Julie Budd: Singer

 It is our pleasure to welcome the woman behind a spectacular singing voice, Julie Budd.


I have sung for presidents, I have sung for the troops, I have sung in some of the finest halls and opera houses in this country. Yet, I remember being a little girl in Brooklyn, singing from stoop to stoop, dreaming of these days. It is so unbelievable to me, and it is so wonderful to be lucky enough to live your dream.

Our special guest is Julie Budd. Thank you so much for joining us.

It’s my pleasure. Thank you for having me.

I think most stories are best from the beginning. Tell us, what was life like growing up?

Well, life was pretty good. I mean, I lived in Brooklyn. I have two sisters. We lived with our parents and our grandparents, and we had a very traditional home and lots of friends in Brooklyn. And I went to school with all my friends and I had a pretty – I can say I had a pretty normal life but I was always pulled toward music so I don’t really think my parents were surprised when I went into music, although my mother wanted me to be a doctor and my father wanted me to be a lawyer.

The pull to music early on, was it a specific style of music?

You know, I liked everything. I just, I just heard the magic in everything, whether it was Elvis or the Beatles or, you know, whoever it was. I mean, you know, Simon and Garfunkel and, you know, Neil Diamond – like, whoever it was, I was pulled. But I loved show music. I loved big bands. I loved big bands. I loved all the original Broadway cast albums. My mother and father, every Saturday night would go out to a Broadway show and my mother always brought me back the original cast album and I got hooked. And it’s really because of my mother.

Were there cast albums that you liked in particular?

Yeah. There was one that I thought was the most perfect musical ever written – ever written! And I think it was My Fair Lady. And I thought Julie Andrews, I thought Julie Andrews was like over the top magnificent. And I wanted to be her in the worst way, I wanted to be Julie Andrews.

Tell us about some of the singers that influenced you the most.

Well, the first singer was Julie Andrews because my voice, when I was a little girl – I really, I mean, I don’t think I had much of a belt voice in those days. I mean, I think it was something that I developed, a chest voice. I really had a very high, almost a coloratura. It could have been. I know I was a high soprano but I could have been a coloratura. And I was able to sing with Julie Andrews as a child. And I remember when my father used to come home from work at 7 o’clock every night, uh, while he ate his dinner I did a concert for him (laughs). Isn’t that funny how I remember that? And, um, I was able to sing in anything that, in any key that Julie Andrews sang in. So she was like my favorite singer in the world. And then, of course, my mother had the Judy Garland albums. I remember when I was like eight or nine years old there was an album, Judy Garland Live at Carnegie Hall, and that was played, like, over and over and over in my house. And I loved that album, not because I liked Garland but because I loved that the audience was going crazy. You know, it was a live album. So I was always used to hearing studio albums and when I heard something with a live audience – I swear that’s was when I knew this was going to be my world.

What about the first show you ever saw, can you remember that?

The first Broadway show? The first Broadway show I ever saw was Fiddler on the Roof. And I went with my sister, Jill, and we took the subway into Manhattan. And she’s my older sister so they entrusted her with me on the subway. And I was, like, 10 years old and my sister, Jill, was about – I don’t know, going on 14. Maybe she was 14 already and so, you know, she was like the grown-up sister. She took me into Manhattan and we got off on 42nd Street, and we walked to the West side and over toward the theater district and we saw Herschel Bernardi in Fiddler on the Roof. And I – the opening. I’ll never forget the opening! I don’t know if you know the show that well but the opening, the bottle dance – you know, the bottle dance, the Russian kick bottle dance? When I saw that, I swear I thought I was going to levitate (laughs). I thought that was the greatest thing I ever saw (laughs).

Tell us about Herb Bernstein.

Herb Bernstein? In fact, I’m waiting for Herbie, I’m waiting for Herbie now. He’s on his way over here to rehearse with me. I met Herbie Bernstein when I was 12 and I was staying at a hotel up in the Catskill Mountains called Tamarack Lodge. And Herbie – there were two sides of Tamarack. There was the hotel side and that’s where me and my family were staying and I was in camp, day camp, there. And then there was another side of Tamarack called Homestead, and that was the bungalow colonies, and Herbie’s family was in Homestead. And that was a good distance from the hotel. I mean, you had to walk on this sort of trail in a very woodsy, in order to get to Homestead. And Herbie was at Homestead. And I cut camp – renegade that I was, I was 12 years old – and I found out that there was a talent show. And I put my name on a list and they said that in the afternoon you had to audition. So I go down to the nightclub – and everybody thinks I’m in camp – and I auditioned and they accepted me. And that night, I was in the talent show and I won. And the MC was a guy by the name of Vic Minnow. And he was a great guy. He was a great guy. He was, like, the social directed and the MC. You know, those guys did everything. And the musical directed was a very, very well-known musician, very, very gifted musician by the name of Milton Lear. He was a wonderful musician and he accompanied me. I had no music, you know, and he just pulled it off the top, you know? And I sang Moon River and Who Can I Turn To? I was not your ordinary 12-year old (laughs) and I won. And I won. And when I, when I went backstage, Vic Minnow told me there was this man by the name of Herb Bernstein who was staying at Homestead on the weekends – he used to come up on the weekends; all the men came up on the weekends – that he had produced Laura Nero and the Four Seasons and Dusty Springfield and John Denver and Tina Turner, and he was working with this new singer. I said ‘Who is the new singer?’ He said ‘A new singer. She’s sort of a Broadway singer. Her name is Lainie Kazan.’ And I said ‘Oh, cool. That’s great.’ So he said ‘Well, why don’t you come and sing next week, um, in the finals and get Herb Bernstein to come down and listen to you?’ I said ‘OK.’ So I tracked Herbie down. Don’t ask me how I did this at 12 years old. I went all the way to Homestead by myself the next day. It was a weekend on a Sunday. And I went to Homestead on that trail all by myself and I knocked on Herbie’s door and I told him he had to come listen to me sing the next week. And then the next week I did it again to make sure he was there. And I sang and I won the contest again. And I went backstage and Herbie was standing right there in the wings. And from that day on, we’ve been working together. It’s a crazy story, I know, but it’s true. Believe me, it’s a true one.

Tell us about the different ways you and Herb Bernstein have worked together.

Well, in the beginning it was very different because I was a little girl. I only, I was only surviving on my instincts. Herbie had experience. He was a well-known orchestrator and producer, and he knew what he was doing. And he had to educate me on how to work professionally in this industry. He was recording Merv Griffin at the time and he brought me down to the studio and – where they were recording Merv – and on the break he brought me up to Merv Griffin and he said ‘Merv, I want you to hear this little girl sing.’ And Merv said ‘Oh, Herbie please. Another kid that sings at weddings and bar mitzvahs? Please, Herbie, let’s just do the session.’ Herbie said ‘No, no, no’ (laughs). Herbie said to Merv, he said ‘Merv, you really have to hear this kid sing.’ So I – Merv started playing and I sang Chasing Rainbows. Now what’s kind of interesting about that is I was 12 and I knew the song (laughs). You know what I mean? (Laughs) It was that I was very musically sophisticated and I really owe that to my mom. Merv just looked. He just played a few bars and he looked at Herbie and Herbie looked at Merv, and then Herbie said ‘Go ahead, sweetie. Go, go. Go sit in the control room and I’ll see you in a little bit.’ And Herbie and Merv started to talk. Well, two days later – two days, two days later! – now, keep in mind, I had never done anything professionally before – two days later, I wound up on Merv’s show. Right? It was, it was like a whirlwind. My life, my life changed overnight. Television can change your life overnight. I mean, more than anything in the world, television can change your life. And it was amazing. I mean, they got, they got me into shape in 48 hours (laughs). And I, and I wound up doing his show. And, you know, in the old days everything was live. When I did the Ed Sullivan shows, they were live. Everything was live in the old days. Sometimes they would tape them live and show them later but you were live. There I was, my life was beginning. Merv started me. Herbie and Merv. And that’s, and that’s kind of how Herbie, that’s kind of how Herbie and I always worked. Your question was how do you and Herbie work. Herbie and I work very, very simply. We get together, if it feels right we do it and if it doesn’t, it doesn’t. At this point we’ve just done so many shows over the years, that we have a kind of shorthand. I mean, we’ve written shows on the phone. We’re very in sync. But in the beginning, to answer your question, in the beginning I was the student and I – I like to think of myself as the perpetual student. I like to think of myself as someone who always remains the student. But in those days I was the first grade student and I was taking my cues from Herb. And I was very fortunate that I was with someone who was very smart, musically, and had a very, very good ear for what I needed.

What does it mean to be an eternal student?

I think that people who think they know it all or think they have it all covered – those people – or think ‘hey, I don’t have to vocalize’ and ‘hey’ you know, ‘ I got this down.’ I don’t know, people like that, I think they just become hacks. I think that you have to always be on top of your game. I think you always have to be the student. I think you always have to be studying. I think you always have to be listening. I think you always have to question yourself. I think it’s a, it’s a funny balance between you have to question yourself and you have to trust yourself. It’s a very strange balance but you have to find that balance. And I think that you have to keep your mouth shut and your eyes open, watch and learn and listen at all stages, at all stages of your career. And I teach now as well, you know. I, I do master classes. I go all over and I teach master classes, and I also have a few private students here in New York. And I find that if you’re not listening you cannot be a good teacher. And if you’re not a good student yourself, and if you’re not curious, and if you’re not a person who is, um, detail-oriented, I just don’t think you can be a good teacher. You have to have that sensitivity and that kind of discipline and devotion to be a good teacher. That’s just, you know, my feeling. I, I just don’t think that people that think they have it all covered remain very good artists. I think you always have to be listening and studying.

Tell us about the first time you headlined. What was going through your head?

It was a very small engagement and it was actually before I came to New York. My first big headlining engagement – headlining, you know, big, big-time headlining engagement – was here in New York at the Copacabana. As a matter of fact, when I was 16 Jules Podell, who was the owner of the Copa, threw me my Sweet 16 party and he and his wife were very, very sweet to me. And they gave me a beautiful – if you can believe this (laughs) – they gave me a beautiful diamond pin when I was 16 years old. It was 24 karat gold encrusted, two-carat perfectly white diamond. I mean, geez (laughs), I was 16, you know? I still have this pin and every time I look at it, I can’t believe they were kind enough to give it to me for my Sweet 16. There was a big cake and they had the press there and – you know, it was my Sweet 16. And he made me promise him that on my 18th birthday, that I would open at the Copa, and I certainly did. That was my first really, really, really, really big public engagement. And there I was. But you know, it was hard to really enjoy it as ‘Oooh!’ you know, ‘My first engagement, let’s go out and have fun!’ There was a tremendous amount of responsibility attached to that. It was the #1 venue, maybe in the country – maybe in the United States – and there I was. And, actually, I wasn’t quite 18. I was still 17. It was, it was a couple of weeks before my 18th birthday, actually. And somehow, I don’t know how he did it but Mr. Podell got the powers that be to allow me to open up in New York, because there’s child labor laws. You can’t be performing in a venue that sells alcohol openly like that if you’re under 18. And somehow, he pulled strings and there I was. It really wasn’t my 18th birthday the day that I opened there and, yet, I was told it was perfectly legal. I’m allowed to do it. I have some sort of waiver. It was close enough to my 18th birthday and they let me do it. And so I’m on record, actually, as being the youngest performer to ever premier an engagement in an adult nightclub in New York City. I was the youngest performer to ever debut in New York. But, like I said, it was exciting but it was very, very hard. You know, I was a pretty serious kid and I was very aware that the, the perks that I was getting for being discovered so young. But they drew out a lot of responsibility and I was, I was up to the challenge. But I was a very steady…and that along with this privilege came a lot of responsibility. And I had to take care of my voice and I had to learn the show and I had to speak to the press and I had to deal with audiences and I had to do two and three shows a night. A lot of people don’t realize that at the Copa on Friday and Saturday night you had three shows and you had to do complete shows. There were no days off. You really had to take careof your voice. You had two shows on Sunday night. It was, it was a grueling first experience, I have to tell you. But it was exciting but it was grueling.

You’ve worked with so many artists.

Yeah, I was lucky.

You opened and worked with Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, Bill Cosby, Joan Rivers, George Burns, Liberace – just to name a few. Could you pick a favorite?
It’s, it’s tough to say. I could say right off the top of my head the four favorite people that I loved personally – personally – who I really loved. The first person was Liberace. He became a dear, dear, dear, dear friend of mine for 17 years. In fact, I’m still very dear friends with his choreographer and director. The second person that I loved, loved, loved – I loved Jim Nabors a lot. I loved him. He was really great to me. I loved him. Jim Nabors and Danny Thomas. Danny Thomas was like the best friend you could ever have in the world. He was the most loyal, true, best friend, bar none, that you could ever, ever have in the world. And I learned more from Danny Thomas in one day than people could learn in a hundred years. He was a great, great person. And then I loved Carol Burnett. She was, really taught me a lot about how to be on top, how to be a pro and how to be a real person when you’re on top – how to conduct yourself. She was always a real lady, a real lady. And she knew how to run her business. She knew how to get things done but she always knew how to do it like a real lady and I always admired that. And she’s a real example of how to be the eternal student. You know, every day, before we went to work, she did a yoga class, a stretch yoga class. And she was always a very finely tuned instrument. I really loved that about her. I loved that about her. And, you know, I really liked Frank. I liked Frank a lot but I didn’t have the relationship with him that I had with Liberace or Danny Thomas, and I didn’t have the opportunity to get to know him as well. I did the Jim Nabors show a lot and I got to know Jim. And I spent a lot of time with him and had a great affection for him, a real affection for him. I admired Frank a lot but, you know, Frank was kind of a complicated person and, although he was amazing to me – he was fantastic to me – and I really did like him. And if I had spent more time with him, you know, over the years, maybe I would have had better affection for him than I have for, you know, some of these other guys. But Frank was really terrific to me. You know when I think about it, I have to say – I mean, God, he could have used anybody in the world and he chose to use me. And I had some really great moments with him and wonderful times with him, very, very meaningful times with him, too. But I don’t think I had the relationship with anybody the way I did with Liberace. I was really close to him.

Someone we have to mention is the late, great Marvin Hamlisch. He’s no longer with us but his music lives on.

Oh God, do you know – I have to tell you something. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about Marvin. It’s almost spooky. I mean, he’s, like, always here with me. It was a little bit over a year ago. Marvin died in the month of August. I would say August, September, October – yeah, it’s about a year and two months. It feels like yesterday. Ahh, I cannot tell you how … how hurt I was when he died. I cannot tell you how it just pained me so. I still walk around with it. I still can’t believe it even happened, you know?

Tell us about the song, Roses and Rainbows.
Well, Marvin wrote that for me and he wrote it with Carole Bayer Sager. He had another song – it was from a film called The Devil and Max Devlin and I co-starred along with Bill Cosby and Elliot Gould. And I had the lead in the movie and it was me – there were other people in the film but I happened to have the biggest lead part along with Elliot and Bill. It was about a girl singer. You know, she ran away from home, she wants to become famous, she goes to California, she’s from New York, blah, blah, blah. And Marvin was chosen to do the compositions for this film. And, uh, he had another song in the film – he had Roses and Rainbows that he wrote with Carole – and then he had another song called Any Fool Can See and he wrote that with Allee Willis. And that was a great song, too. But Roses and Rainbows, they used that as the big closing credit song for the film. And Marvin wrote that for me. We recorded here it New York and it just turned out to be one of those great moments in the film. It was a really great song. It sort of got lost because the film was sort of an OK film. You know, it was cute and everything but it never broke out as, you know, like a major film. But the song, it was interesting, the song had kind of a cult following. And I re-recorded it. In the old days, when I did it with Marvin, we did it on A&M Records. I think we first did it for Disney Records and then we re-recorded it for A&M. I don’t know. And then, years later, because it had such a cult following, my fans kept saying, you know, Roses and Rainbows, Roses and Rainbows and they couldn’t track down where the masters were after all those years so I re-recorded it and I put it on my CD called The New Classics. So it’s available on The New Classics on Amazon. But it was just one of those great songs. And it was funny because all roads kind of went back to Marvin, you know? Then I wound up doing a play called They’re Playing Our Song and that was Marvin (laughs), you know? And then I wound up working with a lot of symphonies and then Marvin called me years later, and asked me to go on tour with him to do a “few” symphonies. I said ‘OK, I’ll do a few symphonies with you.’ And then we wound up working together for seven years (laughs) you know? He called me over a weekend, ‘You want to work with me?’ ‘Oh, yeah, alright’ you know? So we went and did some of these symphonies together. We wound up doing the Kennedy Center and the Baltimore Symphony and the Dallas Symphony and, you know, the National Symphony Orchestra, which we did at the Kennedy Center. And, I don’t know – Marvin and I were kind of like peanut butter and jelly. We knew how to do it together, you know? We kind of had a very – we knew how to fall into it kind of the way that I know how to fall into it with Herb, you know? Sometimes that just happens with people. We wound up working together for seven more years. So, I mean, I must have known Marvin for, like, 30 years. And then, when I got that phone call that he passed … I gotta tell you something. I still can’t believe it. I still think ‘Oh, Marvin’s going to call and we’re going to do another show together.’ you know? When people leave your life so untimely. You know, Marvin was not an old man. He was 67, 68 years old, you know? So, it’s kind of a shocking thing to hear.

Moving to the present, you’re performing at the Laurie Beechman Theatre in New York City. Have you performed there before?

Actually, I did a tribute there years and years ago when Anthony Newley had passed. His lovely lady made a beautiful tribute to him there and his mother, God bless her, she was there, too. And I performed there, at the Laurie Beechman for the Anthony Newley tribute. But it’s the Laurie Beechman Theatre and she was a magnificent artist, you know that. So I’m sort of very proud that there’s going to be a tribute in my honor there. And Richard Skipper, who is so brilliant, my God, he’s going to host the event. It’s kind of an Inside the Actor’s Studio kind of an afternoon. And I’ll also sing a few songs. We’ll take questions and answers from the audience. People will be able to ask me anything they want to ask me. There’ll be film clips. We’ll talk about what it’s like to grow up in the industry and how to hang on in this industry for all these years. There will be a raffle. All of the proceeds are going to go to St. Jude Children’s Hospital. And I chose that because of my love for Danny Thomas. You know, he was the founder of that hospital. And then we’ll go upstairs and we’ll have a meet-and-greet with all of the people in the audience, you know? We’ll sign some CDs and spend some time with people. It’s going to be a really lovely afternoon and an opportunity for people who show up to really talk to me in person, ask me questions, get to know me, speak to me on a one-on-one basis, and I think that’s what we’re really trying to do there, you know?  Let me just say it, please. I’m sorry – let me just say the event is October 20th at 1 in the afternoon. It’s an early start. It’s 1 o’clock in the afternoon. You can go there and have brunch, you can be part of the event. It could really be a nice afternoon for you – and it’s on a Sunday and that’s always nice.

Very nice. You’re definitely a woman who has lived her dreams. What’s the best thing about being Julie Budd?

Oh my goodness. I think the best thing about Julie Budd was her parents (laughs). I had the most wonderful parents. That’s sort of the backbone of everything in my life. It’s my family, my parents. Unfortunately, inthe last five years I lost both my parents and that’s just (sighs) devastating. But I carry them with me wherever I go, and whenever I don’t know what to do, I close my eyes and hear their voice and I pray it guides me – and it does. And then I have two wonderful sisters. I’m one of three girls, so I have two wonderful sisters. They’re just the most fantastic girls in the world and they have great kids, so … And I have a wonderful man in my life and he has a wonderful family, so I’m blessed. I think the best thing about Julie Budd is that she comes from good folks and whatever she ever wanted to do with her life, or in her life, she had the confidence and the wherewithal to go forward and do it, but with all the good stuff that goes with you in life – that you need to take with you to have that strength and to know what to do. I knew right from wrong. And I was in a crazy business at a young age but, because I came from really good folks, I always knew how to survive and what to do. And I pray that I did it right and that I continue to.

For my last question – who is Julie Budd?

I’m a person just like anybody else in this world. I’ve been very, very fortunate to have an extraordinary and beautiful life. And I pray that we’ll all be well and that the country will function well, and that everybody will have a peaceful life. And who is Julie Budd? I think Julie Budd is somebody that just wishes the best for everybody, and hopes for the best, and works as hard as she can, and thinks of herself as being just like everybody else. And I don’t like show people that think that they’re so special. I don’t like anybody that thinks that they’re so special. I think everybody is special. You just have to love people, stay close to your family, and that’s who Julie Budd is.

Well, I can tell you this interview has been areal pleasure.

Oh, that’s so nice of you. Thank you! You’ve been a pleasure to talk to. I wish you all the best, too. I hope all is well and thanks for having me on your show.

It’s my pleasure.

TRANSCRIBED BY GAYLE BRAZDA.

Percy Sledge: Singer-Songwriter

Percy Sledge is a true legend in Soul and R&B. His song “When a Man Loves a Woman” was a hit song in 1966 and has been receiving continuous radio airplay ever since. The song reached #1 in the US and went on to become an international hit. Percy Sledge was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame, the Delta Music Museum, the Carolina Beach Music Hall of Fame and he was an inaugural Rhythm and Blues Foundation Pioneer Honoree.

Rolling Stone magazine lists Percy Sledge’s “When a Man Loves a Woman” 54th in their list of the 500 greatest songs of all time. Some of his other classic songs include “It Tears Me Up,” “Take Time to Know Her,” “Love Me Tender,” and “Cover Me.” At the age of 69, he continues to record and perform to this day.

Jimmy Webb: Singer, Songwriter, Recording Artist

Jimmy Webb is the writer of songs like “Up, Up and Away,” “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” “Wichita Lineman,” and “Galveston.” Jimmy Webb’s songs have been covered and performed by artists ranging from Glen Campbell, the 5th Dimension, The Supremes, Frank Sinatra, Joe Cocker, John Denver and Elvis Presley. According to BMI, his song “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” was the third most performed song from 1940 to 1990. Jimmy Webb is the only artist to have ever received Grammy Awards for music, lyrics and orchestration.

Jimmy Webb was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame by Actor Michael Douglas in 1999. He was inducted onto the Board of Directors for the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame in early 2000 and currently serves on the Board of Directors for ASCAP. In 2010, he released “Just Across the River,” featuring many of his most well known songs and duets featuring the likes of Glen Campbell, Vince Gill, Billy Joel, Willie Nelson, Lucinda Williams, Jackson Browne, Michael McDonald, Mark Knopfler, J. D. Souther and Linda Ronstadt.

Johnny Farina of Santo & Johnny

JOHNNY FARINA likes to be identified only as Johnny Farina of Santo & Johnny because he likes to remember his legacy.  He and his brother Santo Farina composed and recorded the song “Sleepwalk,” which is the most famous instrumental song of all time.  In the world of the steel guitar, Santo & Johnny are legendary!

It was a real honor to talk  to Johnny Farina of Santo & Johnny and I hope one day soon we get the chance to talk gain.

Larry Carlton: Guitarist

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LARRY CARLTON is without a doubt one of the absolute greatest guitarists on planet earth.  If you think this is an exaggeration, maybe you have never seen him in concert.  This interview with Mr. Carlton was recorded prior to one of his concerts in Atlanta, Georgia.  He was performing a pair of shows on the same night at the Sambuca restaurant in Buckhead.

The resulting conversation became one of the interviews which received the most feedback.  This is a testament to Larry Carlton’s incredible following around the world.

We’d like to welcome the legendary Larry Carlton. We’re here at the wonderful Sambucca restaurant in Atlanta, Georgia. Mr. Carlton, thank you so much for making the time to talk to us today.

My pleasure. It’s been a while since I’ve been in Atlanta so, uh, good to be back.

Well, welcome back. You started the guitar from a very early age, at six years old, and I was wondering, from the very beginning did you know that being a guitarist and a musician was God’s plan for you?

Well, I don’t think anybody knows that for certain at six years old (laughs) but, uh, the, uh, path that I took through life kept reinforcing the fact that I was a guitar player and a musician. I’ve been so fortunate. I’ve never had any other kind of job or work. My whole life has been making music.

You obviously loved music from a very young age. Was there any guitarist in particular that made you want to pick up the instrument?
Uh, at six years old there was an acoustic guitar just laying around my grandmother’s house and, uh, I was told by my parents I was just fascinated with the guitar but, obviously, quite small to hold it. So that was the, uh, the input from my mom. She said ‘When you’re big enough to hold a guitar, then you can start taking guitar lessons.’ So once I was about six, six-and-a-half years, I could hold the guitar, physically, and I started taking guitar lessons. So it wasn’t really a player at that point, it was just being around the instrument.

So how did you get involved in recording session work?

Because I started playing so young, I was a pretty good guitar player by the time I was 15, 16 years old so I was playing in clubs – supper clubs, talent shows, jam sessions – all around Southern California area and the word started to spread is what happened. People started talking about this young guitar player from Torrance, California and from there, you start meeting other musicians, and those musicians have their network of things going on. And pretty soon, I was invited to play on demo sessions and from there, I became the arranger of the demo sessions and then, finally, big-time recording.

So do you have a preference as to performing in a studio or live?

Well, I’ve had the great fortune of experiencing both at a very high level so I, I really enjoy doing both but if I had to pick, it would be live performance. The freedom of being onstage with an audience – sharing the music – is very special to me.

Mr. Carlton, throughout your career as a session player, you’ve appeared on thousands of recordings from John Lennon to Steely Dan, Quincy Jones, The Partridge Family, Billy Joel and many more. Out of all these sessions, are there any that are particularly memorable for you?

All of them that you just mentioned are very memorable because of their success. As a studio musician, when I would go into the recording session for an artist like a Joni Mitchell, we didn’t know if the record was going to be a hit or not. We were just in there making the best music we could. It was unique with Joni Mitchell because she had never recorded with a rhythm section. It had always been just her guitar playing folk music. So that was an exciting time, to see what kind of music would come out for Joni with a rhythm section. And, obviously, the Steely Dan albums were highlights, or one of the highlights, of my career because the world embraced my guitar playing at another level because they were exposed to it through those great records.

After spending so much time as a session player, what were the events that led up to you joining the Crusaders?

I was doing some recording sessions starting in 1970 – not as busy as I became later. But anyway, one evening I was on a recording session and Joe Sample was the hired studio pianist for that night, and that was the first night we met. And Joe started playing the acoustic piano before the session started, and I picked up my guitar and joined in with him. And that was on a Friday night, and Monday morning my phone rang and it was the Crusaders’ office saying ‘Could you record for the next two weeks with the Crusaders? They’re already in the studio.’ So that’s how that came about.

One of your most famous covers is the, uh, Santo/Farina cover of, you did of Sleep Walk, uh, which was released in 1982. What drew you to that song?

You know, it’s interesting. I would love to take credit for that because it was very successful for me and actually, as you said, it became a career song for me. But I was producing another artist at that time and that artist’s manager suggested to me that I record Sleep Walk. And it seemed like a good match with the “sweet” sound that I can get out of the guitar, so I took his advice and recorded Sleep Walk and it became a hit.

And in 1985 you released your first acoustic jazz album called Alone but Never Alone and it included a beautiful rendition of the Lord’s Prayer. And it appears you approach the acoustic guitar with the same style as the electric guitar. Which feels more at home in your hands?

I’m an electric guitar player first. I enjoy the acoustic but I find that I can express myself in a broader, wider musical sense on the electric guitar.

Of all the guitarists that are performing today, who do you feel has something original to offer the instrument?

You know, I won’t have an answer for that. I’m so busy – I’ve just started my own record label, 335 Records, I tour over 100 days a year all around the world – that I don’t get a chance, and I don’t take the chance, to listen very much because I’m so busy living my life.

Having performed all over the world, how would you compare the music fans overseas in places like Japan with those here in the United States?

Definitely the Asian audiences and the European audiences, in my opinion, are more appreciative and more loyal fans. Uh, I started going to Japan in 1974, and I was in Japan four times last year playing concerts. And many of the people who came to my concerts in 1980, 1982 now bring their children to my shows with them. So they’re very, very loyal. And the European audiences definitely listen differently than the U.S. audiences. The U.S. audiences are a little more fickle. If you’re on the radio, they like you and if you’re not on the radio, they forget about you, here in the U.S., often. And in Europe they base their whole relationship, especially with me – I’ll speak just for me – on what I play and how good I play it, not upon what some hit record that happens. So they’re really more interested in the artist than the songs on the radio.

On your album, Fire Wire, it seems like you were kind of experimenting more on that album and I was wondering, uh, was there anything in particular that gave you the idea to kind of branch out?

Opportunity. I, I’m so blessed. For the first time – starting in 2003, uh, I left Warner Brothers records – and for the first time in my, in 17 years, I’m a free agent. I can choose and be and do whatever I want to do as a musician. So I did, the first thing I did was do blues album, Sapphire Blue, the horn section, and we toured the world for two years. Came back and wanted to do something different so I associated myself with, uh, producer, Csaba Petocz, and we did the Fire Wire album, which was different, totally different than anything I had done in the past. So I’m just on a freedom dance.

Of all the guitars you have played on, if you had to pick one guitar to take with you for the rest of your life – and that would be just the guitar, your guitar – which one would it be?

I’ve been playing the same ES 335 Gibson since 1969. I’ve departed a few times but that’s my guitar. That’s what I’m known for and that’s the guitar that brings out the most music out of me, consistently.

Of all the songs you’ve written, is there a personal favorite of yours?

Difficult question because I don’t go back and re-listen to my own product after it’s released and we perform it for a year or so. Then I forget about a lot of those tunes. I know that I can tell you I love the relationship that the song Smiles and Smiles to Go has between me and my audience. It somehow, it united us in a way that is forever. It’s part of my career and part of their life.

 So, we’re getting closer to show time and we’re going to wrap this up but I was wondering if you could tell us a little bit about the band that will be playing this evening at Sambucca?
I sure will. This is, uh, another freedom dance for me, if you will. I just brought a trio – no keyboard player, which means there’s going to be a lot of guitar focus through the whole show and it’s an interesting challenge for me. Like Smiles and Smiles to Go that we were talking about, was based upon a keyboard part so the audience is going to experience it tonight without that foundation that they’re used to hearing. And, as I walked in the club tonight one gentleman said ‘Larry! Are you going to play Josie?’ I hadn’t planned on it because there’s no keyboard player here to carry that part, but I’m going to play Josie tonight as a trio even though it may be a little more empty (laughs).

Well, I have one more question for you, Mr. Carlton. Given that this radio special is broadcasting all over the world, what would you like to say to the world?

Thank you, thank you, thank you for listening and approving of my music. The one thing an artist cannot plan or work hard toward and accomplish is acceptance. So that’s the blessed part of my career. I played what I love and the world embraced that. And I thank you for that. I’m a very blessed man.

I thank you, Mr. Carlton, for your time. I really appreciate it.

OK. Thanks.

Continue reading “Larry Carlton: Guitarist”

ALO: Rock Band

ALO is a rock band from California.  In an age when bands come and go, ALO continues to make records and perform around the world.

There’s something to be said for the “backstage” interview.  This is one of them.  ALO was opening up for singer-songwriter Jack Johnson and this was the result!

What do you think about James Brown’s advice to the band?

This is kind of like déjà vu because it was five years ago, back on the Radio Margaritaville days, I had a little digital recorder and I was on a tour bus – this was at Chastain Park and, uh, it was one of – I’m not just saying this – it was one of my favorite interviews that I had ever done with a band because it was lighthearted and fun but it was alsoserious at the same time. But it’s kind of like déjà vu because I’m back here with ALO again.

Zach Gill
The same spot even?

No, it was at Chastain.

Zach Gill
Oh yeah, yeah, yeah.

… and, uh, we’re at Lakewood this time. So for those who maybe, uh, are being exposed to ALO for the first time, just like last time, I would like it if you guys could introduce yourselves. (Group does self-introductions)

Dan Lebowitz
My name’s “Lebo”. I play guitar and do a little singing.

Dave Brogan
My name’s Dave Brogan. I play drums and sing.

Zach Gill
My name’s Zach Gill; keyboardist, singer.

Steve Adams
My name’s Steve Adams. I play bass and do some singing as well.

Alright.

Dan Lebowitz
I like how you said ‘being exposed to ALO for the first time’ like there’s going to be a vaccine for it (laughter) …

Dave Brogan
You may get a rash (laughter).

Zach Gill
The urge to … (laughter)

Dan Lebowitz:This is your first exposure … (laughter)

Dave Brogan:           The burning … (laughter)

Dave Brogan
Usually a rash comes from repeated exposure.

(Band member) Yeah (laughs)!

(Band member) If a burning sensation happens when you urinate, you …

Dave Brogan
‘Do this.’ (laughs)

Dan Lebowitz
Put on the first album. Drag it around. (background comments)

OK. So the new album is called Man of the World and it’s an album dedicated to the spirit of Creativity …

Steve Adams
Yeah.

… which, I thought that was interesting.

Steve Adams
Not too many people probably read that line on the liner notes.

I read liner notes, obsessively.

Steve Adams
Yeah …

Whose idea was it, to put that?

Steve Adams
Might have been Zach’s I think …?

Dave Brogan
Yeah.

Steve Adams
Yeah, but we all agreed.

Zach Gill
Yeah, and it’s a good dedication.

Dan Lebowitz
The spirit of Creativity sort of relates to, like, the spirit of Christmas Past.

Dave Brogan
Yeah. It’s an idea.

Dan Lebowitz
And we dedicated the album to, like, as an offering.

Zach Gill
It was one of many dedications, right? I mean, there were other – aren’t there other dedications?

Steve Adams
Well, there’s ‘thank you’s’ but that’s the sole …

Zach Gill
Oh, that’s the only dedication.

Steve Adams
… that’s the sole dedication.

Dan Lebowitz
The Muse.

But ‘Creativity’ was capitalized.

Dave Brogan
I’d really say that that’s like an offering, you know? Something that you leave out for the …

Steve Adams
… the ghost or spirit.

Dan Lebowitz
 … the ghost of Creativity Past (laughs).

Dave Brogan
… you know, cookies and milk for Santa.

Dan Lebowitz
… Oh, yeah (laughs).

Dave Brogan
This is like our cookies and milk, our offering for Creativity spirits.

Zach Gill
Thank you! It’s yours now.

Steve Adams
We kind of – I think we approached this record – well, we wanted to approach this record, going into it, like a real sort of open and creative mindset. And, uh, I think we kept referring to that while we were making the record – that, um, creative … I think that’s where that, you know, dedication came from.

Zach Gill
You know, yeah, you know. I always try to, I always try to dedicate a – like my solo album I dedicated to the spirit of Creativity and the art of galumping, galumping.

Dan Lebowitz
Galumping? What’s that?

Steve Adams
Lowering yourself into a cave?

(Band member) No, that’s ‘spelunking’. (Laughter)

Zach Gill
Galumping is the, uh, is the, uh, is the quality of when a kid has excessive energy and you watch them do things like, uh, like maybe they’ll, they’ll – you know, you’ll watch them just, like, follow the line on a sidewalk, but real meticulously, like, for no real reason other than …

Dave Brogan
OCD?

Zach Gill
It’s kind of like – well, some people call it that but it’s like, you know, a free play thing…

Dave Brogan
Yeah. Oh, right,right, right.

Zach Gill
A lot of people believe that, like, the arts – you know, in general, come out of – you know, galumping is kind of something you do when you have extra energy …

Dave Brogan
Umhmm.

Zach Gill
 … and extra time and you’re willing to kind of just play with your time. Self-conscious time.

Dave Brogan
Yeah, Free play with time.

Zach Gill
Yeah, free play with time, which I …

Dave Brogan
Based on, where you can find yourselves.

Zach Gill
Yeah, which I always thought was a good thing.

So, for those that, uh, like I said earlier, this is the first exposure, their first contact with ALO …

Steve Adams
Oh, we’re in deep already (laughter)!

… through the powers of technology – how was ALO born?

Steve Adams
It was born …how was it born?

Dan Lebowitz
It was born from friends, kid friends, who wanted to but create music, right?

Dave Brogan
Yeah. Essentially, you know, it was galumping.

Zach Gill
Galumping. Yeah, it was born out of galumping. Yeah, I think Dan and Steve and I all wanted to be in a band – yeah, we wanted to be in a band when we were young. We all played instruments. And then at UC Santa Barbara we met Dave and he wanted to be in a band, too. And we all had kind of the same, uh, like – ahh, you know, you could, you could, uh, if you just practiced hard and you worked hard as a band, you could, uh, you could, uh, you know, you could become successful and do it for a living.

Dave Brogan
Well, you three guys, um, started in Junior High School, right? Which is a real prime time for galumping because really, it’s not quite as  – you don’t have as much homework, usually.

Zach Gill
No – and not as much expectations.

Dave Brogan
It’s not that serious.

Dan Lebowitz
Yeah. We galumped all the way through college, though (laughter).

Steve Adams
There was even galumping through high school (laughter).

Dave Brogan
That’s really true, like when you – the scene that we were in Santa Barbara, or in Isla Vista, which is the town, it was, like – it was so fertile because you had a built-in audience of, like, thousands of students so you could play at any time and have a big crowd. There was a great, like, multiplex of, of band rehearsal spaces so you had a big community of musicians there and – and it really did feel like if you just did it and practiced that you’d be successful, you know?

Dan Lebowitz
The resources were all there.

Dave Brogan
It was a real outlier’s type of experience where it was just the right place at the right time. If you had the drive, the environment was totally fertile for you to do your thing.

Dan Lebowitz
Yeah, ‘cause we went to – that’s where we met Jack Johnson, was at college there and it was much the same thing, that band. Same thing, same rehearsal space.

Zach Gill
Yeah. It was an easy situation – I mean, you could nod in parties. You could just have a will to play and you could get a gig.

Steve Adams
Yeah, really.

Dan Lebowitz
Oh yeah.

There’s a DVD out and it’s called Jack Johnson in Concert
and, uh, it features you guys on it a bit.

Zach Gill
No, The Weekend at The Greek is the one.

Weekend at The Greek – sorry. You guys have played in a lot of really just incredible places. You know, uh, there’s a lot of pictures I’ve seen of you guys playing some places that are incredible looking. Is there one place that you guys can say, in unison, that was the most awesome place that you got to play a gig?

Steve Adams
I know one place. Should we all say it together?

Zach Gill
At the same time – Ahhh …

Dave Brogan
Red Rocks?

Steve Adams
Highlander (laughter).

Dan Lebowitz
 The Highlander in Augusta, GA. I’ll never forget it.

Dave Brogan
… or maybe it was Augusta, SC

(Band member) Which I think was …

Zach Gill
… maybe the most memorable place ever …

Steve Adams
… a really incredible spot. And in a way, I think it almost inspired the birth of ALO, sort of indirectly.

Dave Brogan
Umhmm.

Steve Adams
Because we were out in Georgia living for the summer ’96 all together and, uh, we got to like, sort of take in some of the James Brown scene and the influx and all of that, and came back to college wanting to, like, really play funk music and stuff. And I think that was a big thing for the beginning of ALO, wanting to have a funk orchestra. But, uh, I think that was discovered out here in Georgia.

When you guys put out an ALO record, what is the process like for making the music? Because there’s so many of you.

Dave Brogan
Yeah, that’s changed over the years. So, like, lately it’s been pretty collaborative, where we try to go into a rehearsal space and just jam together. And then we kind of pick some of the best grooves and stuff and try to trim those into songs. There’s that process. There’s also the process where people bring in pretty much completed songs and we flesh them out as a band.

Dan Lebowitz
Yeah, those being the two, you know,extremes and then things in between, even; where it’s, like, half someone’s song and half jamming, you know?

Dave Brogan
Yeah.

Dan Lebowitz
Yeah, but everything in between.

Dave Brogan
Yeah, and someone will bring in a jam, a song idea and we’ll jam on it.

Steve Adams
The last two records, too, we kind of gave ourselves a short amount of time to do them. So that’s probably part of – that’s a process, too. Like here’s three weeks; we’re going to take three weeks in the studio and just do as much as we can. Get as far as we can. And that’s, um, that’s been part of our process, too. Sort of limiting our time.

Zach Gill
And that’s an interesting assumption that you can – you know, that we’ve kind of like put into our process – that you could make a good album in three weeks.

Steve Adams
You know, it’s not about

Zach Gill
– as opposed to, you know, some bands like, you know, like the Legend of Steely Dan, where it’s like – that wouldn’t be, like, their way of attacking it. They’re like, ‘No, we’re here, we’re going to fix – make everything meticulously.’ And I think our thing is ‘Let the mistakes happen if they’re cool.’ Just think on your toes.

So, when you put out a record, what would you say the end result – what do you think the goal is?

Steve Adams
I think it’s to capture, you know, capture like a moment in time – how people are feeling and within that time, and how people are playing. I think if you can capture it well, you know I think that’s, that’s sort of the goal, I think, is to sort of capture that moment because you’re never going to get it again. It’s sort of like, it passes.

Dan Lebowitz
Almost feels like a, like an album is like, like a step on a staircase or, or a rung on a ladder or whatever. You know, like without it it’s all just sort of floating around. Like, we used to have periods – we’d go long periods of times without making albums – and then these songs would get written and performed and we’d get tired of them and they’d just sort of disappear. But an album, like, organizes all of that. Like, OK, here’s like ten or twelve songs, you know, recorded and documented. It feels like it sort of completes it and then you can, like, step on that. And then the next album is another step and you can keep on moving. Whereas, without it, sometimes it feels like you’re just swimming.

Well, speaking of moving – ALO has been around a while. How would you say that the band has evolved over the years? Because, like, if you listen to – I forget the name of this album but it has the Valentine’s Day song on it.

Zach Gill
Oh, Time Expander.

Steve Adams

That was an indie release.

You really, really have changed.

Zach Gill
Yeah. I mean, each one of us affects it. You know, I mean you know, time affects it. I think this goes through the same changes, musically, that, like, anybody’s life would go through, you know?

Dan Lebowitz
Hey, that kind of relates to the last question a little bit, too. Like, what’s the album? The album is like where we’re collectively at, at that time.

Umhmm.

Dan Lebowitz
You know, like, right? So, like, Time Expander is collectively where we were, yeah, at the time.

Dave Brogan
I think we wear our influences on our sleeves quite a bit – or did. I think maybe between the Time Expander and, and um, Fly Between Falls there’s a certain – like what we’re into musically kind of shows up on the album. Not so much any more.

Zach Gill
I mean, you can see it all. Like, you know, you can definitely – you know, the really nice thing about having albums, as Dan said, you can really follow the evolution. I always really enjoyed that with other bands. You know, sometimes I wish some of our, some pretty great moments of our thing where we didn’t make albums …

Dan Lebowitz
Yeah, we had some really good times.

Zach Gill
 …were kind of like lost so it almost makes it like, ‘How did they get from there to there?’ you know? So like there’s definitely some lost recordings and tapes and albums that didn’t happen.

Dan Lebowitz
Yeah. There was definitely something happening in between Time Expander and Fly Between Falls.

Zach Gill
There was a lot!

Dan Lebowitz
There’s a sound that sort of didn’t get recorded.

Dave Brogan
Yeah. It’s sort of like there’s times in – there’s periods of your life when, like, you’re camera’s broken or whatever. You just don’t take a lot of pictures (laughs).

Zach Gill
Often, those are the times where you’re too busy to get a camera.

Dan Lebowitz
We’d started an album and, like, with Busy Killing Time and those tunes, it was sort of like one of those in-between …

Dave Brogan
That was…period.

Zach Gill
Yeah. Time Expander was a, you know, just a shadow of it’s original … thing.

I thought of this question last night and I think it’s an interesting question. How would you define a band that is successful?

Dave Brogan
Well, there’s lots of different levels of success. I mean, somebody was, I was like – I met an old, you know, kind of family friend not too long ago and he was like ‘So, what are you doing?’ and I told him what I was doing. And as he was like leaving his parting thing was like ‘Well, it’s good to see you. It’s good to see you’re doing your thing and you’re undoubtedly touching lives.’ You know, and that was sort of his thing. I was like ‘Oh, yeah (laughs). That’s right. Yeah, you’re right!’ I mean, he was right and so that’s a success all on its own, you know, right there. The other level of success is being successful enough to be able to keep doing that and have a, you know, an adult life at the same time you, know, there’s success there.

Steve Adams
Just like your personal goals – that like, what you personally want out of life and sort of what you dream of and whatnot. And it is, like, the band’s goals. You can kind of measure success next to those goals a little bit if you’re like meeting those goals, I guess.

But then there’s also just like – for me, I know the goal for me is just to maintain a level of happiness, you know, and satisfaction and… So, that’s like a general goal. It’s not like we want to be playing this club by this time or something, but goals are an easy way to sort of measure your success.

Dave Brogan
You just sort of rock as many people as you can and hopefully, you get enough back on that to just keep your thing going so you can just keep doing it and grow a little bit.

Zach Gill
You know, I totally saw a thing on TV the other day where the Red Hot Chili Peppers were really young and they like asked them if they felt successful and it was a very similar thing. You know, it was just like ‘what is success?’ We were successful when we were kids. Like, we put together a band, you know? Like lots of other kids, we put together a band.

Dave Brogan
Totally.

Zach Gill
You know, and like it’s all these different moments, you know? It’s very personal, you know? But, hopefully – it sure does help at night to sleep when you feel successful. You know, you’re feeling upbeat. Feeling unsuccessful is daunting.

Steve Adams
When we put on a good show and you can really tell. Everyone walks off stage and everyone agrees and that was a good set or a good show – that feels successful to me. And it’s such a micro-moment in the whole grand scheme of things but that’s a vali – yeah, those are validating moments.

Well, I have two more questions. What is the best part about being in ALO?

Dave Brogan
Camaraderie (laughs).

Dan Lebowitz
That’s what came to my mind, too, actually. It sounds kind of cheesy but I think it’s true. Like, a lot of other projects I’ve played in, like, don’t have that – the same, like uh, old-friends/family kind of feeling that ALO has. I think that’s the one thing that’s most special about it.

Yeah.

Dan Lebowitz
It’s not very business or it’s not very professional – I mean in a good way, you know? I mean, like, everyone’s real, just kind of comfortable. Sometimes that’s bad, too, you know? Like, you’re not afraid to think or something. But it’s personal, you know? It’s real, like, it’s alive.

Steve Adams
I think what I like about it, too, is we’re all like a sort of band process, a traditional band process. Like, very collaborative.  Well I don’t know how traditional that is, but it feels like very democratic and collaborative where everyone gets a say in something as opposed to a band, maybe, where there’s a leader, you know? So, I think that’s a real special thing for this band. We’ve been able to maintain that sort of over, you know, many hurdles and a long period of time, and still feel good about it. And I think the friendship, youknow, makes that possible for us.

Well, my last question – do you guys have any parting words of wisdom?

Steve Adams
‘Partying’?

‘Parting’

Dan Lebowitz
Get back in school (laughs), stay off drugs.

Zach Gill
That’s what James Brown …

Dave Brogan
‘Make music #2’

Zach Gill
That’s what he told us – ‘Make music #2. Get back in school’ (laughs).

Dan Lebowitz
We were in college still and we were thinking about quitting. Yeah, and like doing the band professionally (Laughs) and he said ‘Make music #2 and stay in school.’

Dave Brogan
You weren’t thinking about quitting were you?

Dan Lebowitz
Yeah, we did.

Dave Brogan
Wait – you guys were thinking about quitting college?

Steve Adams
Yeah, it crossed our mind.

Zach Gill
Yeah, we were in Georgia and that crossed our mind. We could just stay here.

Steve Adams
The Highlander was so magical.

Zach Gill
Yeah, the summer – I mean, we always talk about the summer of ’96 when we all moved to Georgia. It was like a real turning point, I think, in all our lives. It was, you know – it was an interesting moment. A lot of things changed forever after that.

Dave Brogan
What would it have been like if we all would have stayed there (laughs)?

Steve Adams
We probably would’ve had another three months in..(laughs).

Dan Lebowitz
I know (laughs) and we might have all got, like, strung out or something.

Steve Adams
I think someone told me this bit of advice about just relationships in general but I think it applies to the band, too. To be in a band but not be in it too seriously. Just to, like, yeah – not over-think it and not get too down or, you know, just do it and sort of appreciate it and, like, enjoy it and, you know, as long as that’s all flowing, it’s good.

Ladies and gentlemen, you can find out more about ALO at alomusic.com. What does ALO stand for? I’m not going to tell you (laughs). You can do that on your own (laughter). Alomusic.com – thank you gentlemen.

Band in Unison
Thank You.

Zach Gill
It’s a mystery… (laughs)

TRANSCRIBED BY GAYLE BRAZDA

Merlo Podlewski: Bassist, Recording Artist

Join us as we have a conversation with Merlo Podlewski (aka J Radio) about his new 4 song EP “J Radio,” described as Hip Hop Rock / Psychedelic. Merlo is also known as the bassist in Jack Johnson’s band. From the East Coast, growing up on a steady diet of Rock, Hip Hop, Soul, Jazz and Reggae; Merlo now splits his time between California and New York. Merlo sat down to talk with us about his life touring around the world with Jack Johnson, how it all started and where it’s going!

Jessie Bridges: Singer-Songwriter & Recording Artist

JESSIE BRIDGES is a singer-songwriter who debuted as a recording artist in 2010 with the self-titled EP “Jessie Bridges.”  She has recently released a full-length LP entitled “Let It Breathe,” featuring songs that have been described as everything from “spirited and twangy” to “soulful and vulnerable.”  She has been called introspective and sentimental, and at times with a country feeling.  She is definitely a songwriter who writes from the heart.

Jessie really opens up in this interview and even sings and plays some acoustic and unplugged songs.

Gerard Kenny: Songwriter & Recording Artist

Certainly Gerard Kenny is a songwriter who has “Made It Through the Rain.”  I think you’ll agree, he’s a fascinating artist.  In this interview he tells his story, which begins in New York.  These days, Gerard Kenny lives in the United Kingdom and has a dedicated following.  In addition to his own songs, his music has been recorded by Barry Manilow, Johnny Mathis, Jack Jones, Perry Como, Shirley Bassey and many others.  We hope you enjoy.