Posts Tagged music interview
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 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.
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.