For people who are just getting started with 'Tell Me About Your Song', and aren't sure where to start, here are a few of my favorite episodes.
This is the first episode of 'Tell Me About Your Song', and I wanted to pick a guest whose music I really liked, and who I knew would have well-thought out, intelligent things to say about it, and would be funny and charming to boot. I succeeded. Good job, me.
The song is an interesting one. Inspired by a news story that everyone had been having a lot of fun with on the Internet, Tracie offers up a unique take on the topic that is respectful, interesting, and at times even a bit erotic. She has a lot of interesting things to say about it, and putting this episode together definitely made me want to keep going with the podcast. We were off and running!
I ran into Christylez at an open mike in Providence, RI, enjoyed his music, and made a note of his name. Years later, he agreed to come on my podcast and talk about 'Children Album Gangsta', which is just a real fun song about being a rapper whose best-known work is on a children's album. If you listen to this interview, and you or a close relative have young kids, then I'll be surprised if your first thought isn't how great it would be to have him come perform for them.
I also included a little bit of a live recording of him singing 'Chillin' for the WiFi', his song about having a girlfriend who only loves him because of his high-speed Internet connection.
Alec K. Redfearn is a rock accordionist, songwriter, and composer based out of Providence. In the interview, he describes the huge mix of influences and inspirations that came together in the creation of this song -- The Jason Eddy and the Centremen song 'What'cha Gonna Do Baby?', minimalist composer Terry Riley, Captain Beefheart, Willian Burroughs, Georges Bataille, and many others. We talked for two hours, and someone started setting off fireworks outside in the middle of the interview. It was a real experience. Editing it later was fun, too -- figuring out which digressions to leave in and which to remove, tracking down all the different pieces of music he mentioned ... and I'm really proud of how this one turned out, once it was edited down to a relatively trim 38 1/2 minutes.
I've known Chris for a long time -- he's really the reason I started playing music in public -- and have always admired his musicianship and his songwriting. The Eleven is probably my favorite song of his, so I was curious what he'd have to say about it. It's interesting to hear him talk about his process, and the things in his life that led to him writing the different parts of the song. Also, I had recordings of him doing the song solo and with a couple of different bands -- including a recording of the first ever public performance of the song -- and I was able to include some of those clips in the episode. This might be my favorite episode of the show.
This song comes from Erin McKeown's album 'Manifestra', a collection of overtly political songs, and it is centered on a powerful story of Erin observing the border fence with Mexico, and court proceedings to deport a bunch of undocumented immigrants. But there's a lot more in here, too -- information on how she approaches songwriting in the age of Garage Band, and some of the things and people that influenced the song. It's a thoughtful discussion of a wry yet passionate song.
We recorded this interview in Amy Virginia's apartment, and she observed a few times that my interviewing style is kind of odd. (I edited out most of that, but if you listen to the very end, there might be an example there ...) It was a really fun conversation.
The song is inspired by a book Amy was reading, and her relationship with her mother, and her experience of living in New York, and combines it all with 'Row, Row, Row Your Boat' to make a fun, upbeat song about death and interpersonal connections. Amy talks about all of that, and the different incarnations of the song, and tells a story about her mother accidentally using the song as a ringtone that is both really charming and an opportunity for me to do more sound design than I typically get to do on this podcast.