After years of playing upright bass for cult country act BR5-49, Jay McDowell stumbled into a dream job for any music geek: Multimedia Archivist for Nashville's Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum, established in 2006. From the actual drumkit Santana's Michael Shrieve played at Woodstock to the original lathe used to cut Elvis Presley's first recording to hand-written lyrics from some of the greatest songwriters ever, the MHFM is a literal treasure trove of artifacts and memorabilia that speaks both to the brilliance of music's biggest stars as well as the ingenuity of those behind the scenes. To Jay's end, he wears many hats day-to-day, whether giving private tours to everyone from school kids to the musicians themselves who are being honored, on top of video production, archival research and assisting with the presentation of specific exhibits. On today's program, recorded at the Russell Hotel in Nashville, Jay speaks to his own history with vinyl, how historical context can morph a good song into a classic, why we continue to absorb and collect music even though it's impossible to hear everything, and he shares plenty of stories behind some of the MHFM's coolest acquisitions and inductions, involving Elvis Presley, Velma Smith, Howlin' Wolf, Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan. For more information on the Musicians Hall of Fame & Museum or to plan your trip today, visit musicianshalloffame.com. On Instagram, follow @musicianshalloffame.
It almost sounds like a song in itself: An acclaimed musician on his big album release day, three years in the making, finds himself on jury duty for a murder trial. As crazy or poetic as it may sound, that was the story for Maryland-based Joe Pug back in July, as his latest LP The Flood In Color hit shelves. Though born in the mid-'80s, his tales of destruction and redemption ring with a wisdom that could reflect an artist twice his age, effortlessly penning critical and emotional snapshots of the human condition. The Working Songwriter, Joe's monthly podcast since 2016, also allows him to plug into the minds of friends in the same boat, exchanging stories and unique perspectives on crafting music. On today's program, Joe details how the limitations of vinyl only add to its mystique, why he's using today's postmodern methods of promotion, whose albums filled his childhood basement, why the artwork for Weezer's self-titled debut bucked the trends of its era and how talented people survive a media that's dying around them. Stop by JoePugMusic.com for news, tour dates, social media, info on The Working Songwriter and more.
As a member of Foo Fighters for the last twenty years, guitarist Chris Shiflett is regarded as one of the most consistently versatile personalities in rock: From his punk roots in Rat Pack and core Fat Wreck Chords alumni No Use For A Name to goofing off with sped up covers in Me First & The Gimme Gimmes to one-off back-up duties for Norah Jones to recording his own albums drenched in country music's Bakersfield sound. He's even parlayed his engaging demeanor and inquisitive mind into hosting and producing the popular Walking The Floor podcast, interviewing authors, fellow musicians, athletes and the like about their inspirations, struggles and successes. Earlier this summer, Chris also released "Hard Lessons," his third solo LP and second with renowned, Grammy-winning producer Dave Cobb. Before the Foo's headlining slot at last month's Pilgrimage Festival just outside Nashville, Chris sat down to discuss the heavy influence that Hanoi Rocks wielded, his new Pro-Ject turntable, which songs brought him to tears as a kid, his 11-year-old son's new fascination with vinyl and more. Visit ChrisShiflettMusic.com, WalkingTheFloor.com and FooFigthers.com for news, social media and more. Look for "Hard Lessons" wherever you get physical or digital music.
Racking up an astonishing 13 proper albums within the last two decades -- not including singles or EP releases -- Matt Pond has solidified himself as one of the most prolific singer-songwriters working today. Though the name Matt Pond PA was retired in 2017 (a moniker for his recording and touring band of which he was the sole consistent member), his work over the last 12 years with musician and engineer Chris Hansen has led to film and commercial scoring, as well as An Orchestrated Impulse, a new multi-sensory collaboration with visual artist Eva Magill-Oliver, comprised of twelve paintings each paired with an instrumental composition in a different key. On today's show, Matt muses about The Minutemen's "Double Nickels on the Dime," why he's had to abandon three completely separate record collections over the years, the Beatles-influenced stage name he almost went by when he moved to Brooklyn and how his mom's confusion between John Waite and Tom Waits paved Matt's musical journey. The installation of An Orchestrated Impulse debuts October 11th at the O+ Festival in Kingston, NY with full performance details at orchestratedimpulse.com, and accompanying music available for digital download at anorchestratedimpulse.
Enjoy this encore presentation of Episode 73, featuring our conversation with Dan Didier of The Promise Ring and Maritime. "Don't Break Down," a documentary on the influential punk trio Jawbreaker which Dan co-produced, was released earlier this month on iTunes, Amazon, YouTube and other digital outlets. His current musical project Dramatic Lovers can be found online at dramaticlovers.com.
For close to a decade, Cleveland's Gotta Groove Records has earned its reputation as "the artist's preferred pressing plant." By having their quality assurance team play every 25th LP or 7" that comes off their presses, they're known for going the extra mile and implementing some of the highest standards in the industry, whether manufacturing limited 100-copy runs or thousands upon thousands for worldwide distribution. On the cusp of their 10th anniversary, Gotta Groove sales and marketing VP Matt Earley chats about where they've been, where they're going and how the vinyl business can stay vibrant and innovative. Visit GottaGrooveRecords.com and follow @gottagrooverecs on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Enjoy this rerun of Episode 64, featuring our conversation with the great Rosanne Cash. Tour dates and more are available at rosannecash.com, and her latest album She Remembers Everything is available wherever you get music.
Since the late 1970's, both Evelyn Shriver and Susan Nadler have worked with an impressive list of country music's biggest names. Armed with their shared PR experience, the duo headed up Asylum Records as the first women to ever helm a major country music label and flipped Nashville's Music Row on its ear, building longtime partnerships with Willie Nelson, Tammy Wynette, George Jones, Emmylou Harris, Lorrie Morgan, Randy Travis and more. Their countless years of experience, legendary debauchery and hilarious stories of life behind-the-scenes and on the road are now part of a new podcast courtesy of Momument Records called Shady Ladies Of Music City, which encourages listeners to submit their own country music rumors for discussion on the program, to find out if they're tall tales or legendarily confirmed stories. Today, Susan and Evelyn sit down to discuss the homogenized state of mainstream country radio, Pittsburgh's National Record Mart (the first music store chain ever in the United States), the industry's reaction to the launch of the compact disc, their childhood memories of 45RPM singles, and how to get rid of gold records. Podcast info, social media and more are available at shadyladiesofmusiccity.com.
Over three proper full-lengths and nearly a decade of touring, NYC quartet Soul Coughing merged spoken word, jazz, hip-hop and various avant-garde subgenres into a sound completely their own, notching a few 90's college radio and alt-rock hits in the process. This year, vocalist/guitarist Mike Doughty is on the road celebrating the 25th anniversary of their critically-acclaimed debut LP Ruby Vroom, performing a "real-time remix" of the record from start to finish with a new backing band. On today's show, Mike heralds Led Zeppelin IV, Miles Davis' hand-painted cassette collection, Memphis' Goner Records and the countless master tapes or unearthed treasures lost to the 2008 Universal Studios fire in Hollywood. He also discusses leading a creative writing class for prison inmates, and their inquiries as to how musicians get paid for songs they've listened to in jail. Find the recent vinyl reissues of Soul Coughing's discography wherever you buy music, and visit mikedoughty.com for tour dates, social media, solo material and more.
Vinyl Emergency may not have existed without inspiration from Billy Fields. Within the record industry, he's known as the resident vinyl expert for Warner-Elektra-Atlantic, the artist and label services arm of Warner Music Group, overseeing all aspects of vinyl production, including marketing, sales forecasts and strategy. For record lovers on Twitter, Billy is a required presence, keeping the world updated with weekly vinyl sales numbers and trends, while being a vocal advocate for quality vinyl, no matter who's releasing it. Recorded in Nashville during this year's Music Biz conference, Billy dives into the cyclical nature of music retail, his college days working at Tower Records, how Bandcamp and Qrates are working with unsigned artists to create custom limited pressings, and why his team strives to keep the price of albums down, while still giving musicians and fans what they want. Follow @billysezvinyl on both Twitter and Instagram.
Since launching in 2007, the Los Angeles-based comedy label ASpecialThing has churned out laughs on 7, 10 and 12" formats, putting influential voices such as Patton Oswalt, Cameron Esposito, Karen Kilgariff, Jonah Ray and Kyle Kinane to vinyl. Today, on top of his early love for hip-hop, how he swayed his parents to buy him a Muppet Show album and what it's like to get a Grammy, AST co-founder Matt Belknap takes us through the in's and out's of putting stand-up sets to wax. Plus, as producer of the groundbreaking podcast Never Not Funny, Matt will co-host Pardcast-A-Thon -- a 12-hour, live-streaming telethon version of NNF -- on Saturday, May 4th. Proceeds benefit children's cleft palate charity Smile Train, for whom Matt and the gang have raised over $1 million during their past nine fundraisers. Watch all the craziness for a good cause via youtube.com/nevernotfunny, purchase albums from ASpecialThing via astrecords.bigcartel.com, follow @mattbelknap on Instagram and subscribe to NNF's weekly podcasts on the Earwolf Network however you listen.
As popularity rises for vinyl subscription services, Table-Turned continues to stand out as an option for those looking to take a deep dive into specific genres of their choosing. On this episode, co-founder Dane Erbach provides some history on the company, as well as how his local record store is becoming a prime spot for punk rock in the suburbs, how Table-Turned is humanizing music, what vinyl his 7 and 4-year-old sons have been into lately and much more. Visit table-turned.com for subscription info, as well as jetsam-flotsam.com for music on Dane's own label.
Today, we round out our discussions with the main four voices of the acclaimed RecordNerdz podcast: Jason Davis grew up in Brazil, only visiting the states a couple times a year during his teens, before moving to America permanently as an adult and eventually settling down in Brooklyn. On this episode, Jason chats about how he regards his collection as his own private record store, which Metallica album he owns the most copies of, the quality of Brazilian pressings, this year's upcoming Record Store Day, and how vinyl shops are using Discogs to their advantage when needing to dump inventory. Follow Jason on Instagram @spectrum_city_
Without the influence of J. Robbins, the indie-rock landscape from the 90's through today would be missing a specific tonality, seeped heavily in both nuance and bite. From his songwriting and musicianship in bands like Jawbox, Channels and Burning Airlines to his production/engineering work with The Promise Ring, Jets to Brazil, Texas Is The Reason, Shiner, The Dismemberment Plan and a slew of others, he's a widely respected architect of the sound we know as post-punk. Hot off the recent announcement of Jawbox's upcoming summer tour (the band's first in over 20 years), J. discusses his early love for orchestral soundtracks, how he feels the Jawbox of 2019 can be a better band than they were during their initial run, and why his one-off collaboration a decade ago with Death Cab for Cutie's Chris Walla for NPR remains one of his lifelong favorite experiences. Online, you can visit www.jawbox.band for their schedule, social media, merchandise and discography, as well as jrobbins.bandcamp.com.
You'd be hard-pressed to find a more diverse client base than that of Portland, Oregon's Draplin Design Co. From corporations like Nike and Ford to some of his favorite bands (Dinosaur Jr., Old 97's) to the Obama administration and NASA, Aaron Draplin's visual talents run the branding gamut. But out of all the work he's ever done, designing for vinyl records remains his favorite gig. On today's episode, as we discuss his record shopping habits, prized LP's and stories of meeting his musical heroes, you'll learn that the only thing brighter and bolder than Aaron's designs is his own personality. Visit draplin.com to check out Aaron's catalog of work, upcoming speaking and workshop engagements, and to order all things DDC. His 2016 book Pretty Much Everything is available via Amazon or your favorite retailer. He's also @draplin on Twitter and Instagram.
This year brings with it several anniversaries for songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Pat Sansone: 2019 marks his 50th birthday, two decades as part of The Autumn Defense (formed with Wilco bassist John Stirratt) and subsequently 15 years within Wilco itself. Entering the band during a pivotal shift between A Ghost Is Born's riveting complexities and the more serene nature of Sky Blue Sky, Pat has been a welcome key to the influential sextet since day one, serving up piano, guitar, vocal harmonies and a myriad of other accoutrements. On today's milestone 100th episode from his home in Nashville, Pat reflects on his family's strong ties to show business, the upcoming loss of his neighborhood record shop Fond Object, creating album artwork from thousands of unearthed slides, why John Lennon’s death sparked his deep dive into the Beatles and how Big Star's third album changed his life. Follow Pat on Instagram @sansonic1, and keep current on tour dates and more via wilcoworld.net and theautumndefense.com.
Since being founded in 2011, Cincinnati-based indie label Soul Step has been running a unique business model for musicians who are unable to afford the massive investment of getting their music on vinyl. By Soul Step fronting and recouping all production costs, then splitting profits 50/50 with the artist for a short run of impeccably colored and incredibly limited pressings, everyone from the label to the band to the listener benefits. On today's show, Soul Step owner Melvin Dillon explains the company's ethos, his relationship with the expert record manufacturers at Wax Mage and more about this creative endeavor that's helping musicians express themselves on wax and helping collectors fill their shelves. For label news, their online store and social media, visit soulsteprecords.com.
An obsessive record collector since third grade, Josh Berwanger's adoration for glam-tinged rock and synth-heavy new-wave led to the formation of indie quintet The Anniversary, who toured heavily in the early 2000's behind a pair of full-lengths for the Vagrant label at its zenith. On today's program, Josh dishes about his days behind the counter at Lawrence, KS record store Love Garden, spotlights some rare finds in his collection, remembers how having the band's music on vinyl was always part of their record contract, and shares his thoughts on how scaling vinyl production back could benefit the industry long term. We also dig into his latest project Radar State, formed with longtime pals Matt Pryor and Jim Suptic of The Get Up Kids and Gadjits drummer Adam Phillips. Check out the band's tour dates and social media, plus pick up their debut LP "Strays" released by Wiretap Records, at radarstate.bandcamp.com.
Andy Barron has made a career of visually documenting life on the road for musicians, both on stage and off, over the last decade. He’s currently Chris Stapleton’s official tour photographer, and he’s done similar work for groups like Foster The People and Switchfoot. His résumé also sports freelance photography for the likes of Jimmy Eat World, Paramore, Joy Williams and New Kids On The Block. A native Californian but now based in Nashville, Andy discusses how to keep things fresh while taking pictures of the same tour night after night, how that same schedule helps you from regretting not taking the perfect shot, how listening to vinyl compares to seeing a film in a movie theater versus at home, how those seeking out a full visual and audio experience with an album benefit due to his hard work, and he dusts off some rare gems in his vinyl collection from Beck, Sigur Rós and Starflyer 59. Check out andybarron.com as well as @chrisstapleton on Instagram to view Andy’s photography, and follow him @andybarron on Instagram and Twitter.