Episode 066–Linda Nicole Blair On Writing Songs with Bruce Hilliard

Linda’s was the final episode for 2018, and what pleasure to have her as a guest.

In Linda’s words: “Music has been at the center of my life since I can remember. Early influences include Karla Bonoff, Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell: many other female singer songwriters since then have shaped my taste in music: Lucinda Williams, Patty Griffin, Emmylou Harris, Mia Borders, Caroline Herring, Susan Cowsill, Lynn Drury, Shannon McNally, Amy Mann and Brandi Carlile. This list is actually pretty endless–I would also have to include the Beatles, the Stones, and the women of the early blues movement, such as Memphis Minnie. I write Americana music, rooted in my life experiences. Many of my songs tell stories, and they are all different; I don’t want to write in just one style–I am open to a variety of music, from country to soul. In short, I am a work in progress and I hope you like what you hear. Little Queenie was released on my birthday in 2016, and No Limits, my second album, was released in October of 2017. I am currently writing and recording songs for my next record, due out in the spring of 2019. My style continues to evolve! You can hear my songs here, as well as on Seattle Wave Radio and Local Roots Music NW Radio, available for purchase on CD Baby and BandCamp.”

A simple but important point is made in this interview as a recurring theme throughout all; music is for everyone and although it helps, no special skills or education are required to enjoy listening to or creating your own. But as seen below, Linda is a bit of an overachiever.
EDUCATION–

Writing Fellows Institute, University of Washington, Tacoma; September – June, 2009

Adjunct Faculty Institute, Tacoma Community College; January – March 2006

Summer School for Applied Aesthetics, Lahti Finland; August 18-23, 2002

The School of Criticism and Theory, Cornell University; June 20 – July 26, 2001

The School of Criticism and Theory, Dartmouth College; June 17 – July 26, 1996

Ph. D. English, University of Tennessee, Knoxville; May 1989

M.A. English, University of Southern Mississippi; August 1982 Graduate Study Abroad, University of London; Summer 1981

B. M. E. Mississippi College, 1979

And, that doesn’t include any of her music background!

“If Chrissie Hynde had bolted Akron for Nashville instead of London, her unbuffered emotion and incisive observations might have taken shape something like those of Ms. Blair. The Washington-based singer/songwriter takes on romantic love’s frequent left turns and rude awakenings with straightforward lyrics and vocals to match. “Wild Night”, in particular, evokes the soulfulness of the afore-mentioned Ms. H. Other instantly attractive tracks include “All The While”, “Lucky Man” and “Far Away”.”
— Duane Verh, Roots Music Report

Linda’s Website

Linda’s Facebook

Linda via Spotify

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Episode 065–Mike Schwebke Steelpan Man with Bruce Hilliard

Mike Schwebke is an Illinois-based recording and performing artist on steelpan and percussion. He studied steelpan and percussion at Northern Illinois University under Liam Teague, Cliff Alexis, Robert Chappell, Mike Mixtacki and Dr. Greg Byer. While at NIU Mike played in the NIU Latin Jazz Ensemble, NIU Bata trio, several classical ensembles, and the internationally renowned NIU World Steelband.

Mike is also an active educator and clinician working internationally on different projects. In Illinois, he has students of steelpan, drumset and percussion. He has taught drum set classes at the Triple Threat Mentoring Organization and currently directs Oswego High School’s Marching Percussion with Aaron Spevak. As a part of Paa Kow Band, Mike has been able to perform at Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music on two occassions, taking the opportunity to share living African music with a Chicago crowd! He has taken part in a variety of clinics ranging from the history of the steelpan to its future, other clinic topics have included African and Afro-Cuban drumming traditions.

Enabling the creation of new music for steelpan is a huge part of his artistic drive. In 2011 he completed his first collaboration with composer Kyle Krause. The result was a 3 piece suite of short works for steelpan solo and duet. In fall of 2013, Mike gave a a recital of almost entirely new music for steelpan. It featured works by Todd Jelinek, Kyle Krause and Kevin Bobo (a piece commissioned and premiered a few months earlier by Liam Teague). In 2016, Mike was able to premier a duet for Double Second Steelpan and Clarinet by Krause as well as exhibit some of his previously commissioned works as a guest in a composition lecture at the Peabody Conservatory. 

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Episode 064–Kai Mata “Time To Shine” with Bruce Hilliard

Kai Mata is an Indonesian-American singer/songwriter currently living in Bali, Indonesia. Time To Shine is her debut full-length album and if this is an indication of what’s to come, it’s time to listen. Mature and poised, outspoken and beautiful, she is an artist and musician that is just twenty-one-years old but get ready. There’s more to come.

The album depicts sunrises, pouring rains, endless landscapes and solemn travels. Kai Mata is humble about her talent, yet bold with her message of love and honesty. Her subtle yet inspiring vocals are unique on both the more laidback tracks like “Magic” and the bolder tunes: “Strays”, “Time To Shine” and “Good Morning, Beautiful.” Her guitar is just what is needed to back her voice and allow the lyrics to shine. The music on the album is not only written with a feeling and perfection, it’s also arranged in a seasoned professional way with additional instruments never standing on the way but enhancing all nice musical ideas that the record. The vocals are tastefully layered and they are all Kai.  

Kai Mata’s debut album lets the truth she experiences ring in the air. A bright and bold declaration about seizing destiny, implementing a folksy beat to depict the joy of life, magic of love, shadows casted by light, and the heartbeat that conducts the journey.

Words fall short of describing this music. Kai was a pleasure to chat with…all so good.

Video: “Within You is a Light”

Kai’s Facebook

Kai’s Website

Kai Spotify

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Episode 063–Lucy Ravinsky “If I Should Ever Lose You” with Bruce Hilliard

Sibling Loss–A Sister’s Journey From Despair to Celebration, If I Should Ever Lose You and I Don’t Know How It Happened are three works, a book and two songs, by author and songwriter Lucy Ravinsky. This episode focuses on the importance of writing and how she overcame a great loss as a 16-year-old with the sudden death of her younger brother. The story of her early life and relationships, the night her brother was struck and killed by a car and the aftermath and healing is told in her book Sibling Loss under the pen name Laura Prince.

Lucy’s book of her loss and recovery (pen name Laura Prince).
Lucy started writing poetry as a child and later took her writing talents to songwriting. Her featured song If I Should Ever Lose You was a CAPAC songwriting contest winner. It was written in memory of her beloved brother but it’s a song that relates to anyone who has lost a loved one.

I Don’t Know How It Happened she feels is her best work to date.  She refers to it as the love of storytelling in a country ballad style. She says it needs some country guitar but you decide. This is a very good arrangement.

In Lucy’s words: “We have all come a long way in the last 50 years in regard to helping one another and communicating. For example, in the 60’s & 70’s homosexuals were hiding their orientation due to being victimized by the public, including being killed. Postpartum depression was scoffed at as the spoiled and childish attitude of a woman who didn’t want to take care of her newborn. Help was so illusive in the 60’s that recovery was almost impossible from most major traumas.

I am so grateful for the universal compassion of people today and with all the avenues of interaction available; the internet being paramount, and the ability to express, study, exchange and learn about the development and treatment of very serious issues.  These avenues offer a huge support system to the suffering.”

Lucy has so much to share about her hardships, victories and the importance of the mighty pen.

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Episode 062–Gillian Gaar On The Sub Pop Records Story with Bruce Hilliard

Sup Pop Records has released early recordings with bands such as Green River, Nirvana, Soundgarden and more. The label was founded by Bruce Pavitt and Jonathan Poneman in the 80’s. The new book by Gillian Gaar illustrates the record label founders’ journey from music lovers to becoming pioneers of one of the most influential independent record companies to date.

Gillian talks about her first-hand interviews and research that went into making the book. She was there as history unfurled and could probably talk all day on the subject but this is a half hour teaser. If you want to meet the author and chat, see the below information. She is one of the foremost authorities on rock music.

Her first book of 17, She’s A Rebel: The History of Women in Rock & Roll was published in 1992. In addition to her own books, she has appeared in various anthologies, including The Nirvana Companion; Trouble Girls: The Rolling Stone Guide to Women in Rock; Nirvana: The Complete Illustrated History; Leonard Cohen on Leonard Cohen: Interviews and Encounters; Goldmine: The Beatles Digest (volumes one and two); and The Best of the Beatles Book. She has also researched and written some of the best Elvis literature available anywhere.

World Domination: The Sub Pop Records Story takes you on a journey from the 1980’s to now. Gillian Gaar is a Seattle-based author and local music journalist. She has also appeared in anthologies such as ‘Nirvana: The Complete Illustrated History’, ‘The Stranger Guide to Seattle’, ‘The Best of the Beatles Book’, and others.

To find out more about the book you can come her book signing.

Event details:

What: Gillian Gaar Book Reading and Signing

When: Friday, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m.

Where: Easy Street Records

4559 California Ave SW, (West Seattle)

Gillian Gaar is one of those rock gurus that in conversation makes you listen, and like a good concert, leaves you wanting more. Gillian is a Seattle-based author. She was editorial assistant for Krist Novoselic’s book From Grunge To Government: Let’s Fix This Broken Democracy!

She was also a project consultant/liner note writer for Nirvana’s box set With The Lights Out. She has written for numerous magazines, including Rolling Stone, Mojo, Q, Goldmine, The Seattle Times, The Stranger, Option, and No Depression, and was a senior editor at Seattle music paper The Rocket.

Gillian written liner notes for collections by Laurie Anderson, Judy Collins, Heart, Pat Benatar, Paula Cole and Mat Kearney, among others.

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