Posts Tagged music interview
Article first published as Musician Sara Hickman on The Best of Times on Technorati.
During 2010, in the wake of the Texas Legislature’s budgetary cuts for arts funding, Sara Hickman, the Texas State Musician of the Year, decided to use her position to raise funds and awareness for the importance of arts education (and the funding of it) for children. More exactly, she spearheaded a collaborative effort–with a variety of Texas artists including Shawn Colvin, Willie Nelson, Rhett Miller, Robert Earl Keen as well as many more–to record a collection of Hickman’s own songs. The project, The Best of Times, was recently released as a two-CD, 38-cut collection by Waterloo Records. All proceeds from the sale of the CD set go directly to the Theatre Action Project, a non-profit that supports unique arts programs for more than 16,000 young people. To fully grasp the drive behind her charitable efforts, I recently email interviewed Hickman.
How did you go about getting all of the many fellow talented people who contributed their musical talents to Best of Times?
I knew I had, at least, a year to start lining up musicians to record for The Best of Times because Willie Nelson, who also recorded for the album, was the State Musician before my position took place. So, I immediately made a “wish list” and began calling/emailing/asking in person. I kept a giant chart on the wall with the names of artists/bands I had contacted, the titles of songs I had sent, if they had responded, if they were in the studio, if they had finished recording, if I had the recording.
Winter 2012 marks the U.S. release of singer/songwriter Chelsea Crowell’s second album, Crystal City. To mark the upcoming release, Crowell was kind enough to do another interview with me. And her frequent collaborator/producer Loney Hutchins jumped in with his perspective. Crowell is giving folks plenty of places to give a listen (or watch a video) to her new music. My thanks to Crowell and Hutchins for their time on this email interview.
Tim O’Shea: I love the video for I’m Gonna Freeze, where did you find the archival footage to use for the video? Or was that present day video made to look vintage?
Chelsea Crowell: I don’t know, ask my favorite person to work with Colm O’Herlihy. I entrust him with whatever and he never fails. Plus part of it is that it’s a surprise for me too. He is one of about one I would let take over full control of something like that.
Another musician that I met on Cayamo 2011 back in February was guitarist Chad Fagg, one half (vocalist Melissa Barelmann being the other half) of Just Blue, a Melbourne, Florida-based Folk/Rock/Country musical duo. We briefly spoke during a Chuck Cannon show one night and from there we agreed to do this email interview about the music of Just Blue. I missed out when they performed in one of the Open Mike competitions on the boat, but fortunately (as you can see below)–friends filmed it for the duo. My thanks to Chad and Melissa for the interview.
Tim O’Shea: In talking about the formation of Just Blue, it was noted “moments of serendipity have followed Just Blue since Melissa Barelmann (vocals) and Chad Fagg (guitars, backing vocals) met in early 2006, brought together by a love of simple, personal songs” Can you talk about some of the moments of serendipity that have occurred in the band’s history?
Chad Fagg: How we met seemed to be destiny. My wife and I were part of an online gaming community and we were attending an event at a local bar. The bar had kareoke going on and by the second song I remarked that they had already gone back to the real cds. My wife, knowing that I have wanted to work with a female vocalist, turned to me and said ‘No that is Melissa, she is part of our group. Maybe she wants to be your female vocalist.’ So I approached her and asked if she wanted to try to put something together. A few days past and I wasn’t able to reach her. Figuring that she had decided that every idea sounds great in a bar that maybe she had decided to decline. Fortunatley she hadn’t.
This interview with the musical father and daughter team of Scott & Amanda Anderson is the first of many to originate from Cayamo 2011. Scott was part of Keith Sewell’s band–and after the band’s first night playing on the ship I was fortunate enough to meet both musicians. Unfortunately, while I got to see Scott perform multiple times, I was never around for any of Amanda’s appearances in jam sessions and when she played elsewhere on the boat. As detailed at the website: “After years of playing together, Amanda and her dad Scott Anderson began performing together in 2008. Amanda handles most of the lead vocals and supplies sweet fiddle lines. Swampgrass master Scott Anderson adds harmony and lead vocals as well as guitar and banjo. Their repertoire includes Americana and bluegrass songs from Nickel Creek, Andrea Zonn, Alison Krauss, The Dixie Chicks, and many others. Their dazzling fiddle and banjo duets are favorites at every show. Amanda and Scott also perform together in The Scott Anderson Band and occasionally with The Bluegrass Parlor Band.” Scott recently released his solo album (which features Amanda on many of the cuts), Tales from the Swamp. We also discuss their 2009 album, Another Day. My thanks to Scott and Amanda for taking so much time to answer my questions.
Tim O’Shea: First question, for both of you, what was Cayamo 2011 like for you, as performers and audience members? And Scott, how did you come to be part of Keith Sewell‘s band for Cayamo?
Scott Anderson: We had a blast on Cayamo! The whole thing is really well done, from the artists selected, the way the shows are scheduled and set up, the way they treat the artists, and of course the boat and the trip itself. And the great thing for me was that even when I wasn’t playing a show, there was something fun to do with some many great acts putting on shows all the time. It was also a thrill for me to get to meet and talk with Colin Hay. I’ve been a big fan of his from his days with Men at Work all the way up to all of his great solo stuff that he’s doing now. It’s always good when you meet someone like that and he turns out to be a good guy.
Amanda Anderson: The whole trip was wonderful. I had a great time just hopping from show to show, there was always something new to listen to. I also had a chance to talk to and hear some of the musicians that I’ve been a fan of for years, which was such a treat. And you sure can’t beat those beaches!
I was introduced to (and wrote about) singer/songwriter Jason Spooner‘s latest album, Sea Monster, back in late November 2010, when Damien Goyenechea of Sarathan Online Services sent me a link to Seed In The Ground, one of the songs from the new release. After hearing some of the New England-based musician’s work, I was fortunate enough to do an email interview with Spooner about his music and overall creative approach. I hope you enjoy reading the interview as much as I got a kick out of conducting the interview.
Tim O’Shea: Not many musicians can walk into a Starbucks and hear their own music. How was it that your new album got added to the overhead rotation?
Jason Spooner: A few years back, we were selected for a Starbucks Music Makers competition. About 10 bands form the Northeast bands went down to the Hard Rock Cafe in Boston… one of those deals where you play 3 songs and wait around to find out if you won. Well, we didn’t win… but one of the judges told me (on the down-low) that the one guy who was there from Hear Music (Starbucks’ Music Label) was really pulling for us to win. I ended up getting the guy’s contact info. and we kept in touch. It’s one of those “silver lining” stories I suppose. I find that having a good attitude as an artist is a good way to encourage positive results, even when it doesn’t immediately appear to be a positive situation (ie: schlepping down to Boston and losing a competition).
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.
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.
Longtime readers of the blog know how much I love music–and Americana music, in particular, has really grown on me in recent years. So when I found out about Beth Harrington‘s musical/historical documentary in progress, The Winding Stream: The Carters, the Cashes and the Course of Country Music, I immediately sought Harrington out for an interview. As noted at Harrington’s website: “The Winding Stream is the tale of the dynasty at the very heart of country music. Starting with the seminal Original Carter Family, A.P., Sara and Maybelle; this film-in-progress traces the ebb and flow of their influence, the transformation of that act into the Carter Sisters and Mother Maybelle, the marital alliance between June Carter and music legend Johnny Cash, and the efforts of the present-day family to keep this legacy alive.” Below is a Kickstarter video about the project. While the initial fundraising goal was recently met, as we discuss in the email interview, there’s additional work that needs to be funded. My thanks to Harrington for her time, as well as her willingness to discuss her own musical career.
Tim O’Shea: How far along are you in the production of this documentary? While you have met your Kickstarter goal, can you estimate how much more you hope to raise to help cover “Editing, sound design, music and footage rights, animation, graphics and titles” expenses?
Beth Harrington: The Kickstarter funds will allow us to film our last several days of interviews and performances if we’re careful. Beyond that we need to raise several hundred thousand more to do all the other things I mentioned. But that sounds daunting and has been counterproductive until now, so we’re trying to deal with the film in chunks. 1) Finish shooting. 2) Refine the edit. 3) Complete the graphics, animation and titles. 4) Deal with the rights issues. 5) Finish sound design and other post production. We’re waiting to hear on a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. We’re also looking for one or more corporate underwriters (sponsors) who would want to be associated with the film. And then there are a couple of possible distribution deals we could access when we get close to being finished. But meanwhile we’re mostly relying on crowdfunding – individual donations – to get us to the next steps.
Singer/songwriter Amy Petty describes her music as weaving together “a lush tapestry of folk, pop, rock and blues ballad“. As noted in her bio, she is often “compared to Sarah McLachlan, Eva Cassidy, Alanis Morrisette and Jonatha Brooke”. Last month (November 2010) saw the release of Petty’s latest CD, House of Doors. We discuss the new CD, as well as what it took to get where she is today musically. For a review of her CD, be sure to check out this one by PopDose’s Ken Shane. My thanks to Petty for the interview.
Tim O’Shea: You recently overcame a major fear and cleared a professional/personal hurdle by flying in a plane, despite your fear of flight. How liberating and satisfying was it to tackle that fear?
Amy Petty: I’ve been avoiding airplanes my entire adult life. I love travel though and have a bit of the wanderlust…I’ve driven from New Hampshire to Michigan to Philadelphia to St. Louis to New York multiple times a year for a decade. But the thought of being in a plane was just more than I could bear.