Podcast

ass-to-nash

Get My Ass to Nashville Kickstarter Campaign

The podcast by, for, and featuring harmonica players! As a broadcast journalism veteran (20+ years) and harpist, I’ve merged these two loves with this new podcast featuring conversations with great harp players from around the world talking about music & life.

Since launching Harmonicast at the beginning of this year and meeting with all these great players, it’s time to Get My Ass to Nashville!

Why? I’ll give you three names:

Charlie McCoy

Buddy Greene

Jelly Roll Johnson 

I have verbal commitments from all of them, (who are three of the biggest names among harp players and arguably great musicians in general) that if I get to their home town in November, they’ll do an interview on Harmonicast. I’m asking for your support to get me there. In return, you’ll get the Special Edition Nashville Three-Pack of interviews with three of the most important players in the history of the instrument!

I’ve been creating these podcasts since the start of the year and it’s been a wonderful experience sharing intimate, meaningful conversations about music, creativity, and life with harmonica players I greatly admire. Many of them live in Chicago where I live (Howard Levy, Corky Siegel, James Conway). Or, they’ve been traveling through town and we meet up backstage or in a studio (Mickey Raphael, Catriona Sturton, Karen Mantler). In a few cases, they’ve joined me from great distances via Skype (Steve Baker, Peter Hope-Evans, Todd Parrott). While Skype bridges these great distances and make the otherwise impossible interviews possible, what I’ve found is the best way to have these conversations is in person. It’s about face-to-face contact and being in the same room with someone is really the best way to do it.

I create Harmonicast commercial and sponsorship-free (so far), which means all of the costs are put up by me: the spent time booking, preparing, recording, editing and distributing, plus equiment costs and online hosting fees. 

In order to create the best interviews with three of the best players, I need your support. Your contribution will help with the cost of plane fare, car rental, and accomodations, which are necessary to make these interviews happen. In return, you’ll get those three interviews (and perhaps more, depening on who else I meet up with while I’m there). 

I thank you for your support for Harmonicast so far by listening and subscribing and for your support and for your help to Get my Ass to Nashville!

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Episode 14 – August 23, 2016  Yuri Lane combines beatbox and harmonica, traveling the globe bringing this art form to streets, clubs, and theaters. As an actor, his one-man plays use beatbox, acting, mime, dance and harmonica to tell a story. He’s a compelling performer and a fine vegetarian cook too! We talk about being one of the first performers to “go viral” on YouTube, his fusion of beatbox and harmonica, and how his years as a child actor inform his career today.   Plus, The news of Toots Thielemans‘ passing at age 94 came just as I was putting this episode together and includes a tribute to the man and his music. We’ll spend more time in a future episode celebrating his contribution to harmonica and music in general, which cannot be overstated. 
Episode 13 – August 3, 2016 John Shirley is an active composer in multiple genres, a recording engineer, record producer, software designer, singer, guitarist, and…harmonica player! We talk about his love affair with the harp, the many styles of music he explores (on many harmonicas) on his latest EP Not So Blue and posted on his YouTube Channel, the art of recording harmonica, and Blue Daddy, an app he designed allowing harp players to emulate amplifiers and various effects when recording themselves.

Episode 12 – July 1, 2016  Mickey Raphael‘s playing has been an essential element of the music of Willie Nelson and Family for more than 40 years. He’s also performed alongside some of the biggest names in music and has recorded on sessions for many of them. We talk about his open, organic approach to performing with Willie, his ever-expanding influences, his love road biking when he’s on the road, and the new Highwaymen collection he produced.  

 

Episode 11 – June 17, 2016 John Kerkhoven is a great player from a great harp town, Montréal. In his visit to Chicago where he came to jam, meet other players and teachers we sat down in the studio for a conversation about his new CD from his band BluesReel, his other band KSB, how he got his start, his love of Mose Allison, short story writing and much more.

 

Episode 10 – May 31, 2016 Peter Hope-Evans has performed with Who songwriter and guitarist Pete Townshend since the 1970s but they’ve been friends even longer. He’s also been a part of the blues duo Medicine Head, guitarist Robbie McIntosh’s band, and the Blues Club Band. Peter’s unbridled playfulness and joy is apparent not only in his music making but in how he speaks about making music with Townshend over the years, learning from harmonicas (or “organs of the mouth” as he calls them), and his ongoing practice of being in the present moment.  

 

Episode 9 – April 24, 2016  If you don’t know Graham Nelson‘s harmonica playing, you should. He’s performed with everyone from Lonnie Brooks to Gypsy jazz guitar great Alphonso Ponticelli to Donovan (whom he has a long history with being the son of Donovan’s longtime road manager). We talk about his music-filled upbringing, his love of Middle-eastern and other ethnic musics, and his penchant for not only customizing harmonicas but making his own flutes.

 

Episode 8 –  April 14, 2016  Marc Lempert is the director of the feature-length documentary Pocket Full of Soul, a “comprehensive exploration of the culture, the players, the politics, and of course the music” associated with the harmonica. He and the producers of the film are offering special free screenings on World Harmonica Day, April 18. We talk about what it was like interviewing the numerous star players, learning about the instrument and its community, and his personal transformation in making the movie.

 

Episode 7 – Mar. 31, 2016  He’s part blues master, part composer, part sage. Corky Siegel spent his early years in the Siegel-Schwall Band which performed with blues legends including Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters in Chicago. Since then he’s brought blues music to the classical world, initially with Siegel-Schwall’s collaborations with symphony orchestras and later with his exciting combo Chamber Blues. We also talk about his ideas on music and meditation, his writings and experience the concept and practice of dynamic variation and his views and experiences on music and life in general.  You can also listen via Rivet Radio.

Episode 6 – Mar. 18, 2016  Catriona Sturton “sings like an angel, plays like a beast.” While her career started with the indie rock band Plumtree in the 90s on bass, she’s always been deeply connected with her first instrument, the harmonica. As a solo artist she sings, plays guitar and percussion in addition to harmonica. As this year’s special guest at the Hideout Harmonica Hoedown, we held the conversation in Chicago a day after the big event and talked about her musical roots, her time in Plumtree, her love of Dolly Parton, her adventures touring Canada, Europe & the U.S. and much more.

 

Episode 5 – Mar. 4, 2016  Steve Baker is an incredible player performing and recording in a diverse range of styles and genres. He’s also a consultant for Hohner who’s come up with many of the recent Hohner models including the Crossover, Thunderbird and Marine Band Deluxe. We talk about his musical journey that brought him from the U.K. to Germany in the late 70s, his teaching philosophy and the many harp innovations he’s been responsible for.

 

Episode 4 – Feb. 25, 2016  Todd Parrott was first exposed to the power of the harmonica when a traveling evangelist played at his church when he was 13. Maybe you’ve seen him playing in churches and religious gatherings around the U.S. in recent years or in his large collection of online videos demonstrating harmonica ideas and licks or reviewing and evaluating different harp models. His latest CD Songs from the Harp honors his gospel roots and we talk about his musical history, penchant for playing in spiritual settings and what he’s working on lately.   You can also listen to this episode via Rivet Radio.

 

Episode 3 – Feb. 19, 2016   James Conway is a harmonica master specializing in traditional Irish tunes but he also incorporates musical ideas from blues harp masters. We sit down in his basement studio to talk about how he learned from Junior Wells and Sugar Blue as a doorman at Rosa’s Lounge in Chicago, his Celtic “power trio” the Boils, his monthly music jam train trips from Chicago to Kenosha, and his current recording, Mouth Box.

 

Episode 2 –  Feb. 11, 2016    PT Gazell got his start playing bluegrass and later occupied the harmonica chair in outlaw country star Johnny Paycheck’s band. He dropped out of music for about 15 years and came back after discovering the half-valved diatonic set up which he continued to perfect into what he calls the Gazell Method.    

 

Episode 1 – Feb. 2, 2016   We’re joined by one of the most innovative, versatile and accomplished harmonica players of all time, Howard Levy. We talk about his discovery and mastery of the “Levy Techniques” (aka “overblows,” which is a bit of a misnomer), other aspects that make up his sound, his many students around the world who learn from him thanks to his online teaching through ArtistWorks, and his latest composing and recording activities.