Free Radical’s White Power Outage Vol. 2

Free Radicals, a musical, political, & cultural force in Houston for over 2 decades, just dropped their highly anticipated new album ‘White Power Outage Volume 2’. The 25-track project is the follow up to Volume 1 and continues their quest to put an end to white supremacy. ‘White Power Outage Volume 1’ (2020) made waves with the press, radio, & fans through its diverse sound & beautiful mix of vocalists & musicians representing shades of Black, LatinX, white, Asian, mixed, & indigenous people that make the up the culture of Houston Texas. They came together to make revolutionary music, and to demand an end to the white supremacy in the arts, culture, politics, the economy, and in their personal lives. Volume 2 is another genre-bending compilation packed full of highlights. Leading up to the album, Free Radz released the single ‘Bipartisan Baby Jail’ featuring Michele Thibeaux, Henry Alvarez & Karina Nistal. The single also includes 4 year old kids from Peace Camp Houston and combines singing, rap, & poetry over funk. ‘Mutiny On The Bayou’ features one of Houston’s longest standing and best rappers, D-Ology, and rips open the suppressed history of Houston’s 1917 massacre of Black soldiers. ‘Checkpoint / Dompass / Hajiz’ sees Lindi Yeni expressing her lifetime of experience with human rights & South African apartheid to this track. Yeni is joined by Jitsvinger, EQuality, and Prince Alfarra. On ‘Killer Bee Honey’, the Next Generation, Cherria Rattler enlists her daughter Marium to re-record & expand on the track originally recorded by Cherria 22 years ago, protesting the destruction of the planet by shortsighted & greedy men. Other highlights include the Karina Nistal led ‘El Ritmo Contra Gitmo,’ ‘Pokke Koebês’ by Jitsvinger who nails white conquest of South Africa in Afrikaans, Karega Ani’s poem ‘Crystal Stare,’ & instrumental track ‘Manifestación En El Centro Hoy.’

I had the opportunity to check in with Nick Cooper, drummer and producer of Free Radicals along with one of the collaborators on ‘White Power Outage Vol. 2, EQuality. We get into the seed to flower construction of this new music, synchronizing with artists from around the globe on a mission for one, and EQuality dissects ‘America’s Blues’, a track he brought to Nick and away the went. We talk about protests they have attended and shared their sounds and beliefs at, and the desire to get more time with current and new collaborators. Maybe you can brinG them to you.

Talkin’ Cree Country with Tomson Highway

Writer, composer and musician Tomson Highway was born in a snowbank on the Manitoba/Nunavut border to a family of nomadic caribou hunters. He had the great privilege of growing up in two languages: Cree, his mother tongue, and Dene, the language of the neighboring nation, a people with whom his family travelled and hunted. He is the proud son of legendary caribou hunter and world championship dogsled racer, Joe Highway, and artist-in-her-own-right (as bead-worker and quilt-maker extraordinaire), Pelagie Highway. That’s them on the cover of the brand new record, ‘Cree Country’. Sung by the incomparable Patricia Cano, ‘Cree Country’ is a stylish collection of twelve new country songs from one of Canada’s most prolific artistic innovators. With a spectacular band including the very best of Canadian country players, the album’s compelling tunes speak of real life, love, longing, devotion, our connection with nature, and the courage it takes to strive for your goals. Produced by the award-winning John Alcorn, the virtuosity of each musician is given great room to shine, with backup vocals that recall The Jordanaires, the gospel quartet loved by Elvis. Cree is an Indigenous language spoken by 100,000 North Americans. Many of Canada’s most well-known place names are of Cree origin, including Winnipeg, Manitoba, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Chicoutimi, Québec, and Ottawa. It’s a very rhythmic language that lends itself naturally to music-making – and particularly country! Tomson recalls living in the Manitoba bush in the 1950’s and hanging a transistor radio high in the trees at night to hear country music waft north all the way from Nashville, Tennessee. The joy of hearing that music is the inspiration behind these tunes.

I am proud to say that I had the chance to catch up with Tomson Highway to discuss the seed to flower creation of this fantastic new release. It was incredible to hear how long this music, this show, has been a work in progress. The happiness and joy that this sound spreads is really incomparable to that which oozes out of Tomson…I am still noticing my smile is a little bit wider these days. Within these words, there are paths to inner healing and hints on ways to find that happiness that is clearly still all around – I think I will just climb the ladder a little higher and adjust my transistor radio…recalibrate and check out Tomson and Cree Country.

50 Year Of Imagine with Saint Disruption

Saint Disruption, the spirit-driven music & art collective led by renowned improvisational keyboardist John Medeski and musician, scientist, and folk healer Jeff Firewalker Schmitt, has created a soulful rendition of John Lennon’s classic composition “Imagine.” The single features slide guitar work by Grammy winning vocalist, songwriter, guitar legend, >Warren Haynes, marking the first time that Haynes has recorded with his nephew Austn Haynes, cofounder of Asheville-based hip-hop quartet Free Radio. Out April 8, 2022 via Root Doctor Collective, the track also features impressively dynamic vocalists—Datrian Johnson and Grammy winning artist Debrissa McKinney (both of whom also work with Austn in Free Radio)—with the foundational bass parts played by Jake Wolf. “Such a cool, inventive take on this timeless tune,” says Warren. “It highlights the amazing strength and importance of the song while taking it into the future. It’s a real honor to work alongside my nephew Austn, my Asheville cohorts and my old friend John Medeski.” Medeski & Firewalker Schmitt had no idea they’d meet & strike up a friendship when they traveled independently to the heart of the Amazon to work with a shaman healer in 2008— but when they did, a collaborative creative relationship was born. Over a decade after that fateful meeting, in the midst of a global pandemic, the two felt an urgent need to join forces and make music as Saint Disruption. The group brings together musicians and artists to create works that support positive change in the world, with a spotlight on the rich artistic community of Asheville, NC as the creative hub. Firewalker & Medeski are pleased to have created the foundation to bring Warren & Austn Haynes together for the first time in a recording. Looking forward, Saint Disruption is planning to release more music & visual art collaborations, music videos, and their soon-to-be-launched No Simple Disruption Podcast/Video-show—released in conjunction with the No Simple Road Podcast and The UBC TV Network—which aspires to provide a platform for young visionaries to share their works and engage in deep dialogue with thought-leaders of their choice.

I had the chance to catch up with both Jeff and Austn about how they took such a life changing tune and made it into their own vision. We spoke of how the individual spirits combines to form this completely new rendition, the how’s and what’s that caused surprise and what are the possibilities for the future. We get into the healing and spirt side of earlier collaborations and how that music became the gateway bridge in/outward. There reflection on finding a new flow with new music, eldership and collaborations with the North Mississippi Allstars. Towards the end, we get into the coolness that is debuting n the Fall on thegiveback of the upcoming podcast/video show that brings true stories, from real people to the next generations. Deep fun times right here.

Time With Juana Molina

Juana Molina is a singer/songwriter from Argentina whose atmospheric blend of folk, electronica, & experimental pop have brought her international acclaim. Her career trajectory has been a unique one with her initial success coming as a massively popular comedic actress in the early-1990s. The subsequent abandonment of her television career in 1996 flummoxed critics at home where her newly launched music career failed to take hold. Nevertheless, Molina’s inventive and original songwriting was widely accepted outside of Latin America where, over the next two decades, she has established herself as a critically-lauded recording & touring artist. The daughter of tango singer, Horacio Molina, & actress Elva “Chunchuna” Villafañe, Juana was immersed in the arts from a young age and began playing guitar at the age of five. She actually made her first recorded appearance as a child alongside her father in 1967, singing the song “Te regalo esta canción” as a Mother’s Day gift to her mother. Her father secretly released it as a single and it became a hit, selling 45,000 copies. Now, after many diverse experiences, her passion and commitment to music prevailed, and worldwide recognition began to grow. After the release of her second and 3rd album, she quickly became the darling of the international indie/electronic/folk scene, and praise began pouring in from admirers in all corners. As her catalog continues to grow, more open minds and ears keep following, and I look forward to more opportunities for the incomparable Juana Molina to say yes to new projects that will continue her expansion.

I had the honor of catching up with Juana ahead of the April 29th solo event at the Stoughton Opera House. We get into what someone who gets out to go experience this show will try and prepare themselves for. We get into an interesting discussion about lyrics vs. music and how and when one become the anchor and one is the ready to move vessel. I’ve been sharing a few tracks off the new CRAMMED DISCS album ‘Find The One’ to be released on the same day Juana is in WI, from Congotronics International. This part of the conversation just keeps opening my eyes to that abality she has to find where and how she fits in and being such a valued addition to the scene, the people…..the art. After this conversation, I know I am even more interested in the moments of Juan and how the act/react to and within me.

photo by Alejandro Ros

The Bogie Band Ft. Joe Russo

Stuart Bogie was born in Evanston, Illinois & studied music at the University of Michigan & Interlochen Arts Academy. He has toured & recorded extensively w/the groups Antibalas, Arcade Fire, TV on the Radio, Iron and Wine, Sway Machinery and performed as the featured soloist in the original Broadway production of Fela!, directed by Bill T Jones. As a composer/arranger, he scored the Oscar nominated documentary ‘How To Survive a Plague’ which featured performances by the Kronos Quartet alongside Stuart’s group Superhuman Happiness. He has appeared on several recordings by the above mentioned as well as those of Craig Finn (of The Hold Steady), Cass McCombs, Sharon Van Etten, Angelique Kidjo (2 Grammy winning albums), Medeski Martin and Wood, Yeasayer, Spencer Day, Holly Miranda, Foals, Passion Pit, Biloji, and legendary improvised conductor Butch Morris. He has performed on television with Public Enemy, Rob Stewart, Barry Gibb, Paul Simon, My Morning Jacket, Tune-Yards, The Fela! Broadway Cast, The Roots, Antibalas, Gomez, Craig Finn, Sam Fender, Erykah Badu, & Alabama Shakes. It’s all of these experiences that lead us to the moments of today. Currently, Stuart leads The Bogie Band feat Joe Russo, a nine piece Winds & Drum group that performs ecstatic music that’s half sit down and half get up. He has been performing daily solo clarinet concerts on Instagram throughout the Covid 19 Pandemic, and has featured remote collaborations with over 50 different artists. He regularly composes music for film, stage, & commercials.

Stuart and I got toGether to mainly discuss the fresh to the world release of ‘The Prophets In The City’ —the debut album from The Bogie Band ft. Joe Russo on Royal Potato Family. We dive right into the way this music was planted as a seed, ways it was allowed to grow and Stuart creates a set-list around the album with many local Madison artists, just to be even more impressive than being such a deeply sought after saxophonists in the business – his resume is long/diverse & amazing [just like the roster of friends on this new album]. Something tells me this is another one of those albums of sound that could be an instant addition to a collector of music with an open mind and a thirsty ear-hole.

Club d’Elf You Never Know

To the naked eye, Club d’Elf looks exactly like a world-class instrumental band: 5 or 6 fierce players laying down heavy grooves & exploratory solos on distinctive original material, as audience members dance or listen in amazed attention. To its fans, however, and its large and colorful cast of musicians, D’Elf is all that & much, much more. The paradox & the power of the unusually named Club d’Elf become increasingly clear through repeated encounters. Unlike almost any other band, D’Elf’s personnel changes radically from show to show. Fans have their favorite configurations & players, but unlike groups where musicians’ tenures are finite, ‘D’Elf-ians’ revolve in & out, reappearing in endless combinations. Beyond the cast of characters, the music itself is in constant flux. Individual songs can vary dramatically from performance to performance as new alignments of players make every moment fresh. No 2 sets are alike. Yet the feeling & philosophy that animate D’Elf remain consistent, the product of the vision & dedication of leader Mike Rivard (aka Micro Vard) and the ongoing contributions of his talented collaborators. Club d’Elf’s desire to move beyond the world of appearances & venture into the realm of the eternal is at the center their music. This metaphysical quest is embodied – much to listeners’ benefit – within one of the best bands you will ever hear – and one that rewards repeated listening. You can enjoy D’Elf any old way you choose it, but make no mistake: This community of sound gardeners intends to move your booty, excite your intellect, & ultimately join you in transcendence itself.

This is always a special time for me, when Club d’Elf celebrates the release of new music. Micro and I dive way deep into the new music off You Never Know. We get personal…like the music tends to feel…and we learn how the sound formations took place, where the origins were and how the growth and friendship allowed a new bloom to blossom. The album offers a fusion of jazz, gnawa & other North African traditional music influences refracted through a prism of contemporary psychedelia—Morocco turned technicolor. Over an hour & 15 minutes, the record unfurls upon kaleidoscopic clouds of spiced smoke, shifting from chopped dub-jazz through trance epics that reimagine Boston as a city of bazaars. Micro talks of being inspired to make the record after overcoming a life-threatening embolism he suffered while on a spiritual quest in Peru. In the studio, he was joined by collaborators Dean Johnston (drums), DJ Mister Rourke (turntables), Paul Schultheis and John Medeski (vintage analog keyboards), Casablanca-native Brahim Fribgane (oud, vocals and percussion) and guitarists Duke Levine, David Fiuczynski and Kevin Barry—ceded the spotlight to the collective, allowing for free-play and improvisational dexterity. Through it all rides the trance, pulsing, calming and seeking mystic truths. I welcome you this community, in service of the Groove.

Mindi Abair’s Forever

During her remarkable 22-year recording career, saxophonist/vocalist Mindi Abair has garnered 2 GRAMMY nominations, recorded with some of the biggest names in music, and built a substantial following among jazz and blues audiences with her soaring melodies and powerhouse style. In 2014, Mindi received her first GRAMMY nomination in the Best Pop Instrumental Album category for Summer Horns with Dave Koz, Richard Elliot and Gerald Albright, followed by a 2015 GRAMMY nomination for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album for her solo LP Wild Heart featuring the late Gregg Allman, Joe Perry, Trombone Shorty, Booker T. Jones, Keb’ Mo’, and Max Weinberg. You might know her as the featured saxophonist on American Idol, sitting in with Paul Shaffer on The Late Show with David Letterman and The Roots on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, or from moonlighting on tour with Aerosmith and Duran Duran. Since her debut album in 2000, she has consistently topped the Billboard Contemporary Jazz and Blues charts. In 2018, Mindi Abair and The Boneshakers won 8 Independent Blues Awards including Artist of the Year, and an Independent Music Award for Best Blues Song “Pretty Good For A Girl” featuring Joe Bonamassa. They won the 2019 LA Critics Award for Best Holiday Album for All I Got For Christmas Is The Blues. And in 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 she was nominated by the Blues Music Awards as the Best Instrumentalist: Horn. As creator, designer and owner, she has successfully launched wineandjazz.com in 2019 as a lifestyle concept that brings together the worlds of wine and music through members-only exclusive wines paired with personally curated music playlists, label art and branded wine and music worldwide adventures and festivals. Phew…..But, I just proudly call her family to the proGram.

Mindi and I had a chance to play catch up while diggin’ into her new album, ‘Forever’, out now on her Pretty Good For A Girl label. We learn a bunch about the personal side of this music and how the pieces fall into place, as they sometimes cosmically do. We learn who just happens to be ‘hanging out’ in the recording process offering a little advice and eventually becomes a background Rainbow singer. There’s time spent talking about pairing wines and music – the give back and of course, Mind i is somehow always prepared to takeover my show and play one of her new tnes and have a plan for a great set of greenarrowradio music for the listeners. Family.

Ride With Jack Broadbent

On each of his albums, Jack Broadbent is used to people saying that ‘this’ is this is a departure from his previous stuff. That’s something the British-born singer, songwriter and guitarist has heard to varying degrees, over the course of his 6 albums to date, and is certainly fitting of his latest release, RIDE. As someone who is as connected to the quality of his relationships with people as he is to the quality of his music, rest assured he considers that a compliment. Jack grew up in rural Lincolnshire, England. His earliest influence, his father, Mick Broadbent, plays bass on RIDE and is a well-established musician, including a tenure with Bram Tchaikovsky. “I fell in love with music at a young age,” Jack says, informed by the steady diet of music played around the house. Started with the drums but gravitated to guitar around the same time as he became interested in song writing, his slide guitar playing evolved from the busking he did during his early 20s. “It seemed to appeal to people as something that was both visually and musically exciting. This was interesting to me,” Broadbent explains. “I was already playing in altered and open tunings, so when it came to using a slide I was well-versed in how those patterns worked together.” He took some cues from influences such as John Lee Hooker and Little Feat, but ultimately he wanted to find his own sound as an artist. Jack found acclaim and an audience after the Montreux Jazz Festival hailed him as, “The new master of the slide guitar.” Bootsy Collins famously proclaimed him, “The real thang!” He won over more fans touring with the likes of Ronnie Wood, Peter Frampton, and other musical legends. His penchant for writing on the road ensured that there was usually an abundance of material whenever he was ready to return to the studio. That was the case with RIDE, although the album took a turn from what Broadbent initially intended. The band just went full steam ahead in the direction which brought the sound of this album into focus. They built on those grooves and ended up with the rock ‘n’ roll record Jack has been wanting to make for a long time. Working around travel limitations and within the uncertainty of the last year, this international collaboration translates that edge. Throughout RIDE, the listener can detect what Jack calls “this underlying theme of trying to get a feel for where you’re heading and recognizing how much distance you’ve still got left to travel.” Now, The next step, of course, is to take RIDE on the road, which will be happening throughout 2022. He knows the songs will only grow as he presents them on stage, but they’ll continue to speak to the experiences from which they were born. No matter what lies on the road ahead, fans can rely on his dedication to the music and to his evolving craft. Little Feat founding member [friend of the proGram] and current US tourmate Bill Payne says it best: “I love his voice. His playing is superb, showing an almost reckless abandon when he gets revved up. He is performing on the edge, and if he falls, so be it. The pieces will not break.”

I had the pleasure of catching up with Jack ahead of his April 13th event at The Bur Oak here in Madison. We defined what someone who never heard of him would experience – the realness of the music will take over from there. We dive into the new album and Jack lets loose on how it went from thoughts and ideas into the songs that are rock and roll tales that call out to be heard. After just a few brief moments chatting with Jack, the familiar feeling came over me like I had been waiting to chat with him for some time – and that is exactly the feeling his music has provided me. I am curious what it/he will do for you.

Bubbled Up

The middle part of the proGram saw the melt turn into a new form.

Endless Sea- Cat Power
I Had a Dream Joe- Cat Power
Up In Smoke- Ceramic Animal
Tangled- Ceramic Animal


Will You Still Be Mine?- Ron Jackson
Freedom Jazz Dance- Brian Auger Ft. Alex Ligertwood [Live at the Winter Garden]
I Wanna Take You Higher- Brian Auger
Soif, Chameau, Pinot- Kind & Kinky Zoo
Poulpe Fiction- Kind & Kinky Zoo


Landline Memories- Circles Around The Sun (Live Charleston Pour House 11/12/21)
***pre-recorded conversation with Mark Levy of CATS***
Pete Jive- Circles Around The Sun (Live Charleston Pour House 11/12/21)


Winner’s Eyes- Mamas Gun
The Last Dance- St. Paul & The Broken Bones
Milan, Michigan- Calibro 35
Warpaint- Monophonics

Circles Around The Sun In Madison

IN THE BEGINNING: The mystery of just who was behind those far-out tunes that kept the crowds groovin’ during Fare Thee Well’s intermissions has been revealed. Circles Around the Sun, a band convened by guitarist Neal Casal, formed specifically to record just for those shows and the results were so right on and the audience reaction so overwhelmingly positive, the group decided to give the music a proper release. The project began when Neal was asked by video director Justin Kreutzmann to compose and record more than 5 hours of original music to be played along with the visuals Kreutzmann was preparing for the Fare Thee Well intermissions. “The idea was to not only show reverence for the past but to in reality, move it forward. Just like the music of the Grateful Dead. Neal was originally joined in the studio by keyboardist Adam MacDougall, a fellow member of Chris Robinson’s Brotherhood and Phil Lesh’s Friends. The balance of the then CATS consists of bassist Dan Horne (Beachwood Sparks, Jonathan Wilson) and drummer Mark Levy (The Congress). Here we are in 2022 and a lot has changed for the group. We lost Neal, but not the music.

I had the chance to catch up with Mark Levy to get into the March 26th event of Circles Around The Sun w/Mikaela Davis at the High Noon Saloon in Madison. While Mark was out on a quick vacation before happily getting back out on the road – we chatted about what to expect if you don’t know this group or its music, a new live record that’s oh so hot and an even brandier newer album with Mikaela Davis. We talk about all the newness – but spend most of our time talking about our mutual pal, Neal. The legacy continues as promised – the memories strong as the real ones remain and we still get to feel ‘it’ as the circle keeps spinning.

Ron Jackson And His 7 String Jazz Guitar

Versatile and sophisticated jazz guitarist Ron Jackson has performed, recorded and taught music in over 30 countries. With a varied career as a performer, composer and arranger, Highlights include shows and tours with artists such as Taj Mahal, Jimmy McGriff, Larry Coryell, Benny Golson, Oliver Lake, Russell Malone and Mulgrew Miller. Ron has been featured as a leader in jazz festivals all over the world, including the North Sea Jazz Festival, Edinburgh Jazz Festivals and Winter Jazzfest, NYC. Mr. Jackson was initially influenced by rock guitar greats like Jimmy Page, before falling under the spell of jazz and following the style and career of jazz guitar luminaries like Pat Metheny and George Benson. After attending Berklee School of Music on scholarship, studying jazz composition and arranging he spent two formative years in the mid-1980’s living and playing guitar with the lively expat jazz community in Paris, France. Ron then moved to New York City, where he remains an active participant in Gotham’s always vibrant jazz scene. A master of the six, seven and twelve string guitars, Ron appeared on over 40 albums by such artists as Hal Singer, Graeme Norris, Ron Blake, Gisele Jackson and T.K. Blue, before founding the independent record label Roni Music in 2003 which has since released some of his eight of his albums as a leader including The Dream I Had (2003), Flubby Dubby (2008) and Akustik InventYours (2014). His latest project, Jazz Standards and Other Songs (2019) is an alluring mix of familiar jazz numbers and innovative adaptations of songs from other genre’s like his trendsetting arrangement for jazz trio of Drake’s “Passion Fruit.” An acclaimed music educator, Ron currently teaches guitar at Jazz at Lincoln Center, The New School, Midori and Friends, and is the founder and director of the website www.practicejazzguitar.com. Ron has held master classes, concerts and workshops at Jazz at Lincoln Center-Jazz in the Schools, The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, Escuela Creativa Musica in Madrid, Spain and California State University.

I had the honor of catching up with Mr. Jackson to talk about his upcoming show on March 12th a Cafe Coda in Madison on the heels of his brand new 7 string jazz guitar led trio album, ‘Standards And My Songs’ out now on his Roni music label. We dive head first into how he was able to get a grant for this tour that brings him my way [Jazz Road national initiative of South Arts], the maGic of the 7 string guitar and the creation of the new record. I heard a connection to my brother, Mr. Melvin Sparks, so we paid a little homage to our pall and Ron put together an idea of an extended setlist he might build around one of the new tunes. New record and a tour – sounds like 2 ways to take home music to me.

More Time With Jorma

A Grammy-winning American guitar player and rock & roll Hall of Famer, Jorma Kaukonen may be best known as a founding member of psychedelic rock legends Jefferson Airplane and cult blues-rockers, and one of my personal favorites, Hot Tuna. His fingerstyle guitar method, which is rooted in blues, folk, and Americana, has made him an influential figure and in-demand instructor — he operates his own guitar camp [see Fur Peace Ranch]. In addition to his work with Jefferson Airplane/Hot Tuna, Jorma is a prolific collaborator and successful solo artist who has released albums at a steady pace since the late 1970s. Jorma was born and grew up in Washington, D.C., where he first turned to the guitar. He lived in the San Francisco Bay Area in the early ’60s, playing backup to singer Janis Joplin in local clubs. In 1965, he became a founding member of Jefferson Airplane, which soared to fame in 1967. Though his songs and vocals were not prominently featured in the band, his distinctive guitar-playing was crucial to its sound. With bassist Jack Casady, he formed a spinoff duo from the group in 1970 called Hot Tuna, and this became his primary musical vehicle after Jefferson Airplane split in 1973. Hot Tuna recorded a series of albums on which Jorma sang and played guitar until 1978. After that, he worked as a soloist and with such groups as Vital Parts (1980). Jorma reunited with Casady in Hot Tuna during the ’80s, and both participated in the 1989 reunion of Jefferson Airplane. A Hot Tuna reunion album appeared the following year. Jorma has remained active as the 20th century ended and the 21st began, regularly touring and recording in different configurations before finding a home with Red House Records, which released acclaimed efforts like Stars in My Crown, (2007), River of Time (2009), Ain’t in No Hurry (2015), and The River Flows (2021).

It is not fair to try and put forth a ‘here’s what Jorma has done’ bio, he has been such an inspirational force in both his own career, and the careers of others. I had the complete pleasure of catching back up with our pal as he heads to the Mineral Point Opera House on March 5th. We paint a picture for any first timers, get deep into the Hot Tuna scene and there is even something really super cool in the works for Jefferson Airplane for this coming October. Jorma is not shy to talk about what’s been going on, as you can tell from his blog and his oft-updated website – so it is easy to know what is going on. We get into the Burgers/birthday celebration slated for April 22nd at Carnegie Hall with friends of the proGram, Teresa Williams and Larry Campbell, and how influential that album still feels today. The conversation is as smooth as many of his lyrics and pickin’- oh, there is even a mention of a new guitar that will make an appearance here in Wisconsin. While it sounds ike two pals getting together and talkin’ shop, there is a lot happening in this chat to keep you looped in, and turned on.

The Gospel According to Nikki Giovanni

Why would one of poetry’s most revered voices want to curate a jazz saxophonist’s album of gospel hymns and spirituals? “These songs are so important,” says Nikki Giovanni, one of Oprah’s 25 “Living Legends” and a Maya Angelou Lifetime Achievement Award winner for 2017. “They comforted people through times of slavery, and during recent years we needed them to comfort us again. But a lot of the students today do not know about the history of these songs, and they should. So I’m out here putting water on the flowers, because they need a drink.” Giovanni’s historic collaboration with saxophonist-composer and former Jazz Messenger Javon Jackson has yielded The Gospel According to Nikki Giovanni, available today on his Solid Jackson label. “The spirituals have been around so long,” says the renowned poet, activist and educator, who came to prominence in the 1960s and ’70s as a foundational member of the Black Arts movement following the publication of such early works as 1968’s book of poetry Black Feeling, Black Talk/Black Judgment and 1970’s Re:Creation. “Some spirituals have been updated and stayed around and some have been lost over time,” Giovanni notes “So for me, it’s just helping to keep something going. And I do it because there’s a need.” Jackson brings his bold-toned, Trane-inspired tenor lines to bear on a series of hymns, spirituals and gospel numbers hand-picked by Giovanni, who was also the first person to receive the Rosa L. Parks Women of Courage Award. And the 78-year-old poet makes a rare vocal appearance on the tender ballad “Night Song,” singing a song identified with her close friend, the late civil rights activist and High Priestess of Soul, Nina Simone. Joined by an outstanding crew comprised of pianist Jeremy Manasia, bassist David Williams and drummer McClenty Hunter — the same lineup that appeared on Jackson’s 2018 album For You and his 2020 follow-up, Deja Vu — Jackson interprets gospel staples like “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” “Wade in the Water,” “Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel” and “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” with authoritative tenor tones, deep walking bass lines and an organic sense of group swing. “It’s the first time I worked in a collaborative manner,” Jackson says. “The project is personal for me. I come from a lineage of devout Christians, and that has afforded me the chance to connect with that ancestral stream. Captured live at Telefunken Studios in South Windsor, CT, the 10 tunes were all done without the use of headphones, another first for Javon. “This music is something that people will probably be a little surprised to see coming from me,” he says. But given the state of the world, it could be just in time. Both poet and saxophonist stand on the shoulders of their ancestors on The Gospel According to Nikki Giovanni.

I had the complete honor to connect with Mr. Jackson to discuss the creation of this project – the way the seeds were nurtured into the beautiful and important flowers released today. We talk about the choice singing by Nikki Giovanni to honor her friend, Nina Simone – how the interpretation of well know tunes made him feel and how one of the miGhty poet’s poems was placed ever so perfectly in a familiar tune. My words cannot express the depth of cool within these 10 tracks, nor the conversation Mr. Jackson and I share in discussion of it. Please earGrab both and let them take you where they will.

Victor DeLorenzo and Night Crickets

Debut release from David J (Bauhaus, Love And Rockets), Victor DeLorenzo (Violent Femmes) and multi-instrumentalist Darwin Meiners. Iconic bands in the history of alternative music certainly include Bauhaus, Love And Rockets, and Violent Femmes. San Francisco born artist Darwin Meiners was a fan of all three. A chance meeting 13 years ago with David J grew into a friendship, and Darwin not only became a bandmate, but David J’s manager. After reaching out to Victor DeLorenzo through e-mail, Darwin met the Violent Femmes drummer after the Femmes’ Coachella set in 2013. Soon after the 3 collaborated on Darwin’s 2014 release Souvenir. As the pandemic took hold, Darwin was looking for a new project to occupy the lock-down time and approached Victor, who was down to proceed and suggested that David join as well. The musical trust established between the 3 was immediate and Night Crickets were born. Within weeks a global process was initiated between them, the recordings eventually forming the album, A Free Society, now out on Omnivore Recordings. (The band’s name came from one of many Zoom meetings between the 3 members. After addressing a few pressing musical issues, the conversation rambled somewhat and turned to the subject of David Lynch, with David J telling an anecdote which was told to him by Lynch’s sound designer, John Neff. Lynch had asked Neff to obtain a field recording of crickets chirping at night for inclusion in Mulholland Drive. When Neff played him the tape, the director immediately recognized the sound that the insects make when it is light which is apparently a little different to their nocturnal chirp. “No! No! No! These are day crickets, John! I want my night crickets!” Victor, Darwin, and David then shared a look of mutual realization and instantly agreed that the project now had a name!)

I had the chance to find time in the field with our pal, Victor DeLorenzo to have a moment of reunite of Frail Pagans, our occasional open-minded share time. We got into the hatching of Night Crickets – and the results that proudly get to be shared into the ears of many. If this group sounds appealing to you – they are….and if they don’t…time to catch up. We also get into the creation of a new Nineteen Thirteen single, album on the way and who the alien being is that added that little something new I am hearing. As I type, we are hopeful to get Nineteen Thirteen back in Madison and maybe wherever you are, they are a welcoming certain THAT, you didn’t know you were needing.

Twisting Turned

The final part of the proGram knew how to weave into what you needed.

Cold Baby- The Voice of Lajorun, Samson Olawale & Session Resurrection
Listwar Zanset- Small Island Big Song Ft. Emlyn & Putad
Bring the Sun- The Black Seeds


Entangled- Mamak Khadem
Dorum Doyun- Aleksey Khovalyg
Sergei- The Reluctant Cosmonaut


Papa Wemba- Pierre Kwenders
Joy- Samm Henshaw
Tie Break- Sly5thAve & Roberto Verastegui
Las Tardes- Tambino
Gourmet Trap- Da Fly Hooligan

—-
Neptune Beach- Pete Calandra and Straight Up
Monaco- Makaya McCraven
Coppin’ The Haven- Makaya McCraven

Nine Lives from Kendra Morris

Kendra Morris’ new LP Nine Lives, due to be released on Karma Chief Records in early 2022, marks not only the culmination of the decade since the release of her first LP Banshee, but also a turning point in Kendra’s life professionally/personally. This album heralds the beginning of a new chapter; a new label, and an evolution to the next level of adulthood. Nine Lives is a collection of her original songs encapsulating moments from what could be nine lifetimes lived over a chronological time period, or nine lives lived simultaneously in parallel and convergent realities. With zero plans of slowing down and an innate belief in only evolving, the question lies in what will be her next nine lives?

Nine Lives will be available February 18th on vinyl, CD and digital/streaming formats via Karma Chief Records

I had the pleasure of hanGin’ out a bit with Kendra to dive a little deeper into how this new album, Nine Lives got to where it is today. The stories of the songs, the title, the words and feelings are all felt when we talk about the process between the then of the last music, to the now of this one. It is very endearing to hear people, artist go a little back in time with the them of those days….and the now of Nine Lives is easily relatable as a gift for the here we are. We talk a little bit about events and NYC, what she would spin off the new records along with a couple other tracks to build a set and we just talk. Be refreshed with our chat and get a taste of the new album to see how you relate…I think it has a lot of somethin’ for everyone.

DLO3 With Cold As Weiss

Seattle-based soul-jazz groove-machine Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio (DLO3) are set to release their upcoming album “Cold As Weiss: on February 11th via our friends over at Colemine Records. “Cold As Weiss” is the band’s first release featuring new drummer Dan Weiss, also of the powerhouse soul and funk collective The Sextones. DLO3—specializes in the lost art of something we all need always, “feel good music.” The band features organist Delvon Lamarr, a self-taught virtuosic musician, with perfect pitch who taught himself jazz and has effortlessly been able to play a multitude of instruments. On guitar is the dynamo Jimmy James, who eases through Steve Cropper-style chanking guitar, volcanic acid-rock freak-out lead playing, and slinky Grant Green style jazz. From Reno, Nevada is the aforementioned drummer Dan Weiss, whose smoldering pocket-groove drumming locks in the trio’s explosive chemistry. Founded by Delvon’s wife and manager Amy Novo, the trio started from humble beginnings in 2015, but since then has released two Billboard charting albums and toured the world to sold out venues. Now, DLO3 is proud to present “Cold As Weiss”, their third studio album to date that finds them tighter than ever, and continuing to push funky instrumental music to a new generation of fans. I will attest to this, the album is ready to keep the doors wide open for soul fans of the past and those starting with the new and working their way backwards.

I had the pleasure of catching back up with friend of the program, Mr. Delvon Lamarr to allow us the opportunity to get into the new music, how this album really seems to play the band. I do believe we even got a little taste of how the band kinda does the thing they do. If you have never seen them live, well all questions can be answered once you feel this music pump up into you from all around, in the moment. For me, I found it quite interesting how the new drummer’s pocket played in the decision to have him be that “man”. Finding out where on this upcoming World Tour, he is excited to either check out or get back to and what song(s) off the new record would Delvon choose to build a set on greenarrowradio with…. Like Delvon, it is hard to put into words just how this music makes me feel, but interacting with him and Jimmy James and Amy, I can say that these cats are all the real deal, and the music follows that lead.

Fresh Pickles And Chris Castino

Chris Castino is the primary songwriter for his longtime popular Minnesota-based rock’n’roll jamband The Big Wu. The Big Wu started in the mid 90’s and quickly ascended from the comforts of the local club scene to playing H.O.R.D.E Fest, Bonnaroo, Gathering of the Vibes, High Sierra, and the list goes on. Chris joined forces with the incredibly talented band Chicken Wire Empire from Milwaukee, WI, and took the opportunity, while sitting through COVID-19 lock-downs in 2020 and 2021, to arrange some of his catalog into impeccably fitting bluegrass tunes. With the addition of many of Chris’s lifelong musical heroes, including several GRAMMY winning artists (and some friends to the proGram) in the bluegrass & Americana: Sam Bush, Peter Rowan, Tim O’Brien, Jerry Douglas, Andy Hall, Vince Herman, Nick Forster, & Keller Williams, this feels like a classic bluegrass album and sounds instantly familiar. “Fresh Pickles” aims to satisfy your cravings—it is a light-hearted, down-home concept that plays with the idea that although some of the songs were written many years before, they now feel brand new. Fresh.

“Fresh Pickles” features 11 original songs penned by Chris. All of which, but one, were first released on four of The Big Wu’s 5 studio albums spanning from 1997-2019, and will be independently released on February 4. I had the opportunity to chat with Chris about this brand new and exciting project. From the moment we start talking about the songs – the process and the artists – you can tell there was an almost “Christmas morning for the kid” feeling in Chris’ Voice. And, anytime I can hear someone talk about friend of the proGram, Jeff Austin, I am all ears. Listening to his record, I can understand why. Bluegrass fan, Wu fan, maybe its jamgrass….but music fans alike will find the ear appeal. Finding out how Chicken Wire Empire, who many of us around here in Madison have been diggin’ on, is a story worth hearing, and the whole thing made me wish I was in the room when the record button was hit. Open the music jar and grab yourself some “Fresh Pickles”.

Metamorphosis Third Coast Percussion

Third Coast Percussion is a GRAMMY® Award-winning Chicago-based percussion quartet and GRAMMY®-nominated composer collective. For over fifteen , the ensemble has created exciting and unexpected performances that constantly redefine the classical music experience. The ensemble has been praised for “commandingly elegant” (New York Times) performances, the “rare power” (Washington Post) of their recordings, and “an inspirational sense of fun and curiosity” (Minnesota Star-Tribune). Third Coast Percussion maintains a busy tour schedule, with past performances in 38 of the 50 states and Washington, DC, plus international tour dates across 4 continents. A direct connection with the audience is at the core of all of TCP’s work, whether the musicians are speaking from the stage about a new piece of music, inviting the audience to play along in a concert or educational performance, or inviting their fans around the world to create new music using one of their free mobile apps. The 4 members of Third Coast are also accomplished teachers, and make active participation by all students the cornerstone of all their educational offerings. The quartet’s curiosity and eclectic taste have led to a series of unlikely collaborations that have produced exciting new art. That will be on display on January 27th in Madison for an all senses in, spirit bending performance titled ‘Metamorphosis’. I had the chance to get together with Sean Connors from the ensemble to discuss just how cool this upcoming event is going to be. Sean teases us just right with what one can expect if they go in to the show as a blank slate. We discuss the latest album, “Archetypes” (nominated for 3 Grammys) and how that was born and how it grew to into is final form and of course coming to the University means you have to go to class…so we talk briefly about the educational workshop with UW–Madison percussion students the ensemble will take part in on the 28th. A complete package indeed.

Third Coast Percussion joins forces with the groundbreaking choreography of Movement Art Is (co-founded by Lil Buck and Jon Boogz) for an intimate, evening-length program that explores the duality of human nature. At once intensely personal and fiercely virtuosic, two disparate styles of street dance blend seamlessly with new music by Jlin and Tyondai Braxton, as well as Third Coast Percussion’s critically-acclaimed arrangements of Philip Glass’s Aguas da Amazonia.

This performance is presented by Wisconsin Union Theater, and will take place in the Mead Witter Foundation Concert Hall at Hamel Music Center.

Metamorphosis:

PHILIP GLASS (arr. by Third Coast Percussion) Metamorphosis One
JLIN Perspective
TYONDAI BRAXTON Sunny X
PHILIP GLASS (arr. by Third Coast Percussion) Amazon River

Movement by Cameron Murphy and Quentin Robinson
Choreography by Movement Art Is
Lighting design by Joe Burke
Stage direction by Leslie Buxbaum Danzig

Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.

Click here to watch the Metamorphosis trailer, with videography by David Javier, Tim Salaz, and Dakota Sillyman.

Robert Finley Sharecropper’s Son

Robert Finley’s singing is as primal as an alligator & sweeter than late-summer honey. And on the new Sharecropper’s Son, he uses his marvelously expressive voice—which can glide from a gut-deep growl to a soothing purr to a transcendent falsetto all in one single phrase—to tell the story of his life in song. The album’s 10 numbers, produced by Dan Auerbach for his Easy Eye Sound label, are blues, soul, gospel, & rock-infused chapters from that life, weaving Mr. Finley’s own stories of picking cotton, country childhood, hardship on city streets, jail time, the pain and joy of love, the search for a better life & the dream of salvation into a spellbinding musical tale. You can hear that in how Mr. Finley and the band nearly breath together in songs like the gospel “Souled Out On You,” where the singer’s heart-piercing falsetto rings sharp and clear as an angel’s horn—underpinned by Auerbach’s fuzz-sweetened brown-butter guitar tone—and “Sharecropper’s Son,” where the musicians mine a deep, funky groove as Mr. Finley sings about his raising “out in the red hot sun, where the work is never done.” Cut-by-cut, this follow-up to his 2017’s Easy Eye Sound release “Going Platinum!” bristles w/the visceral energy that can only be captured by creatively charged musicians playing live & spontaneously in the studio. Of course, the fire behind the conflagrant performances on Sharecropper’s Son is Robert Finley, who was so deeply in the zone throughout that his lyrics & vocal approach for 2 of the album’s songs, the autobiographical “Country Child” and his manifesto of love and struggle, “Country Boy,” were improvised as he and the band rolled tape. Although he has long been a potent artist, for most of the past 20 years, after his blindness led him to semi-retirement, he’s mostly been playing little joints within an hour’s drive of Winnsboro—like Riverside Coney Island, which specializes in boiled crawfish, and Enoch’s Irish Pub & Café, both in Monroe, Louisiana. But his ascent has been swift since he was discovered in 2015 busking on the streets of Helena, Arkansas. In addition to touring more than 10 countries in the wake of his two earlier albums, he was also a contestant on the 2019 season of the TV competition America’s Got Talent reaching the semi-finals and quickly became a fan favorite during his run. His daughter Christy Johnson, who appeared with him on the show, also provides some backing vocals for Sharecropper’s Son.

I had the complete please of chatting with Mr. Finley about his upcoming performance here in Madison on January 22nd at the High Noon Saloon. We get into what folks in attendance can expect from that night’s show, including learning how you, the people there to see this show, are the most important thing in that moment for Mr. Finley. We take time to discuss how the new album went from there to here, then to now and how the stories seems so real, because they are. Certainly after listening to the new album, I do wish Mr. Finley was a name we all caught on to earlier….I bet the live show will back that up 100%.

UPDATE: This event has been moved to Feb 15th.