Music Friday Blog

  • Billy Kay: country music with a cause

    billykayhat303.jpgBilly Kay is a rare find in music.  At the musical talent level, he is the most downloaded artist  in Las Vegas and  in South Carolina and is now turning heads in  Nashville with the breakout hit "Ready... Set... Gone!" .  But it is his personal story that grabbed me.  He is a homeless veteran, living in a shelter in Tennessee while he  travels America writing, recording and performing.  His now-famous "Abject Poverty Tour" featured top indie country stars and raised money for other homeless people, veterans and battered women.  On top of that, he donates a share of all royalties and merchandise sales to shelters and charities.  Obviously, he could live on his earnings , but he has chosen to give back instead.  As part of that, Billy organized 2011 "Country for a Cause" CD, which featured some of the most talented musicians in the indie country music scene.   I am really looking forward to our conversation this Friday at 2:05 pm ET.  I suspect it will be somewhat different from most interviews.

  • Classic rebroadcast this week, Dream Aria and Canto

    We are upgrading the Music Friday studio this week.  We tested  new microphones last week and we have selected a Ble Mic Yetti model USB  to work with new clean skype connection to our syndicator and blogtalkradio.  This week we add soundproofing and possibly sound absorbing curtains to increase the "studio" sound.  This will require some shifting around of equipment and the computer racks and boards, so we decided rather than plan on broadcasting and then realize that we are not ready, we are rebroadcasting one of the year's most entertaining shows, our August 2013 interview with Ann from Dream Arai and the brothers that make up the new band, CANTO. 

  • Brent Buffan and The Ride . great combination. 12.20.13

    301x301_brentguitar.jpgI keep my eye on a place in Venice California called Witzend.  It is kind of a creative factory - a listening room plys video production facilities and a program of residency to give artists time and money to develop and grow and get experience on stage.  I sometimes drop in on Wednesday nights for Open Mic, but I also keep track of their upcoming talent schedules - you never what gems you will find.

    I found one this week, Brent Buffan.  Brent is just about ready to break out - one of the places I love to find musicians for the show.  He has developed his talent, written and recorded songs and albums (as yet unreleased) and toured.  But his big move came when he teamed up with a band call The Ride. Brent, a Toronto born singer/songwriter spent years performing and recording alone, giving him a solid foundation for his next step. After assembling albums and touring solo, he joined up with four highly talented and versatile musicians.  Together they have raised the bar for themselves to a whole new level of music and are now on tour in Southern California, successfully introducing this true troubadour’s songs in one of the most competitive markets in the country.

    He joins us this Friday at 11:30 am PT and  hope you join him at his gig at the Witrzend on 12/21/13.

  • Amy Rose. video premier. 12.20.13

    amy_squareup.jpgI promised everyone more country, and I am delivering.  But you thought I meant Nashville, didn't you.? We we had Nashville well represented last week with Sarah Love and the week before with Mindy Smith.  This week we are giong north to Canada to interview Amy Rose. Part down-home country girl, part sophisticated musical veteran and “Redneck Diva,” Amy  has already earned a reputation for being one of  Canada’s best-known country music exports.  From her early years on small-town fair and festival stages, to her recent radio airplay, charting and awards, Amy Rose’s soaring vocal range and pop country sensibilities  has garnered high praise and international airplay for “I just Want You to Know” – which reached #9 on the New Weekly country chart, and “Party Like a Redneck”, which hit #6. She has received a 2013 Ontario Country Music Association nomination for “Rising Star” and was named Country Music Entertainer of the Year by the International Music and Entertainment Association.  

    This Friday, she is announcing the world premiere of her new music video for her current radio single, “Sunshine” (Wild Rose Music/MTS.). The video will premiere Friday at 8 pm ET on Amy’s Youtube Channel and we will play the music from the video and talk to her live on air about its production and where she is going now.  The video was shot in October, at the Jam Spot in Newmarket, Ontario, under the direction of Niloo Ravaei with Director of Photography and  Executive Producer - and  Amy’s husband -Jeff Fraser. The song “Sunshine” was released to US country radio this past September, and it is currently on several major airplay charts. The single will be re-released in Canada, after the New Year. The artwork video currently has 169,000 views on Youtube.

  • Sarah Darling. 12.13.13


    microphone_300x300.jpgI was watching the American Country Music Awards last night,  ( I know, it is only one of three country award shows and not really the top one, but the music was fun) and thought, "Music Friday does not have enough country music".  There is so much good country and so much country that says good things, that I must make an effort to find those emerging country singers and musicians who will be tomorrow's stars and introduce them to my audience.  Well, I found one, Sarah Darling.  From a farm in Iowa to the beating heart of country, Nashville, Sarah has made it clear that she has the talent, the life story, the music chops and the determination to succeed in what is arguably a tougher competitive field than NASCAR. 

    And she is succeeding. With acclaimed releases through her former label, a  new EP, and now a Christmas album that is both in and out of the red-ribboned box, you can see why she is called "Nashville's Darling".  She has been described as “a sophisticated songwriter with a crisp, powerful voice,” by The New York Times and been featured in national campaigns with major brands such as MoonPie, Durango Boots, Crock-Pot, Viva paper towels and more. She also recently sang during a date on an episode of ABC’s The Bachelor. She has been invited to the Grand Ole' Opry dozens of times and has an show coming up at the Franklin Theater tonight with Mindy Smith, who joined us last week

    Sarah says she has not yet defined herself or produced an album that does that, which is right where Music Friday likes to find its guests.  If our experience is any guide, that definition will grow and change over many albums and concerts in a bright future. 

  • Toby Light returns to Music Friday with EKOP


    noMICROPHONE300x300.jpgI am so happy that Toby Lightman is returning to Music Friday this week.  It is like an early Christmas present.  The only thing that could be better is to see her live, which I could do in Chicago in January but, you know, its cold there. For those of you who may have missed her appearance here in July, Toby Lightman is a singing/songwriting/creative/entrepreneurial genius.

    She has been described by People Magazine as “ no small talent…Toby Lightman continues to shine a light on her knack for making rich, soulful pop.”  And she is still doing it better than ever.   After releasing hit albums with her label, Atlantic Records, she has shifted to producing and releasing her own songs,  starting with the widely heard and seen on television, “Let It Go” in 2008.  More albums followed, plus an EP and national television performances on Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O’Brian and The Today Show.

    On the live performance and film and TV front, Toby is not too shabby either. She has toured with James Blunt, Jewel, Rob Thomas and one night opened for Prince.  Her songs have backed television shows like Bones, One Tree Hill, Vampire Diaries , The Fosters  and the feature film What’s Your Number? 

    Never one to rest on anything much less the laurels of past success, Toby has launched a new initiative, EKOB – Every Kind of People – and album to be produced with crowd-sourced funding and input from her fans.  An online Pledge Campaign has been oversubscribed, setting a new bar for fan-supported music.  Toby joins us Friday, 12. 13.13 to tell us about it and give us a peak and what she is planning for next year.

     http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/tobylightman

  • Junk Parlor. 12.6.13

    ALBUMCOVER33X232.jpgTalent appears in mysterious ways.  I have a friend who operates a hay and feed store in northern California whose husband is in a rock band that I saw at the House of Blues early this year.  Things and bands change and before I know it he has been invited to join Jason Vanderford's new project, Junk Parlor, giving me an opening to invite Jason to join us on Music Friday and give us the inside story on his new project.  This will be a preview of Junk Parlor's concert in Los Angeles which will I am sure be a festive evening of cajon, gypsy rock and pure fun.  Jason and my friend R.T. Goodrich, Junk Parlor's drummer join is at 2:30 pm ET this Friday.

  • Mindy Smith. Snowed In. 12.6.13

    300x300.jpgThis year I was, shall we say, made aware of a number of Christmas song albums...so many that I decided on just one this year.  Mindy Smith's CB, Snowed In stood out .  So she returns to Music Friday this Friday with a Christmas album.  We are only doing one Christmas album this year and of all the albums that have been sent to me, this one stands out.  Not only does Mindy bring us the traditional songs of the season, but she brings us her unique voice and soul - these are songs that not only bring back memories of Christmases past, but of the meaning of the season .  Mindy came to prominence in 2003 with her cover of Dolly Parton's song "Jolene" and then appearing on the Jay Leno Show with Dolly. Seven hit singles and five albums later she continues to sooth and excite us with a new EP, Snowed In.  She joins us Friday, 12.6.13 at 11:05 am PT.

  • The Bylines 11.29.13

    square300.jpgI saw The Bylines live at the Witzend in Venice California and loved them.  Frontwoman Marianna Thielen, the  face of the group, let loose with her with powerful vocals and  her husband, Reece Marshburn,   master of  classical, jazz and pop piano created a perfect instrumental backdrop. Depending on the project , they surround themselves with national level musicians who fill a venue with unique and infinitely enjoyable music. Whether you see them live, download their music and see their videos, they are pure fun. Marianna and Reece join us at Music Friday at  11:05 am today.

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Salvador Santana. 11.29.13

    RiseUp_sm-300x300.jpgOur classic Music Friday this week is Salvador Santana  He is one of the greatest emerging talents of our time, son of one of the greatest talents of our time, grandson of two of great musical talents.  Salvador Santana joins us this Friday at 2:30 pm ET.  We will play cuts from his album talk to him about his tour and his future.  I saw him live at the Hotel Cafe and let me tell you, this guy and his SSB band is exciting.  See my review in Vents magazine .