For this episode of the Bands To Fans podcast I spoke with singer-songwriter Jonatha Brooke. We discussed what she teaches other artists about songwriting, her preference for unusual guitar tunings, and the common strengths that helped her care for her ailing mother AND helps her survive in the modern music industry.
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For this episode of the Bands To Fans podcast I spoke with Travis Vance, bassist for country-pop artist Thomas Rhett. We discussed what it takes to play multiple styles of music in a single show, the surprising addition of choreography to their their arena and stadium concerts, and the emotional experiences he has had seeing former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne in concert.
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"What is the most challenging song for you to play, and why?"
Bill Gibson of Huey Lewis & The News: I think night to night it's probably "If This Is It". And it's a very simple song. Kind of a mid tempo swing feel. But it's got that "Hot Fun in the Summertime" feel. The Sly Stone tune.
It's interesting because the bass drum pattern doesn't swing. It's kind of choppy. And night to night it's really hard to get the right feel on that one. With the sixteenth note hi-hat beats, it makes it difficult to play.
Sometime we'll play "Bad Is Bad" as a blues shuffle. And that's easy, because your bass drum's just playing 1 2 3 4 and all the shuffle's happening with your hands. That’s a lot easier to swing than something with a choppy kick drum pattern.
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"When I am writing music at home, I will plug my guitar into the system and open up Pro Tools or GarageBand. I've got a session set up where it's nothing but drum beats that I favor. I'll pick a drum beat at random and whatever comes out of my brain or fingers at that point, I'll just record it. Or I'll move on to another drum beat, one that might be more mood-bending, and I'll just go with that." - John Thomas Griffith of Cowboy Mouth
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"I call my Hammond B3 organ The Commitment. I bought it about a year (maybe two years) after I bought my first band new car. It was a nice Honda Civic Hatchback. And I could get all the synthesizers in it, my speakers. I could fit my entire rig in it. It was a nice car. I had young kids at the time and their car seats could go in there.
"And then, I made the leap of faith and bought the organ. I had to sell my brand new Honda Civic and I bought a junky Ford van so I could transport the organ, because I couldn't do it in my Honda Civic.
"And so, the quality of life when down. But, I was able to move the organ around and be able to play it on gigs. That's what set me apart from a lot of the other guys my age at that time. I was willing to do the work to move it.
"I mean, it's 325 pounds! It's not easy. You can't really do it by yourself. It takes help and it really changes your lifestyle as far as a gigging, working musician.
"That's why I call it The Commitment, because you have to be married to the whole process." - John Papa Gros
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For this episode I spoke with John Thomas Griffith of the band Cowboy Mouth. We discussed his songs “Everybody Loves Jill” and “Man On The Run”. We also delved into his overall approach to songwriting and what he still loves about being a musician.
You can also download the episode from iTunes podcasts or listen to it online here.
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Luis Espaillat talks about what appealed to him about the bass guitar.
For this episode I spoke with Luis Espaillat. Luis is the bass player for country singer Trace Adkins, but he has also played and recorded with a multitude of artists across a wide variety of styles. We talk about what drew him to the bass, the challenges of shifting between so many different styles of music, and some of his favorite drummers to play with. You can also listen to the interview on iTunes as part of the new Bands To Fans podcast.