those who find the sense of humor within some of this music – they felt the smile this album creates. We get into the cross-genre stylings and some of those after recording extra manipulations to enhance the visions. Snuck in is not only a couple of bands we learn are loved by Almog, but also which songs of the new record he’d choose to build a setlist with and what other artists would be included…always a very interesting path to get people talking about, and this time is no different. I look forward to more music to come in the future, but will certainly continue to get back in line for some more Get Up Or Cry.

Brood X and Joseph Yoon

My pal Joseph Yoon is pretty cool. His mission is to raise appreciation and awareness for edible insects through delicious, educational, and creative programming. His work has been featured on the Smithsonian Channel, New York Times, NPR, Boston Globe, Washington Post, Live with Kelly and Ryan, and Forbes, as he and his colleagues help explain why the United Nations endorses edible insects to address food security and sustainability. He strives to introduce edible insects and normalize them in America as a sustainable source of protein with broad applications that can be found in your pantry, eaten as a snack, and beautifully plated by chefs. A couple years back, I had Joseph on the program to talk about how he goes about his mission. It’s impressive to say the least. We also discussed an event he was part of here at the University of Wisconsin, where I got to be a part of an incredible spread of deliciousness. This time around, we did remind folks of the mission but we mostly wrapped our heads around Brood X. Brood X, otherwise known as the great cicada hatching of 2021, is starting to happen now as soil temperatures in some parts of America move closer to 64F which is the trigger, according to scientists, for trillions of the insects to push up to the surface and into the world to mate. It is an absolutely amazing 17-year-life cycle for the heaps of bugs, who form different broods emerging at different times- all after remaining underground for almost their entire lives before briefly emerging to mate and then die. Brood X is the group of cicadas that spread over tracts of the north-east of the US, including New York & Washington, as well as parts of the Midwest & West Virginia. And… there is so much more to the entire story.

Joseph and I get deep into the entire Cicada scene as part of this amazing Brood X happening. We get into the hunt, the love and respect of the living beings and the ways to prepare and enjoy this nutritious and amazing insect. To Joseph, this is way more than just a cool thing to do (which there is no argument from me that it truly is way cool), this is something that is going on globally for so many right reasons and how do we turn the page in places that still see the “bugs” as mere pests. One of the many things I dig about Joseph is how the whole thing for him has such an artistic twist to it, from the selections of foods, to the accompanying additions of an meal , to the beings themselves and how they live their lives. You can hear the love of the creatures, the love of what Joseph is doing – just listen to him talk about all the possibilities with each part to the cicada’s lifecycle. This is a guy with the passion I think we need! For me, I was super excited to touch on the “chorus” of cicadas during our conversation as well and when you grab an earful, you’ll hear what cool thing he and Grammy nominated saxophonist Jay Rodriguez are up to.

Cicada Nymph Spring Salad w/asparagus, peas, red onions, chilis, garlic, butter, lemon, mint.