Special Guest: Charlie McCoy (Part 2 of 2) might be one of the most honored and revered guests in my roster. His impact on music (both Country and Rock) is immeasurable. To bringing up the fact that he played on Bob Dylan’s Highway 61, Blonde on Blonde, Nashville Skyline, and John Wesley Harding, Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Boxer,” or Roy Orbison’s “Candy Man” would overlook some of the other amazing achievements of this great musician. It should be noted that he also played with Elvis Presley throughout his career, including his early RCA sessions, and put out 35 great solo albums of his own. He is a Country music legend and has played with Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, George Jones, Flatt and Scruggs, Chet Atkins, Patsy Cline, and Johnny Paycheck. He was in the Nashville’s super group, Area Code 615, as well as being part of the Nashville A-team, he was the musical director for the ground breaking television show Hee Haw for 14 years and was inducted into the Country Hall Of Fame in 2009 with Roy Clark and Barbra Mandrell (and if you had to ask he recorded with them too).
In this podcast McCoy talks about working with Gordon Lightfoot and Kris Kristofferson, working on Hee Haw and explains his thoughts on the music and recording technique in Nashville today.
Charlie McCoy - Workingman's Musician.
It's rather remarkable how Charlie McCoy gets as little attention as he does; he's been in many of the landmark moments in many of the great musicians connected to Nashville. Perhaps, most notably for his work with Bob Dylan. Being the guitarist on Dylan's song, Desolation Row, should alone gain him attention. Getting thrown into the mix changed the sound immensely, but once Dylan had it, it stuck. Not to mention the input McCoy had on Dylan's monumental album, John Wesley Harding. Regardless of being one of the most sought after session musicians in Nashville, you hear relatively little about him. At least, not as much as you'd expect to, considering the places he's been and the people he's worked with. But he doesn't seem to mind being out of the spotlight. He seems to be one who just puts his head down and get to work, be that whatever is needed, but most often he's there with a harmonica in his hands. Kind of like a John Henry except with the harmonica as his tool of choice. He just gets it and goes to work, like a workingman musician.
For Desolation Row, McCoy just happened to be in New York at the time when Dylan was recording and was asked by producer Bob Johnson to add an improvised guitar part to the song. McCoy played a Mexican style fill to Dylan's lyrics which has been said by some critics to add a crucial element to the song. Rolling Stone ranked the song as number 187 in their 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Simply chance and knowing the right people landed him into music history. Yet countless scores of people may know the song, may even be able to sing along, but have no clue to who played the guitar that delicately enhanced and outlined Dylan's verses of the song. It seems sort of odd that he didn't get more recognition since careers have been launched on much simpler guitar riffs on much less important songs.
Now add this to the input McCoy had on John Wesley Harding; throughout the entire album, the songs consisted of Dylan, McCoy, Kenneth A. Buttrey on drums, and occasionally Pete Drake on pedal steel. For those being the only members of the band on the recording, McCoy makes for a rather large piece of the pie, yet no one has chased him down to write a book on his input on those sessions. At least, I have yet to find it. Even the Nashville Public Library has only small amount of material on him. McCoy has been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, but you may find no one amongst the inductees more understated.
Maybe this persistence of being hidden in the shadow of the spotlight owes itself to McCoy devoting so much time to being a session musician, had he landed a longer stint in a band, he would have surely proved his usefulness many times over, being the multi-instrumentalist that he is. He has risen to the occasion before, and in a more stable setting, where one might expect, and look forward to his repeated showings, he might have gained a reputation by fans as being someone's right-hand man. After all, all Joe Perry and Jimmy Page did was play guitar, right?
Charlie McCoy Interview (Part 1 of 2) [Listen 26:00] Discovering Unique Talent With Charlie McCoy S04 Ep08
Special Guest: Charlie McCoy (Part 1 of 2) might be one of the most honored and revered guests in my roster. His impact on music (both Country and Rock) is immeasurable. To bringing up the fact that he played on Bob Dylan’s Highway 61, Blonde on Blonde, Nashville Skyline, and John Wesley Harding, Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Boxer,” or Roy Orbison’s “Candy Man” would overlook some of the other amazing achievements of this great musician. It should be noted that he also played with Elvis Presley throughout his career, including his early RCA sessions, and put out 35 great solo albums of his own. He is a Country music legend and has played with Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, George Jones, Flatt and Scruggs, Chet Atkins, Patsy Cline, and Johnny Paycheck. He was in the Nashville’s super group, Area Code 615, as well as being part of the Nashville A-team, he was the musical director for the ground breaking television show Hee Haw for 14 years and was inducted into the Country Hall Of Fame in 2009 with Roy Clark and Barbra Mandrell (and if you had to ask he recorded with them too).
In this podcast Charlie and I talk about his Southern beginnings, getting to Nashville and his barn dance radio days, McCoy's big Grammy winning album, The Real McCoy, his involvement in the songs “He Stopped Loving Her Today” with George Jones, and “Today I Started Loving Her Again” with Merle Haggard and Roy Orbison, we talk about Fred Foster, Sam Philips, Archie Bier, Charlie McCoy's work with Elvis, Ray Price, we get into Hank Williams and much, much more.
The Nashville sound, sometimes called by the ugly portmanteau, Countrypolitan, is the name for the sub-genre of country music that sprang up arguably around 1957. The Nashville sound is believed to be the reaction of country to combat the booming popularity of rock n' roll, ironically, it is argued that the Nashville sound was largely influenced by the one who was bolstering the popularity of rock 'n roll, Elvis Presley, but the Nashville sound was primarily orchestrated by Chet Atkins, Owen Bradley, Bob Ferguson, and Steve Shoals.
Why exactly Nashville became a music centre of the U.S. is still a matter of debate. Besides the people involved, on which there is even greater debate about who held the greatest impact, the location is considered to be a large reason behind the emergence of Nashville as a music centre. Both close enough to New York and the music that came from that way, but also far enough away from New York to not be so greatly influenced by it. And south enough to be rooted to the sounds emerging from the south and the rural areas. Also, a great deal of traffic traveling East and West went through Nashville, making it a harbour for the musical influences the travelers brought with them.
Of, course, this musical crossroads birthed one of the most reputable and revered stages by bringing these influences into the culmination of the Grand Ole Opry. The Grand Ole Opry grew out of the National Barn Dance radio program that showcased old-timey and down-home music. Noted as "the home of American music," The Grand Ole Opry is still a massive draw and is the highlight in many careers of notable country musicians that span several generations now.
Daniel B. of Nothing But Noise Interview (Part 2 of 2) [Listen 21:45] Dropping the needle anywhere with Daniel B S04 Ep05[21:45]
Special Guest: Daniel Bressanutti (a.k.a. Daniel B.) (Part 2 of 2): is an electronic music pioneer and one of the forefathers of the electronic body music genre. Daniel B was a founding member of the iconic Belgian band, Front 242, and an essential figure in the shaping of Synth-Punk, electronic dance, and post-industrial music. He and his current band, Nothing But Noise, comprises of himself, the other founding member of Front 242, Dirk Bergen, as well as adding Erwin Jadot into the mix. Nothing But Noise have a new Limited edition 300 copy 10” white Vinyl single called “Music For Muted TV 1” released on Record Store Day 2013. In this podcast we talk about about growing up in Belgium and getting inspiration from the Prog-rock bands of the 60’s, his connection to the visual arts, his perspective on music critics, and we get into some of his Front 242 work.
Does technology make a better musician?
There's no doubt about it, technology is advancing beyond all measure. It has been said that technology is advancing beyond mankind itself; our culture, society, mind, civilization, and ethics haven't risen to meet the demands and conundrums such an advancement carries with it. In fact, the latest technology in today's cellphones have more computing power than the Mars Curiosity Rover. The logical conclusion leads to launching cellphones into space to act as satellites now. The unfortunate matter on this is that cellphone technology is advancing so quickly that by the time that the phones get equipped and launched into orbit, they're outdated and that no one in the market for a cellphone would buy one. Seems rather a waste when most often cellphones get used for acquaintances of yours to post pics of what they had for dinner, doesn't it?
It has been said that technology is advancing beyond mankind itself
Think of what could be created if we put a fraction of that research and development towards new music machines: new sounds and treatments that could shatter the comprehension of the modern mind! However, as mankind, is conjectured to be behind technology, it could be said that musicians themselves haven't advanced far enough to use the capability of the technology. There still has to be a human application of theory and practice. Pressing one key on a synth that has been programmed to the gills to produce the sounds of an orchestra does not make a better musician. I would say that that doesn't even make a musician at all. A monkey could be pressing the key, or a brick resting on the key could just as well produce the same sounds of the programmed synth. There's a lesson in there for budding musicians in there.
Think of what could be created if we put a fraction of that research and development towards new music machines: new sounds and treatments that could shatter the comprehension of the modern mind!
Of course, there is nothing that dates music than outdated sounds, some artists, though, thankfully, manage to escape this limitation; I would use Brian Eno, David Byrne, and the Pixies as examples, but, of course, I'm biased. Although the the reverse is true as well, some musicians sound dated despite using the latest equipment, and no degree of production or equipment tweaking can fix. I'll not name names here; I'll just leave that to your own prejudice.
It's no secret that musicians are an odd lot; some are professed Luddites, some are obsessed to reproduce particular sounds or to use coveted equipment that their heroes used in their impressionable youth to capture the intangible effect.
It's no secret that musicians are an odd lot
Theoretically, considering where the most advanced technology is these days, the best audio producing equipment would be a cellphone. Just wait, there's more to come from that direction.
Of course, there is something to be said about getting the greatest product out of limited resources - to crafting a fine, polished product from within confining boundaries; like the short story is a unique medium in itself with it's own difficulties for writers. And really, so many of the best songs are done with a guitar, drum, and voice. Outdated technology.
But what is there to say except that, of course, there is nothing to show that advanced technology actually adds to the music; the source, the well-spring comes from the mind, and the talent of the musician, and is only limited, or limitless, therein.
So, taking all this in mind I'm going to be the latest to remix Justin Beiber on my cellphone, hurl it to the sky in a ballistic fashion to place it into the atmosphere. It goes on sale upon its return. Who doesn't want the latest limited release remix of Justin Bieber from space? Bidding has already begun on Ebay. Act now!
Special Guest: Hauschka (a.k.a. Volker Bertelmann) (Part 2 of 2): is a wonderful example of a musician bridging the gap between the vibrant but challenging sounds of modern classical music with a more traditional and conservative style of playing, keeping classical music moving forward but doing it without substituting beauty or taste. Hauschka started his musical education as a child studying classical music on piano, but stopped around 18 to study medicine and economics, only to be drawn into hip hop and electronic music a few years later. His music has shifted away from the straightforward hip hop and electronic sounds that we know in the clubs today to a more classical vein (ala John Cage with his interpretation of the prepared piano), using the piano as an experiment and adopting natural instruments but with electronic music in mind. Recently he teamed up with one of the biggest names in classical music, Hilary Hahn, to record Silfra. In the interview, we talk about his evolution as an artist, the virtue in amateurism, we get into his remix album, wax philosophic on the concept of remixing, and we discuss the next progression in music.
Love for Collectors
According to some academics and professors of psychology, everybody collects something. The reason for collecting can vary, from monetary gain to simply the enjoyment of the pursuit, most people fall somewhere in between. Of course, another distinction can be made; that is, between collecting and hoarding, and this is a subject that has gathered great attention for the psychologists all over the world. The father of Psychology, Sigmund Freud, drew a connection for the collector to the early days of toilet training, I'll forgo all the graphic details, but Freud stated that loss of what the child produced was a traumatic event and the collector is trying to gain back not only control but “possessions” that were lost so many years ago. A lot of Freud's theories can be seen as a little wack, but before you go criticising his theories, ask yourself if you've created a school of science.
But for the collector, collecting is good; a passionate and enriching interest, and in fact, thanks to the collector, vinyl remains, and reigns as the medium to reproduce music. If not for the collector, vinyl may have disappeared a long time ago.
I need to be clear here, what I mean is the collector, not the hoarder. Those who trade in the medium for the love of the music, not those who hoard the records for an item to posess and store away in a closet to keep from others.
Experts have described the psychopathology of hoarding as “repetitive acquisition syndrome.” Fortunately, thankfully, Freud sees nothing wrong with the collector, collecting falls within normal behaviour; hoarding is the abnormality; the abnormality of the hoarder shows up in those instances where the aberrant behavior interferes with an otherwise reasonable life. This can sometimes even include gross interference into the lives of others, even leading to enforcement issues in some circumstances. But we're trying to clarify the distinction here, between the collector and the hoarder; normal, and abnormal behaviour. A lot of times the behaviour of the collector comes down to whomever is making the judgement. Unfortunately amongst the collector's circle of friends and family, some may see spending so much time and money a waste. I'm sure every collector knows one. Often, they're quite vocal in their disapproval. Some place so little value on music that they think any and all time and money spent on music is a waste; unfortunately, I don't think that this article here can save any lost causes. But even if you're not that a fan, or into collecting, you should appreciate the impact on the medium and the influence of consumer demand on the economy.
If, you're still in doubt about the value of the vinyl collector, consider that in this economy, (largely a market economy) the businesses and providers will try to push what is easiest and cheapest to provide. As long as it's bought by consumers and meets demand, nothing better than the cheapest and easiest is going to be provided, and what's cheapest and easiest to provide is digital content, the lower the bitrate, the better. It's the cheapest and easiest to produce, sell, store, and ship. Collectors demand their favouite medium. Stubbornly, thankfully, they trade in the medium that provides the best production of sound. Their desire, love, and passion fueled the drive for vinyl to continue, and is largely why so many have realized it's worth, and have sought it and returned to it as the medium to reproduce music. Thanks to you, collector.