Monthly Archives: January 2011

Just Discovered: Session Americana

Was stumbling around YouTube tonight and discovered Session Americana.  It’s described as follows: “Session Americana sit tightly around a small round cafe table, ambient mics tuned to catch the complete sound of the voices and instruments. Players swap songs and instruments; a suitcase drum kit, an old electric bass, a field organ and a collection of acoustic instruments. The unique format feels fantastically theatrical and although the musicians face each other, the audience feels drawn into the circle by the warmth, joy and camaraderie that emanate outwards by the all-star cast of characters seated around the table.

“What keeps fans coming back show after show is the same thing that any audience member longs for; great songs performed by a great band. The core members of the band have brought enviable careers worth of experience to the “table”, featuring (current and former) members of Treat Her Right, Patty Griffin, Lori McKenna, The The, Dennis Brennan, Kris Delmhorst to name just a few. The group has grown from a rag tag jam at a local pub to a regional institution, playing gigs from coffee houses to urban nightclubs, regional festival tents to theaters.”

Here’s some YouTube for your enjoyment/consideration–a cover of Townes Van Zandt’s Pancho & Lefty.

Kickstarter for BETTER THINGS: A Jeffrey Catherine Jones Documentary

Today, Maria Cabardo–the director of a documentary about artist Jeffrey Catherine Jones, called Better Things–told me about her Kickstarter initiative for the unfinished project.

As described by Cabardo: “The movie is about Jeff’s life and involves other well known comic book artists who serve as the storytellers in the movie. The film covers the period of 60s comics in NYC, and the Studio years in the mid 70s as well (Go to macabfilms.com) …  At present, we are editing the film and hope to finish a first rough cut by the 14th of next month.”

Jones has fascinated me since I met her back at a small comic convention in Atlanta in 2004. In the coming weeks, I intend to do an email interview with Cabardo, finding out the scope of the project and her progress on fundraising.

Greg Rucka on The Last Run

The Last Run: A Queen & Country Novel

Greg Rucka is a person who I have wanted to interview for a very long time. And thanks to some help from folks (you know who you are!) it finally came to pass. Last year saw the release of Rucka’s latest installment in his Queen & Country universe–the prose novel, The Last Run.  Rucka is an intelligent, as well as fun, fellow (who else would offer both a media-focused bio and a fan-focused bio) and, of course, a talented as hell writer. In addition to delving into The Last Run (partially described as “For nearly a decade Tara Chace has been Britain’s top covert agent. But Chace is past her expiration date. Her body hurts. Her nerves are scrambled. She’s ready for a desk job, the quiet role of mentor to a new generation of special operations officers. But before her replacement can be chosen, there’s one last job for Queen and country . . . and it may be the last thing she does. Ever.”), Rucka was kind enough to discuss his new three-book deal with Mulholland Books (he is currently doing research for the deal’s first book, Alpha). Given Rucka’s busy schedule, I appreciated his willingness to break his normal policy and grant me an email interview.

Tim O’Shea: Your fiction is imbued with a strong world view/grasp of current geopolitics. What are some of the non-mainstream/unique news sources you consult on a regular basis?

Greg Rucka: Yeesh, that’s not the easiest thing to answer, actually. I don’t really have RSS feeds set up or anything like that. A lot of what gets me going tends to be mainstream news, honestly, in particular NPR, and then I tend to chase things down from there. But there are some more…esoteric sites I tend to visit. Stratfor (www.stratfor.com) is one. I visit the Janes Resource Group relatively frequently, and I have a subscription to Highbeam Research, which I’ve found invaluable over the years.

Continue reading Greg Rucka on The Last Run

Today Should Have Been Warren Zevon’s 64th Birthday

Warren Zevon should have turned 64 today. But sadly he left this earth back in 2003. I’m bad about birthdays, but thankfully someone in the comments section of a Charles P. Pierce blog post today noted it was Zevon’s birthday.

We still have his music fortunately. So to pay tribute I offer a few YouTube examples of Zevon.

Roland The Headless Thompson Gunner

Continue reading Today Should Have Been Warren Zevon’s 64th Birthday

Found (circa 2007): TMBG at TED

The other day I realized how much fun I have just linking to videos here at the blog. To think that I can embed video from TED, the nonprofit entity “devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading”. And one morning in 2007, in the early morning no less, one of my favorite bands, They Might Be Giants, appeared at TED. And now I get to share it with you.

Bonus detail: TED offers subtitles with these videos, which is always great with TMBG songs. At the nine-minute mark, they do one of my favorite songs (several songs in one song actually), Fingertips.

Ben Rowell on The Baby Grands

The Baby Grands II

A couple of months ago, I heard the band The Baby Grands–thanks to friend of the blog, Bill Childs, one of the hosts of the indie kids music show, Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child. After hearing the band, I tracked them down Ben Rowell, one half of the band (along with Chuck Nash) and Rowell agreed to do an email interview. In November 2010, the self-described “children’s/family rock band” released its second album, aptly named The Baby Grands II–and that’s just one of the topics we covered. My thanks also to Kimberly Rowell, Backspace Records, Co-Director, for helping arrange this interview.

Tim O’Shea: How did the video for Robot come about–and do you find you’re expanding your fanbase through YouTube as well as other social media?

Ben Rowell: Videos can be really expensive, so we searched for a cost effective way of producing one. We found a freelance artist on the web over in Asia that was willing to create a video for us for next to nothing- and for what we paid, he did a great job. You Tube is just another way to increase fan base, although we feel that Facebook is the most efficient way to reach and expand our base.

Continue reading Ben Rowell on The Baby Grands

From the 1980s: Animal Logic’s Spy in the House of Love

Animal Logic was a mid-1980s band composed of Stanley Clarke, Stewart Copeland and singer/songwriter Deborah Holland. I turned down a chance to interview Copeland back in my college music critic days, something I’ve always regretted. But then when I started pop culture blogging back in the mid-2000s I was able to interview Holland–sadly that interview is lost to the land of down websites. But I was glad to find this Letterman appearance from the mid-1980s.

Man, there is no other drummer like Copeland.