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Episode 054–Neil Fitzsimon, Mr. Kite and Mr. Kurt with Bruce Hilliard

I always look forward to talking with Neil. I've told him we sound like a couple music nerds sitting down for a beverage. He is so insightful and knowledgable about music and culture that predates his existence I forget he is 35-years-old. Neil and his partner in music and life have an interesting backstory that is featured in previous episodes. Her name is Bee Brogan and she has a vocal talent that connects. An effortless alto voice that just gets better the more you listen.

This conversation encompasses not only Neil's passion for songwriting but recording as well. We drift off into a talk about Geoff Emerick, one of the recording engineers that worked with the Beatles. Geoff was one of the mad scientists that invented sounds that add to the mystique of masterpieces like Being for the Benefit Of Mr. Kite from the Pepper album.

A bridge over troubled water? The underside of the Young Street Bridge, Aberdeen WA.
My hometown Aberdeen Washington also came up when Neil referred to Seattle as the birthplace of Nirvana. Although never a personal friend of mine, Kurt Cobain is an iconic rocker that comes up in conversation almost daily. And yes, he started the band in this small lumber town with fellow Aberdonian Krist Novoselic in the late 80s. Neil asked if Kurt slept “rough”, or somewhere other than in his bed while still a kid. Who knows? I shot this pic in 2016 of the bridge near Cobain's childhood house where he allegedly crashed on occasion. Ah, the things of legend. The house where my band rehearsed in the late 70s was about 100 feet from this now shrine. We used to stand under it to BS and stay out of the rain. Who knew?

Episode 053–Meghan Cary Getting Us Together with Bruce Hilliard

Meghan's interviews are on top of the standouts of the previous 52 shows. Her positive approach to life and her gift to share it in songs and stories embrace what this podcast is all about. My part is to provide a platform for my guests. The guests do the rest. With Meghan, you just hit record and sit back, listen and feel good.

Melissa Etheridge singing Bruce Springsteen to a Paul Simon groove is what her press kit says. Again, listen, sit back and feel good. She sounds original and authentic. Known for her unabashed willingness to connect with her audience, Meghan Cary brings listeners to their feet and at times to tears with high-energy tunes, masterful storytelling, and deeply personal lyrics that resonate universally. Billboard Magazine advises: “Seek this one out.”

Episode 052–Meghan Cary “Sing Louder” with Bruce Hilliard

Meghan Cary didn’t mean to be a musician. But when her fiancé unexpectedly died, she picked up his guitar, figured out how to play it, and wrote her debut, earning her Billboard Magazine’s Critic’s Choice for Best Newcomer. “I wrote my grief into music and sang my way out of the abyss.” Cary continues to share the healing power of music with the community that has rallied around her message of hope and being heard.

Known for her raw honesty and ability to connect with and engage her audience, Cary brings people to their feet and at times to tears with high-energy tunes, masterful storytelling, and lyrics that resonate universally. Cary’s song “Sing Louder”, a call to raise our voices together to make a difference, has become an anthem for the music-loving community.

In fact, “Sing Louder” resonated so well with audiences in her live shows, that Cary was inspired to include some of these fans on her new record of the same name. Cary gathered 48 music lovers in the studio to raise their voices with her on two tracks, “Sing Louder”, and “Responsibility”. Many of them stepped far out of their comfort zones to don headphones and sing into a microphone. They sang with passion, joy and abandon, and it was a profound experience for Cary and all those involved. That energy was captured on Sing Louder. 

“Music is the most potent tool I know to break down walls, slip through barricades, and connect with each other. And when we authentically connect, we can change the world,” said Cary. “Now more than ever we need to be courageous enough to transcend emotional, intellectual, and political barriers, and raise our voices…together.”

Cary began her career on stage as a theatre actress with over 100 credits for her work in the U.S. and Europe, and a successful on-camera and voiceover career. She’s written a one-person show with music, “On the Way to the Waterfall”, which she continues to perform around the country. She is also currently composing music and lyrics for the Broadway-bound musical, “The Accidental Caterer”.

After pushing pause on performing to raise two children, Cary launched back onto the music scene at Philly Folk Fest and was awarded a coveted Emerging Artist Showcase slot at Falcon Ridge Folk Festival. Cary’s smoky voice, emotional singing, and vulnerable writing continue to win over audiences, and garner favorable comparisons to Melissa Etheridge, Natalie Merchant, Stevie Nicks, and even Bruce Springsteen.

In response to life’s inevitable curve balls, Cary’s mantra is: “If you don't know the words…Sing Louder!”

Episode 051–Renée Catrine and Ingrid Oscarsson “Share the Stage” with Bruce Hilliard

Like former guest Ingrid Oscarsson, friend and mentor Renée Catrine hails from Chicago and currently lives in New York City. Having been in various bands throughout the years, Renée was eager to set off on her own to create her own music. She released her debut solo album, Arrival, in August 2016 with the help of Nick Brose (Mucca Pazza) and co-producer Mike Przygoda.

Ingrid and Renée share the stage these days, just as they share the air in this interview with subtle commentary from Omar the 20 pound cat.​

Renée Catrine's music has been described as “hauntingly beautiful music with poetic lyrics of a keen observer”. Reminiscent of captivating songwriters such as Fiona Apple, Marketa Irglova and Regina Spektor, Renée's debut album features sincere, thoughtful lyrics set to catchy pop/rock music and lush, orchestrated arrangements.

Ingrid Oscarsson is featured in Episode 042.
​Renée is currently preparing to record her second solo album in New York City this winter. The new music draws inspiration from Arcade Fire, Radiohead and Cœur de Pirate. The album was written in Québec City, Chicago & New York. She is thrilled to be touring the Midwest and East coast this fall & winter to debut the new songs.

Episode 050–Aaron Hart of Love Stallion with Bruce Hilliard

Love Stallion storms the music scene with original glamorous hard rock, sure to get your heart racing and ears pounding. Power riffs, memorable hooks, and electric flash capture the nostalgia of years gone by, bringing a fresh punch of rock & roll back to the universe in proper style.

Love Stallion began as an experiment; a spur of the moment co-write of the song “Big Rock Radio” by guest Aaron Hart and friend Crayton Huntly (aka Rob McLemore) outside a concert hall in the fall of 2013.  Inspired by the “big rock” sound of the 70s & 80s, rockstars David Lee Roth & Freddie Mercury and bands like Van Halen, Kiss, and Def Leppard, the duo enlisted the help of industry pros Dr. Scott Martin & Kate Emerich. “Aaron Hart w/ Crayton Huntly” played their first show May 1st, 2015 at The Walnut Room Denver to a small crowd of friends.

As the crowd grew, so did the flash & flare of the live show. With the addition of Aero X (aka Aero Marquez) joining on bass, the band became recognized for their high energy live performance, flamboyant wardrobes of sequins, spandex and leather, and their signature Sexy Disco Legs.

The first video single “Slow Release” was released in March of 2018.  Love Stallion's ‘Unforgettable Ride' was produced by Steve Avedis (Tony Bennett,*NSYNC) at Colorado Sound Studios and was released on June 2nd 2018.

Episode 049–Cory M. Coons “The Long Road Home” with Bruce Hilliard

Cory M. Coons is from Eastern Ontario and speaks fluent Canadian. Okay, not that funny but his words are wise.…

Episode 048–Tessa Lena “Tessa Fights Robots” with Bruce Hilliard

Tessa Lena is a strongly opinionated musician living in New York. She is a classically trained pianist and singer, born and raised in Moscow. Her bio reads like a movie script.

As a teenager, Tessa had the honor of performing her own composition (entitled ‘In Defense of the Environment) at the Moscow Conservatory, and wanted to be a geneticist.

As her interests expanded to Tibetan music and language, she headed to Lhasa with a backpack to do enthomusicology research.

After being attacked by a sex trafficker in Tibet and successfully fighting him off, Tessa settled in Chicago.

In Chicago, she started a band working with her hero Ian McDonald of King Crimson and Foreigner, and drummer Alan Lake, who has played and recorded with Madonna, Brian Ferry, Julian Lennon, Ministry, Brian Wilson and Sam Moore from Sam And Dave.

After a few years in Chicago, Tessa moved to New York and started a new band, Tessa Makes Love, along with occasional collaborations by Ian McDonald.

In 2013, her music video “Spente Le Stelle” received over a million very useful views on YouTube although the jury is still out on how many people realized that the video was a satire making fun of sexual objectification. Alas, the world keeps spinning, and it is still imperfect!

In 2016, Tessa started Coalition for Artistic Dignity and organized a conference in Brooklyn dedicated to artistic dignity, social power and corporate responsibility.

In early 2017, she released an album titled ‘Tessa Fights Robots,’ you can listen and buy it here.

Since the English language only has so many words, her blog is also called ‘Tessa Fights Robots.’

Both the album and the blog are about being human in the world of technology, big data, and machine-like people.

Episode 047–Chris Sullivan “By The Light Of The Radio” with Bruce Hilliard

Originally from Jacksonville, Florida, Chris Sullivan grew up in Charleston, South Carolina where he fell in love with and began playing music. Sullivan’s vast musical influences solidify his no nonsense approach to delivering music unadulterated by trend and loyal to heart while expressing the introspective aspects of his life that would otherwise remain untold. Referring to Chris’s recordings, artistviewblog.com recently stated, “This is music. True, unapologetic music. Chris has a timeless style in his music. It sounds effortless. Exactly how music should be”. 
In 2016, Chris Sullivan released a live EP, recorded in New York City.  In June of 2018, he released his latest EP “Dog Days”, recorded at Hybrid Audio Solutions in Charleston, South Carolina.  This EP includes the acclaimed singles “The City that Never Sleeps” and “By the Light of the Radio” (second place winner in the Americana category of the International Songwriting Competition).  Currently Chris keeps a busy schedule writing new songs and playing live shows. 

Episode 046–Trevor McShane, Beverly Hills Power Lawyer with Bruce Hilliard

Trevor McShane is the stage name of brilliant Beverly Hills lawyer Neville Johnson, who has been listed every year since 2008 as one of Hollywood Reporter’s Top 100 Power Lawyers.

Back in 2000 with a very successful law practice as an entertainment, media and business attorney, he decided to perform as Trevor McShane, picking the name in honor of his Irish roots. His forefathers were named McShane and he wanted to celebrate them, as well as his passion for words and music.

Trevor first picked up a guitar when he was a teenager and has never looked back. He's joyfully spent the last 30 years putting words to music and music to words. He is an artist, a poet, a songwriter and a lover of life. He says: “My mission is to make beautiful music and share it with as many people as possible. I want my lyrics to make you think, to make you wonder, to make you happy or sad. If I can somehow move you with my music, my job is done.”

Episode 045–Neil Fitzsimon Talks New Album “The Girl Who Shouted Love at the Heart of the World” with Bruce Hilliard

Neil Fitzsimon is back with commentary on the production of his and partner Bee Brogan's success and upcoming album. The topics vary from new song This Girl to producers Pat Collier, Neil's take on other's music, songs Girl In A Gilded Cage and Big Blue World which is currently #1 on BEAT100.Their new album is scheduled for release in just a few short weeks and the entire blue world is waiting.

Episode 044–Alicia “Reygn” Patterson At The Wave with Bruce Hilliard

Alicia “Reygn”Patterson has been an singer songwriter for over 30 years. As a mother of 5 and a NYC school…

Episode 043–Across The Board’s Jacqueline Auguste with Bruce Hilliard

Canadian indie rock band Across The Board offers the soul-soothing sing-along catchiness that is fast becoming the their signature sound. Since 2016, ATB has played to sold-out crowds at some of Toronto's more notable musical venues. The band transcends live performance and becomes a media monster.

With harmonious power vocals and catchy electric guitar riffs, Across The Board brings a high energy show to live audiences and uniquely clever videos to their growing Youtube channel of over 400 videos including several weekly series “Kitchen Sessions”, a musical cooking show, “Caravan Karaoke”, “ATB At Rehearsal”, “Acoustic Jams” and “ATB Live” on Facebook, Instagram and Youtube.

Guest Jacqueline Auguste comes from both a symphonic and stage band background and is a multi-instrumentalist. She plays a variety of woodwinds including oboe, flute and saxophone. She is proficient on various percussion instruments including drums, piano, guitar, ukulele, mandolin and even strings, cello. Jacqueline (aka Jackie) is the lead singer and principle songwriter for Across The Board, as well as taking lead in the creative aspects of ATB's video production. Classically trained in jazz, big band standards and classics,  Jackie brings a well-rounded musical background to this innovative and eclectic group of Canadian musicians.

Episode 042–Ingrid Oscarsson “Break Free” EP with Bruce Hilliard

Five years ago, singer-songwriter Ingrid Oscarsson did something most of us dream about but few of us do: She started over. Ingrid moved to a new city, left behind friends, lovers, and a secure job to be the person she always wanted to be, a musician.

Now, she announces her emancipation with the aptly titled EP, Break Free. It’s a masterful debut that, with singular artistry, fluidly weaves through indie rock, sparkles of glam rock, intimate folk, bluesy pop, sensual roots music, and smoldering balladry.

“My story is about shedding layers to finally be my authentic self. Sometimes you have to go far away to reclaim your essence,” the New York-based artist says. “I hope with my story, and my music, I can encourage others to embrace who they really are.”

The journey to Break Free gained traction in Chicago, in the early 2000s when Ingrid began taking guitar lessons. Previously, she had played violin as a child, and had a short stint pursuing guitar as a young adult. But sitting in a cubicle feeling numb inside, she began to reimagine her life. From afar, she admired New York City, romanticizing its beauty and cultural heritage while picturing herself immersed in the city’s frantic pace, getting a second chance at her first love, music. Guitar lessons became the opening salvo in a revolt to reclaim her life.

An influx of creativity from exploring guitar enlivened Ingrid. She became more adventurous, and began regularly visiting New York City, soaking up all its majesty. During one visit, she encountered a street performer at a subway stop, and purchased the singer’s CD. Like a story plucked from a New York fairytale, when Ingrid came back to stay in New York for an extended period—before permanently relocating—her Airbnb host ended up being that very same street performer, and proved to be an artistic ally on Break Free, helping Ingrid develop songs, and lending production talents and guitar skills to the recordings.

Thematically, Break Free explores various facets of self-revelation, from moving on from unhealthy relationships that hinder growth and success; to examining ways we hold ourselves back; to struggling to find a spiritual center.

The biting “Forget My Face” simmers with a moody vamp, bluesy hues, and slow-burn pop-rock hooks. The track confronts an unfaithful lover’s toxic pattern of going from relationship to relationship, carelessly wrecking hearts and lives along the way. On “Come Back To Peace,” Ingrid invokes a dark beauty that fuses country, pop, and ballad-y rockabilly. Here, in this steamy setting, Ingrid reveals her struggle with meditation, mindfulness, and the hard-fought battle to be present in life. The hauntingly beautiful “Say What You Gotta Say” rouses with elegiac violins and a modern take on an old-timey work-song beat. The song was inspired by the movie The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, and the message is all we have is now. The title track concludes the EP with a quiet-fire anthem celebrating individuality.

Up next, Ingrid will be performing live, and, enterprisingly, she is planning to share Break Free’s liberating message with others via an innovative and centering songwriting retreat that features yoga and meditation. This getaway will offer songwriters a sacred space to unplug and realign with their souls and their artistry. Pondering her 5-year path to Break Free, Ingrid says: “It’s never too late to be your authentic self.”

Episode 041–Jeff Leisawitz “Not F*ing Around” with Bruce Hilliard

Jeff Leisawitz, the musician/ producer behind Electron Love Theory, is also the critically acclaimed author of the indie book Not F*ing Around— The No Bullsh*t Guide for Getting Your Creative Dreams Off the Ground. 

Jeff is an award-winning musician/ producer, a critically acclaimed author and internationally distributed filmmaker who has devoted his life to creativity. He’s released five studio albums and has landed thousands of music placements in film, TV and multimedia for clients like HBO, MTV, Discovery, Microsoft, NBC and many others.

As the founding writer for Seattle’s taste-making alternative rock station 107.7 The End, he chronicled the alternative grunge scene in the 90s.

Link to Not F*ing Around

Link to Electron Love Theory

Luanne Hunt “Caught Up In The Thought of You” with Bruce Hilliard

Featured in this episode are songs Broken Branches and Lightning In A Bottle, with husband and lyricist Steve Hunt's talent as a writer and the voice of singer Steven Bankey on the latter.

Part of Luanne's musical journey involves the discovery of a lost song Christmas Without You that was originally written for Patsy Cline. Due to the tragic death of Patsy and the years of forgotten “what if's”, the song was resurrected and without hesitation on Luanne's behalf, recorded and released.

The very touching Caught Up In The Thought Of You is another Hunt original. Her vocals are the shimmer on this country gem.

Her's is a story of courage and overcoming obstacles. She is living proof that with desire and perseverance dreams come true. Luanne uses to her voice to sing and to encourage others to live their dream too.

Episode 039–Fitzsimon & Brogan, Indie Dream Pop with Bruce Hilliard

Neil Fitzsimon and Bee Brogan were both members of the band, Pretty Blue Gun, who were signed to an indie label licensed to Sony.  They released two albums which were critically acclaimed. Some of the guehttps://codex.wordpress.org/Excerptst musicians included members of The Art of Noise, Dave Bronze (Eric Clapton’s bass player), Tobias Boshell (Moody Blues) and Pip Williams who played guitar on the Walker Brothers’ track, ‘No Regrets’.  The albums were produced by Pat Collier, who produced Katrina and the Waves’ international hit, ‘Walking on Sunshine’.  The band went on national tours across the UK until disbanding.

Neil Fitzsimon, the songwriter, and Bee Brogan, the vocalist, then went on to form a song writing/production partnership that led to placement of their songs in Film and TV.  They also wrote a musical, Jack Dagger, which was showcased at the Greenwich Theatre, London for the Musical Futures Award.  It was also showcased at the Bridewell and the Royal College of Music in London.  They have also just had a song placed in a USA Sci Fi Feature film. They recently had a track reach number 3 in a French national download chart.

All songs are written by Neil Fitzsimon.  Vocals, keyboards, drums and engineering by Bee Brogan.  All guitars played by Neil Fitzsimon.

Fitzsimon and Brogan see themselves as a studio act much in the vein of Tin Tin Out and Talk Talk.  Their influences range from The Beatles, Elvis Costello, Jimmy Webb, Jacques Brel and David Bowie. Their aim is to produce pure pop for now people.
Neil Fitzsimon actually introduced me to the term “Indie Dream Pop” and no one is sure where that originated but one thing's for sure, the world of music needs a new genre title…LOL. The songs featured in episode 39 are simply good songs, and good on one listen.

The first track is Girl in a Gilded Cage from the album Big Blue World. It's a showcase for Bee Brogran's voice, layered and beautiful. The second track we selected is The Cutest and the Cruelest from the first album by FaB Productions (Fitzsimon and Brogan Productions). The album was mixed by Pat Collier, the producer of Walking On Sunshine by Katrina and Waves. The Cutest and the Cruelest is the single from the album and reached number three in the French national download chart. To translate to French…”c'est énorme.” To translate into dog years? It's a huge pup.

The third track is The Girl Who Shouted Love from the album of the same title, to be released this autumn.

Fitzsimon and Brogan's influences range from The Beatles, Elvis Costello, Jimmy Webb, Jacques Brel and David Bowie. Their aim is to produce pure pop for now people. Their aim is true.

Episode 038–Neil Fitzsimon About Fitzsimon & Brogan with Bruce Hilliard

Neil Fitzsimon and Bee Brogan were both members of the band, Pretty Blue Gun, who were signed to an indie label licensed to Sony.  They released two albums which were critically acclaimed. Some of the guest musicians included members of The Art of Noise, Dave Bronze (Eric Clapton’s bass player), Tobias Boshell (Moody Blues) and Pip Williams who played guitar on the Walker Brothers’ track, ‘No Regrets’.  The albums were produced by Pat Collier, who produced Katrina and the Waves’ international hit, ‘Walking on Sunshine’.  The band went on national tours across the UK until disbanding.

Neil Fitzsimon, the songwriter, and Bee Brogan, the vocalist, then went on to form a song writing/production partnership that led to placement of their songs in Film and TV.  They also wrote a musical, Jack Dagger, which was showcased at the Greenwich Theatre, London for the Musical Futures Award.  It was also showcased at the Bridewell and the Royal College of Music in London.  They have also just had a song placed in a USA Sci Fi Feature film. They recently had a track reach number 3 in a French national download chart.

All songs are written by Neil Fitzsimon.  Vocals, keyboards, drums and engineering by Bee Brogan.  All guitars played by Neil Fitzsimon.

Fitzsimon and Brogan see themselves as a studio act much in the vein of Tin Tin Out and Talk Talk.  Their influences range from The Beatles, Elvis Costello, Jimmy Webb, Jacques Brel and David Bowie. Their aim is to produce pure pop for now people.

Episode 037–Seattle’s Greet the Sea, Part 2 with Bruce Hilliard

This is part 2 of 2 of Seattle indie rock band Greet the Sea. Brett and Ross share more about the formation of the band and the writing of two more of their songs, Knock at the Door and Take Shelter. 

Band members are Brett Shelton, lead vocals and guitar; Nik Pfeifer, vocals and guitar; Ross Powell, bass guitar; and Ryan Mulligan on drums. Brett and Ross were present for the interviews and shared insight as to their Pink Floydian tendencies.

The band is working on a new album. The tide is still out on what it will be.

Episode 036–Seattle’s Greet the Sea with Bruce Hilliard

Seattle indie-rock band Greet the Sea emerged in late 2015 as the culmination of sonic expression between four friends. Blending sweeping soundscapes, drum-heavy grooves, anthemic crescendos, and grounded melodic vocals the quartet’s sound is akin to their region of rainy weather, lush earthy colors, and foggy coastal highways. 

Band members are Brett Shelton, lead vocals and guitar; Nik Pfeifer, vocals and guitar; Ross Powell, bass guitar; and Ryan Mulligan on drums. Brett and Ross were present for the interviews and shared insight as to their Pink Floydian tendencies.

The band is working on a new album that promises to be uncharted waters.

Episode 035–Sonny Landreth Slides Into Second Interview with Bruce Hilliard

Way down in Louisiana, it's customary to offer a little something extra to friends old and new. “It's just a little lagniappe,” folks say. It's a gift or something special just cuz'. It's pronounced “lan'yap” but it may be easier, although not nearly as authentic to the occasion, to say “bonus” instead.

In that spirit, this second half of Sonny's inteview has all sorts of good things, bonus thoughts and a little more of the the slide guitar genius of Sonny Landreth.

Slide to Sonny's Website Here