Music Makers and Soul Shakers with Steve Dawson
Music Makers and Soul Shakers with Steve Dawson
Steve Dawson
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Steve Dawson hosts long-form interviews with musicians and music producers about their lives and experiences making and recording great music. From legendary session musicians to up and coming songwriters, from innovative guitarists to iconic drummers, bassists and keyboard players, Steve leads each guest through in-depth conversations about what drives them to make music, their creative process, their influences, and some of the nuts and bolts about how they actually work in the recording studio. Steve's experience as a musician and producer helps put his guests at ease as they open up about their experiences on the road and in the studio in a way that they may not have done before. The result is an archive of incredible stories about some of the greatest music ever made. Some of the guests are household names, and others are more behind-the-scenes, but each one is a unique creator and Soul Shaker in their own way. Join us and take a deep dive into music history! Become a member at https://plus.acast.com/s/mmasspodcast. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Ep. 157 - Tommy Emmanuel
Tommy Emmanuel, the stellar Australian fingerstyle guitarist joins me on the show this week for the last episode of Season 7! I first saw Tommy play back in the early 90’s when he was relatively unknown and was blown away by his adventurous technique, style, and obvious dedication to his craft. Since then, Tommy has gone on to be one of the most well-known acoustic guitarists of our time and to create an incredible body of work, but he is still mostly known for his spellbinding solo shows. Tommy was a child prodigy, playing professionally since he was 6 years old. He and his brother, along with their dad, toured all over Australia and that lead to session work, and eventually pulled him to the US, where he landed in the 80’s and met his hero, Chet Atkins, in Nashville. Tommy received the coveted seal of approval from Chet, and is one of the few guitarists alive to have the official “CGP” title, given out only by Chet himself. Tommy has made tons of records, some solo, some duets and some with bands. The latest of these is the second in a series and it’s called “Accomplice Two”, a recording of collaborations with artists like Jerry Douglas, Sierra Hull, Little Feat, Molly Tuttle, David Grisman and many more. Since we do talk about his meeting with Chet quite a bit, be sure to also check out “The Day Fingerpickers Took Over The World”, Tommy’s collaboration with Chet Atkins, and must be the last thing Chet ever recorded, from 1997. It was great to have Tommy on the show - we did get a chance to talk quite a bit about Chet, their meeting, and his influence, as well as Lenny Breau, some of Tommy’s stage gear, how he goes back and forth from thumbpicks to flatpicks, and how he approaches arranging tunes for solo fingerstyle guitar. He was also kind enough to grab his trusty Maton guitar and show me some of the things he was talking about as well. You can get all the current info on Tommy and his very busy tour schedule at tommyemmanuel.comEnjoy my conversation with Tommy Emmanuel!If you enjoyed this episode, please consider supporting the show with a donation or Patreon subscriptionThe show’s website can be found at www.makersandshakerspodcast.comYour fearless host, Steve Dawson can be found at www.stevedawson.ca Become a member at https://plus.acast.com/s/mmasspodcast. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Jan 17
1 hr 18 min
Ep. 156 - John Reischman
Mandolinist John Reischman joins me on the show this week. I’ve actually known John for many years, as he moved to Vancouver in the 90’s and when I was starting to do more acoustic music, our paths would cross at festivals and I’d also bring him in for various projects and sessions. John is an absolute master of his instrument with a unique touch and tone that is truly remarkable. He grew up in California and came up in the Bay Area music scene, where he joined The Good Ol’ Persons, which was up until then an all-female bluegrass band that featured Kathy Kallick and Sally Van Meter. After touring and recording with them for a couple of years, John scored a gig in the groundbreaking Tony Rice Unit, one of the ultimate ensembles in modern bluegrass and acoustic music. John toured and recorded with Tony for a few years and developed an incredible style that owes almost as much to jazz horn and piano players as well as different kinds of world music as it does to traditional bluegrass, although John certainly can stand up with the best in the world in any traditional setting. The Tony Rice albums Backwaters and Devlin feature this lineup with John’s amazing playing. After leaving Tony Rice, John moved to Vancouver, where he formed the Jaybirds, a group he has been performing with now for over 20 years. John also made a solo record during the pandemic called “New Time and Old Acoustic” which features guest appearances by Molly Tuttle, Chris Eldridge, Todd Phillips and many more. It was great to re-connect with John, and get a chance to talk about meeting and playing with Bill Monroe, his coveted mandolin, and his history recording and touring in the world of bluegrass and acoustic music. You can get all the latest info and tour dates for John and the Jaybirds at johnreischman.comIf you enjoyed this episode, please consider supporting the show with a donation or Patreon subscriptionThe show’s website can be found at www.makersandshakerspodcast.comYour fearless host, Steve Dawson can be found at www.stevedawson.ca Become a member at https://plus.acast.com/s/mmasspodcast. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Jan 3
1 hr 33 min
Ep. 155 - Larry Klein
Larry Klein has had his mitts on so many amazing records over the past 40 years, but is still a relatively quiet, behind-the-scenes kind of musician. He is a four time grammy winner as a producer, and has made records for artists like Joni Mitchell, Herbie Hancock, Holly Cole, Madeleine Peyroux and Tracy Chapman. I think the first time I ever saw his name was on a cassette I had of Shawn Colvin called “Fat City”, and then I kept seeing his name pop up on cool records over and over again. Larry started out as a bass player in California, and landed a gig pretty early on with jazz legend Freddie Hubbard. He toured with Freddie for years, and then slipped successfully into the session world. As a bass player he played on so many classic albums like “So” by Peter Gabriel, “Building the Perfect Beast” by Don Henley, Robbie Robertson, Tracy Chapman’s debut album and many more. He eventually landed a session with Joni Mitchell, which led to him playing on and producing a string of her records, starting with “Wild Things Run Fast” in 1982, right up through “Travelogue” in 2002. They were married and divorced in that window of time as well. His production work is always deep and sonically interesting. He has a real jazz mentality towards making pop records, which I love. There’s alot of live performance based takes, mixed with rich sounds and experimentation. Gaining the trust of Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter is no small feat, but Larry did that and produced records for those jazz legends! In recent years, Larry made a great record with Herbie Hancock of Joni Mitchell tunes called “River: The Joni Letters”, and during Covid, he made a record in a similar vein called “Here It Is”, a Tribute to Leonard Cohen. It’s basically an insane house band backing up artists like Iggy Pop, Norah Jones, Peter Gabriel, Mavis Staples and lots more doing Leonard Cohen tunes. I should also mention that we just ran out of time on this one, hence the abrupt ending. Larry had a limited window and I lost track of time, so we just kind of had to cap it mid-stream, but we got into tons of cool stuff anyway! I don’t think Larry is on the road at all any more, so you can’t catch him live with anyone currently, but you can get info on him and news on his latest projects over at larrykleinmusic.net  — Please enjoy my conversation with Larry Klein! If you enjoyed this episode, please consider supporting the show with a donation or Patreon subscriptionThe show’s website can be found at www.makersandshakerspodcast.comYour fearless host, Steve Dawson can be found at www.stevedawson.ca Become a member at https://plus.acast.com/s/mmasspodcast. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Dec 13, 2023
1 hr 20 min
Ep. 154 - John Paul White
John Paul White is an amzing performer, singer, songwriter and studio nerd who lives in Florence, Alabama and is known by many for all his amazing work with his Grammy-winning band The Civil Wars. John Paul has also worked as a professional songwriter, and runs a studio and a label called Single Lock Records. This all goes down in Florence, which is part of the 3 cities known as The Shoals, or as us music nerds know it as, Muscle Shoals. This small, almost rural area unbelievably housed 2 amazing studios where some of the greatest soul music of all time was recorded - Fame, and Muscle Shoals Sound. Those 2 studios are still standing today and really are amazing places to visit! John Paul continues that tradition by carving out his own scene in the very same area today. He grew up in a small town in Tennessee, very close to Florence, and during his college days, started playing gigs in bands and on his own. He eventually discovered that he loved songwriting, especially as a vehicle to sing and perform. That led to him recording an album with his band, and eventually a solo album called "The Long Goodbye". But it was at a songwriting workshop that he was paired up with the already successful Joy Williams - they hit it off and immediately started working on music that became The Civil Wars. Their debut album, "Barton Hollow", came out in 2011 and was a huge success, winning a Grammy the following year.They worked mostly with producer Charlie Peacock, but also with others like T-Bone Burnett and Rick Rubin, which we get into today as well. The Civil Wars came to a crashing halt in 2013, and John Paul has since re-started his solo career, the label and now the studio. His albums "Beulah", and the most recent "The Hurting Kind" are both stellar records to check out. They’re very different and sonically really deep and interesting. It was great to speak with John Paul about all of these projects, his creative process and what he’s up to these days. You can follow him for any shows, and news on albums he’s making or producing for others at johnpaulwhite.com - Enjoy my conversation with John Paul White!If you enjoyed this episode, please consider supporting the show with a donation or Patreon subscriptionThe show’s website can be found at www.makersandshakerspodcast.comYour fearless host, Steve Dawson can be found at www.stevedawson.ca Become a member at https://plus.acast.com/s/mmasspodcast. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Dec 6, 2023
1 hr 46 min
Ep. 153 - Alison Brown
Alison Brown is a Grammy Winning banjo player, composer and producer who has made a bunch of great albums under her own name but also as a sideperson and collaborator with artists like Alison Krauss, Michelle Shocked, and Stuart Duncan. She started playing as a youngster, first on dobro and then switched over to banjo. She spent her early years cutting her teeth at bluegrass events and venues around California, before veering away from music in the 80’s to get her MBA from UCLA! Alison was working full-time in finance when she realized that she just didn’t want to be doing that and dove back head-first into music. She joined Union Station with Alison Krauss in the late 80’s and has never looked back. That band won a grammy in 1990, and then she joined Michelle Shocked’s band and became her bandleader for a few years. Alison started her own quartet and has been recording albums with them since the early 90’s. Her label, Compass Records, has grown to be one of the leading labels for roots music in the world, and her and and her husband Gary West run the whole thing out of the office and studio on music row. The studio itself is an incredible piece of history, known at one time as “Hillbilly Central” it’s where some of the iconic records were made for Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson. Alison’s latest record “On Banjo” is a great example of her killer playing but also her composing and arranging skills. It features guests like Steve Martin, Sierra Hull, Sharon Isbin and the Kronos quartet and explores styles like Brazillian choro and bossa nova as well as bluegrass and old time.You can keep up with what she’s up to, and get all her tour dates at alisonbrown.comBe sure to listen to the Accompanying Songs Playlist which contains some of the artist’s work, plus many of the songs we discuss on the show:Playlist on Spotify / Playlist on Apple MusicIf you enjoyed this episode, please consider supporting the show with a donation or Patreon subscriptionThe show’s website can be found at www.makersandshakerspodcast.comYour fearless host, Steve Dawson can be found at www.stevedawson.ca Become a member at https://plus.acast.com/s/mmasspodcast. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Nov 15, 2023
1 hr 21 min
Ep. 152 - Julian Lage
Julian Lage is truly a guitarist like no other. He’s insanely creative, prolific, has unbelievable technical facility, but also plays with incredible taste, tone and restraint. He grew up around the bay area of California and was a child prodigy who started getting noticed when he was just a little tyke. There’s even a movie about him from that time called “Jules At Eight” (when he was eight!), and he played at the Grammys when he was 12, which is where Gary Burton, the incredible vibraphone player heard him, and asked him to join his band. Julian played with Burton for the better part of a decade, but also spent time playing and collaborating with John Zorn, Nels Cline, Dave Douglas, Charles Lloyd, as well as David Grisman and Chris Eldridge from over in the bluegrass world. He’s been releasing solo albums since 2009, and over the last year released a full-length album that is absolutley spectacular called “View With A Room”, and then some songs that were essentially out-takes from that album but took on a life of their own came out more recently, and that’s a beautiful new EP called “The Layers”. He has this incredible trio now that I think is one of the great American ensembles - Jorge Roeder is an incredible bassist and Dave King is the drummer, who some will know from the Bad Plus. Julian is an incredible talent, and very thoughtful human and musician and we had a great conversation about all these aspects of his career, nerded out on guitars, and got deep into music! Keep up with what Julian is up to over at: julianlage.com Be sure to listen to the Accompanying Songs Playlist which contains some of the artist’s work, plus many of the songs we discuss on the show:Playlist on Spotify / Playlist on Apple MusicIf you enjoyed this episode, please consider supporting the show with a donation or Patreon subscriptionThe show’s website can be found at www.makersandshakerspodcast.comYour fearless host, Steve Dawson can be found at www.stevedawson.ca Become a member at https://plus.acast.com/s/mmasspodcast. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Nov 1, 2023
1 hr 16 min
Ep. 151 - Bahamas
Afie Jurvanen, better known as Bahamas, joins me on the show today. Afie has made 6 records as Bahamas, and the newest one, “Bootcut”, just came out a few weeks ago. It’s a great record with inventive melodies, killer guitar playing and singing, and I guess will be sort of pinned as his “country” record, although I don’t think it’s that. But he did make it in Nashville, and used a bunch of seasoned session players for the recordings, including Vince Gill, Dave Roe and Russ Pahl on steel (who’s been on this show), so it has some country flavor. But Afie’s vision is to incorporate elements of country music into what he does without changing his own approach or sound that much, and it works really well. Afie has always made interesting choices when making records - almost as if he’s challenging himself and working out of his comfort zone. We talk a bit about his “Earthtones” album, which features Pino Paladino on bass and James Gadson on drums, and how touring as a duo for years influenced his guitar selection. We get into Nacho Guitars, fuzz tones and how Feist helped him developed a quieter, more intimate way of singing. Afie also spent some time as a side-guy and did a bunch of sessions around his old hometown of Toronto through the early 2000’s before landing a touring gig with Feist. But after that he set out on his own and that’s where the Bahamas adventure begins with “Pink Strat” in 2009 and continues through to the new album. You can keep up to date with his touring at bahamasmusic.netPlease enjoy my conversation with Bahamas!Be sure to listen to the Accompanying Songs Playlist which contains some of the artist’s work, plus many of the songs we discuss on the show:Playlist on Spotify / Playlist on Apple MusicIf you enjoyed this episode, please consider supporting the show with a donation or Patreon subscriptionThe show’s website can be found at www.makersandshakerspodcast.comYour fearless host, Steve Dawson can be found at www.stevedawson.ca Become a member at https://plus.acast.com/s/mmasspodcast. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Oct 18, 2023
1 hr 18 min
Ep. 150 - Duane Betts
Duane Betts joins me on the show today. Duane is the son of the innovative guitarist and songwriter from the Allman Brothers Band, Dickey Betts, and while he’s certainly a chip off the ol’ block, Duane has his own thing going on and has finally just released his debut solo album “Wild & Precious Life”. It’s an inspired and engaging record - sort of a modern take on southern rock that’s unique and definitely has some of the Betts family sound but it’s also a great display of a killer band in fine form. Before he was writing and singing his own songs, Duane was a guitar slinger for hire and spent some time in the band Dawes, played with Phil Lesh and Friends, Dickey’s band Great Southern, and has had other bands like Backbone69 as well as a band with a few of the other Allman Bros offspring, including Berry Oakley Jr and Devon Allman - called The Allman Betts Band. After those various projects ran their course, it left Duane the time to focus on writing his own music, and after a casual conversation with Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi, he was offered their studio to record these new songs in. I saw Duane recently at the Grand Ol’ Opry and he and his band did a killer mini-set there. They’re going to be out playing all over the place in the coming months, so make sure you go and see them live and pick up the new album. We had a great conversation about all of this stuff and got deep into the process of recording his new album, guitar tones, his history with his own band and the legacy of the Allman Brothers. You can get info on all of Duane’s projects and his tour dates at duanebetts.com - Please enjoy my conversation with Duane Betts!Be sure to listen to the Accompanying Songs Playlist which contains some of the artist’s work, plus many of the songs we discuss on the show:Playlist on Spotify / Playlist on Apple MusicIf you enjoyed this episode, please consider supporting the show with a donation or Patreon subscriptionThe show’s website can be found at www.makersandshakerspodcast.comYour fearless host, Steve Dawson can be found at www.stevedawson.ca Become a member at https://plus.acast.com/s/mmasspodcast. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Oct 4, 2023
1 hr
Ep. 149 - Al Perkins
Steel guitarist and dobro player Al Perkins is on the show today. Al is a true legend of the steel guitar, having played on hundreds of albums, including classics by Manassas, Gram Parsons, Emmylou Harris, The Rolling Stones, as well as plenty of modern country hits through recent years. Al grew up playing steel guitar as a little tyke in country bands on radio and TV around his home state of Texas, and eventually moved out to California in the 60’s, where he encountered a young Kenny Rogers who brought him in on sessions for rock and country albums. Al was in a band at the time called Shiloh, and between his live work and sessions, his reputation led to him replacing Sneaky Pete in the Flying Burrito Brothers. His playing can be heard on classic albums of the time like GP, Grievous Angel and Exile on Main Street. Al stayed incredibly busy through the 80’s and 90’s as a session player, and then cropped up on my radar again as Emmylou Harris’ dobro player on the incredible Nash Ramblers “At The Ryman” album.It was great to speak with Al about lots of these sessions, as well as hearing about some of the technical innovations he made to the steel guitar, customizing his own instrument as the need arose.You can get info on Al at alperkinsmusic.com - Please enjoy my conversation with Al Perkins!Be sure to listen to the Accompanying Songs Playlist which contains some of the artist’s work, plus many of the songs we discuss on the show:Playlist on Spotify / Playlist on Apple MusicIf you enjoyed this episode, please consider supporting the show with a donation or Patreon subscriptionThe show’s website can be found at www.makersandshakerspodcast.comYour fearless host, Steve Dawson can be found at www.stevedawson.ca Become a member at https://plus.acast.com/s/mmasspodcast. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Sep 20, 2023
1 hr 24 min
Ep. 148 - Molly Miller
Guitarist and composer Molly Miller joins me on the show today. I first saw Molly playing a show at Nelson Drum Shop here in Nashville with her trio - Jay Bellerose on drums and Jen Condos on bass. It was a spectacular show. Molly has a really unique style that’s rhythmic and aggressive but also extremely melodic. Kinda jazz. Kinda not. The trio is a regular thing for her, and they create music that owes as much to Booker T and the MG’s as it does to a more traditional jazz approach. Molly also has taken a unique path to her career in music - it’s a combo of playing live, recoding her own albums, touring and recording as guitarist for Jason Mraz, and then teaching at University. In fact, she has a doctorate degree in music and she was the Chair of the Guitar Department at LA College of Music, and is currently a professor of Studio Guitar at USC in LA. So between all those things, she’s got a really interesting career on the go. To hear her at her finest, check out one of the Molly Miller trio albums, which feature amazingly creative guitar playing but also spectacular arrangements and ensemble playing. The latest album is called “St. George”, and there’s also a new one in the works. We had a great conversation about all of those things, as well as her instruments and gear, and how she approaches solo guitar playing. Enjoy!You can keep up with all of Molly’s projects and tour dates atmollymillermusic.comBe sure to listen to the Accompanying Songs Playlist which contains some of the artist’s work, plus many of the songs we discuss on the show:Playlist on Spotify / Playlist on Apple MusicIf you enjoyed this episode, please consider supporting the show with a donation or Patreon subscriptionThe show’s website can be found at www.makersandshakerspodcast.comYour fearless host, Steve Dawson can be found at www.stevedawson.ca Become a member at https://plus.acast.com/s/mmasspodcast. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Sep 6, 2023
1 hr 18 min
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