Saturday, December 16, 2006

Flogging Molly: The Well-Rounded Radio Interview

Flogging Molly takes punk rock and marries it to elements of traditional Irish music, fronted by Dave King’s thick brogue and a group of six musicians with wildly diverse influences. A quote from King says it all: "If it didn't have mandolin, accordion, fiddle, and whistle, it would be punk rock and if it didn't have guitar, bass, and drums, it would be traditional Irish music. Flogging Molly has both."

Since 2000, they’ve released four CDs on SideOneDummy Records, including Swagger, Drunken Lullabies, Within a Mile of Home, and their latest, Whiskey on a Sunday, a CD/DVD release with the CD including new songs, acoustic versions of earlier releases, and live performances.

The DVD includes a two-hour documentary about the band, one of the better ones I've seen about living life as a musician, tracing each players path to playing music and joining the band, and life on the road for seven distinct personalities.

The film also gives viewers a new perspective about the band members, their life traveling through time and space, the balancing act they walk between making music they love for an independent record label, and building a loyal audience around the world.

Filmmaker Jim Dziura shot the film over two years time in seven countries and it's an enlightening document of a band making a living and building a following without selling their souls to make a dream come true. I was taken by how open and revealing the band members are and, as a result, it ends up being a far more intimate and sweet film.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Tim Westergren of Pandora: The Well-Rounded Radio Interview

Pandora is a leader amid a growing group of web sites and services that look to the user to provide their insight about what kind of music or media we like and then the recommendation engine offers up other artists and music to help expose us to new music. Some others working in this space include, Tagworld, Mercora, and LAUNCHcast.

I had the opportunity to meet with Tim Westergren, Pandora's Founder and Chief Strategy Officer, who has been traveling across the country in recent months meeting with listeners at town hall gatherings. Westergren was in New England for town hall meetings in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Providence, Rhode Island. To see if Westergren will be in your neck of the woods, visit

This is our first episode of Well-Rounded Radio with absolutely no music...but of course, since Pandora is a music discovery service, it makes the most sense for each of you to have your own listening experience along with this episode by setting up a station at Pandora. So, once you get your audio levels for each set up, you can listen to the interview and some music from

If you’re new to Pandora, it’s free to use and easy to sign up. Visit and all you need to divulge is your age, zip code, and an email address. For either Mac or PC users, you’ll also need to have Flash, at least version 7, which can download for free.

Apologies to our listeners outside the US; Pandora currently isn’t able to provide streaming of its service beyond the US due to rights’ licensing, but based on my conversation with Westergren, that may be coming in the future...but if non-US listeners have other similar services they are using, post a comment on them and tell us your experience.

Photo credit: Rafael Fuchs

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Merrie Amsterburg: The Well-Rounded Radio Interview

Merrie Amsterburg's third and latest album is "Clementine and Other Stories" and, although it includes many traditional American songs that so many of us take for granted and know by heart, it gives some new life to some pretty dusty material.

Peforming re-arranged songs such as All the Pretty Horses, Lakes of Pontchartrain, Shenandoah, Down in the Valley and others, I found myself on the edge of my seat through some, as Amsterburg takes her time revealing and unfolding each piece and telling the stories in a way that makes you listen anew.

As with two earlier albums of originals, 1997's Season of Rain and 2000's Little Steps, Amsterburg has a low-key, demur style that lures you into her music and makes you pay attention. A good reminder that a whisper can be more powerful than a scream.

"Clementine and Other Stories" is rich with American history, and Amsterburg has already performed at some school and educator conferences to help promote these foundational songs. A quote from Amsterburg in her press materials say it best: "I hope the record gets people to look at these songs in a different way. They deserve a second look. They’re part of our history and where we come from."

Well-Rounded Radio

Monday, August 14, 2006

The Rudds: The Well-Rounded Radio Interview

The Rudds are singer/songwriter John Powhida, guitarist Brett Rosenberg, singer Andrea Gillis, bassist Tony Goddess, drummer Nathan Logus, and multi-instrumentalist Dave Leib.

Both their "The Rudds" and "Get the Femuline Hang On" CDs reflect the many band members tastes and love in rock, soul, blues, and musical theatre. Get the Femuline Hang On, drops musical references and in-the-know mentions that make it a fun listen where it’s clear the band has a sense of humor and aspires to bring back some of the fun to rock music.

And honestly, beyond the great songwriting from Powhida, a lot of the fun of The Rudds is tracing these musical references: a sexy ballad that would fit nicely in Prince’s catalog, a chorus as catchy as any from The Raspberries, power-pop songs with an xylophone flourish influenced from Bruce Springsteen, a guitar lick you could trace back to Boston (the band, that is) or Jefferson Starship, a vocal turn of phrase that could be coming from Ziggy Stardust or Aladdin Sane, a dramatic vocal line that could easily be channeling Frank Zappa…and, curiously, many of them happen to be from the 1970's. It’s as if The Rudds have boiled down the decade and turned into an ensemble featuring the best ideas of that era.

The Rudds, who were named in honor of AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd, are also self-professed fans of Hall + Oates, Prince, Todd Rundgren, Parliament Funkadelic, Sly and the Family Stone…all of whom you can also hear in their work.

As with the album title (femuline = both feminine + masculine), The Rudds are joining up contradictions and turning it into music that is simply hard to resist.

The Well-Rounded Radio Interview features a conversation with Andrea Gillis, John Powhida, and Brett Rosenberg.

What band, album, book, concert, or person changed the course of your musical life? Post a comment on Well-Rounded Radio and let us and other listeners know!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Guy Mendilow: The Well-Rounded Radio Interview

Guy Mendilow's music is mixture of folk, jazz, rock, and overtone singing, all infused with elements of music from around the world. As a result, it sounds like something completely unique.

Truth is, Mendilow is something of an indication of how small our world really is becoming: a citizen of the Great Britain, Israel, and the United States, he's lived all over the world, sings in six tongues, and is fluent in four.

Mendilow also just released his second CD, Guy Mendilow Live, a compilation of recordings from performances in Boston and New Jersey that captures some of the more spontaneous and magical moments that occur when musicians are onstage together.

Mendilow is also on the road this summer, with shows in Massachusetts, North Carolina, Pennsylviania, and Wisconsin in July and August.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Sarah Borges: The Well-Rounded Radio Interview

Sarah Borges' debut CD, "Silver City," was produced by Paul Q. Kolderie and released in 2005 by Austin's Blue Corn Music--and she's been working her way across the US gaining new fans and wowing critics with her songwriting and live shows ever since.

Reviews from both her CD and live shows have helped label her this year's "it" girl and the buzz about her work is so strong that it has spread across the country. Borges' voice reminds me at times of Sheryl Crow, Bonnie Raitt, Amy Rigby, Shelby Lynne, and Hope Nicholls of Fetchin' Bones, but Borges creates hooks more memorable than most of these folks, though, and "Silver City" is the kind of record that aspires to be played loud in your car as you tool around the town.

Borges' terrific band, named the Broken Singles since the release of "Silver City," includes Rob Dulaney on drums, Binky on bass, both of whom also perform with Jake Brennan and The Confidence Men. Additional players on Silver City include Mike Castellana on pedal steel, Russell Chudnofsky on lead guitar (with whom Borges performs in his pop opera, Sky Paint), Jimmy Ryan on mandolin (who Well-Rounded Radio interviewed in episode 017), and Steve Malone on pedal steel.

And at the end of the interview, the full version of "Belle of the Bar," a song from the "Silver City" sessions that is not on the CD. The band is also on tour through June and July, so catch them if you can.

For more information, visit Well-Rounded Radio.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Had the good fortune to see Mark Kozelek of Red House Painters and Sun Kil Moon last night at the MFA. Although the MFA does a series of outside concerts in the Calder Courtyard, the Kozelek show was indoors in the quiet Remis Auditorium theatre space, but perfect for his music.

I first heard the Red House Painters when I lived in Seattle at the Tractor Tavern in fabulous Ballard. Bought a few of RHP's CDs, but my favorite is probably still "Songs for a Blue Guitar," but all of his releases, whether they are under Mark Kozelek, Red House Painters, or Sun Kil Moon , are all great.

Kozelek's lyrics are not always easy to make out, but his voice reminds many of Neil Young, Nick Drake, or Tim Buckley. Fans of Iron and Wine would also easily enjoy Kozelek's work.

He commented a number of times about how quiet and attentive the Boston audience was; apparently not always the case at his shows (where folks in the front rows are spending much of the night text messaging others that aren't at the show) and he seemed to enjoy the venue. Funnier than I thought he would be, it made me sorry I hadn't approached his publicist for an interview as I think he would have been very entertaining!

Check him out on tour if he is stopping in your neck of the woods.


Monday, May 22, 2006

Jonathan Kane: The Well-Rounded Radio Interview

Jonathan Kane played the role of a drummer and percussionist since the 1970's, but recently took the leap to recording his first solo record with last fall's release of "February" (Table of the Elements Records) and his newest disc, "I Looked at the Sun" (Table of the Elements' new Radium imprint).

As a long-time fan of Swans, I knew Kane had played drums in the band, but didn't know about all the other esteemed musicians that Kane had worked with, including Rhys Chatham, La Monte Young, and Gary Lucas, until after meeting his wife, Holly Anderson, who I had a chance to meet via her collaboration with Clint Conley and consonant for a very early episode of Well-Rounded Radio.

Having known Kane's earlier work, I was surprised to learn that his first musical love was actually the blues, and its been a form that he's experimented with over the years, including his first two solo releases.

Read the full show preview at Well-Rounded Radio and be sure to check out our new logo and web site!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Hector Cuevas and The Boston Latin Band: The Well-Rounded Radio Interview

Hector Cuevas was born in the Dominican Republic and grew up listening to Cuban music from Johnny Ventura, Sonora Matancera, Alberto Beltran, Beny More, Vicentico Valdez, Rolando La Serie and other music that his father and mother exposed him to over the years.

Aspiring to be a musician from a young age and taking lessons in the Dominican Republic, he had the chance to move to America in the early '70s and arrived in New York City at 17 to go to school--and also to play music.

Over the years he played as a percussionist with the likes of Tito Puentes, Eddie Palmieri, Hanzel and Raul, Johnny Pacheco, Eddie Guagua Rivera and many more. In addition to New York, Cuevas lived in New Orleans, Miami, and Boston and in our interview he'll explain how his tenure in each of these cities effected his musical future.

In 2003, the Boston Latin Band released Cubarengue, produced by Hector Jesus Alejandro Perez and recorded in Montreal. The debut CD covers a number of styles of Cuban music, including salsa, bolero, and merengue, and realizes Cuevas' goal to reach back to the roots of these distinct Cuban musical styles.

They are currently working on a new record and the Well-Rounded Radio interview features some sneak previews from that disc.

Catch Hector Cuevas and The Boston Latin Band on Friday, April 14th in Boston, MA peforming live at El Bembe; start time is 10 PM. They also have a residency at Catch a Rising Star in Providence, RI on Sundays throughout April.

Pardon my cold...the change of seasons has gotten to me!