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Tell You What! the Podcast
64 minutes | Jul 20, 2022
Episode 42: Fellow Pynins
Fellow Pynins is a contemporary folk duo from Portland, Oregon. Dani Aubert and Ian George sat down with us at the Folk Alliance International conference in Kansas City to discuss their beautiful new album, Lady Mondegreen. All the songs on the album are traditional songs that were learned person-to-person from various people they met while traveling with their two children through Europe/UK/Ireland. We hear some fascinating tales of how these songs were found, and about the threads that connect the traditional songs of centuries ago with current songwriting and creative processes.
62 minutes | Jun 19, 2022
Episode 41: Buffalo Rose with Tom Paxton
For this particularly special episode, we are joined by Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winner, folk music legend and prolific songwriter Tom Paxton; along with Shane McLaughlin and Lucy Clabby, principal songwriters for the band Buffalo Rose. Tom tells us how he discovered the music of Buffalo Rose and was so taken by it that he reached out to Lucy and Shane to suggest they work together writing songs. The fabulous EP Rabbit, released earlier in 2022, was the result of this collaboration. We talk with Tom about his creative process, and how at age 84 he continues to write songs almost every day. Lucy and Shane share the insights they have gleaned from working with Tom. And we get one bonus Bob Dylan anecdote from Tom as he relives a bit of the early 60’s NYC folk scene in which he was a central figure. Also, I get to talk about my Dad-the original music nerd. “How can a band be loose and tight at the same time? Listen to Buffalo Rose for the answer. I flat love them.” — Tom Paxton, folk music legend and Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient
59 minutes | Apr 30, 2022
Episode 40: Maya de Vitry
Maya de Vitry joins us from her home in Nashville to discuss her recent album, Violet Light. Maya co-produced this record with partner Ethan Jodziewicz in their home studio during quarantine, collaborating with a different cast of musical guests (including her three siblings) for each song. Maya discusses her musical youth, her time as a touring musician as part of The Stray Birds, and how she has created a new musical life around her solo work. We also get to hear the story of her chickens-all the important stuff.
47 minutes | Mar 29, 2022
Episode 39: Ryan Anderson (Bendigo Fletcher)
Ryan Anderson, songwriter and frontman for the Louisville based band Bendigo Fletcher is our guest, in a conversation recorded at SXSW in Austin. We hear about working with producer Ken Coomer (Uncle Tupelo, Wilco) on their amazing 2021 release “Fits of Laughter”, playing a gig at Willie’s ranch, and the element of surprise in music making. Also covered: sword fighting with rock stars, and which is better for songwriting ideas-digging trenches or mowing grass? Ryan also politely requests that we call our mothers.
56 minutes | Feb 7, 2022
Episode 38: Margo Cilker
Margo Cilker released her debut full length album Pohorylle late in 2021 on Portland label Fluff and Gravy, and it has quickly received a lot of attention. She joins us to talk about working with producer Sera Cahoone, how her time living in various parts of the globe has impacted her creative process; and singing songs to the elk on the prairie. Also, it turns out Margo and I approached higher education with similar gameplans: no homework! (I see you econ majors.)
57 minutes | Jan 10, 2022
Episode 37: Vivian Leva and Riley Calcagno
We sit down at AmericanaFest 2021 in Nashville with Vivian Leva and Riley Calcagno to discuss their wonderful self titled record released earlier in the year. We also talk about their upbringings immersed in the world of string band music, and how they view the creative and performing processes of the two projects they are involved in: the Vivian and Riley duo and the traditional string band The Onlies. Also: contest winner announced!
62 minutes | Nov 23, 2021
Episode 36: Boy Golden
Winnipeg musician Liam Duncan records and performs under the name Boy Golden. We discuss the quite excellent Boy Golden record Church of Better Daze, which is also the name of the church of which Boy Golden is founder and minister. The goal of his church is to “enjoy each day and make better music”, and Boy Golden has made some great music with this album. Liam reflects on his creative journey, and he offers some useful insights into his process and the thoughtful way he approaches making music. Have I found a new spiritual advisor? Tune in to find out!
57 minutes | Oct 24, 2021
Episode 35: Buffalo Nichols
Buffalo Nichols joins us from Austin to discuss his debut solo self-titled album, just out on Fat Possum Records. While the record certainly showcases his masterful skills on the acoustic slide guitar, it is also a collection of great songwriting: soulful, emotional and often challenging lyrics sit atop the beautiful guitar work. Nichols talks about his musical journey, from a childhood spent teaching himself guitar licks by obsessing over his family’s records and songs on the radio, playing in a wide variety of bands as a hired gun guitarist, to losing and eventually finding his musical way as a solo performer and songwriter. We also discuss his feelings and intentions as a young black musician creating new music within the traditions of the American blues format. Songs discussed in this episode (all contained on the “Buffalo Nichols” album): “Another Man”, “Lost and Lonesome”, “How to Love”, “These Things” Also: our first ever listener contest! Tune in for your chance to win valuable prizes! Email your entry (or anything else you have to say) to firstname.lastname@example.org
47 minutes | Oct 2, 2021
Episode 34: Jeremy Pinnell
Kentucky musician Jeremy Pinnell joins us to talk about the making of his third studio album, “Goodbye L.A.” This time around, Jeremy went for a record that “would make people feel happy, make people dance”, but the themes are still weighty as on his previous critically acclaimed albums. Here he sings of the conflicts inherent in the lifestyle of touring musicians who try to balance their musical calling with their longing for home, relationships, family. We hear about his early days singing in church, getting his first guitar (“it was all Ovation round backs and Kung Fu), connecting with his lifelong musical pal Arlo McKinley, and how he sometimes writes complete songs without picking up his guitar or a pen/paper.
53 minutes | Jul 23, 2021
Episode 33: Rachel Baiman
We are joined by Nashville based musician and songwriter Rachel Baiman, who discusses her recently released record Cycles. Rachel has travelled an interesting and varied creative path: from young fiddle prodigy to Nashville session and touring band musician to producer and noted songwriter. Our conversation centers on the transitions in Rachel’s musical journeys. For her new album Cycles, Rachel travelled to Australia to record with producer Olivia Hally (Oh Pep), as she tried to capture the influences of the gritty Melbourne indie rock scene. Also covered: interior design and spaghetti rhymes.
56 minutes | Jun 6, 2021
Episode 32: Beth Whitney
Beth Whitney joins us from her home state of Washington to discuss her album “Into the Ground”, recently released on Tone Tree Music. It is a wonderfully rich, at time orchestral collection of songs that draws deeply from the forests and high desert landscapes of Beth’s home state. We hear about Beth’s early years singing with her family, how a procrastinated school assignment birthed her first song, and what the heck is a swarmatron?
61 minutes | May 19, 2021
Episode 31: The Accidentals
We are lucky enough to be joined by the full complement of the indie power-trio band The Accidentals for Episode 31. Sav Buist, Katie Larson, and Michael Dause join us to discuss their just released EP Time Out (Session 1). Recorded during quarantine, the EP is the product of online collaborations with some of the band’s favorite songwriters, including Kim Richey, Dar Williams, Maia Sharp, Tom Paxton, and Mary Gauthier & Jaimee Harris. We had much to discuss with this multi-faceted band, including songwriting workshops, string arrangements that sound like fire, and musical saws.
33 minutes | Apr 26, 2021
Special Episode: David Wax returns!
David Wax returns to Tell You What! to discuss the new David Wax Museum album Euphoric Ouroboric and what else they have been up to during quarantine. For the full David Wax Tell You What! interview, check out Episode 14.
54 minutes | Apr 3, 2021
Episode 30: Katy Kirby
Texas born and raised and now Nashville based musician/songwriter Katy Kirby joins us to talk about her excellent debut album Cool Dry Place and her approach to songwriting and music making. Cool Dry Place is an intriguing and marvelously put together collection of musical gems, songs that combine catchy pop melodies with poetically askew, thought provoking lyrics, all wrapped in complex and sometimes surprising arrangements and productions. We talk about how Katy’s early exposure to the melodic hooks of contemporary Christian music has worked its way into her creative process; the mystery of how or why a song is never actually finished; and how, on one of her songs, the swirl of the song is contained within itself. Also, I finally get to talk about autotune.
60 minutes | Mar 10, 2021
Episode 29: Arlo McKinley
Cincinnati native Arlo McKinley released his debut solo album Die Midwestern in 2020 on John Prine’s Oh Boy Records, an album that ended up on a number of “best of 2020” lists. These are songs of deep personal truth, snapshots from a difficult time in Arlo’s life. His soulful voice, songwriting talents, and the services of an all-star Memphis studio band combine to produce beautiful and wonderfully compelling music. We discuss Arlo’s hip-hop influenced vocal style, the absolute mystery of the songwriting process, and musical debts owed to the formal wear industry.
47 minutes | Jan 31, 2021
Episode 28: Pony Bradshaw
James Bradshaw, who records under the Pony Bradshaw moniker, joins us to talk about his new album Calico Jim. The songs on the record, most of which were written during quarantine, are stories and poems about the north Georgia territory that James calls home. It is a truly remarkable collection of songs, evoking images and characters that come to life through his finely crafted lyrics and subtly complex arrangements. James talks about how he finds musical inspiration through literature, how he feels about being a “late bloomer” in the music field, and his love of a non sequitur verse in a song.
67 minutes | Dec 14, 2020
Episode 27: Darlingside
In this episode we talk with Dave Senft and Harris Paseltiner, who, along with Don Mitchell and Auyon Mukharji, make up the Massachusetts based band Darlingside. The band recently released their fourth full length album Fish Pond Fish. We talk about how this album’s creation took some different paths than Darlingside’s previous work, some of which were planned (different approaches to group song writing) and some not so planned (the album had to be mixed and finished during quarantine). The band’s highly entertaining approach to live performance is also discussed. Also covered: knee slapping, pecking pigeons, and enthusiastic washing machines.
59 minutes | Nov 11, 2020
Episode 26: South for Winter
We are joined by Dani Stone and Nick Stone, two of the members of self described "folk forward indie rock" band South for Winter. They discuss their amazing new record Luxumbra, their musical paths from Colorado (Dani) and New Zealand (Nick) to Nashville, and their approaches to songwriting and collaboration. Also discussed: dancing the Carlton, murder, and it turns out that one of the three of us is a badass.
60 minutes | Oct 14, 2020
Episode 25: Jeremie Albino
For our 25th(!) episode of Tell You What! we are joined by Canadian musician and songwriter Jeremie Albino. Jeremie talks about his late teen years when he moved from the Toronto suburbs to the farmlands of Ontario, working the soil while writing songs. We discuss the songs on his amazing debut record Hard Time, how the sounds of creaking floorboards made their way onto the album, and how he works hard to try to stay true to the original inspiration of his songs-the reason he “fell in love with the song in the first place”. Also covered- what the heck is the “pompatus of love”?
65 minutes | Sep 3, 2020
Episode 24: Joy Ike
We talk in this episode with musician and songwriter Joy Ike. Currently based in Philadelphia (after moving from Pittsburgh), Joy’s latest album, “Bigger Than Your Box”, released in 2018, is a wonderful record. Joy talks about the Nigerian praise music that was the soundtrack to her childhood and how its percussive sounds influence her songwriting, her interesting on and off relationship with the piano, and ideas she has for her next project, which may turn out to be a spoken word album. We hear about the making of the delightful video for her interpretation of “Won’t You Be My Neighbor”, the Mr. Rogers theme. Joy is also generous enough to share her thoughts on current events shaking the United States, the Black Lives Matter movement and the George Floyd killing.
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