Friday, December 31, 2010

Lissie | One of the Best of UW 2010

"Catching A Tiger" is the debut album for California based singer and songwriter Lissie. It was recorded mostly in Nashville and mostly with Jacquire King (Kings of Leon). Bill Reynolds of Band of Horses also participated as he had on her 2009 EP "Why You Runnin'". Great songwriting, strong vocals and sharp arrangements. Definitely one of the highlights of 2010's listening and one of the most promising.

Lissie is included on this week's playlist, part 3 of the Best of 2010 on mvyradio's new music show, Uncharted Waters. Listen to UW Fridays and repeated on Sundays at 9PM ET on

Best of Uncharted Waters 2010 Part 3

Friday/Sunday December 31, 2010/January 2, 2010

"Cuckoo" Lissie Catching A Tiger Fat Possum
"Only Thing That Was Missing Was You" Michael Franti and Spearhead Sound Of Sunshine Capitol
"The Word" Bettye Lavette Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook Anti-
"Central Two-O-Nine" Robert Plant Band Of Joy Rounder
"Please Speak Well Of Me" The Weepies Be My Thrill Nettwerk
"Color Of Rain" Jason Spooner Sea Monster Jason Spooner
"Blue Beard Band Of Horses Infinite Arms
"In The Years To Come" Kim Richey Wreck Your Wheels Thirty Tigers
"Wade In The Water" Patty Griffin Downtown Church Credential Recordings
"The Universe Is Laughing" Guggenheim Grotto The Universe is Laughing
"Hush" Julia and Angus Stone Down The Way Nettwerk
"God On The Drums, Devil on the Bass" Katie Melua The House Dramatico
"In Magnolia" Kenny White Comfort In The Static
"Don't Forget About Me" John Mellancamp No Better Than This Rounder
"I'm Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down" Janiva Magness Alligator
"Always Got Away" Martin Sexton Sugarcoating Kitchen Table Records

Monday, December 27, 2010

Singer Teena Marie Dies | That voice

I just learned that legendary r&b, soul and funk singer Teena Marie died yesterday of natural causes at age 54 and I join with her many fans in mourning her loss. For me, her voice transcended genres. I loved the musical setting of her music, but that wasn't what got me. It was that voice!

Listening back to some of her songs and checking out some videos of her music led me back to her 1984 album "Starchild" and it felt like the first time I heard her sing. I was so drawn to the emotion and vulnerability in her strong, secure, skilled and passionate sound. I couldn't get her voice out of my head. And now it's back with me as she moves on.

Teena Marie was one of the greatest vocalists of the last thirty-five years and was instrumental in paving the way and making a bridge for the mix of r&b and hip hop that is now a staple of contemporary music. She signed with Motown Records in 1976, switched to Epic in '83 and worked continuously until 1990. She took a fourteen year hiatus, returned in 2004 and released three more albums, including 2009's "Congo Square", which reached the Top 20 on Billboard's Top 200.

As I was reading through and listening to some remembrances, I found an interesting connection. Teena Marie worked with songwriter and music producer Richard Rudolph, husband of another great r&b singer, Minnie Riperton. Rudolph produced "Lady T" for Teena Marie in 1980, a year after Riperton died. One of the album's songs "Too Many Colors" features the voice of 7 year-old Maya Rudolph, the actress and Rudolph's and Riperton's daughter. Maya Rudolph became Teena Marie's god-daughter.

That voice...filling up some other space. Peaceful passage.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Ray Lamontagne | One of the Best of UW 2010

Subtlety has great benefits when employed in any form of expression. And when it's combined with a deep and rich inner life, and revealed in song, well, you may find brilliance. Like the light shining through a billion stars in the dark night.

Ray Lamontagne has made a career album in this year's "God Willin' and the Creek Don't Rise", his fourth full-length release. It's most likely a career album that will be matched or supplanted by another one of his records down the road. That's how secure he seems to be in the place he came to with his band The Pariah Dogs as they recorded the album over a two-week period in Lamontagne's home studio in Western Massachusetts. Shades of Neil and Joni. Soaring silence of his heart.

In "Like Rock & Roll & Radio", he oh so gently asks "Are you still in love with me?" and likens the estrangement that he feels with the soulless nature of modern radio. Radio has broken his heart, it seems, with the way it's changed. Will his lover do (has his lover done) the same?

Are you still in love with me
Like the way it used to be or is it changing?
Is it deeper over time
Like the river that is winding through the canyon?

Are we strangers now
Like the Ziegfeld Gal and the Vaudeville Show?
Are we strangers now
Like rock and roll and the radio
Like rock and roll and radio?

Ray Lamontagne's song is part of this this week's Best of Uncharted Waters 2010. Here's the playlist:

Friday/Sunday December 17/19/2010 9 p.m. ET

Best of UW 2010 Part 2

"Corpus Christi Carol/Hammerhead" Jeff Beck Emotion and Commotion Atco
"Terrible Love" The National High Violet 4 AD
"Open Arms" Patty Larkin 25 Vanguard
"Like Rock & Roll and Radio" Ray Lamontagne God Willin' and The Creek Don't Rise RCA
"Lingering Still" She and Him Volume 2 Merge
"Creep Along Moses" Mavis Staples You Are Not Alone Anti-
"Boe Money" Galactic with Rebirth Brass Band Ya-Ka-May Anti-
"Your Night Is Wide Open" Tracy Bonham Masts of Manhatta Engine Room
"Only The Wine" David Gray Foundling Mercer Street
"Carry" Ryan Montbleau Heavy on the Vine Blue's Mountain
"Rockin' Chair" Eric Clapton Clapton Reprise
"That Phone" Grace Potter and the Nocturnals Grace Potter and the Nocturnals Hollywood
"The Curse" Josh Ritter So Runs The World Away Josh Ritter

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Frightened Rabbit | one of the Best of UW 2010

Uncharted Waters is the new releases show that I host on mvyradio (Friday 9 PM; replay Sunday at 9 PM). I have started a 3 part series, looking back over the songs, albums and artists that made their way into this weekly musical container.

There's something about the concentration of approximately 50 hours of music (4 shows x 12 months) into 3 short hours that makes me dizzy and full wonder at the power of song. See part one's playlist below.

One of the songs from this week's show is from Glasglow's Frightened Rabbit, who released their third album "Winter of Mixed Drinks" this year. The record's "Swim Until You Can't See Land" seems to be about transcending the trappings of life:

Dip the toe in the ocean.
Oh how it hardens and it numbs.
And the rest of me is a burgeoned man
built to collapse into crumbs
And if I hadn’t come down
To the coast to disappear
I may have died in a land-slide
Of the rocks, the hopes and fears.

As I was listening to the refrain, "swim until you can't see land" I thought, mmm good theme song for Uncharted Waters!

Here's the playlist for this week's (12/10/11) show:

Best of UW 2010-Part 1

"Run" Vampire Weekend Contra
"I've Got Dreams To Remember" Angelique Kidjo Oyo
"Five Small Words" Elvis Costello National Ransom
"Burden Of Tomorrow" The Tallest Man On Earth The Wild Hunt
"Hurricane Season" Trombone Shorty Backatown
"Hitchhiker" Neil Young Le Noise
"I Didn't See it Coming" Belle and Sebastian Write About Love
"Unfortunate Sea" Everest On Approach
"Let Yourself Go" Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Mojo
"Troubled Waters" Catherine Russell Inside This Heart Of Mine
"Swim Until You Can't See Land" Frightened Rabbit Winter Of Mixed Drinks
"Hotel Lights" Amy Cook Let The Light In
"Dry Bones" Robert Randolph and The Family Band We Walk This Road
"Unsophisticated Heart" Joe Pug Messenger

Friday, December 3, 2010

Feist | Look At What The Light Did Now

In the new documentary about Feist, "Look At What The Light Did Now", the Canadian artist/musician likens herself to a peacock, a "scrawny little bird" amid dazzling plumage. The beauty that surrounds her is born in the artistic collaboration with what she calls her "amplifiers"- her band, photographer, shadow puppeteers, video director and all who work with her to bring her work to light. The film itself is a reflection of an amazingly creative mind and reveals the profound benefits of trust.

"If you trust people and their art, it grows", says Feist.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Milton Music

Milton came to the Vineyard last week from his home in New York to spend Thanksgiving with his family and he stopped by mvy to sit down for a conversation and a couple of songs. We became aware of Milton in 2008 and played songs from his third album "Grande Hotel" which was released that year. Friend of mvyradio, Buffy McCleery is a fan, too and she was the matchmaker for this interview. She knew that Milton was going to be on-island for the holiday and we took it from there. Thanks, Buffy!

Listen to the interview here.

Check out clips from "Grand Hotel":

Friday, November 26, 2010

Kim Richey | Wreck Your Wheels

I read on Kim Richey's facebook page that she is in London and it was her first Thanksgiving Day there. "Turkey, mash, chestnut dressing..." Sounds like she brought a great American meal to her friends across the pond!

Over the last several years Kim has split her time between London and Nashville and her new CD "Wreck Your Wheels" was recorded in "Music City" with her touring band. It's her sixth record, and her collaborative spirit is strong. Every song is co-written by songwriters like Mando Saenz, The Jayhawks Mark Olsen, Beth Rowley and long time friend and collaborator Neilson Hubbard.

Kim has many strengths - an absolutely pristine voice and a songwriting skill that rivals the best in the business -and they are all on display here. But the key to her appeal is the subtlety that underlies it all.

Kim's fans contributed to this video for "Wreck Your Wheels"

Listen to clips from the CD...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Belle and Sebastian | Write About Love

The Scottish band that formed in the mid 90's has just released an album "Write About Love", and after years of appreciating what they do from a far, I have been captured, pulled in, won over. The vulnerability and sweetness in their indie sound is emboldened with a pop certainty on this record that lines up with what I have heard between the lines in some of their other work. Seems like a natural, inevitable and wonderful evolution. that Simon and Garfunkel's "A Hazy Shade Of Winter" coming through?

Listen to it...pop...

Friday, November 19, 2010

What's New... today

I'm putting together a set of new music for The Lunch Hour on mvyradio ...The new tunes will roll out at about 12:20 PM.

Paul Simon has a new album, done and due for release in the spring of next year. Just so happens there is a song on it called "Getting Ready For Christmas Day". What to do? Release it! Play it!

I found another track to play from The Autumn Defense's new CD "Once Around". "The Swallows of London Town" is one of the stand out tracks from John Stirratt and Pat Sansone on their fourth CD.

Louisville's Cheyenne Marie Misez has a new CD "Before Lately". "Friend" got me on the first note.

Ryan Montbleau's "Lonesome Serenade" is track # 13 on "Heavy On The Vine", some sweet stuff as the new album is coming to a close. His fans are going to want to hear this song when he plays with J.J. Grey and Mofro next Wednesday (11/24) at The Paradise in Boston!

AND FINALLY! Adele! We just got "Rolling In The Deep" from "21" her second CD due for release in February. I learned a new word from Adele -"chuffed". That's what she is after completing the new record. Quite pleased. You will be, too, when you hear it today on www,

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Dan Zanes | Family Man

Dan Zanes and his band will play at The Zeiterion Theater in New Bedford this Sunday, November 21st. The music Dan has been focusing on for the last thirteen years or so is, by his own description, "handmade music". He has revisited songs of Pete Seeger, Leadbelly, Woody Guthrie and many others and put his own particular spin on them.

The birth of his daughter, who is now 16 years old, lead him to this "parallel universe". After she was born, as he was wondering what would be the very first song he would play for her, it never occurred to him that it could be one that HE sang to her. Shortly after that, he started to make family music.

There's one thing that runs through all of his music making, from his time with Boston's The Del Fuegos in the '80s, his solo records of the '90s and his family music of the past decade and it's the element of participation. The Del Fuegos never felt like they had played a gig, unless people danced. In 2010, as he celebrates ten years of his Festival Five Records, the idea behind Dan's records and his shows is not only to inspire people to dance and to participate in HIS music but also to encourage them to make their own.

Listen to my interview with Dan Zanes here

Get on Dan's train:

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Bruce Springsteen | The Promise

The previously un-released tracks from the "Darkness on the Edge of Town" sessions will be released today as "The Promise". The whole package includes 2 CDs and 3 DVDs. Springsteen says it's "a new/old record, the lost sessions of music that could have/should have been released after "Born To Run" and before the collection of songs that became 'Darkness on the Edge of Town'". Springsteen went back to the music that the had abandoned thirty years ago and selected twenty-one tracks from the '77,'78 sessions. He left many of the tracks just as they were recorded, and worked on some, doing "what I would've done to them at the time and no more."

These songs were recorded at transitional time in Springsteen's career, a time when he was emerging from the tremendous success of "Born To Run" and a time that was marked by intense legal battles. "Darkness on the Edge of Town" is one of Springsteen's most beloved albums. His return to music that was recorded during this period material feels like a necessary journey of discovery and reconciliation.

Listen to today at 12:30 to hear some of the songs.

Check out songs clips from the CD here:

Thursday, November 4, 2010

NEeMA | Escape

I just saw the video of a new song by Montreal based singer NEeMA, and I want to share it. "Escape" is from a new album called Watching You Think and the song makes a lasting impression, due in great part to the sweet innocence of the video, which was shot at Ecole St-Ambroise in Little Italy in Montreal. NEaMA (pronounced "Nee-mah") has had a lot experience with working with children in a pre-school in Montreal and also with street kids in Egypt. Mentor's Leonard Cohen and Pierre Marchand (Sarah McLachlan, Ron Sexsmith) helped produce the new record. NEeMA is on tour with The Chapin Sisters.

Check out the video:

Listen to song clips from the album:

Friday, October 15, 2010

Neil Young | Le Noise

It seems that Neil Young is always very aware of the journey he is on as a performing artist and human being and spontaneously draws people and experiences to himself that manifest his life and music. "Le Noise" is Young's new album, produced by Daniel Lanois, aptly titled because of the rugged, crunchy, big sound of the record, but named for "Le Noise" --Daniel Lanois. Deeply personal, probing and raw, we are witness to pieces of Young's inner life unfolding in a vivid sonic atmosphere created by Young and partner Lanois. "Black Dub" is a technique that Lanois used for this project. He takes parts of the music that he has recorded and re-inserts it into the song, like a piece of cloth cut out of a dress and then re-applied in another spot. The result is a new sound that will be interesting to track as it, and if it finds it's way into other musicians' palettes.

Listen to some of the tracks from 'Le Noise" tonight at 9 PM ET on mvyradio's Uncharted Waters and hear the entire album on mvy's Album of The Week Wednesday (10/20) at 9 PM ET.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Tracy Bonham | Masts Of Manhatta

I wondered about the title of Tracy Bonham's new album "Masts Of Manhatta". Intriguing, strong, mysterious. Come to find out that it's taken from a phrase from Walt Whitman's poem "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry." "Cross from shore to shore, countless crowds of passengers. Stand up, tall masts of Manhattan! Stand up, beautiful hills of Brooklyn." One of the many unexpected pleasures of encountering Tracy Bonham again -going back to read Walt Whitman again!

It's been five years and a lot of life changes since Bonham's last CD. She got married, got certified as a yoga teacher, moved to Woodstock and now splits her time between her home there and Brooklyn.

Smokey Hormel from Brooklyn's Smokey's Roundup is on guitars with his bass player, Tim Luntsel and drummer Andy Borger, providing the roots backbone to the album. Tchad Blake mixed it.

The record holds together beautifully, with Bonham's sense of humor and strength as a singer and player (violins, Fender Rhodes, guitar, piano, claves, spaghetti pot, cardboard box) filling the tracks. All the years of playing -her early classical training in her native Eugene, Oregon, her time in the early '90's at Berklee and playing in Boston, and her subsequent, short-lived dominance on the alternative scene in the mid 90's all serve her well and make the release one of the best of the late summer, early fall season.


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Mavis Staples | You Are Not Alone

I go through a process as I listen to an album for the first time. Because of the volume of music I listen to every week, it's rather quick, but a process nonetheless. Even with a legendary musician like Mavis Staples, one I am so ready to accept absolutely, it takes a certain amount of time before an album kicks in, takes hold. And that moment when it does, the moment when I'm swept away is my favorite part of the music listening routine.

As I made my way through "You Are Not Alone" the new CD from Chicago's Mavis Staples, I asked myself "Do I like this?" and "Am I going to get blown away?" I experienced a slow build, and by the time I circled through a few times, I was sold. The song choices are inspired, and include a few written by her dad the late "Pops" Staples, a couple by the album's producer, Wilco's Jeff Tweedy (love the title track written by Jeff!), and one from Randy Newman, "Losing You", another killer song choice. Mavis has so much depth as a singer and what I realized was happening with the slow build was that I was traveling inside her sound, with all of it's subtlety and breadth of experience. And all at once, I got to the center and found what I was hoping for, what she was going for.

Listen to clips from the CD here.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Lou Reed at mvyradio October 1997

It was a Sunday morning about 11 when Lou Reed came to the station in October of 1997. He was on the island to play a gig at The Hot Tin Roof. Several staffers showed up to get a glimpse, and a rooster was in a tree near the building. Lou was delighted with the rooster, and with the fact that a cool, independent radio station existed on the Vineyard.

We settled in and started our conversation, and I was amazed at how relaxed, open and forthcoming Lou was. We talked about what he listened to as a kid, his vocal style, his guitar playing and his home, New York City. The thirty or so minutes I spent with him was definitely one of the highlights of my career.

Listen to the interview here .

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Robert Randolph | We Walk This Road

Robert Randolph started playing pedal steel guitar when he was 15, but he had been witness to the "Sacred Steel" since he was a child at The House Of God Church. By the time he stared playing, he had already learned from the great players in the church that there is only one way to play, and that's with feeling. At 19, he heard Stevie Ray Vaughn and he was on his way to a career combining gospel, roots and rock into a unique style that caught the attention of Eric Clapton, Dave Matthews, B.B. King, and most recently T Bone Burnett.

Robert was lookng for a producer that could connect him more deeply to his roots -the blues and gospel that were already part of his music. He found T Bone Burnett. T Bone produced "We Walk This Road" and yet again serves as teacher, facilitator, benefactor and all-around musical guru to yet another musician and musical project.

See Robert Randolph and The Family Band at Rhythm & Roots Labor Day Weekend. Get a deal on tickets to the festival with a donation to Friends of mvyradio.

I spoke with Robert Randolph this week. Click here

Check out clips from "We Walk This Road"

Friday, August 13, 2010

Guggenhiem Grotto | The Universe Is Laughing

The Guggenheim Grotto have made another outstanding album called "The Universe Is Laughing". Kevin May and Mike Lynch are top songwriters and they deliver their music with absolute perfection.

Listen tonight (repeats Sunday 8/15 at 9 PM ET) as I feature several tracks from the cd on Uncharted Waters at 9 PM ET.

Sample the album

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Remembering Jerry Garcia with Jer Bear

Jer Bear, the host of mvyradio's Shakedown Stream sat in with me yesterday to mark the 15th Anniversary of Jerry Garcia's passing. I wanted to post the conversation here in case you didn't hear it. Jer brought in some Jerry tunes to play -a newly released version of "Friend Of The Devil" from Let it Rock on Rhino Records, "Russian Lullaby" an Irving Berlin song that Jerry Garcia does on Compliments (also on Rhino) and "So Many Roads", a song recorded on July 9, 1995, exactly one month before Jerry died.

Listen to the interview here

Jer continues his Jerry tribute today (Tuesday, August 10) at 5 PM ET on mvyradio's Shakedown Stream

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Bela Fleck, Zakir Hussain & Edgar Myer | At Naukabout in Falmouth

I spoke with Bela Fleck the other day in advance of his appearance at Naukabout in Falmouth today (Saturday August 7th). Check out what he has to say about hearing the banjo for the first time on The Beverly Hillbillies, being a student of music in every situation, and being involved in so many once in a lifetime career events. Click here

Find out about Naukabout

Thursday, August 5, 2010

New Lee Ritenour, Guggenheim Grotto, Richard Thomson

Love this photo on the cover of Lee Ritenour's new cd! There is a lot of light inside any instrument that is just waiting to be released.

That's exactly what happens on this album, with some of the world's greatest guitarists joining Ritenour for outstanding and inspired performances. John Scofield, Keb Mo', Taj Mahal, Mike Stern, B.B. King, Joe Bonamassa all contribute. Listen for a few songs from the record tonight at 9 PM ET on Uncharted Waters, the new music show I host on mvyradio.

You'll also hear new Guggenheim Grotto, Richard Thompson, Paula Cole and J.J. Grey and Mofro featuring Toots Hibbert.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Newport Folk Festival | Positive Vibration

It's Monday morning following Newport Folk and we're all feeling the musical love that was filling the air all weekend long at Fort Adams State Park, and on Friday night at The Tennis Hall Of Fame. You couldn't ask for better weather and all festival goers know that the warm and sunny totally trumps sweltering and steamy or rainy and muddy.

There were so many amazing musical performances that it's a challenge to pick the highlights. There were some sets that totally knocked me out. Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings was the absolute top for me, and I bet for many others. The place went wild during her set! I couldn't stop dancing as I watched from the back of the field in front of the main stage. At one point I found myself jumping up and down. It's been awhile since that happened.

Andrew Bird, John Prine, Brandi Carlile, Horse Feathers, Dawes, Swell Season and Levon Helm were my other favorites, but EVERYBODY was great and once again the folks at Newport Folk outdid themselves on all fronts. The quality of the artist line-up, the sound, and the overall experience of being at the festival was absolutely top notch and that's what Newport delivers year after year. Listen to music from the festival here.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Steve Martin | Tim O'Brien |Sarah Jarosz| and more!

I was looking at Steve Martin's website and in "The Martin Mirror", his "electric newspaper" he writes "Breaking News: Steve Martin's Tour Rider Leaked". A tour rider, if you don't know, is the part of an artist contract that stipulates all of the details of what an artist expects at an appearance. Because of the specificity and sometimes excessive requirements, tour riders are ripe for this kind of treatment. Under "Buffet" "Tray of Iceberg Lettuce. Important Note: Iceberg must come from Scandinavia, Canada or Russian Arctic. Artists do not like taste of Antarctic Icebergs." And this "Artist Relations: Venue must have Bela Fleck on speed dial, in case Steve's feeling lazy". Funny guy, Steve Martin. His humor is on display in everything he does and his banjo playing is such a joyful addition to what he offers us.

Steve Martin is appearing tonight at The International Tennis Hall Of Fame in Newport, RI to kick off the Newport Folk Festival. Tim O'Brien and Sarah Jarosz open. We'll see you there and all weekend in Newport! If you can't make it to the festival, join us online at Listen to mvy today at 12:20 and at 9 ET for a musical preview of the festival.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Tom Tom Club on mvyradio Summer of 2003

Tina Weymouth, Chris Franz and their son Kid Ginseng came to the mvyradio studio in July, 2003 for an interview before a gig at the Atlantic Connection in Oak Bluffs. They talked about Talking Heads, The Ramones, radio and Jaws. Check out the conversation today at 12:30 as I celebrate 25 years at mvy.

Listen to the entire interview

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

What's New/Essential mvy Today

Just opened the mvyradio mail and put the new Ferraby Lionheart in the CD player- love the first track "Holdin' Me Back" and will send it out on the air and web today on What's New For Lunch at 12:20. I'll also play some Carlos Santana to celebrate his birthday on mvyradio's Essential mvy.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers| Mojo

There's something so appealing about Tom Petty. You can just tell he's a great guy -honest and dependable. This may be complete projection, and if it's not true and he's a jerk, so be it. I will just live in my little Tom Petty love bubble.

The solid-as-a-rock, "I trust this guy" vibe is an important element to his music making and songwriting, and it is in full effect on "Mojo", the new Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers album. His mojo, his magic, is his relatability

You believe that what he writes about happens or could happen to someone. Simple stories about everyday life and everyday feelings. The songs roll by like the countryside outside of a car window on a long cross-country drive. There are real people living lives of joy and struggle in these towns, in these songs. The musical landscape of the record is familiar, but Tom and the Heartbreakers are definitely cutting a new path. Favorite songs "Let Yourself Go", "Jefferson Jericho Blues" and "Something Good Coming". I'll play several songs tonight on Uncharted Waters on mvyradio at 9PM ET (replay on Sunday at 9PM ET).


Friday, May 28, 2010

Bettye Lavette | Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook

The only thing better than hearing Bettye LaVette sing on her new CD "Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook" is seeing the "satisfied n' tickled, too" expression on her face on the album cover. "The Great Lady of Soul" seems to be full of joy and a sense of accomplishment as this CD, one of the most nuanced and deeply delivered albums of song interpretations ever, makes it way out to the world.

Bettye's unwavering commitment to every song resonates like the truest love and her life experience seems to be crystallized in every note. She takes it seriously, this stepping out with The Beatles, Led Zepplin, Pink Floyd and Elton John, and her success is due in great part to her not being daunted by the task and taking fearless leaps. R&B, Blues, and Soul influenced British rockers and now it comes full circle with the one of soul music's greats bringing it home.

Robert Plant has invited her to join him on his tour in late July.

Listen tonight to mvyradio's Uncharted Waters at 9 PM ET (repeated Sunday at 9PM) as I feature a few tracks from the CD.


Friday, May 21, 2010

The Tallest Man On Earth | The Wild Hunt

So much of what we experience about another person is their presence. Presence --a great word for what it is that captures us about someone. Their ability to be be present, at ease, claim the space, or not. There are a lot of ways to make a lasting impression and often there's a certain je ne sais quoi, literally a "I don't know that" quality.

I can identify much of what impresses me about singer-songwriter Kristian Matsson, a.k.a. The Tallest Man On Earth on his new CD "The Wild Hunt". His confidence, his simple, potent guitar playing, his incisive lyrics. But what is most striking to me is his ability to command the energy of the album from start to finish. The way he carries the flow feels a little like a magic trick, and after each listen, I found myself captivated again. Maybe it's just his confidence, but it seems like more than that. Je ne sais quoi...

I'll feature some tracks from "The Wild Hunt" tonight on mvyradio's Uncharted Waters at 9PM ET.


Friday, May 14, 2010

Martin Sexton | Sugarcoating

There's so much to love about Martin Sexton's music. Perfection, vulnerability, spontaneity, joy, questioning, wonder. But the top note, the deepest experience, is connection. He opens himself to the stirrings of his heart and to the intimate artistic process of bringing his life to music, and we're invited in. Such a gift!

"Sugarcoating" is Martin's new CD, his ninth. Beautifully realized songs with great players bringing each one home. Guitarist Duke Levine, one of Boston's finest, plays a key role, as does another Boston legend, producer, musician, songwriter Crit Harmon, who co-produced the album with Martin and co-wrote one of the songs. Dan MacKenzie co-wrote 10 of the 13 songs. Dave Mattucks is on drums and minnow bucket. I experienced the minnow bucket first hand when Dave played with Martin in a Louisville hotel suite for one of Martin's many mvyradio on-air appearances, the one where Martin so loved the guitar we had rented from a local music store, that he bought it.

Martin does the bulk of the back-up vocal work using his unique "character" approach --"cowboy vocals" on "Sugarcoating", a poignant take on post 9/11 America and "choir vocals" on "Always Got Away", a stunning song about impermanence, lessons learned anew, and love that lasts. The sequencing is perfect, giving the record a wonderful flow. So much skill, restraint and hard-won musical prowess. This is a watershed record for Martin Sexton.

I'll feature a few tracks from "Sugarcoating" tonight on mvyradio's Uncharted Waters at 9 PM ET on


Friday, May 7, 2010

Trombone Shorty | Backatown

Supafunkrock. That's how Troy 'Trombone Shorty' Andrews describes his music. If anybody deserves a new word to characterize his music, it's Trombone Shorty. Along with his band Orleans Avenue, made up in part of childhood friends, he is creating an original sound born out of the musical traditions of his hometown of New Orleans. Andrews grew up in the Treme in the 6th Ward, the oldest black neighborhood in the U.S., and the fun music and dancing he experienced as a kid, and the showmanship he developed as a street performer, is the basis of his no holds barred approach.

Lenny Kravitz, Marc Broussard and Allen Touissant contribute, and Ryan Montbleau co-wrote two of the songs on the CD. Kravitz took a chance on an 18 year old Troy Andrews (he's now 24) and brought him out on tour with him in 2004. "Playing with that band was like Kobe Bryant going straight from high school to the pros," Andrews' sister told him. The experience of playing with Kravitz was pivotal, with Andrews having to learn "20 years of music" and watching Kravitz hold huge audiences in the palm of his hand.

"I'm his biggest fan," says jazz legend Wynton Marsalis. Add me to the long (second) line!

Trombone Shorty is the featured artist on mvyradio's new music show, Uncharted Waters at 9PM ET.


Friday, April 30, 2010

Janiva Magness | The Devil Is an Angel Too

Janiva Magness does just what you want her to do on her new CD "The Devil Is An Angel Too", her second outing on Alligator Records. She gives us more proof that she is one of the best recording artists and entertainers working today.

Her live shows are electric. Janiva won the 2009 Blues Music Awards for B.B. King Entertainer of The Year and Contemporary Blues Female Artist of the Year. She has been able to bring that excitement and energy to the new record, just as she did with 2008's "What Love Can Make You Do". Passionate, throaty, up-close-and-personal vocals, inspired song choices and great backing players. She reaches inside every song, finds the heart and then delivers a world of hurt, or a world of joy.

I'm going to feature several tracks from the album on mvyradio's Uncharted Waters tonight at 9 PM ET on http://www, Talk to you then!


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Jeff Beck | Emotion and Commotion

If an artist is lucky enough to have a long career, the musical world that he or she creates over the years can be vast, ever evolving and revealing. Who would have guessed that monster, master guitarist Jeff Beck would name "Over The Rainbow" as one of his favorite songs? But then again, given his penchant for inspired interpretations of a beautifully eclectic assortment of songs, it's absolutely no surprise.

In the liner notes to his new album "Emotion and Commotion", Beck calls the song, that became Judy Garland's signature, one of the most beautiful ever written and says "I finally figured out what it is about Judy Garland's voice that gets straight to you; her vibrato is unsteady. Anyone else with an unsteady vibrato would make you cringe, but not her." No surprise, either that he notices and understands what it is about an instrument and an artist that gets to you.

Beck seems to simply love sound, and voices in particular, and all of the possibilities that present themselves when musicians gather to play. Joss Stone, Imelda May and Olivia Safe all provide guest vocals and Beck includes two Jeff Buckley songs because of being "amazed" by "the beauty of the way he sounded." The orchestration by Peter Murray is stunning and the perfect setting for Beck's guitar.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Patty Larkin | 25

It really wasn't planned at all, that Patty Larkin's celebration of her twenty-five years of making records, would be so comprehensive, so expansive and so poignant. But that's what happened.

Patty's "25" is a collection of her songs, re-visited by her and re-fashioned by the personal crafting of twenty-five musicians that Patty has admired and worked with over the course of her career. She recorded the songs, unplugged and sent them out, and they came back, surprising musical gifts in every package.

The record is dedicated to her mother, Mary Jeanne, a painter and Patty's biggest fan, who passed away last September. Two weeks after her mother died, Patty started work on the record and she says that the emotions she was feeling opened her up "to the moment" and a raw and sometimes more mature vocal sound emerged.

The project has re-united her with many old musical friends like David Wilcox, Jonatha Brooke, Chris Smither and John Gorka. She is playing out on tour with many of them and will be at The Regent Theater in Arlington this Saturday, April 24Th with Birdsong at Morning.

Today on The Lunch Hour (about 12:15 PM ET) on, I feature part of a conversation with Patty and give away some tickets to Saturday's Arlington show. Full interview with Patty will be posted later today in the mvyradio Archives.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Angus and Julia Stone | Down The Way

Musical partnership is the bedrock of music making and no matter what the relationship of the partners, the sound of the bond has traveled far and deep by the time it reaches our ears.

Australian sister-brother team Angus and Julia Stone have just released their second full album "Down The Way" and I find myself thinking about the sibling aspect of their association because all I know about it is what is revealed in the songs. It's an aural entree into a connection that only the two can begin to understand.

A gentle feel and a quiet, sweet wondering keeps on throughout. The record has a long-ago tint; the sepia photos (of their family? other families?) inside the liner notes add to this. Self-produced, recorded in different locations all over the world, a perfectly realized album.


Friday, April 16, 2010

Jonsi | Go

What do you do when you're sitting on a pack of breathtaking songs that don't quite work with your current band? Jonsi, lead singer and cello bowing guitarist of Iceland's Sigur Ros, answers the question with his solo debut "Go"and an ambitious tour. Sweeping, sometimes bleeping, earnest vocals against a back drop of high-flying, dramatic arrangements. The majority of songs are sung in English. Descriptions of his live shows indicate that the production elements match, support and blow the roof off, just like the music.

Listen tonight at 9 PM ET to mvyradio's Uncharted Waters on as I feature tracks from Jonsi's "Go", plus new music from Angus and Julia Stone, Justin Currie, and Ruth Moody.

Sample some clips from "Go" here:

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Freelance Whales | Weathervanes

An emerging sound palate. A new sound scape. Same language, different dialect. With a name like Freelance Whales, the sky's the limit, right? And the deep blue sea.

Listening, I say to myself, "I like this." After a few songs I ask myself, "Where's this going?" Then I feel the direction. It's kind of vertical, swooping up then down, then up again. And it's more in than out. Quiet joy. Some of the sounds are toy-like, popular these days, and this underlines the child-like quality that washes over the whole record. There's a great mix of acoustic and electronic, lovely vocals, and...the glockenspiel. Nice! Magical, spacey private world. Available today.


Friday, April 9, 2010

Natalie Merchant | Leave Your Sleep

It's been seven years since we've had a studio album from Natalie Merchant and "Leave Your Sleep", her new collection of songs adapted from the works of a wide spectrum of poets, is, in Merchant's words "the most elaborate project I have ever completed or even imagined." Indeed! Over 130 musicians playing on 26 tracks in multiple musical styles- Cajun, reggae, chamber, jazz, Celtic, r&b and early music. The songs were recorded in live ensemble settings and the spontaneity and live feel come through beautifully.

The project was inspired by a "long conversation" between Merchant and her daughter during the first six years of her life, with Merchant bringing the characters of obscure poems to life as she read aloud. Five years of research ensued and in the process, Merchant, who has never thought of herself as a poet despite her years of writing song lyrics, became absolutely enthralled and "used music to enter these poems." The CD will be available April 13th. Album cover and Natalie picture here by the amazing Mark Seliger!

I'll play tracks from "Leave Your Sleep" along with new music by Josh Ritter, Jonsi, and Doug Wamble today during mvyradio's The Lunch Hour (12 noon ET) and on Uncharted Waters tonight (9 PM ET) Tonight's featured artist on UW is Angelique Kidjo.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Kenny White | Comfort In The Static

He's the go-to guy for lots of musicians, producing Peter Wolf and Shawn Colvin, and going out on the road with Cheryl Wheeler, Jonathon Edwards, and Judy Collins. After a listen to his new record "Comfort In The Static" (his second on Collins' Wildflowers label), it's SO clear why so many people want to work with him and why he is so respected by his peers.

His stated aim, to give an honest account of what's in his heart, is true. He has a sharp eye for the details of everyday life and brings this to bear in his lyric writing. And musically, his melodies, great chord changes, arrangements and dynamic piano playing create an intimate setting for his songs. Shades of Mose Allison, Randy Newman, and Ben Folds.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Amy Cook | Let The Light In

Alejandro Escovedo produced Amy Cook's new CD "Let The Light In". Two Austinites and two musicians of seemingly like minds. There's an edge to Amy's lyrical approach and who better to support that than someone like Escovedo who is equally at home with screaming guitars AND string quartets in the mix. Tosca String Quartet is featured on the record and their participation along with Patty Griffin's on "Hotel Lights" knocks me out. A perfectly realized song! Great string arrangements throughout from Stephen Barber and stand out guitar playing by David Pulkingham.

Listen tonight for Amy Cook, the featured artist on mvyradio's Uncharted Waters at 9 ET on

Hear clips of "Let The Light In" here:

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Angelique Kidjo | Oyo

Beautiful, focused, committed, unforgettable. Angelique Kidjo. You see it in the picture here, hear it in the music she has created over the past two decades and know it from her untiring philanthropic efforts. In her new album "Oyo", she interprets some of the music she heard growing up in Benin, West Africa by artists like Aretha Franklin (her biggest influence apart from Miriam Makeba), Curtis Mayfield, James Brown and Carlos Santana, plus some Beninese traditional music and songs from Hollywood and Bollywood fims. Each song choice has a story behind it, and the album is a journey into Kidjo's musical heart and life experience. The CD will be released April 6th.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Peter Gabriel | Scratch My Back

I saw Peter Gabriel in the 80's -can't remember exactly what year, but it was at The Orpheum in Boston. During the performance, Gabriel fell backwards from the stage, on purpose, into the waiting arms of his fans. This was something he did a lot during that time period. I was so moved by the gesture and all it implied. Trust, fearlessness, abandon, humanity. Peter Gabriel employs these qualities, that seem to be still in great supply, on his new CD "Scratch My Back". It's a covers album with a wide assortment of songwriters represented -Lou Reed, Talking Heads, Randy Newman, The Magnetic Fields and Elbow. Songwriting is what got Gabriel into music and he has long wanted to make an album where he is the interpreter of the songs rather that the writer.

At first. the record seems plodding but once you lock into the rhythm of Gabriel's intent, and let John Metcalfe's beautiful arrangements and orchestration wash over you, it starts to gel as a whole record. The centerpiece is Lou Reed's "The Power of The Heart", a commanding song that is so suited to Gabriel's style. "Listening Wind" written by David Byrne and Brian Eno and originally on Talking Heads "Remain In Light" CD is also a great choice for Gabriel. I feel like I can hear his process as I listen to the album. It seems like each aspect was carefully considered and that the journey lives inside each song.

Listen tonight at 9 PM ET to mvyradio's Uncharted Waters as I feature tracks from the CD.

Listen to clips of the CD here:

Monday, March 1, 2010

Ellis Paul | The Day After Everything Changed

I'm listening to Ellis Paul's new record "The Day After Everything Changed" and as each song reaches my ear, I'm thinking about the intimacy of songwriting and making records. Here I am on my computer at my kitchen table being invited into Ellis' heart. And he doesn't even know it!

Well, he might guess that I'd be enjoying what he does so well, based on the fact that 20,000 others, his fan base, and a legion of other singer-songwriters and music business types admire the songwriting and sensibility that has been over 20 years in the making. In fact, his fans funded his new album, and you can hear the evidence of their involvement. There is a cohesiveness and depth to this record that seems to be in part about this connection.

My favorite songs -"The Day After Everything Changed" -a soaring homage to love, beauty, revelation and the passage of time; "Rose Tattoo" -a story about a couple's love in tough economic times, with wonderful everyday references in the lyrics; and "Dragonfly" -simplicity and wonder fuel this love song, acoustic guitar weaving, high and lonesome vocals rising.

We're giving the CD away today as The Monday Free CD on

Listen to clips of the new CD here: