Vincenzo Castellana - (Sicilian roots musician & multi-instrumentalist)

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Vincenzo is a multi instrumentalist who plays roots music from his native Sicily. He is especially knowledgable but without a whiff of academia to him. We cover the super-natural and mystical side of roots music and how many early musicians were almost like shamans. Among the instruments he plays in our sit-down is a Sicilian tambourine. If you think the tambourine could never be a  virtuoso instrument then think again!

 


Maga Bo - (dj, producer)

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If you think there is a huge cultural gap between electronica and traditional roots music then think again. Maga Bo, Seattle-born dj, producer and percussionist plays a genre mishmash of world roots music and electronica on his laptop - and he pulls it off!  “The laptop is the most universal folk instrument” he tells me during our sit-down at his home on Rio, Brazil.

 

Sue Foley & Peter Karp - (blues)

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Blues guitar player Sue Foley and songwriter Peter Karp strike quite a contrast. Peter’s gruff, from northern New Jersey by way of Alabama and sings with a raspy baritone. While Sue is slight, her voice and demeanor almost delicate until, that is, she fires up her telecaster guitar and lets rip. The pair have teamed up and released a CD of duets called “He Said She Said”

 

Justin Townes Earle - (songwriter)

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Rising star Justin Townes Earle has just released his third CD ‘Harlem River Blues’ to 5 star reviews across the board. Fresh out of rehab, we met just before Christmas to sit down for some conversation and some music. If you want to hear more about this remarkable songwriter, dip into the archives to listen to our sit-down when he was just starting out.

 

Guy Clark - (songwriter)

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Guy Clark is the songwriter every songwriter aspires to be compared to. I caught up with Guy in his hotel room in New York where, fortunately he had a guitar handy. Guy’s been on the show before so if you want to find out more about how this masterful songwriter writes and listen to him talk about some of his songs, have a look the archives or follow this link and give a listen.

 

 

Chris Smither - (folk)
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Chris Smither has been singing his songs with his acoustic guitar and syncopated foot taps for the last forty years. He came to prominence as part of the Boston Massachusets folk scene of the sixties. I caught up with him just after a sound check in New York City where he was going to perform songs from his new CD Times Stands Still.

Ryan Bingham - Americana, Rock

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Former bull rider Ryan Bingham has been touring almost constantly with is band The Dead Horses. Their second major label release - like the first - is also produced by Marc Ford formerly of the Black Crowes. Ryan takes some time out to sit and talk about songs, bulls and riffs. 

Alison Brown - Jazz Banjo

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If you think the banjo is played by hairy old men in the woods, then you’ve yet to hear the jazz banjo of Allison Brown. Alsion came to prominence in the late 80s as a member of Alison Krauss and Union Station. After leaving the band, she played with Michelle Shocked, She now leads the Alison Brown Quartet and is founder and CEO of Compass Records.

Robbie Fulks

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In whatever genre Robbie Fulks is writing in, his lyrical dexterity lets him cut and thrust with razor-sharp wit and sardonic humor. Robbie is accompanied by fiddle player Jenny Scheinman.

William Elliott Whitmore

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William E Whitmore has just released his fourth CD, Animals In The Dark. His first release on a  major label still has those parched weather beaten songs sung from somewhere in the center of the earth. He sits with Gianluca and talks music, and plays a couple of songs.

The Proclaimers

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Scottish identical twins The Proclaimers have a brand new CD out. They talk to Gianluca about songwriting and some of their songs including their two huge hits (Im Gonna to be) 500 Miles and Sunshine On Leith.

Guy Clark
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Guy Clark is a giant among songwriters. In the early seventies he and his best friend Townes Van Zandt were at the vanguard of a gritty, progressive and highly influential style of songwriting. The songs are simple, direct and as vivid as three minute movies whos characters are often on the on the margins and face life with old-school dignity. Gianluca celebrates Guy Clark’s thirteenth release slated for late September by airing a hotel room conversation from the archives.

David 'Honeyboy' Edwards

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Ninety-four year-old blues legend David 'Honeyboy' Edwards spent close to thirty years as a hobo and gambler. Gianluca visits Honeyboy at home to listen to stories about riding boxcars through the deep South and hustling with loaded dice.

Tail Dragger

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James Yancey Jones - otherwise known as Tail Dragger - is one of the last of the classic Chicago blues men who learnt their craft directly from the originators of that gritty, urban post-war style.  The name Tail Dragger not only comes from a Howling Wolf song, it was given to him by the man himself who was his mentor. I visited Tail Dragger at his home in the heart of Chicago’s West side.

JD Souther

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JD Souther was part of the seventies LA music come that included Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstandt and Little Feat and has been called the architect of the Southern California sound. Since his last album almost twenty-five years ago, he moved to Nashville and has concentrated on writing. Then out of the blue he ended up in a recording studio with a jazz band. The resulting CD- If The World Was You - finally gets it’s UK release on May 1st.

 

The Mekons

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In their thirty year history, the UK punk band the Mekons have genre-hopped from punk to country and many points in between. Their most recent CD is an unplugged affair. I went over to drummer Steve Goulding’s home for an afternoon of music and conversation.

 

Louisiana Red

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Louisiana Red was born to sing the blues. After his mother died and his father was murdered by the Ku Klux Klan, he left Mississippi for Pittsburg. He then moved to Chicago where he first recorded for Chess Records in 1949 and was mentored by Muddy Waters. I caught up with Red backstage in New York City to ask him about his life in the blues and ask him what made some of the legends he knew so unique.

 

Susan Cowsill

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Susan Cowsill started her professional career when she was seven, as a member of the Cowsills the real-life family band that inspired that seventies TV band the Partridge Family. She has also been in the alt.country supergroup the Continetal Drifters and has recently started releasing solo projects. We are in a tiny apartment in New Orleans where Susan and Russ stopped by on their way to a gig.

 

Jimmy Gaudreau and Moondi Klein

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Formerly of contemporary bluegrass supergroup Chesapeake, this mandolin and guitar duo have been playing in bands together for over twenty years AND it shows. They read each other like a book and clearly take great delight in playing together. They have just released their first recording as a duo called 2.10 Train and we are in the basement of a New York City Theater where they were waiting to open for Emmylou Harris.

 

Carmen Consoli

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Often referred to as Italy’s Ani DiFranco because of her aggressive guitar playing and kinetic performances, Consoli has achieved critical and commercial acclaim by wrapping catchy pop melodies around her literary and poetic narratives. On her latest CD Eva Contro Eva - All About Eve, Consoli re-discovers her Sicilian roots. The new songs are inspired by her native folk music and are often colored with traditional Sicilian instruments. I caught up with Carmen Consoli for a pre-show chat.

 

Justin Townes Earle

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Earlier this year Justin Townes Earle released his debut CD The Good Life. Justin comes from musical stock. His father is Texan songwriter Steve Earle, his aunt is songwriter Stacey Earle and he is named after the late Townes Van Zandt. I caught up with Justin for a pre-show backstage chat. 

 

Paul Sanchez

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Since leaving New Orleans roots rockers Cowboy Mouth three years ago, Paul Sanchez has gone back to his roots as a singer-songwriter - of the "all genres welcome" variety. Here we sit in a tiny apartment at the edge of the French Quarter talking about song-writing, the inspiration behind some of the songs and how he was affected by Hurricane Katrina. Paul also performs two songs.

Saturday, 22. November 2014 Copyright © Mule Skinner Productions, Inc. 2008 imprint