This week we visit with two Southern crafters of music and song. Kentucky native and guitarist Joan Shelley takes her ethereal songwriting and voicing of life’s emotional flow from observations on the banks of the Ohio River near Louisville. Then, the virtuosic Blue Ridge pianist Jeff Little shares his stories of growing up playing alongside the legendary flat-pick guitarist Doc Watson at the family’s music store in Boone, North Carolina. It lead to a singular career of playing high speed fiddle tunes on the piano.
Twang master Duane Eddy was a teenager in Arizona when he began sneaking into clubs and backing up local country bands. He soon stepped to the front of the stage with his twangy riffs, evoking images of a car racing across the desert on forty miles of bad road, or the noir TV soundtrack, Peter Gunn. Surf guitar players in California took a cue from Eddy, and players from BB King to George Harrison have sung his praises.
New Orleans’ Ponderosa Stomp has presented the “unsung heroes of American music” for well over a decade in blues, soul, country, rockabilly and garage rock. Stomp impresario Dr. Ike shares his memories of pioneering the raucous, eclectic gathering, and we hear from past headliners, rocker Linda Gail Lewis and Arizona Twangmaster Duane Eddy. We’re spinning tracks from Stomp artists including Gary U.S. Bonds, Lazy Lester and Doug Kershaw.
Christian Parish Takes the Gun, also known as Supaman, is an Apsáalooke rapper from Crow Agency, Montana. Supaman grew up in and out of foster care with alcoholic parents. He turned to hip-hop to escape from struggles he faced on the reservation. His music draws on a connection from urban style and words to cultural and spiritual life as a Native American. Supaman preserves his culture with his music and fancy dancing to express himself and uplift those around him.
Songs and stories of the healing power of music and its role in improving personal health with gospel singer Cora Harvey Armstrong, Apsaalooke rapper and fancy dancer Supaman, singer-songwriter Jesse Colin Young and Santana‘s reflections on reincarnation. Plus, songs about the temptations of elixirs as fixers of pain and maladies of all kinds from the flu and plain old love sickness.
After meeting in the Bay Area a decade ago, Shannon Shaw and Cody Blanchard began brewing up the Doo-Wop meets punk sound of Shannon & the Clams. Their love of pulpy horror and sci-fi books, John Waters movies and teenage torch songs of the ’60s folds into a musical persona that is visually andsonically rich. The band recently teamed with Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys who produced their fifth album, Onion. Shannon tells of growing up Mormon in rural California and finding an escape in music.
To usher in the season of the witch, we invoke the power of hoodoo charms and haunted melodies, blood moons and black magic. And we hang with the Bay Area’s artsy punk rockers Shannon & the Clams as they tell of ghostly encounters, animal spirits and memories from Halloweens past. Plus, spooky chills and thrills from Miles Davis, Memphis Minnie and Hank Williams.
Ben Jaffe grew up in Preservation Hall, surrounded by jazz legends, immersed in the musical traditions his parents fought to preserve. He marched in Mardi Gras parades and jazz funerals, and toured the country with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, honing his chops as a bass and tuba player. After earning a music degree from Oberlin, Ben moved home to manage the hall. He is now creative director and has opened Preservation Hall to other styles of music.
Rolling Stones percussionist and backing singer Bernard Fowler has put a new twist on some of the band’s songs. His album “Inside Out” is a spoken word collection of their lyrics. Bernard has toured and recorded with the band since 1989. He uses a monitor on stage to anticipate Mick Jagger’s vocals. Bernard grew up in New York City’s black and Puerto Rican Queensbridge Projects, surrounded by the city’s soul and salsa sounds. He went on to form the New York Citi Peech Boys, whose dance hits were widely sampled, making Bernard’s voice a soundtrack for many.
The Rolling Stones have been around for over five decades and touring almost as long. This week we talk to two of their sidemen who share their tales of working with the group. Singer Bernard Fowler was touring with Herbie Hancock before he got the call to sing with the Stones. Pianist Chuck Leavell also got a fateful call while working in his family’s Georgia tree plantation, but before that he played with the Allman Brothers.