Archive for category Music
The day of the MST3K Turkey Day Marathon seems like the perfect time to tell folks about Mary Jo Pehl‘s (aka Pearl and so much more from MST3K, as well as Cinematic Titanic) Kickstarter for Awesome Music For Awful Movies. This is a project she has planned to record (as described by her) “an album of original songs that pay homage to bad movies of Mystery Science Theater 3000 . . . The songs will be written by veteran Twin Cities musicians Michael Warren, Claudia Hankin, and Tony Balluff, and performed by yours truly in a variety of genres such as power pop, ballad, pop-country”. There are seven days left in the Kickstarter, which seemed like the ideal time to chat with her about her plans. I consider myself fortunate enough when I get to catch up with Pehl.
Tim O’Shea: When and how did you decide you wanted to team with Michael Warren, Claudia Hankin, and Tony Balluff to pursue this project?
Mary Jo Pehl: Over the past several years, many people came up to me after Cinematic Titanic shows and told me how much they loved “When Loving Lovers Love” from “Overdrawn At The Memory Bank.” I’d been trying to come up with a new project that might push me past my comfort zone, and let me work with people who were smart and funny and whose work I admired.
It is always good to catch up with a musician I interviewed in the past, to see how their work had evolved in the interim. The last time I interviewed Karyn Oliver was nearly three years ago. The mid-2013 release of Oliver’s new CD, Magadelene, prompted this new series of questions. A great deal has changed for Oliver in the past three years–but I will let her tell you about that.
Tim O’Shea: Since we last spoke in late 2010 (for your previous album, Red Dress) you got married. Has that major life change influenced any of the songs you wrote for this new album?
Karyn Oliver: Well, sure. Anytime you change, your writing changes with you. “Red Dress” was all about a major life change – I was getting divorced, so the album was all about transition and overcoming and becoming. I think “Magdalene” is a far more empowered album. Even the heartbroken songs have some sense of personal power. My narrator is a bit more mature, a bit more confident.
It has been more two years since I last spoke to Brian Hudson about his music. This past February, Hudson released his latest album, Comfort Quest. In addition to discussing the challenges of recording this new album, Hudson opened up about moving to New Orleans and the impact the change in surroundings has had on the singer/songwriter’s music.
Tim O’Shea: What was the biggest challenge to recording this new collection of songs?
Brian Hudson: There were so many challenges. The album was in Austin unfinished when I moved to New Orleans. So finishing it meant driving back to Texas for long stretches to work on the project and making the money through gigs to pay for the project simultaneously.
The fiddle and piano tracks I recorded myself with my own rig in Los Angeles were plagued with glitchy poppy sounds and I spent days trying to find a technological solution. Ultimately I found a miracle plug-in called Izotope which is able to bandage badly damaged audio.
It is hard to pick my favorite moment from the Americana Music Festival 2012, which recently aired on PBS (and can still be viewed here).
The festival was hosted by Jim Lauderdale (who also performed with Buddy Miller). Around the 30-minute mark Guy Clark captures your attention/breaks your heart with a tune dedicated to his late wife and creative collaborator Susana Clark (who died earlier this year). While Bonnie Raitt made Crazy Thing Called Love a hit, I have always considered it a John Hiatt song–so I was pleased as punch to see the two of them perform the song together. The best was saved for last, when all the performers joined together on The Weight, in tribute to the late Levon Helm.
This may make some people doubt my musical tastes. But I really love the Rolling Stones’ new song, Doom & Gloom. I blame Charlie Watts’ drumming for making me love it. This video is not safe for work. But it is a fun video as well.
So, I am fortunate enough to have nephews with good taste in music.
In the past month, three nephews have recommended three different bands.
First up, my nephew Matt recommended Lord Huron’s Time to Run.
And amazingly enough, all three songs are great listens. I am one lucky uncle.
Here is an interesting cover of the Talking Heads’ classic, This Must Be the Place, by Meklit Hadero & Quinn DeVeaux.
This is just one of the tunes that the duo cover in their new album, Meklit & Quinn, which was released in late September.
Here’s a tracklist of all the songs (many of them cover versions) on the album:
Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels) – Arcade Fire
Sent By You – Meklit and Quinn
This Must Be The Place – Talking Heads
Electric Feel – MGMT
Satellite Of Love – Lou Reed
Elegie – Patti Smith
I Was Made To Love Her – Stevie Wonder
Slow – Meklit Hadero
Look At What The Light Did Now – Kyle Field
Saving Up – Quinn DeVeaux
Music Arcade – Neil Young
Bring It On Home To Me – Sam Cooke
My thanks to Porto Fino Records for making me aware of the video (and album).
Singer/songwriter Kara McGraw just released an album, Hound and Hare, that was 10 years in the making. The album, which was released on September 25, is aiming to support 13 charities over 13 weeks. Each week, a new charity will be supported. Yesterday week 2 of the charity support started–and this week the charity that is benefiting is Heifer International. To see McGraw’s entire charitable donation plan, be sure to visit here. My thanks to McGraw for discussing the album (which can be bought in its entirety for $10 here)
Tim O’Shea: When did you realize you wanted to do an album that “takes inspiration from vinyl, including an A and B side“?
Kara McGraw: The songs on this album were composed over the span of ten years. Needless to say, I was staring into a large pool of music when planning the album lineup, and I was divided as to how to proceed. On the one hand, I feel a deep connection to my more intimate, first-person songs. They turn inward to explore and express vulnerability, and in so doing, they offer comfort and healing. On the other hand, I was also ready to dive into a new, more adventurous musical sphere, one that gave me the opportunity to reflect on external affairs and society as a whole. This latter style of music aligns with a different state of mind, one that is more confident, analytical, and outward-focused.
This week the music world lost Andy Williams at the age of 84.
To mark his passing, I found this clip of Andy Williams, Elton John, Mama Cass & Ray Charles singing Heaven Help Us All from a 1970 version of Williams’ variety show.
That’s right, John and Charles plus Williams with Cass.