interview Archive

Lee Fields’ Pure Soul Music

Sometimes it takes decades to become an overnight sensation. Such is the case of soul stirrer Lee Fields; though he released his first single, “Bewildered” b/w “Tell Her I Love Her” on a tiny label in 1969, he didn’t truly score big until 30-plus yeas later. And then his career truly took off some 20

Del McCoury and Steep Canyon Rangers: Mutual Admiration Society

Bluegrass legend Del McCoury remembers vividly the first time he saw and heard the Steep Canyon Rangers. It was at a street festival in Raleigh or Charlotte, not long after the group had formed. “The boys might have still been in college, or just out of college,” he recalls. Even then, he was struck by

Roy Ayers’ Positive Vibrations

Few popular musicians have been successful at making a switch from one genre to another while holding on to a substantial fan base. Singer and vibraphonst Roy Ayers has done it, and more than once. Famously gifted a set of vibes mallets by bandleader Lionel Hampton, Ayers earned one of his first professional breaks as

Shook Twins: Forgoing Folk Formulae

Folk music gets welcome jolts of energy, modern pop culture and technology in the music of Shook Twins. The music of identical twin sisters Laurie and Katelyn Shook is built on a foundation of acoustic folk, but they deftly combine the traditional music form with samples, looping, beatboxing, and a rhythm section that gives the

Amy Black’s Latter-day FAME

Singer’s Muscle Shoals Revue honors music made at legendary Alabama studio Amy Black didn’t set out to showcase the music of Muscle Shoals, Alabama’s FAME Studios; things just worked out that way. “It wasn’t planned,” she says. “It was kind of organic.” Black originally planned to record most of her 2014 album This is Home

Drive-By Truckers: The Personal is Political

The Drive-By Truckers have always paired incisive, thoughtful lyrics with their supercharged country-rock sound. From their 1998 debut, Gangstabilly to their latest album, 2016’s American Band, the Athens, Georgia based group has resolutely charted its own path. The group’s 11th album, American Band, is being enthusiastically reviewed in many quarters; it’s showing up on more

Sxip Shirey’s Avant Groove

Note: An edited version of this feature appeared previously in Brooklyn Paper. — bk Described as an “electro-acoustic” artist, Brooklyn-based Sxip Shirey is tough to pin down musically. Read about him most places and you’re likely to come away thinking his music is cerebral, experimental and more than a little avant-garde. Actually listen to the

Coffey Talk: A Chat with Guitar Legend Dennis Coffey (Part 2)

Continued from Part One … Dennis Coffey was part of a new venture, the Producer’s Workshop, led by legendary Motown bassist James Jamerson. As he recalls in Guitars, Bars and Motown Superstars, “Motown had already got rid of its staff producers who were hitless, so the remaining producers continued to develop their ideas during the

Coffey Talk: A Chat with Guitar Legend Dennis Coffey (Part 1)

The 2002 film Standing in the Shadows of Motown introduced viewers to The Funk Brothers. That name – originally coined by session drummer William “Benny” Benjamin – was retroactively applied to a large and loosely-defined group of musicians responsible for a staggering amount of the pop music that came out of Detroit, Michigan in the

André Cholmondeley: Tech/Tour Manager to the Stars

Guitarist André Cholmondeley visited Asheville as early as 2001 when his Frank Zappa tribute band Project/Object played a show at Stella Blue (now the Asheville Music Hall). By 2006, he had moved here from New Jersey, and his career had taken a major, unexpected turn. In the space of just a few years, he went