Check 1, 2

Join host Daniel Shaw as he talks to bands, national and local, about the creative process as they prepare to the hit the local stage. "Check 1, 2" is your backstage pass to conversation about the creative process of today's music.

John Waite

Oct 19, 2014

"Songs, and songwriting keeps me inspired, moving forward. I tend to scribble down notes, lyrics or just random thoughts on pieces of paper, backs of cigarette packs, sometimes on my shirt cuff. Rock n’ roll is closest thing I’ve got to a spiritual power. It’s been the higher voice in my life and it’s never let me down."

So says legendary singer-songwriter John Waite, whose career as a solo artist and fronting the iconic bands The Babys and Bad English has spanned nearly four decades. Waite recently released a new career retrospective, BEST. The album features 18 handpicked songs that reflect a remarkable body of work, including eleven studio hits -- three of which were recently re-recorded -- five live songs, and two unplugged tracks.

Waite has been successfully writing, recording and performing some of the most listenable, enduring and appreciated popular music for more than 35 years. He rose to fame as bassist and lead vocalist for The Babys, who rocketed to Top 20 chart positions with a pair of infections hits - “Isn’t it Time” from the band’s 1977 sophomore LP, Broken Heart and the monster ballad, “Every Time I Think of You” off 1978’s Head First.

After the breakup of The Babys--prompted by a serious injury to Waite in 1980 when he was pulled from the stage by an overzealous fan during an encore--Waite began an abundant and prodigious solo career, ignited by the well-received 1982 release, Ignition, which featured the hit single, “Change.”  John’s next solo effort, 1984’s No Brakes, did exactly what the title inferred, barreling at runaway train speed to international acclaim and U.S. platinum success thanks to the smash hit, “Missing You,” which did not stop until it reached Number 1 on the Billboard’s Hot 100 Singles, Album Rock Tracks and Adult Contemporary charts. The following up single, “Tears” was a top 10 hit on the Billboard Mainstream Rock charts.

In 1988, a reunion with former Baby’s band mates, Jonathan Cain and Ricky Phillips –along with uber-guitarist Neal Schon from Journey and drummer Deen Castronovo –resulted in the John Waite fronted supergroup, Bad English. And in 1989, the group’s ballad, “When I See You Smile,” – penned by Grammy-winning songwriter, Diane Warren – went to Number 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and was certified Gold. The album reached Top Five and sold more than two million units in the U.S. alone. Bad English released two albums before breaking up in 1992.

Since returning to the recording studio and concert trek as a solo artist in 1995, John has produced a string of solid, existentially eccentric, courageously eclectic and blisteringly electric rock n’ roll records, including 1995’s Temple Bar, 1997’s When You Were Mine, 2001’s Figure in a Landscape, 2004’s The Hard Way, 2006’s Downtown: Journey of a Heart, 2010’s In Real Time and 2011's Rough and Tumble, the title track of which earned Waite a Grammy nomination.

http://www.johnwaiteworldwide.com

Parker Millsap

Oct 5, 2014
Daniel Shaw

At only 21 years of age, Oklahoma native Parker Millsap is quickly making a name for himself with his captivating live performances, soulful sound, and character-driven narratives. Since the release of his self-titled debut album earlier this year, he has garnered a nomination for the Americana Music Association's 2014 Emerging Artist of the Year and has received praise from The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, American Songwriter, The Boston Globe, and NPR, to name a few.

John Oates

Aug 8, 2014
Daniel Shaw

John Oates was destined to be a musician. Singing from the time he could talk and playing the guitar since the age of five, his calling in life was never in question.

When John first met Daryl Hall it was their mutual love for urban rhythm and blues blended with the more rural roots of Americana music that created their unique sound. Since the formation of their partnership in the early 70′s Hall & Oates have gone on to record 21 albums which have sold over 80 million units making them the most successful duo in rock history. They have scored 10 number one records, over 20 top 40 hits and have toured the world for decades. In April 2014 Hall & Oates were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

He is also the creator and executive producer for the “7908 the Aspen Songwriters Festival” that brings together the finest songwriters from around the world to perform at the Historic Wheeler Opera House in Aspen Colorado. The festival’s mission is to celebrate the art and craft of songwriting combined with a strong educational component dedicated to mentoring and developing the next generation of songwriters.

Since 1999, John has recorded five solo albums: “Phunk Shui”, “1000 Miles of Life”, “Mississippi Mile” and a live album called “The Bluesville Sessions” .His latest project is called: A GOOD ROAD TO FOLLOW which began as a series of digital singles featuring collaborations with legendary as well as new rising stars. In March of 2014 the songs were compiled into a critically acclaimed fifteen song, three disc album. The wide range of songs and productions showcases the unique musical diversity that has become the trademark of his artistic talent.

When, not touring with his solo show or with Daryl Hall, John, his wife Aimee and their son Tanner divide their time between Nashville Tennessee and their rescue ranch in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, along with dogs, Emus, Peacocks, Llamas and Alpacas. In his free time he enjoys driving his tractor, riding his mountain bike, hiking the backcountry and telemark skiing.

John will be performing Sunday evening August 10th at the Aspen District Theater with Emmylou Harris & Shawn Colvin as a fundraiser for the Aspen Animal Shelter.

Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers made a needle’s-eye leap onto the national music circuit in 2012, bringing with them a refreshing sound, spirited stage show and wellspring of good vibes, along with a turntable and milk crates stocked with their favorite vintage vinyl for backstage sustenance.

Now, the San Francisco-based band and its striking front woman with a girl-next-door demeanor step out with Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers, a luminous, heartfelt patchwork of California folk-rock, brisk Americana and show-stopping soul, punctuated with fresh four-part harmonies, crisp rock guitar and Nicki’s soaring, nuanced vocals that some critics say remind them of Linda Ronstadt. The first record under the banner of the full band, Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers is very much a family album, featuring 11 new songs penned by the band members, arranged and produced by Nicki’s husband and the band’s musical director, Tim Bluhm, and recorded at the Bluhm’s Mission Bells studio in San Francisco.

The lead single “Little Too Late” kicks off the proceedings with a fun and funky punch of soulful rock and an anthemic quality to the lyrics that quickly made the song a fan favorite at live shows in the months prior to the album’s release. Also released in advance of the album, “Ravenous” marks a departure for the band as Nicki flirts with her dark side, urged on by haunting echoes of classic Fleetwood Mac. Tim and Nicki’s great love of country music and Americana storytelling takes center stage in the sparkling “Till I’m Blue”, an enchanting ode to lasting love, as well as in “Deep Water”, Nicki’s endearing telling of life lessons learned. Bluhm family friend Steve Poltz, best known for his collaborations with the singer Jewel, contributed the coaxing soul waltz “Check Your Head”.

There is an evergreen quality to the band’s music that resonates with music lovers across ages and time zones, fans who are touched by the band’s natural, bright-eyed charm and timeless expression of life and love. “We make music that generations of friends and families can share,” Nicki offers with a quiet confidence. “For me, there is a tenderness, a humanness. It’s about getting down to the basic level of bringing joy. We’re a fun, honest group of people who love traveling and seeing the country. I’m with my husband and my best friends, we’re so lucky to be doing this, and we’re so grateful for those coming out to visit with us.”

With such an earnest appreciation for every moment of the grueling work and endless hours required for touring “uncharted waters,” as she puts it, one can imagine Nicki almost pinching herself to prove that this really is her life -- and rightfully so. She never saw any of this coming.

Tim and Nicki’s paths first crossed at a house party, when someone passed a guitar to Nicki. Though she’d never before sung in front of a crowd, she took a chance and belted out an impromptu blues number, immediately catching Tim’s ear. It was a spark-plug moment that evolved into the two playing music together, followed by Tim mentoring Nicki as she developed into a career singer/songwriter. As love blossomed and marriage ensued, the couple created and released Nicki’s debut solo album, Toby’s Song (2008).

The formation of Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers happened in similar organic fashion, when Nicki recruited her childhood friend, Deren Ney, to play lead guitar in her new band. Dave Mulligan accepted an invitation from Nicki to join the Gramblers on guitar and vocals while out hiking with the Bluhms one day. Bass player Steve Adams and drummer Mike Curry each got the call from the Bluhms and agreed to double-time it with their existing musical commitments. When not working with his own band, the Mother Hips, Tim takes his place on guitar, keyboard and vocals. Nicki’s second album, Driftwood (2011), earned numerous positive reviews and put Nicki and the Gramblers in front of a wider swath of show goers across the western U.S.

It was during this time that the band’s “Van Sessions” video for Hall & Oates’ “I Can’t Go For That” went viral and introduced Nicki and band to the world of their endearing, stripped down versions of classic songs as well as to an existing catalog of original tracks from Nicki’s two previous solo albums. They went back on the road and quickly developed into a tight knit, six-piece headlining act, logging over 200 dates in 2012. In 2013, Nicki and the Gramblers’ touring schedule has included auspicious sets at Bonnaroo, Newport Folk Festival, Hangout Music Festival and Mountain Jam, as well as being featured on network television by veteran journalist Anthony Mason for “CBS This Morning”.

I thought it would be fun to look back at the shows we’ve done to date and highlight a few of the live, in-studio performances we’ve captured. What really struck me as I listened to these shows again is the variety and quality of the live music we’re lucky enough to have in our valley. And, it’s been a blast for me to get introduced to and introduce you to some extraordinary artists I’d never even heard before they showed up here in the studio.

The show features live tracks by Brothers Keeper, Jerry Jeff Walker & Jimmy Ibbotson, Robert McDuffie, Juanito Pascual, Crystal Bowersox, and Sean Hayes.

Tierney Sutton

Jul 18, 2014
Tierney Sutton Website

The New York Times has called Tierney Sutton “A serious jazz artist who takes the whole enterprise to another level.”

A 6-time Grammy Nominee as both a recording artist and arranger, Sutton is often described as “a singer’s singer,” but just as often, she is described as a “musician’s singer” who uses her voice like an instrument.

Most recently, Tierney received her 5th consecutive Grammy Nomination for “Best Jazz Vocal Album” for her latest project, “After Blue,” an intimate, jazz-inspired re-imagining of the legacy of Joni Mitchell. The album, which is Sutton’s first solo outing without her longtime Band, features Al Jarreau, Hubert Laws, Peter Erskine, Larry Goldings, Serge Merlaud, Kevin Axt and The Turtle Island Quartet.

Spanning over 20years of collaboration, the Tierney Sutton Band’s 9 CDs have consistently topped the US jazz charts, leading to Tierney’s selection as Jazzweek’s Vocalist of the Year as well as to numerous other accolades in the music world including a 2011 Grammy nomination for the Band’s collaborative arranging.

She has headlined in recent years at The Hollywood Bowl, Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center and Jazz At Lincoln Center. She can also be heard on film and television soundtracks including The Academy Award-nominated film “The Cooler” as well as on television commercials (BMW, Green Giant, Yoplait Yogurt, Coke)

When she is off the road, Tierney is an active educator. She taught for over a decade at USC’s Thornton School of Music and is currently the Vocal Department Head at The Los Angeles Music Academy in Pasadena,CA where she has created a new curriculum for vocalists of all genres.  Tierney has taught and mentored some of music’s finest new generation of singers including Gretchen Parlato and Sara Gazarek.

Nothing kicks off summer in the Valley like the Jazz Aspen Snowmass June festival. JAS founder and president Jim Horowitz sits down to discuss this year's festival, the 24th annual, plus the JAS summer music series at the Little Nell on this edition of “Check 1, 2”. This year is loaded with big names and big talent returning to the Benedict Music Tent – Tony Bennett, Diana Krall, Steve Winwood, and Trombone Shorty headlining. The free lawn party outside the tent will also be in full force with rocking music from Red Barat, Terence Simien, Selena Albright, and Calixto's Way providing the soundtrack along with bountiful food & drink. So enjoy the interview with Jim and go see some live music!

Learn more about the festival: jazzaspensnowmass.org

Sean Hayes

May 15, 2014
Daniel Shaw

If there were a map of Sean Hayes’ 20-plus year career, it would be circuitous. A tangled criss-crossing of backroads and blue highways denoting place, influence, and trajectory. You can hear it in the deep-roots syncopation, in the dusty folk-stomp and in the biorhythmic pulse that ebbs and thumps throughout his soul-tinged songs.

Crystal Bowersox

May 1, 2014
www.crystalbowersox.com

You may remember Crystal Bowersox as the American Idol runner up in 2010—and for those of you who don’t follow the show that’s a big, big deal.
 
Since then the Toledo, Ohio native has released two albums of original material, performed and recorded with all kinds of folks ranging from Blues Traveler (both on record and at Red Rocks) to BB King to Cheryl Crow and earned all kinds of respect along the way for her songs, her voice and her passion. She’s played the Ellen DeGeneres show and the Tonight Show and is slated to portray Patsy Cline in a Broadway show about the legendary country singer.
 
Her truly soulful latest album, All That for This, was produced by Steve Berlin of Los Lobos, who has produced a ton of great artists, from Angelique Kidjo to Faith No More to Jackie Greene, and features a raft of top-notch musicians. And an appearance by Jakob Dylan.
 
Crystal has a five-song EP set for release in June and will be touring throughout the summer.

Los Lobos

Apr 1, 2014
http://www.loslobos.org/site/

Forty years ago, Louie Perez and David Hidalgo, friends at East LA’s Garfield High School, hooked up with two other musicians, bassist Conrad Lozano and singer/guitar player Cesar Rosas, and Los Lobos came to be. Sax player Steve Berlin came over from legendary rockabilly band The Blasters a few years later, and the band has never stopped making incredibly original, timeless, irresistible music and has never stopped touring. Hard-hitting young drummer Enrique “Bugs” Gonzalez joined the band a few years back and gave them a new jolt of energy. Their recording debut all those years ago may have been called “Just Another Band from East LA,” but they still prove night in and night out that they’re not just another band—from anywhere.

Louie Perez has been the band’s chief lyricist over the years and was the drummer for a long spell before returning to guitar duties (though he still gets behind the kit for a few songs each night). He’s found time over the years to work on several side projects, including The Latin Playboys, and has carved out another career as a painter. He’s also written a play recently based on the band’s song “Evangeline,” that had several runs in California.

For more about Los Lobos: http://www.loslobos.org/site/

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