Joe Marcinek’s Dead Funk Summit

Featuring two of Joe’s musical heroes, bassist George Porter Jr. (The Meters) and keyboardist Melvin Seals (Jerry Garcia Band), ‘Dead Funk Summit’ is the 7th album of original music by JOE MARCINEK BAND and is available through the label, Vintage League Music. Although the JMB studio albums have focused more on jazz and rock, Joe is also known for his “Dead Funk Summit” concerts, which mash-up influences from Funk and the Grateful Dead. According to Marcinek, “The concept started at a show we did together in 2018. Since then the ‘Dead Funk Summit’ has become much more as I’ve used the name to throw some crazy lineups together. Naturally, that lead to me wanting to do an album of original music with Melvin and George. So I wrote the songs on our new release with them in mind, trying to honor the spirits of those two musical worlds while bringing my own vision into the equation.” In February of 2022, Joe traveled to New Orleans to record with George Porter Jr. and his trio of Michael Lemmler (keys) and Terrence Houston (drums). Melvin Seals recorded his parts in San Francisco, and vocals (and a horn section) were added by Tony Hall. The mixing, mastering & artwork were all handled by friend of the proGram, Alan Evans (Eric Krasno, Soulive, The Motet).

Joe and I go way back now, and so it is always a pleasure to catch up with him on his latest accomplishments, but this one is something I personally have been rooting for. Joe’s unique way of getting people together has been something I admire as a person who diggs into the spontaneous nature of things, so I really couldn’t wrap my head around how it must ‘feel’ now that this music is out there. We get in there about how this whole process sorta went down – from live shows and relationship building to writing tunes for these two leGends. The music only tells part of the story so it is really exciting to share in the obvious glow of Joe as this album just dropped for all to share in. You can hear in his voice the thrill of this entire chapter of his life, and well, that shows in the sounds captured on the album – just imagine working with and in the service of two of your ‘idols’. The dreams are real!

To celebrate the album’s release, Joe threw a special album release party down in New Orleans on May 2, featuring another all- star cast of musical characters including: George Porter Jr., Dennis Chambers, Tony Hall, Jennifer Hartswick, Nikki Glaspie, & others.

Dead Funk Summit Musicians (Album)
Joe Marcinek – Guitar
George Porter Jr – Bass
Melvin Seals – Hammond Organ
Terrence Houston – Drums
Michael Lemmler – Keys
Tony Hall – Vocals on Tracks 1-2
Taylor Galbraith – Drums on Track 7
Ashley Galbraith – Bass on Track 7

Jeff Pevar With The Gilmour Project

Jeff Pevar is a guitarist, composer, producer, performer & multi-instrumentalist who has brought his unique style on stage and/or in the studio to such world renowned artists as Ray Charles, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Bette Midler, Joe Cocker, James Taylor, Jimmy Webb, Carly Simon, Kenny Loggins, Jefferson Starship, Phil Lesh and Friends, Marc Cohn, Jennifer Warnes, Laura Nyro, David Foster, Rickie Lee Jones, Jazz Is Dead, CPR (w/ David Crosby & James Raymond) and so many others. Jeff is a sought after session musician who composes movie scores, music for television shows and advertisements, in addition to composing original music for his own releases. This legendary name in the business has co-written many songs that have appeared on recordings of David Crosby, Graham Nash and other artists. He is heading to Madison this time around as part of The Gilmour Project. ‘T.G.P.’ is Jeff Pevar (guitar); Prairie Prince (co founder of The Tubes, & drums with Todd Rundgren, Jefferson Starship, Phil Lesh); Kasim Sulton (bass with Utopia, Meatloaf & Blue Oyster Cult): Mark Karan (guitar with Bob Weir/Ratdog, The Other Ones, Phil Lesh) & Scott Guberman (keyboards with Phil Lesh). These cats come together for this heavy, psychedelic lift of audacious & beloved ‘Gilmour-centric’ Pink Floyd songs & rarities from David’s solo catalogue.

On May 18th at The Barrymore Theatre, The Gilmour Project will be celebrating the 50th (that’s riGht 50) anniversary of the iconic “Dark Side Of The Moon” album. I had the pleasure of getting together with Mr. Jeff Pevar to talk about just what could be going on at The Barrymore. We talk about the music, the space for exploring the places within the music as ‘T.G.P.’ does, how different the same can/will be on a nightly basis. Sure left me wondering about the specialness about to happen inside the Barrymore’s walls. We spoke about one of my old memory places for cutting teeth with names and faces of music, a one and only place, The Shaboo Inn and how it fits into the pages of Jeff’s history. There’s great moments in this talk, what Ray Charles called out to him in rehearsal and what he thinks it is about him that people are possibly drawn to for the many projects he’s serviced. Of course, I give him a chance to talk about his recently departed buddy, David Crosby, and the impact there is clear. WOW!

A Little Time With Sona Jobarteh

Sona Jobarteh is the first professional female Kora virtuoso to come from any of the West African Griot dynasties. Her lineage carries a formidable reputation for renowned Kora masters, most notable amongst these are her grandfather Amadu Bansang Jobarteh and her cousin, the legendary Toumani Diabaté. Sona is reputed for her skill as an instrumentalist, her distinctive voice, infectious melodies and her grace onstage, and she has rapidly achieved international success as a top class performer. The demand for her live performances has rocket in recent years, and 2019 saw her perform at some of the world’s most renowned festivals & venues such as the Hollywood Bowl in LA, WOMAD in Australia & New Zealand and Symphony Space in New York City. Sona has the unique ability to touch audiences globally and from all backgrounds & cultures, while also commanding the attention of sitting presidents & royalty alike. Her captivating stage show has proved to be popular everywhere, and with a repertoire that exudes accessible sophistication, her audience demographic is constantly expanding. Sona’s dedication to spreading powerful humanitarian messages through her songs and her stage performances makes her much more than a regular musician; she is in fact a compelling social activist, speaker, & change-maker who believes in leading by example. Her achievements in setting up a pioneering Academy in The Gambia, alongside her dedication to social change has gained her invitations to deliver speeches at high profile events around the world, including summits for the UN & the World Trade Organization. Sona founded the Gambia Academy in 2015. This pioneering institution is dedicated to achieving her mission of educational reform across the continent Africa. According to Sona, Africa faces the crucial & urgent challenge of addressing its education systems. Children who are fortunate enough to be able to attend school spend most of their waking hours in school, however in most cases the environment, culture, approach & curricula content within these schools are invariably oriented around a post-colonial value system and subsequently a foreign perspective. For Sona, it is detrimental for future generations of the continent whose values and concepts are shaped during their school years, to continue to be trained within a system where African culture, African history, African traditions and their intrinsic values are either non-existent, or at best relegated to the position of extra-curricular ‘activities’. This Academy is therefore the first of its kind in The Gambia to deliver a mainstream academic curriculum at a high level, while also bringing the culture, traditions and history that belong to students, to the front and center of their everyday education.

I had the honor of catching up with Sona ahead of her March 21st event in Madison at the Garver Atrium. Fresh off her 60 Minutes interview that certainly opened more doors and windows to what she has been doing and where she is heading, Sona and I discuss a little about what a newer person to her music can expect at a live event such as the one here in Madison. We learn about some of the music we may here from here latest release, “Badenyaa Kumoo” and how she feels while presenting the music live – the conversation. I could not spend time with Sona without touching on the powerful work she has dedicated as her purpose in life, The Gambia Acadamy. We touch briefly on a few aspects of the what that is happening to help achieve a new model of education in Africa and try and find the middle points in her life’s Venn diagram to see how/where/if/when the two marry. I am honored to have had this opportunity to discuss only a few aspects of what makes Sona go…and go she does, as you can tell by her answer to the final question about where she Goes to find a little ‘Sona time”. Do yourself a favor and find a way to start a conversation of your own by listening to her music, supporting her missions and or both, as forward is the way she is heading.

More Times With Stephane Wrembel

Stephane Wrembel is easily one of the most highly regarded guitarists in the world specializing in the style of legendary composer/guitarist Django Reinhardt. Born in Fontainebleau, France, He learned his craft traveling the French countryside before graduating from Berklee College of Music in Boston. He has had a remarkable career, touring the world, while releasing 16 albums under his name and the nom de plume, The Django Experiment. His original compositions have been featured in Midnight in Paris (“Bistro Fada”), Vicki Cristina Barcelona “Big Brother”) and Rifkin’s Festival (original score). Midnight in Paris received the Grammy Award® for “Best Compilation Soundtrack.” Stephane was selected by award-winning composer/producer Hans Zimmer to perform at the 2012 Academy Awards® as part of his “All Star Band” which also included Esperanza Spalding, Pharrell, and Shelia E. Stephane recorded Gypsy Rumble and toured nationally with famed mandolinist/composer David Grisman. He has opened or performed with Elvis Costello, Patti Smith, The Roots, Medeski Martin & Wood, Me’shell Ndegeocello, John Scofield, Larry Keel, Stochelo Rosenberg, Sam Bush and the amzing and diverse list goes on. In 2019, Stephane released the highly regarded “Django L’Impressionniste”, featuring seventeen of Reinhardt’s preludes for solo guitar, followed by a book of his transcriptions in 2021. He is currently the only guitarist in the world to perform these seventeen preludes in their entirety. Ever since 2003, he has produced the Django-a-Gogo Festival, bringing together some of the finest musicians in the world to celebrate the Sinti guitar style to perform in prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall and The Town Hall.

I had the chance to get back on a call with Stephane to talk about the upcoming event back here in Madison at Cafe Coda on April 2nd. Stephane’s world-class band includes: Josh Kaye on guitar; Ari Folman-Cohen on bass; and Nick Anderson on drums. We get into a deep space about the feelings, creation and moments within the shared event such as the one upcoming in the MadCity. The music definitely acts as a vessel for me and many I witness in the crowd as the strings vibrate and the grooves form. Over the years, I have watched the Django A Gogo Festival event go from there to here and this year’s here is an amazing array of talent: playing, teaching and sharing. So, we stay on this topic for a bit and it is always special to hear someone like Stephane dish out proper praise of/to others. We also discuss what is this gypsy jazz thing?!. Within the deep, there are hints of ideas about new music coming this Fall, an upcoming trip to Switzerland and Billy Strings. This is always a ride worth taking.

Photo By: Irene Ypenburg

Family Time With Larry Campbell And Teresa Williams

There is no place on earth that Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams feel more comfortable than onstage at Levon Helm Studios in Woodstock, NY. For almost 10 years, Larry & Teresa were staples of Helm’s Midnight Ramble band, playing countless shows at “The Barn.” So when it came time to record their own live album, it was a no brainer as to where to set up shop for 2 nights to record. Recorded on September 20 & 21, 2019 after returning to Woodstock from months of touring, Live At Levon’s! [out now on Royal Potato Family] gathers the best performances from those 2 shows on a sonically pristine live collection that crackles with both energy & spirit. The album gives us Larry & Teresa delivering originals like “Angel Of Darkness,” “Surrender To Love,” & “It Ain’t Gonna Be A Good Night,” along with their renditions of songs like “Darling Be Home Soon” (The Lovin’ Spoonful), “Caravan” (Duke Ellington) & “Big River” (Johnny Cash).

Of course, Larry was a member of Bob Dylan‘s “Never Ending Tour” band from March 31, 1997, until November 21, 2004. Through his association with Dylan’s bass player Tony Garnier, Campbell joined the band, replacing John Jackson as a guitarist, and expanded the role to multi-instrumentalist, playing instruments such as cittern, violin/fiddle, pedal steel guitar, lap steel guitar, mandolin, banjo, and slide guitar. We don’t have enough room to discuss all the great folks he, and they have worked with or produced, but in our conversation this time around, we do talk about our mutual friend, Mr. Jorma Kaukonen – as one of the new tunes has a story behind it, of course it does and we also discuss Larry & Teresa’s participation on the new tribute album to the great Eric Andersen. We spend a bunch of time discussing the new album, as a live album with these two really shows off all you get when they are in a room sharing music. That’s part of this chat as well. Being toGether. Folks here near the Madison, WI area will get to hang with Larry and Teresa March 21 at the Stoughton Opera House with Shawn Mullins. WOW., so we paint a tiny picture of what that could look and feel like. We have talked many times over the years, but this time on the heels of this live record makes me feel complete. The true experience is out there to go get SUM of.

Jazz Is Dead And Steve Kimock

Steve Kimock has proved himself a master of fluid improvisation for over 4 decades, in the process inspiring music fans w/his transcendent guitar speak voiced thry electric, acoustic, lap & pedal steel guitars. With his multi-decade reputation as a blazing psychedelic guitarist versatile enough to touch almost all aspects of American music, Mr. Kimock continues to evolve creatively as he wanders thru the landscape of life. While one can say that his genre is rock, no one niche has ever confined him. Instead, through the years, he’s explored various sounds/styles based on what’s moved him at the time, whether it’s blues or jazz; funk or folk; psychedelic or boogie; gypsy or prog-rock; traditional American or world fusion. Threaded thru this expansive & highly nuanced musical landscape is Kimock’s signature sound, the prodigious product of his ability to articulate crystal-clear tone, melody & emotion into intricately woven music crafted with technical brilliance. His passion & devotion to performing live is matchless, and his unparalleled ability to embrace & capture his audiences musically is the stuff of legend. He co-founded the jazz/rock band Zero in the ‘80s & KVHW in the ‘90s; since then, he has recorded & toured in various outfits under his own name. His collaborations with assorted band mates & groups have provided an everlasting wellspring of inspiration for the guitarist, and he has shared the stage with a seemingly endless array of international musical luminaries. After more than 40 years on stage, Mr. Kimock is more committed than ever to a jubilant spirit of musical diversity — the same spirit that has fed his desire to pursue an authentic relationship w/the guitar since the day he realized his calling. While still performing with Zero, he began to explore new terrain with the looser, bluesier Steve Kimock & Friends, an ever-evolving project that continues to feature a cast of acclaimed singer- songwriters, Hammond B-3 players, rock guitarists and numerous other serious players Kimock has befriended along the way. Late in the century it was succeeded by KVHW, a much lauded though short-lived quartet comprised of himself, Zero bassist Vega, drummer Alan Hertz, & former Frank Zappa sideman Ray White. In February 2000, KVHW morphed into the Steve Kimock Band, which featured Kimock & Vega along with a rotating crew of guitarists & drummers. In 2009, he formed the upbeat, gospel-influenced, soul-rock band Steve Kimock Crazy Engine, which featured legendary Hammond B3 player Melvin Seals & Kimock’s son, John Morgan Kimock, on drums. Once touted by Jerry Garcia as his “favorite unknown guitar player,” Mr. Kimock has also performed as part of Bob Weir’s Kingfish and toured in both 2007 and 2014 with Bob Weir’s band RatDog, in addition to post-Grateful Dead ensembles including The Other Ones, Phil Lesh & Friends, and the Rhythm Devils featuring Mickey Hart & Bill Kreutzmann. Dubbed “The Guitar Monk” by Relix magazine, he is driven by the knowledge that there is always more to discover – that and the fact that he loves guitar too much to do anything else. Another project you can hear his sound on is Jazz Is Dead – an acclaimed All-Star instrumental ensemble, famous for interpretations of classic Grateful Dead songs with jazz influences.

I had the thrill of getting some time set aside to chat with Mr. Kimock about the upcoming Jazz Is Dead event on January 19th at the Barrymore Theatre here in Madison. We got into the event and what people who make it to the show will be a part of. That’s right, a part of. We talk about his job of making sure he is in tune with the music, the song and himself – and the practice it takes to be so. I found it thrilling to be in discussion with Mr. Kimock about the idea of making/creating music versus walking in the landscape of what exists and find your way. There is a moment where we discuss the legacy of this music, and the honoring of Jerry Garcia’s time with it. While I have been in the spiral of the day’s sounds with this artist for years, the evolution that I felt while even just discussing music, makes me very aware of what kind of show anyone who gets out on this Jazz Is Dead XXV tour, where they will honor the Dead’s ‘Wake Of The Flood’ and more. It will be that experience we talk about for years to come.

Ben Tyree Talks Catalytic

A product of the diverse Washington, DC music scene, guitarist, Ben Tyree is a performer and composer of virtuosic ability, infectious groove & eclectic tastes. He studied both jazz & classical music in high school while writing his own rock songs and going to jam sessions at night. He continued his studies at DC’s prestigious Duke Ellington School of the Arts and at Howard University before moving to New York in 2002. The template for his genre-hopping agility was set by the pioneering Miscellaneous Flux, the band that he co-founded in 1998 while still in residing in DC., the group fused jazz, hip-hop & punk rock into a crowd-invigorating mix, releasing 2 EPs & a full-length album before disbanding in 2005 following its members’ move to New York. Tyree’s longstanding trio BT3 continues in that vein, melding together jazz, funk & rock in an eye-openingly memorable way. The trio recorded their debut CD, re:Vision, in 2010 with special guests and both friends of the proGram, John Medeski& DJ Logic, no strangers to boundary-erasing grooves. In recent years he’s toured and recorded with the group of people who extended my ears, the eclectic Burnt Sugar: The Arkestra Chamber as well as the uncategorizable Memphis singer-songwriter Valerie June, whose unique blend of folk, blues, gospel & soul have brought him to the stages of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno & the Late Show with David Letterman. His compositions have also taken the leap from stage to screen. He has scored several independent films as well as pieces for television that have appeared on ESPN and in advertising campaigns for companies like Green Team USA.

I had the chance to check in with Ben about his latest project titled ‘Catalytic’ in a duo partnership with friend of the proGram, percussionist, Sameer Gupta. The new tunes are due out December 6 via Tyree’s Sonic Architectures imprint. We talk about the process that shaped the new music starring right around the time that the two neighbors put out their Unruly Neighbors record. We discuss the trust that defines an understanding within each other, of each other and the directions the music takes, knowing when an improvisational moment is concluding or shifting. Ben takes time to define how each track took shape and where or how the titles came to be. There are so many relatable moments to this process and this music that make sense to me, and I truly believe that if you approach this listening the same way, with an openness to go with each flow, you’ll find your daily, hourly, momentary moment that fits just right. The key is the desire to be adventurous and look for the unknown, these two creators have it and sharing it has a second part to it…..you need to go find it. Be your own catalyst in finding your adventures. Start here.

Miguel Espinoza Flamenco Fusion W/Dave Hagedorn

Miguel Espinoza Fusion twists jazz, flamenco, Cuban and classical Indian musical forms into intoxicating journeys that thrill audiences! Described by Guitar Player Magazine as “mesmerizing”, Miguel Espinoza has recorded and performed with Bela Fleck, Kai Eckhardt, Kitaro, Tuck and Patti, Rita Moreno and Ben Vareen. April 2022 saw the release of their third CD – Living in a Daydream – featuring Grammy-winning pianist and Hamonicist Howard Levy. Miguel Espinoza Fusion performs to sold out audiences across Colorado, and were the honored winners of Denver’s Westword Magazine 2019 “Best of World Music.” Their first CD, Turtle Dreams, is the winner of Indie Acoustic’s Best Instrumental Album of 2019 – full of original music that has been described as “colorful and vibrant”, “emotional”, a “stunning combination of jazz, flamenco, and subtle world music”, and ”sophisticated rhythmic elements…emotional, natural and organic”. Their second CD, Veneta, was released in August 2020. Visually and aurally stunning, with flamenco/jazz guitar, fiery cello, riveting salsa and Indian tabla, a Miguel Espinoza Fusion show is like nothing else!

I had the pleasure of chatting with Dianne Betkowski and Miguel Espinoza ahead of the November 4th Miguel Espinoza Flamenco Fusion W/Dave Hagedorn event at the North Street Cabaret in Madison. Special guest, Grammy-nominated vibraphonist Dave Hagedorn, will join Flamenco Fusion for a limited series of Midwest showsand this is one of them. Dave is a world-class performer who has recorded with the George Russell Living Time Orchestra on Blue Note Recordings (nominated for a Grammy award), Brian Setzer Big Band, Pete Whitman X-tet, Phil Hey Quartet, the Out to Lunch Quintet, and also with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra on Teldec Recordings. Dianne/Miguel and I talk a bit about what working with Dave adds to this already unique sound and stylings. They share an idea of the who and what’s making this group go and what to expect in a live setting. We also talk about their latest release ‘Living In A Daydream’ featuring Howard Levy of Béla Fleck and the Flecktones. [sounds like he and others will be on an upcoming release as well – stay tuned]. We close out the chat with a little discussion of the give back with the work they are doing through Urban Arts Music. Yep, complete package.

The Wood Brothers Head To Madison

Dubbed “masters of soulful folk” by Paste, The Wood Brothers formed after brothers Chris & Oliver Wood pursued separate musical careers for 15 years. Chris already had legions of devoted fans for his incomparable work as one-third of Medeski Martin & Wood, while Oliver toured with Tinsley Ellis before releasing a half-dozen albums with his band King Johnson. With drummer Jano Rix added as a permanent 3rd member, it’s become quite clear that The Wood Brothers is most definitely the main act. Blue Note released their debut ‘Ways Not To Lose’ in 2006 & ‘Loaded’ 2008. The band moved to Zac Brown’s Southern Ground Artists for ‘Smoke Ring Halo’ with ‘The Muse’ to follow in 2013. After relocating to Nashville, The Wood Brothers released ‘Paradise’ in 2015 recorded at Dan Auerbach’s Easy Eye studio. In 2016, the band returned to Levon Helm’s famed Woodstock Barn and recorded ‘Live At The Barn’ which captured their sold-out performance that night and showcased the kind of singularly eclectic & electrifying performance style that’s earned them devoted legions of fans around the world. On February 2nd, 2018, The Wood Brothers released their 6th album, ‘One Drop of Truth.’, the most independent album they have done and the end result is undeniably The Wood Brothers’ most dynamic recording to date and was recognized as such when it received a Grammy Award nomination for “Best Americana Album.” That is until 2019’s ‘Kingdom In MY Mind’. To me, this album really has all cylinders firing and the dynamic ability of this group really taking on a new shape and sound. This one left me wondering what is next.

I had the pleasure of catching back up with family to the proGram, Oliver Wood ahead of the November 3rd event featuring The Wood Brothers at The Barrymore Theatre. Oliver gives us the low down on how he would describe the group to a friend’s friend. We get in there on the what that they do. We go a little back in time and talk King Johnson and think forward with other projects, but most of all the tease of what the soon coming album will sorta kinda be like. Oliver twists and turns through how the new music came together, including spontaneity, togetherness and using all the tools in the toolbox. Oliver even builds a setlist around those potential sounds, leading one to really be hankering for the album to drop. As always, it’s nice to talk music with friends.

Change Of Scene With Scott Sawyer

Scott Sawyer displays his musical diversity like a badge of honor, re-visiting his blues & rock roots while continuing to explore the jazz tradition & beyond. He’s performed at major festivals, concert halls, and beer-soaked dives here and abroad (Central America, Asia, Brazil, Canada, Europe, and the Middle East) including Monterey Jazz Festival, Herbst Jazz Festival, St. Lucia Jazz Festival, Playboy Jazz, 2002 Silde Jazz; Ottawa Jazz Festival; Detroit Jazz Festival, Berlin Chamber Music Hall; Blue Note (NYC); Catalina Jazz Club (LA).Born in Chicago, Sawyer was introduced to jazz and other music at an early age via his father’s record collection, which included recordings by John Coltrane, Wes Montgomery, Miles Davis, Lou Rawls, Nancy Wilson and others. Early on, Jimi Hendrix & Michael Bloomfield caught his ear and that led to blues and blues/roots influenced rock. Paul Butterfield, Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson, Tim Buckley, The Doors, & Tom Waits were early inspirations. By the time he was a junior in high school, Scott had lived in Chicago-land, Maine, & Texas. Already immersed in the Chicago blues, he was exposed to Southern roots/rock music fusion. Over time, jazz became a priority. Guitarist Jim Hall caught his ear and sparked a deeper interest in jazz guitar/harmony; lessons with friend of this proGram John Scofield & Mick Goodrick added fuel to the fire. He landed a steady gig in Greensboro at Sammy’s, with vibraphonist Jon Metzger & bassist Charles Dungey that lasted a couple of years. From 1984-1996 Sawyer’s trio and special guests performed most Wednesdays at the legendary Pyewacket in Chapel Hill, NC. Sawyer has shared the stage and/or recorded with many artists of note, including John Abercrombie, Charlie Byrd, David Murray, Oteil Burbridge, ‘prima ballerina’ Marie-Christine Mouis, Bob Cranshaw, Buster Williams, Ron Brendle, Ed Thigpen, Grady Tate, Kobie Watkins, Dave Finucane, Bill Anschell, Ed Paolantonio, Keith Waters, Willie Pickens, Tony Williamson, Kate McGarry, Nnenna Freelon, Lois Deloatch, Carolyn Ghezzi, Danny Aiello (to name a few). With many recordings under his belt now, it’s time for one more. Maybe a little Change Of Scene.

I had the pleasure of catching up with Scott as he is set to release a brand new album, ‘Change Of Scene’ with Oteil Burbridge and Scott Amendola. We got into the state of mind and being Scott was in when first approached about the idea of putting out a new album. Right off the bat you can hear how influential his brother and executive producer on the record, Jon is. It is always nice to hear that when a new energy is added to the mix the flow remains constant and forward. Sounds like that’s what happened when this trio got toGether and set forth the vision. It is always exciting to find out how a track or two developed into its final state, so we learn a little about some of the tunes, but the best way to do that – get your won copy.

Little Feat Run To Madison

Little Feat is one of those bands that can and still does successfully weave many types of genres together into a fusion of an almost collectively unique sound, that seems to have been magnetized to the ears of many. They combined earthy, organic material with individualize talents [having the right pieces in place seems to really work] into a community that leaps over boundaries. Little Feat took California rock, head-boppin’ funk, stretched out jazz, old pick-up truck country/rockabilly, & a New Orleans swamp boogie that has that certain somethin’ somethin’ and stirred it into this rich and chunky gumbo, and continue to bring the life to the party. This is music that I love made by people that seem as real as the day is long, and it shows in how people react to the rhythm of the heartbeat within these tunes, like the pulse is shared by each and everyone one of us. The members of Little Feat 2022 are friends of the proGram, Bill Payne, Keyboards and Vocals; and Scott Sharrard, Guitars and Vocals and Tony Leone, drums; Sam Clayton, Percussion and Vocals; Fred Tackett, Guitars and Vocals, Kenny Gradney, Bass.

I had the chance to catch up with brother to the proGram, Scott Sharrard ahead of the October 4th event at The Barrymore here in Madison. Scott and I get into this special show as part of the 45th Anniversary of ‘Waiting For Colombus’, one of the bands – correction – one of the best live albums ever made. Scott shared a couple of the tunes from this tour that really tug at the nostalgia strings and one that gives him a moment of pause to think of Brother Gregg. If somehow you are of a certain age where maybe this music has escaped you, this is a great time to get yourself familiar with the sounds, the scene and the reasons why for so many people, this is a chapter of their lives bookmarked with album titles and dancing bodies.

GA-20 Is All That And More

GA-20 clearly is on to something big. It’s a movement, a new traditional blues revival. The dynamic, throwback blues trio are disciples of the place where traditional blues, country & rock ‘n’ roll intersect. Guitarist Matt Stubbs & guitarist/vocalist Pat Faherty, & drummer Tim Carman have been at the forefront of this traditional blues revival since they first formed back in 2018. It’s no wonder they skyrocketed to the top of the Billboard Blues Charts. Since day one, GA-20 has drawn inspiration for their old-school sounds from the music they love by artists such as Otis Rush, J.B. Lenoir, Howlin’ Wolf, Junior Wells, Hound Dog Taylor, Lloyd Price, Johnny “Guitar” Watson and so many others. Performing with what feels like reckless abandon, GA-20 brings a timeless immediacy to every song they play with a sound that continues to grow & evolve. Matt Stubbs is a 14-year veteran of legendary blues master Charlie Musselwhite’s touring band, and has performed with James Cotton & John Hammond, among many others. Stubbs met Faherty in Boston, and their mutual love of traditional electric blues, R&B, & rock ‘n’ roll led them to write, perform & eventually record their modern vision of this life-altering music. GA-20 quickly drew a large following, and the band soon signed with acclaimed soul/R&B label Colemine Records/Karma Chief Records, releasing their debut in 2019 to widespread critical & popular acclaim. On ‘Crackdown’, GA-20’s 3rd full-length release, the band creates an unvarnished, ramshackle blues that is at once traditional & refreshingly modern. Expanding on their previous releases (2019’s Lonely Soul & 2021’s ‘Try It…You Might Like It! GA-20 Does Hound Dog Taylor’) GA-20 finds inspiration on the edges of the genre, where early electric blues first converged with country & rock ‘n’ roll.

I had the chance to catch up with Matt Stubbs ahead of the October 4th event here in Madison at The Bur Oak. Matt gives a quick preview of the event and then we spend a little time getting into this fantastic new release, ‘Crackdown’. We find out how and where it really fits into the catalog, how the title track shaped up and I have to tell you, I cannot wait for people to hear any part of this album stretched out at a live show. Matt gives a peek into what he’s been listening tp and which track off the new album he’d choose to build a set around. This band…this album…this show.

View With A Room by Julian Lage

Guitar virtuoso Julian Lage expands his horizons on ‘View With A Room’, a collection of ten original compositions out September 16 that marks his second release for Blue Note Records. Having established a home base with his brilliant trio of bassist Jorge Roeder and drummer Dave King—most recently heard on the guitarist’s acclaimed 2021 Blue Note debut ‘Squint’ Mr. Lage casts his gaze outward to discover new orchestrational possibilities with the addition of six-string icon and friend of greenarrowradio, Mr. Bill Frisell, who adds his inimitable voice to this stunning album. ‘View With A Room’ is enhanced by the production team that the guitarist has assembled and which has become an extension of the trio itself. The album was produced by Margaret Glaspy, Julian’s wife & musical partner who brings her own insights as a singer-songwriter to the lyrical/storytelling elements that make his compositions so singular. She worked closely at Brooklyn’s Bridge Studios with engineer Mark Goodell, who Lage credits with “wrangling this album into a sonic place that references what we love best about classic Blue Note records while still feeling utterly contemporary and unique to the sound of this band.” Longtime friend & collaborator Armand Hirsch added integral post-production elements that bring the emotional intent of each song into focus. The best part s for us in Madison, is Julian Lage is bringing his trio here on the day this album drops.

I had the chance to catch up with this former child prodigy recently to find out what we can plan on being a part of when he and his trio hit Madison 9/16 at the High Noon Saloon. We talk about what it is about that life, stretching moment of being one with a crowd. We spend a little bit of time walking our minds through the new record and how the added layer of a Bill Frisell helped take it into the beyond, from the seed of idea into the flower of songs. I am a fan of not only the music of Julian Lage, but after you listen in for a bit on our chat, it may be easy to feel our similarities in how we approach music…we talk about his recent time at the mecca of venues, Village Vanguard and also his being a part of the gang at the Alternative Guitar Summit. I find it easy to listen to him as it is his collaborations [which are many and vast] as well as his trio, each avenue opening a new path to something different. Come along.

photo by Shervin Lainez

More With Making Movies

As Making Movies delivers its 4th album, XOPA, the Kansas City band proves true the maxim which, in English, is like an encouraging version of “reap what you sow.” Meant to inspire to push forward, the phrase is chanted on the LP’s multi-movement epic, “La Primera Radio” — but it’s exemplary, too, of the band’s musical odyssey. This is a band that makes American music with an asterisk: because Making Movies’ sound encompasses the entirety of the Americas, not solely the country inarguably centered in mainstream everything. It’s through this broader perspective that they have crunched classic rock into Latin American rhythms — African-derived percussion & styles like rumba, merengue, mambo & cumbia — in a way that feels oddly familiar, yet delivers the invigorating chills of hearing something uniquely new. Each member: Enrique Chi, vocalist/guitarist/songwriter; his brother Diego Chi, bassist/experimental vocalist; percussionist Juan-Carlos Chaurand; & Duncan Burnett, newly incorporated into the band on drums, is enthusiastically committed to music history, to uncovering connections between genres & cultures both their own & otherwise. They’re all lifelong musicians too, hailing from disparate yet similar backgrounds, parents that cherished music, fathers that kickstarted cultural movements, families in which gospel is critical to their very existence. The band’s collective desire for exploration has attracted a several connections, many of them legendary players, like friend of the proGram Mr. Steve Berlin of iconic rock band Los Lobos, a recurring collaborator & steadfast champion of the band. An approach from beloved Panamanian musician Rubén Blades led to joint songs like “No te Calles’‘ & “Cómo Perdonar.” Making Movies has also created with indie-folk band Hurray for the Riff Raff, trumpeter Asdru Sierra of Ozomatli, Puerto Rican salsero Frankie Negrón, and all-female mariachi group Flor de Toloache. On the heels of Making Movies’ 2019 album ameri’kana, the band worked on a documentary series, through which they connected with the legendary organist Reverend Charles Hodges, an soul music pioneer who played alongside Al Green, and fellow Memphis, Tennessee, musicians the Sensational Barnes Brothers. At their live shows, they are wholly present, feeling every original groove with the same rush of as when they first found it. This approach has prompted many to proclaim: ‘This IS my new favorite band’.

I had the opportunity to catch up with family to the proGram, Enrique Chi ahead of the Making Movies sets on the weekend of August 13-14th at the McPike Sessions – the Pursuit of Happiness. We got into why coming to Madison is a no-brainer, we dive deep into the technology and songwriting sides of the new record ‘XOPA’ and we touch base on the give back the band is art of with a discussion around the upcoming AMERI’KANA Music & Arts Festival. Check them out live, listen to the music but definitely figure out a way to find out that the difference is why.

In Flower, In Song by Trio Xolo

‘In Flower, In Song’ is the debut album from Trio Xolo, an improvising group composed of bassist Zachary Swanson, saxophonist Derrick Michaels, and percussionist Dalius Naujo. With a telepathic ear toward musical interplay, Trio Xolo performs free-flowing stream of consciousness improvisations. The result is true, in the moment composition. The trio moves together dynamically as their voices simultaneously overlap and converge into one. In Flower, In Song was recorded live in one room and unveils a warm, organic sound: Swanson’s distinctive use of gut strings produce a dark, woody tone, Michaels draws robust color from a vintage saxophone, and Naujo expresses a nuanced control of energy and dynamics. Through explorations of melody, atmosphere, and texture, they can either embrace or dispel the traditional hierarchy of the trio format. At its core, Trio Xolo creates music that seeks to capture the essence of the moment through deep listening.

I had the opportunity to have a conversation with bassist, Zachary Swanson ahead of the album’s release. We got into how the moments were born, the flow of the sound and what we both found really cool was at the end of the day, the songs presented in an ‘order’ in a collection, we actually in the order that they were conceived. This in the now making of art, such as ‘In Flower, In Song’ has been in the front and back and even the sides of my mind, so getting more time with someone who lives in it, was special. Just like this record. The exploration finds will find a home behind your ears and gets right into the veins of my moods. This record will assist in taking your time and finding new ways to spend it, opening paths that were unseen and it’s up to you to go blaze that trail. Take Trio Xolo with you on the journey.

Release Date: August 19, 2022 on 577 Records
Compositions by Zachary Swanson, BMI

Gabe Stillman Helps Close Atwoodfest22

The Gabe Stillman Band hits the stage in high gear and only goes higher as they embrace all corners of American Roots Music with their impromptu selection of original gems and a few carefully chosen covers. Since landing in the final 8 of the 35th Annual International Blues Challenge in Memphis TN, and further honored as the recipient of the esteemed Gibson Guitar Award, Gabe and his band have been focused on expanding their footprint on a national & international level. Based in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, Gabe formed the band in 2015, shortly after graduating from Boston’s Berklee College of Music. His first self-produced release “The Grind” received wide acclaim. The 2nd release, “Flying’ High” is backed by the legendary Nighthawks. Gabe’s most current project, his first full-length release “Just Say The Word” features 15 tracks with 13 originals, is on the Boston-based, Vizztone Record Label. This robust project was guided by famed musician and producer Anson Funderburgh.

I had a chance to catch up with Gabe ahead of his upcoming Mid-west tour where he will be closing out Atwoodfest22on the Madison Heritage stage Sunday, July 31st. We get into what makes his live shows something people are always left raving about, how he looks forward to his first trip into Madison and the creation of his album, “Just Say The Word”. There may be new music that we talk about as well as the potential upcoming honor that comes with the name of one of Gabe’s musical heroes, Mr. Sean Costello.

image by Kirk Hansen

More With Joe Marcinek

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 Jazz Fusion! JMB is an ever evolving mixture of original compositions and incredible musicians. Each show has a slightly different lineup and interpretation. Joe tours nationally from New York to LA and everywhere in between. And since most of the lineups will only happen one time, it makes every night that ‘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), Marty Sammon (Buddy Guy), 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 more!

This time around Joe and I continue our conversation when JMB4 was the topic as it was the riGht time to drop ‘JMB5’, The band’s 5th record out now on Vintage League Music. We dove back into how this when went down and getting the studio work in and all the stars aligned from the beginning. Friend of the show, Mr. Robert Walter adds his flare and fire to this one and to me, it has that feel good, heal right thang going on. We get into something solo he put together when coming off the bi that hit so many, and we even tease a little of what the next record will be like and who will be a part of it. Another Dead Funk Summit is right around the corner once again AND an upcoming George Porter Jr. & Runnin’ Pardners tour featuring Joe Marcinek is just about here, so we make sure to get a little pitch in for the things you maybe didn’t know you needed to know about.

Super Yamba Band & Kaleta Help Open Festival Season

Brooklyn’s Kaleta & Super Yamba Band are fronted by Afrobeat/Juju veteran Leon Ligan-Majek a.k.a. Kaleta. The singer/guitarist from the West African country of Benin Republic lived his adolescent life in Lagos, Nigeria where Afrobeat was born. Kaleta’s guitar chops earned him decades of touring/recording with Fela Kuti, King Sunny Ade, Lauryn Hill & more. Kaleta got his start in the late 70s performing in church & was soon after picked up by iconic Juju master & world music pioneer King Sunny Ade. A few years later Fela Kuti came calling. Kaleta would go on to tour the world playing guitar for the King of Afrobeat in his storied band Egypt 80 through the 1980s & into the 1990s. Now based in New York City, Kaleta has been leading Super Yamba Band since 2017. Their debut album “Mèdaho,” which was released by California indie label Ubiquity Records, draws on the group’s shared reverence for the raw, psychedelic sounds that captivated Kaleta as a music loving kid in 1970s Benin. Mèdaho means “big brother,” “elder” or “teacher” and is dedicated to Kaleta’s late brother Ligan-Ozavino Pascal who introduced him to funk and soul music at a very early age. The album was included on Bandcamp’s “Best Albums of Summer 2019” list and two of the songs were chosen for the ABC/Hulu series High Fidelity staring Zoe Kravitz. Kaleta & his band have also erupted onto the stages and video screens of major music festivals/music publications across the US. They performed at the historic Apollo Theatre in 2019. In 2017 they rocked Paste Magazine’s Emerging Music Festival in NYC & after that performance Afropop Worldwide fell in love with Kaleta, saying “his James Brown grunts have got to be some of the best in the business!” The members of Super Yamba Band have honed their craft performing with a diverse range of artists such as David Byrne, Rubblebucket, Yeasayer & Between The Buried And Me, just to name a few.

My pal Kaleta [we have been sharing music for well over a decade now] fought jet-lag to make sure we chatted briefly about the upcoming event in Madison at the Marquette Waterfront Festival. Kaleta & Super Yamba Band will be closing out the Saturday night festivities. We got into the facts that the show will be more than expected or seen before, new music and how the sounds evolve and grow further/deeper as the group gets more time back in each others space. As far as the show goes on Saturday – Madison will be ready – I hope wherever you are, you get a chance to share time with Kaleta & Super Yamba Band.

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

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.