It has been almost a week since our return from Cayamo 2015 (the eighth edition of the Americana music cruise, hosted by Sixthman, and the fifth one my wife and I got to attend). So many musical highlights there is no chance I can list them all. But for me, the nicest moment was getting on an elevator only to find Buddy Miller on it, and getting to say “Thank you” to him for all the great music. The genius musician and producer is so modest he actually thanked me in return. Rather than trying to summarize the musical experience with any more words, I am going to merely opt for a sampling of social media photos from Cayamo 2015.
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.
A great deal of the content I used to generate on this blog I am now doing via Tumblr and Twitter. To make it easier to find, please look to the right side of this page, where I am streaming my Tumblr and Twitter content.
I am happy to announce that thanks to my finally mastering WordPress widgets, after a few years of ineptitude, I am now able to keep this blog a smidge more fresh.
How may you ask?
Look to the right of this post. Hopefully you should see my Tumblr and Twitter feeds. While I am striving to develop more interviews for this blog, in the interim, my RSS feeds should hopefully equally entertain my long-time readers.
But today’s Atlanta Braves win (which was more of a Miami Marlins loss), can best be summed up with this tweet.
— Allan Turner (@ThisRedRocks) July 26, 2012
It amazes me, that as documented here, “Braves pitcher Tommy Hanson … allowed a career-high seven walks and seven stolen bases in five innings, but gave up just one run in a 7-1 win Wednesday afternoon at Marlins Park.”
Rosanne Cash is a songwriter/musician/writer and (as far as I am concerned) an overall genius. She loves Twitter and loves to interact with her followers. So it was in this case, where she took musical requests via Twitter for a few songs to record in her living room with husband/producer John Leventhal, in a series called “Live From Zone C” for AOL’s The Boot. Below watch one of the videos, Black Cadillac.
Man, the audio production on the video is just exquisite.
And yet, there is a familiarity to his Tweets. Consider this.
— jimmy fallon (@jimmyfallon) January 3, 2012
Then oddly Dave tweets this
Great New Year’s party the other night.I think I left my LMFAO cd at your pad.Need that.Burn it & return it.
— Late Show (@Late_Show) January 3, 2012
I hope he keeps “jokingly” ripping off his fellow hosts.
What keeps me coming back to Cayamo is the opportunity to discover different musicians. This past year, one of the new musicians I discovered was Ellis Paul. Part of Paul’s band was an incredible piano and accordion player Radoslav Lorkovic. Over the next several days of the cruise, Lorkovic also turned up jamming with several other musicians. I meant to conduct this interview immediately after the cruise, but life events delayed my intentions. I was glad to finally conduct the email interview this week. Be sure to visit Lorkovic’s Facebook page, as he is indeed an impressive photographer (as we discuss) in addition to his musical prowess. This interview includes a new Talking with Tim milestone, a musician quoting NFL legendary coach Vince Lombardi.
Tim O’Shea: You are currently touring with Ellis Paul, what attracted you to working with Ellis?
Radoslav Lorkovic: Ellis has been a great friend through the years. Music is just a natural part of what is really a great ‘hang’ Being on stage is little different than having a drink at three AM in some ridiculous club laughing. The music, however, is quite serious and precise. It is presented without out the baggage of seriousness. He also plays everything in C sharp–for me the most difficult piano key. It’s a massive exercise in a way.
Article first published as Interview: Novelist Diana Abu-Jaber on Birds of Paradise: A Novel on Blogcritics.
If you are a regular listener to NPR, you likely have heard one of novelist Diana Abu-Jaber‘s frequent essays. Next week (September 6, to be exact) marks the release of the award-winning author’s newest novel, Birds of Paradise [Editor’s note: Of course, the book is out as of this past Tuesday]. While I was already aware of Abu-Jaber, thanks to NPR, I did not realize she had finished her new book until an early July tweet by Bethanne Patrick (aka @thebookmaven). Soon after learning of the new novel, I reached out to Abu-Jaber for an email interview–and she was more than happy to entertain my queries. As described by her publisher (W. W. Norton & Company): “In the tropical paradise that is Miami, Avis and Brian Muir are still haunted by the disappearance of their ineffably beautiful daughter, Felice, who ran away when she was thirteen. Now, after five years of modeling tattoos, skateboarding, clubbing, and sleeping in a squat house or on the beach, Felice is about to turn eighteen. Her family—Avis, an exquisitely talented pastry chef; Brian, a corporate real estate attorney; and her brother, Stanley, the proprietor of Freshly Grown, a trendy food market—will each be forced to confront their anguish, loss, and sense of betrayal. Meanwhile, Felice must reckon with the guilty secret that drove her away, and must face her fear of losing her family and her sense of self forever.” In addition to the book, we also delve into her recent mention in a New York Times piece on email manners.
How early in the development of Birds of Paradise did you realize it had to be set in Miami–and what appealed to you in terms of setting it there?
Miami was present from the very first page. My husband and I moved to Miami eight years ago and I knew I wanted to use it as a setting. Ever since my second novel, Crescent, I’ve been very inspired by sunlight and water and I always like to use a strong setting for my stories– like the city of Syracuse and the blizzard that seems to keep blowing throughout Origin, my third novel. Birds of Paradise is a reflection of Miami’s many layers– its outward dazzling tropical colors and beauty, its racial and cultural collisions. I’m fascinated by that complexity and challenged by it. Setting my new novel here gave me a way to reflect on my adopted city and to push myself to learn more about it.
Article first published as Interview: Musician Mike Doughty on Yes and Also Yes on Blogcritics.
My appreciation of Mike Doughty‘s music started much later than most fans, as I first became aware of his work with his 2005 album, Haughty Melodic. When I found he had a new album, Yes and Also Yes, set for release on August 30, I immediately set up an email interview to find out what was in store for fans of his work. If you’ve never seen Doughty live, take a spin around YouTube for a bit and you quickly will realize that you should see him live as soon as possible. To best frame the album in proper context, I quote Doughty himself: “I recorded it in a studio in Koreatown, Manhattan, from July ’10 to April ’11. Produced by Pat Dillett. Notable musicians included my trusty factotum Andrew ‘Scrap’ Livingston on bass, and the pianist Thomas Bartlett, aka Doveman, who basically plays with everybody who’s groovy (Justin Bond, Antony and the Johnsons, Glen Hansard, The National, David Byrne, Yoko Ono). I’m releasing it on my own label, Snack Bar, through Megaforce. I split with Dave Matthews’ label ATO so I could run my own shop and have more control, business-wise.”
I had a chance to listen to the album in preparation for this interview, and I was pleased to find there’s not a bad cut among any of the 14 songs. One song that I hope will garner a lot of attention is “Holiday”, a Christmas duet with singer/songwriter great Rosanne Cash. About Cash, Doughty said: ” I did a show with her, and she said, onstage, ‘I feel nervous playing my new songs, because Mike Doughty is here, and he’s such a great songwriter.’ That blew my mind.” Honestly, to borrow a phrase from Doughty, their duet blows my mind. I am the kind of person that hates hearing Christmas music anytime other than December. But this song has such an amazing hook (as most of Doughty’s songs do), I ended up playing it seven times in a row the first time I heard it. The whole album pulled me in just as much and it was a pleasure to interview Doughty. We also get to discuss another recent Doughty musical project, Dubious Luxury, released earlier this month. My thanks to Doughty for his time and thoughts, as well as Rob Moore for facilitating the interview.
You’re an artist who clearly loves to play live. In developing Yes and Also Yes, how much did you play some of these songs before an audience prior to entering the studio? And did any of the cuts change drastically from how it was initially conceived compared to the final version?
I’ve been playing a lot of comedy shows, around Brooklyn and Manhattan, as a musical guest, and I played “Na Na Nothing”, and “Day By Day By” at nearly every one of them, plus, maybe, “27 Jennifers”. If I play something a lot, before or after recording it, the phrasing will change ever so slightly, so there’ll be a cumulative evolution that I barely notice, unless I listen to a five-year-old version, and then it’s kind of startling. So, I don’t really know.