THE GLASS SHŌ ~ Cindertalk on His New Single and Playing Glasses

cindertalk

Jonny Rodgers, now going by the moniker Cindertalk (Jonny explained that there were too many other noted personalities that have the same or similar names, thus the reason he uses this as a handle at present) sat down with me to do an interview for The Glass Shō. I asked him about the upcoming single titled “Spero”, which will be available to purchase on Record Store Day (April 19th) to benefit the charity Love146, which is an organization dedicated to ending child trafficking and exploitation (By the way, you can get involved with their cause as well by clicking on the link)
Below are excerpts from our chat, but you can hear the full interview on the links for the Glass Sho episode on the bottom or at the top right of this page.

Spero 7

“This song I did called ‘Spero’–it’s a song I wrote after doing a benefit. Basically, I’ve done a lot of spokesperson stuff for an organization called Love146 for years, they combat child sex trafficking, and my wife is a co-founder of the organization. I’ve partnered with them and other groups for a long time, and at one point they did a benefit where I did some music, and I was placed at the same table with a couple of young survivors that came to tell their stories. Talk about feeling like you’ve met a rock star–They’d been through some hellish, harrowing things and have courageously come out the other side and told their stories to all of us without flinching. Horrific stories and amazing resilience from these survivors, and that’s the fundamental basis for the song, lyrically–It’s based upon the Latin paraphrase ‘Dum spiro spero’, which means ‘While I breathe, I live’”

I also asked him about playing glasses, his second instrument to guitar.

“The glasses–I built the case I play now, and there was a pretty big shift in my playing–It used to be a case of 9 notes, and it2013_Jonny-Rodgers was really as supplemental filler for a 9-person ensemble. I still do that kind of thing, but it was always standard that I played with 9 people, and the case was always a small part of that. Now I use 19 notes, it’s enough that I can do anything harmonically that I want to, and small enough that I can wheel them through an airport–Those were my 2 biggest criteria for the upgrade.”

The Glass Shō: Episode 3 (Cindertalk & Michael Vincent Waller)

the glassshoA1

Cindertalk (cindertalk.com)
Cindertalk (Bandcamp page)

Alex Skolnick ~ On Geek to Guitar Hero, Alex Skolnick Trio and Other Projects

Alex Skolnick 300 RGB

I’ve been given the wonderful opportunity to speak to the great Alex Skolnick very recently!
Besides being the lead guitarist for thrash metal band Testament, he has also put together the jazz group Alex Skolnick Trio as an amazing and emboldening outlet for his musicianship, and also has been part of (and collaborated on) other projects like Skol-Patrol, Attention Deficit and with acoustic guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela. He also pens the popular blog Skolnotes. Alex has recently published his memoir titled Geek to Guitar Hero, not a life story but a book that features numerous key moments from his life (You can order the book here or on the link on the bottom). He also has an ongoing but still new project titled Planetary Coalition, which promises to allow him to do further collaboration with artists around the world.

Alex had a few minutes to Skype for The Glass. Continue reading

Natalie Gelman ~ Kickstarting the Streetlamp Musician Radio Campaign

nataliegelman2

Singer-songwriter Natalie Gelman is an amazing singer and musician, and quite adventurous as she embarked on a fascinating musical tour on rollerblades about 10 years ago. She’s played all over the country and has a bunch of great tunes, and with her latest recording, an EP titled Streetlamp Musician, she is looking not to fund the recording (that’s already done) but to employ a team of individuals for campaigning the songs for radio exposure. With some help from the public and Kickstarter, she hopes to make this happen. Click here or on the bottom link if you can spare a few bucks, there may be something in it for you!
Natalie had a few minutes to discuss it! Continue reading

Debbie Chou

Photo courtesy of James M. Graham

Debbie Chou (I believe it’s pronounced “chō”) is a wonderful singer-songwriter in the New York area that is both a solo artist and is also the featured keyboard player in The Barrens. While that band has a much louder sound, the softer-but-still-edgy side of Debbie can be found on her fine solo album titled Lovebug (ACME and Newspeak’s violinist Caleb Burhans, btw, makes a special appearance on this recording). Check the CD out here or on the link on the bottom. Debbie also loves cats, and I really should have asked her to let me see the cats while we were in conference because I could hear them meowing in the background. You’ll also find out here that Debbie herself is an avid meower.

Debbie had some time to talk via skype.

CM: Who was your biggest influence for your songwriting?

Debbie: I was very inspired by Rufus Wainwright and his album All Days Are Nights: Songs For Lulu.  I went to see him play at Prospect Park a couple of years ago, and it was just amazing! From that, I just started to write a lot of piano-based music. Continue reading

A Night of Jazz in Connecticut: Steven Husted and The Low Initiative/Sean Clapis

Steve Husted and the Low-End Initiative
Sean Clapis
The Outer Space, Hamden, CT
May 5th, 2012

A very rare thing for me is to go to jazz concerts, simply because I am so caught up in new classical music and rock that I sometimes forget jazz is happening, but this night certainly reminded me that it’s alive, kicking, and ripe for listening when you’re ready for it!

Hamden, CT’s The Outer Space, sister to The Space, was the venue for this evening of both classic and fusion-based jazz. In an area that is mostly coveted by cover bands and sports-like dives, both Spaces are, and have been, wonderful venues for original music from artists and bands both from CT and outside the area, and it was certainly a good place on this night to check out extraordinary performances by a couple of local virtuosos.

Queens-area bassist Steve Husted and his band The Low Initiavtive were the highlight of the evening, but before they took the stage, guitarist Sean Clapis and a small ad-hoc combo of two played a smoking set of classic bebop-oriented tunes comprised of some originals as well as a few older standards. Clapis, a Hartt School graduate, was amazing, and his guitar sound was reminiscent of Wes Montgomery as he and his small combo of bass and drums (played exquisitely by his bandmates; his drummer on this night was a lady that had chops I rarely see in person) provided sort of a laid-back, yet progressive bebop set.

When Husted and his group came on, they proceeded to give a whole ‘nother side of jazz and actively brought us to a later period of a more fusion-oriented sound. The 90-minute set consisted mostly of songs from their latest release Views From The Event Horizon, and Husted’s band had such a good rough-sounding funk combination of bass, guitar and electric piano that reminded me heavily at times of Bitches Brew, and it made me pine for the possibility of them actually playing that album’s title piece in all its 26-minute glory (The only thing missing from this band if they did that is a trumpet player).
Songs like “Cebrez”, “Frustration”, and a song for his wife “Kitty Kat Boogie” were all sweetly rendered, and Husted played at times like a man possessed, as if Jaco Pastorius set up shop inside his soul.
They wrapped up the evening with a wonderful ballad titled “Will I Ever See You Again?”, to which I responded “I hope so!”.

Steven Husted and the Low Initiative
Their Reverbnation page

Sean Clapis.com
Sean Clapis’ official page

Kate Tucker

Indie singer-songwriter Kate Tucker is a living reason why some of the best recording artists out there are almost never heard of (or simply heard). I never had, until a friend of mine alerted me to her and the indie-film project she’s involved with called Everything Went Down, a film that hasn’t even been completed yet, yet just the promotional material from it alone has me already proclaiming it as the American answer to Once. The film is currently being funded through a Kickstarter drive, whose link is both here and at the bottom of this page.

Kate’s music also caught my attention, and a lot of the same eclectic single-artist sound that you find in singers like Cat Power, Neko Case and Martha Wainwright, has a place in Kate Tucker’s songs, with some of the Americana of Josh Ritter thrown in for good measure. I guess my point is indie music is awesome, why doesn’t the rest of society agree with me?

Kate Tucker finally has my attention, so that’s all that matters for now.
I talked to her via Skype about her music and the film. Continue reading

NOVELLER

Photo courtesy of Aaron Wojack

New York based composer-performer Noveller (aka Sarah Lipstate), having mostly composed guitar-driven soundscapes for herself, is having a go at composing for other musicians. Her piece Into The Midnight Sun is going to be debuted by the new music ensemble The Low End String Quartet at an upcoming concert in DC (Interestingly enough, this same concert is also going to feature the debut of another piece by a composer-performer–Zoe Keating).
This piece is also the focus of a fundraising campaign for Sarah by the Low End Quartet that everyone can chip in and help out with on the link at the bottom (EDITOR’S UPDATE: The campaign has reached its goal! Thanks to all who contributed!!).
Sarah had a few minutes to talk to The Glass. Continue reading

Fred Frith

Photo courtesy of Heike Liss

Fred Frith is a such a great person! I feel like leaving it at that!

Frith, the composer/guitarist/improviser and founding member of Henry Cow has agreed to do an interview with me. God does exist!

Since the age of five (longer than I have been alive), Fred Frith has been playing and making music, and in the years since then he has gone on to record numerous albums (consisting of classics such as Guitar Solos and Gravity) and has worked and collaborated with artists like John Zorn, Brian Eno, Iva Bittova, Eugene Chadbourne, The Residents, and Evelyn Glennie (as seen in the film Touch The Sound). He has also founded other bands such as Massacre, Skeleton Crew, Keep The Dog, Fred Frith Guitar Quartet and Maybe Monday, and his compositional work consists of pieces for chamber and bigger ensembles. Continue reading

Prester John

Prester John (From left, David Miller, Shawn Persinger)

“Scientist folk”

Gun-held-to-head, this is possibly the best description that Hamden, CT-based guitarist/singer/songwriter Shawn Persinger has for the music of Prester John, the duo that is comprised of him and mandolinist David Miller. Having seen the pair perform at Funky Monkey Cafe in Cheshire, the guitar master and the Eastman School of Music-educated mandolin player put on a phenomenal show displaying incredible virtuosity and delivering a set of music that varied between power-pop, jazz, alt. country and indie rock–Never the same thing, but done on the same instruments.

“I wish I could say ‘We’re rock and roll, we play rock and roll’”, explains Persinger. “I wish we could say ‘We play bluegrass’–I have no interest in making a genre. I think that’s so empty and pointless. Unfortunately, David and I don’t play rock and roll, we don’t play bluegrass, we don’t play old time music, we don’t play jazz. We’ve struggled with it–we have this new record coming out, and we have these catch phrases; ‘The split personality band’, ‘The pop-art for your ears’, which means nothing; ‘The modern primitive acoustic scientist music’–That’s the closest I’ve come, which also means nothing, and that’s a take from The Minutemen where he says ‘Our band is scientist rock’. Well, I used to say ‘We’re scientist folk, that’s what we do’, but we’re not a folk group, we just happen to play acoustic guitars, so we’re acoustic scientists. That said, I don’t really think we experiment that much, we’re just playing sort of a mix of vocal tunes with more complicated parts.” Continue reading