Songcraft is the bi-weekly show that brings you in-depth conversations with the creators of great songs - from the ones you know and love, to the ones you should know.
SUMMARY:Two-time Grammy nominee and acclaimed singer-songwriter Peter Case joins Songcraft to talk about his wide-ranging career.PART ONE:Scott and Paul chat about instruments that are nearly as famous as their players. PART TWO:Our in-depth interview with Peter CaseABOUT PETER CASE:Two-time Grammy nominee Peter Case made a name for himself in the pioneering California power pop trio The Nerves before going on to form The Plimsouls, which made a splash with the single “A Million Miles Away.” Launching a solo career with producer T Bone Burnett in the mid-1980s, Case went on to earn a reputation as a songwriter's songwriter with staples such as “Old Blue Car,” “Entella Hotel,” “Two Angels,” “Travellin' Light,” “Dream About You,” and “Beyond the Blues.” His songs have been recorded by The Go-Go's, Marshall Crenshaw, Goo Goo Dolls, John Prine, Robert Earl Keen, James McMurtry, Chris Smither, Robert Randolph, John Prine, Alejandro Escovedo, Joe Ely, Hayes Carll, Dave Alvin, and others. Peter's most recent album, Doctor Moan, is his first collection of original songs in seven years.
SUMMARY:Bush front man Gavin Rossdale joins to chat about the band's first career-spanning compilation as he looks back on all the classic songs. PART ONE:This is a long one that covers Scott's eyewitness account of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, Paul's experience at U2's Sphere show, and the guys' thoughts on new music from the Rolling Stones and the Beatles. PART TWO (28 minute mark):Our in-depth conversation with Gavin RossdaleABOUT GAVIN ROSSDALE:As the lead vocalist, guitarist, songwriter and founder of the band Bush, Gavin Rossdale has sold over 24 million records in the U.S. and Canada, garnered over 1 billion streams, and won the prestigious Ivor Novello Award for International Achievement in Songwriting. He and the band are responsible for a string of 25 consecutive Top 40 hit singles on Billboard's Modern, Mainstream, and Active Rock charts spanning over 30 years. Seven of those songs reached #1, including “Comedown,” “Glycerine,” “Machinehead,” the Grammy-nominated “Swallowed,” and 2022's “More Than Machines.” Rossdale has also starred in films such as The Bling Ring and Constantine, and has found success with his solo work, including the Top 40 single “Love Remains the Same.” Bush recently released its critically-acclaimed ninth studio album, The Art Of Survival. Gavin and the band's latest project is called Loaded: The Greatest Hits, 1994-2023, and is Bush's first career-spanning compilation.
SUMMARY:Grammy-nominated artist and songwriter Dave Barnes joins us to chat about his recording career, his hits for other artists, and his latest album that was inspired from an entire year listening to nothing but the BeatlesPART ONE:Scott and Paul talk about concept albums and reveal their favoritesPART TWO:Our in-depth conversation with Dave BarnesABOUT DAVE BARNES:Nashville-based singer, songwriter, musician, podcaster and comedian Dave Barnes began his professional life as an indie touring musician in the early 2000s. After a couple of critically-acclaimed albums, he signed with Razor & Tie Records and released his third full-length studio effort, Me and You and the World. The follow-up album, What We Want, What We Get, included the single “God Gave Me You,” which became a Top 5 Contemporary Christian hit for Dave and was subsequently recorded by Blake Shelton. The cover version became a #1 hit on country radio, went five times Platinum, and earned Dave a Grammy nomination for Best Country Song and a CMA nomination for Song of the Year. He found additional success writing with and for other country artists, including Thomas Rhett and Maren Morris's #1 duet “Craving You,” Carrie Underwood's “Kingdom,” and “Like a Lady,” a Top 20 single by Lady A. The list of artists who have recorded his songs also includes Reba McEntire, Tim McGraw, and Christian artist Bethany Dillon, who scored a Top 5 hit with “All I Need.” Drawn to thematic projects, Dave has released two Christmas albums, two Valentine's Day LPs, and an album paying tribute to the sounds of '70s Southern California called Carry On, San Vicente. To date, he has released over a dozen full-length studio albums. The most recent, Featherbrained Wealth Motel, came after a year Dave spent listening solely to The Beatles.
SUMMARY:Celebrated songwriter Natalie Merchant chats about her songwriting, from her days fronting 10,000 Maniacs up to her most recent album, Keep Your Courage. PART ONE: Were the Lilith Fair-era 1990s the best time for women in music? Scott and Paul discuss.PART TWO:Our in-depth conversation with the legendary Natalie MerchantABOUT:Natalie Merchant launched her career as the lead vocalist and primary lyricist of the band 10,000 Maniacs, which broke through with the double Platinum album In My Tribe in 1987. Subsequent albums Blind Man's Zoo and Our Time in Eden spawned the Merchant-penned singles “Trouble Me” and “These Are Days,” respectively. Following an appearance on MTV Unplugged and a hit single covering Bruce Springsteen and Patti Smith's “Because the Night,” Natalie departed the band to launch a solo career. Her debut album, Tigerlily, featured the Top 10 singles “Carnival,” “Wonder,” and “Jealousy,” and was certified five times Platinum. She has gone on to release nine solo studio albums, including the Platinum-selling Ophelia, which spawned the single “Kind & Generous”; Leave Your Sleep, which topped the US folk charts; and a 2014 self-titled release that reached the Top 5 on Billboard's rock chart. Recent years have found Natalie rearranging her songs for string quintet and acoustic instruments for the documentary Paradise Is There, directing Shelter, a documentary on domestic violence, curating the 10-disc box The Natalie Merchant Collection, and spending four days a week working with children as an artist-in-residence at a non-profit pre-school. In November 2022, Natalie was appointed to a six-year term on the board of trustees for the American Folklife Center at The Library of Congress. Her ninth studio album, and first album of all new, original material in nine years, is the self-produced Keep Your Courage on Nonesuch Records.
Summary:Josh Ritter, named one of the "100 Greatest Living Songwriters" by Paste magazine, dives deep with Scott on the evolution of his songwriting and the boundaries he pushed on his most recent album. Part One:Scott and Paul talk about politicians who play music. Because SOMEONE needs to talk about it! Part Two:Scott's in-depth conversation with Josh RitterAbout Josh Ritter:Named one of the “100 Greatest Living Songwriters” by Paste magazine, Josh Ritter has released eleven critically acclaimed studio albums. Carving out a reputation as a thoughtful and poetic lyricist, Ritter's music been covered by Bob Weir, Joan Baez, and Bob Dylan. Attracting attention for breakout songs such as “Getting Ready to Get Down,” “Kathleen,” and “Miles Away,” Ritter is no stranger to critics' best albums of the year lists. His 2019 album, Fever Breaks, was produced by Jason Isbell and backed by Isbell's band, the 400 Unit. His most recent album, which reunites him with his own Royal City Band and finds him continuing to push sonic boundaries, is called Spectral Lines.
SUMMARY:You wanted the best, you got the best! Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Paul Stanley of KISS joins Songcraft to talk about his long and diverse career through the lens of his role as a songwriter.PART ONE:Paul and Scott talk about musicians who adopt personas, how KISS seems to have the best timing of any musical group of all time, and their respective frightening memories of the band. Then they spend the rest of the time pinching themselves that Paul freakin' Stanley is on Songcraft. PART TWO:Our in-depth conversation with Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Paul StanleyABOUT PAUL STANLEY:Paul Stanley is best known for his vocals, guitar, and outlandish stage performances that have helped define KISS. Combining elements of shock rock and glam to set a new standard for theatrical arena rock, Stanley's Starchild persona, alongside fellow band co-founder Gene Simmons's Demon character, has become one of the most iconic figures in music history. One of the best-selling bands of all time, KISS has sold over 75 million albums worldwide, and has earned more Gold-certified albums than any other band in the US. Fourteen of their albums have been certified Platinum, three of which have earned multi-Platinum status. Stanley has written or co-written many of the band's best-known songs, including “Strutter,” “Rock and Roll All Nite,” “Shout it Out Loud,” “Detroit Rock City,” “God of Thunder,” “Hard Luck Woman,” “Love Gun,” “I Was Made for Lovin' You,” “Lick it Up,” “Heaven's on Fire,” “Crazy, Crazy Nights,” “Forever,” and many others. In addition to his work with the band, Stanley released a self-titled debut album in 1978, and another solo album in 2006 called Live to Win. More recently, he released the album Now and Then, a collection of R&B classics alongside vintage-style originals under the name Paul Stanley's Soul Station. Defying categorization, he has written a hit song with Michael Bolton, duetted with Sarah Brightman, and even starred in a production of Phantom of the Opera. Paul's songs have been covered by a diverse list of artists, including Cher, Nirvana, The Replacements, Green Day, Ronnie Spector, Bonnie Tyler, Toad the Wet Sprocket, and Garth Brooks. As a member of KISS, Paul was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2014. This fall, the band wraps the final leg of their End of the Road tour, culminating in a pair of shows at Madison Square Garden in New York, the city where KISS first formed in 1972.
SUMMARYStax Records legend Deanie Parker talks about writing songs for Otis Redding, Albert King, William Bell, and Carla Thomas, dives deep on what made the Stax environment so special, and shines a light on the recently-released box sets of forgotten Stax songwriter demos. PART ONEScott and Paul discuss the wild story behind the monumental box set Written in Their Soul: The Stax Songwriter Demos.PART TWOOur in-depth interview with Deanie ParkerABOUT DEANIE PARKERWhile still in high school, Deanie Parker won a Memphis talent contest and an audition for Jim Stewart at Stax Records. He signed her and released her debut single, on the Volt label, in 1963. The self-penned “My Imaginary Guy” became a regional hit, but the life of a touring artist was not for Parker. She became the first Black employee at Stax's Satellite Record Shop before joining the label staff as the company's first publicist in 1964. Learning on the job while studying journalism at Memphis State, Parker eventually became the company's Vice President of Public Affairs. One of the first female publicists in the music industry, she worked closely with Isaac Hayes, Booker T & the MG's, Rufus and Carla Thomas, Johnnie Taylor, Albert King, and others. Wearing many hats at Stax, Deanie continued to write songs with colleagues such as Steve Cropper, Booker T. Jones, Eddie Floyd, Bettye Crutcher, Mack Rice, Mable John, and Homer Banks, with whom she penned the soul classic “Ain't That a Lot of Love.” The list of Stax artists who recorded her songs includes Otis Redding, Carla Thomas, William Bell, Sam & Dave, The Staple Singers, and more. Her other writing skills were put to use penning liner notes for classic albums such as Sam & Dave's Hold On, I'm Comin', Albert King's Born Under a Bad Sign, Otis Redding's Live in Europe, and Shirley Brown's Woman to Woman. From 1987 through 1995, Deanie served as the Assistant Director of the Memphis in May International Festival. A tireless champion of the Stax legacy, she became the first President and CEO of Soulsville, the nonprofit organization established to build and manage the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, Stax Music Academy, and the Soulsville Charter School. She was appointed to the Tennessee Arts Commission in 2004 and, in 2009, was awarded two Emmy awards for the I Am a Man documentary short, for which she was an executive producer and the title song composer. The list of artists outside the Stax family who've covered Deanie Parker's songs includes The Rolling Stones, Elvis Costello, Darlene Love, Taj Mahal, Three Dog Night, The Flying Burrito Brothers, The Band, New York Dolls, Simply Red, Hall & Oates, and many others. She is a co-producer and co-liner notes writer of the seven-CD collection Written in Their Soul: The Stax Songwriter Demos, and was recently announced as a 2023 inductee into the Memphis Music Hall of Fame.
SUMMARY:Zach Williams of The Lone Bellow chats about his songwriting development and the band's latest album, Love Songs for LosersPART ONE:Scott and Paul dive deep on the evolution of George Michael's "Careless Whisper" and the role that production plays in presenting a great song.PART TWO:Our in-depth conversation with Zach Williams of The Lone BellowABOUT ZACH WILLIAMS:Originally delving into songwriting as a way to cope with a family medical crisis, Zach Williams eventually moved to New York City to seriously pursue a career as a writer and performer. There, he formed the group The Lone Bellow, which released its self-titled debut album in early 2013. People magazine named it among the top 10 albums of the year, and it earned the attention of Aaron Dessner of the band The National, who produced The Lone Bellow's second album, Then Came the Morning. The group subsequently earned an Americana Music Award nomination for Duo or Group of the Year, and relocated to Nashville soon after. They went on to record a third album in Nashville with producer Dave Cobb before making yet another record with Aaron Dessner. The band's most recent release, Love Songs for Losers, is their first self-produced album. The lead single “Honey” became their first Top 10 single on Billboard's Adult Alternative Airplay chart.
SUMMARY:Lake Street Dive's Rachael Price and composer/guitarist Vilray discuss their dynamic duo that preserves the spirit of the Great American Songbook with original music. PART ONE:Scott tells a story about a bad demo that helped him learn an important lesson. Then Paul introduces a pop quiz to identify songs solely based on their drum intros. Scott does OK. PART TWO:Scott's in-depth interview with Rachael & Vilray ABOUT RACHAEL & VILRAY:Rachael and Vilray first met when they were both students at the New England Conservatory of Music. Rachael Price went on to form the band Lake Street Dive with their fellow students Michael Calabrese, Bridget Kearney, and Mike “McDuck” Olson, while Vilray developed his own path as a solo performer. Inspired by a shared love of classic Tin Pan Alley pop standards, the duo came together in 2015, eventually signing with Nonesuch Records. They released their self-titled debut in 2019, and the more elaborately produced I Love a Love Song album earlier this year. While Rachael contributes as a songwriter in other contexts, vocalist and guitarist Vilray is the sole writer of the duo's original songs. Heavily steeped in classic songwriting traditions with a contemporary flourish, the music of Rachael & Vilray is simultaneously fresh and timeless. The pair joined Scott for a conversation about songwriting and song interpretation earlier this year when I Love a Long Song was first released.
SUMMARY:We chat with Ashley Gorley who, with more #1 singles than any writer in any genre, is the reigning king of country music songwriters. PART ONE:Paul and Scott discuss the state of contemporary country music, the way the genre has come to dominate the pop chart, and the rapidly-changing nature of what's the most popular song at any given moment.PART TWO:Our in-depth conversation with Ashley GorleyABOUT ASHLEY GORLEY:With an unprecedented track record of nearly 70 chart-topping country hits, Ashley Gorley is perhaps the most commercially successful songwriter in history. He has written more #1 singles than anyone in any genre, and has had over 400 of his songs recorded by artists such as Morgan Wallen, Chris Stapleton, Luke Bryan, Thomas Rhett, Carrie Underwood, Blake Shelton, Kelsea Ballerini, Lee Brice, Brad Paisley, Darius Rucker, Bon Jovi, and Weezer. Ashley has been named ASCAP Country Songwriter of the Year nine times, Billboard Country Songwriter of the Year six times, and NSAI Songwriter of the Year six times. He was then named NSAI Songwriter of the Decade for the period ranging from 2010-2019. Additionally, Ashley was honored as the Top Male Songwriter of 2021—across all genres—by the National Music Publishers Association. In 2023 the NMPA honored him with their icon award for non-performing songwriters. The multiple CMA, ACM, and Grammy nominee has received the CMA's Triple Play Award 20 times in his career, which recognizes songwriters with three or more #1 songs in a single year. In 2016, Ashley became the first songwriter to be honored with three CMA Triple Play Awards in a single year for earning nine chart-topping songs in a 12-month period. He repeated that feat in 2020 and again in 2022. This year, Gorley was announced as ACM Songwriter of the Year, also taking home the Song of the Year award and celebrating three Song of the Year nominations, placing him in rare company with Kris Kristofferson and Merle Haggard, the only other songwriters to achieve the same feat in a single year. In addition to his decorated career as a songwriter, Ashley launched his own music publishing company, Tape Room Music, with a writer roster that has earned nearly 40 #1 hits.
SUMMARY:REO Speedwagon's Kevin Cronin sits down in person with Scott and Paul for an amazingly in-depth conversation about his career and his legendary songs "Roll with the Changes," "Time for Me to Fly," "Keep on Loving You," and "Can't Fight This Feeling," and more! PART ONE: Paul and Scott talk about the resurgence of Tracy Chapman's "Fast Car," the current historical invasion of the pop charts by the country genre, the time they absolutely massacred REO Speedwagon's "Time for Me to Fly" in their high school cover band, and how you can hear 18 minutes of bonus audio detailing the wild saga that led to this episode. PART TWO:Our in-depth conversation with Kevin CroninABOUT KEVIN CRONIN:Kevin Cronin joined REO Speedwagon as the band's lead singer prior to the release of the group's second album in 1972. He contributed three songs to the project, including “Music Man,” but departed during the recording of the follow-up LP Ridin' The Storm Out. After a brief solo career, Kevin returned to the group in 1976 and went on to write some of its most enduring songs, including “Roll with the Changes,” “Time for Me to Fly,” and “Don't Let Him Go.” Additionally, he wrote the band's only number one hits, “Keep on Loving You” and “Can't Fight This Feeling,” cementing REO Speedwagon's legacy as both classic rockers and masters of the power ballad. In a career spanning more than five decades, REO Speedwagon has sold more than 40 million records and has landed more than a dozen Top 40 hits on the Billboard chart, including “Take it On the Run,” which was written by lead guitarist Gary Richrath. In addition to Kevin's success with his own band, his songs have been covered by artists ranging from The Lemonheads to Dolly Parton. The Grammy-nominated music legend also happens to be just about the nicest rock star you'll ever meet.
SUMMARYDavid Shaw, lead singer and one of the primary songwriters of the New Orleans-based band The Revivalists joins us to talk about the band's history, their three #1 Billboard singles, the times they opened for The Rolling Stones, and their new album, Pour it Out Into the Night.PART ONEPaul and Scott offer up opportunities for song critiques, co-writing, and a lot of other cool Patreon perks.PART TWOOur in-depth conversation with David Shaw of The RevivalistsABOUT DAVID SHAWDavid Shaw is the lead singer and one of the primary songwriters of the New Orleans based band The Revivalists. Formed by Shaw and guitarist Zack Feinberg, the now eight-piece group has released five full-length studio albums and two EPs since 2008. Their breakout single, “Wish I Knew You” from 2016 hit #1 on Billboard's Alternative Airplay chart and has been certified double Platinum. Additionally, they've topped the Billboard Adult Alternative Airplay chart with their songs “All My Friends” and “Kid.” The latter is the lead single off The Revivalists most recent album, Pour It Out Into the Night.
Summary:Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Graham Nash joins us to talk about CSN, his solo career, and his most recent album.Part One:Joe Biden and Donald Trump are the two oldest presidents in American history. And it looks like they might square off once again in a contest of the aged. But guess which rock stars are older than our oldest presidents? Scott and Paul hash it out, and you might be surprised. Part Two:Our in-depth conversation with Graham NashAbout Graham Nash:Grammy winner Graham Nash began his career with The Hollies, co-writing the Top 5 singles “Stop Stop Stop,” “On a Carousel,” and “Carrie Anne,” as well as penning the critically-acclaimed “King Midas in Reverse.” After leaving the group he joined forces with David Crosby of The Byrds and Stephen Stills of Buffalo Springfield to assemble one of music's first supergroups, Crosby, Stills & Nash. As a trio, and as a quartet with Neil Young, CSN became one of the most popular groups of the 1970s. As a songwriter, Nash contributed such classics to the group as “Marrakesh Express,” “Lady of the Island,” “Teach Your Children,” “Our House,” and the Top 10 hits “Just a Song Before I Go” and “Wasted on the Way.” As a solo artist, he penned classics such as “Better Days,” “Chicago,” and “Prison Song.” Nash is a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as both a member of the Hollies and CSN. Additionally, he was appointed an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Queen Elizabeth II. While continually building his musical legacy, Graham is also a renowned photographer and visual artist whose work has been shown in galleries and museums worldwide. His latest project, and his seventh studio album as a solo artist, is entitled Now.
SUMMARY:With nine Grammy nominations and a GMA Dove Award for Songwriter of the Year, Matt Maher is one of the leading songwriters in contemporary Christian music. He joins us for a wide-ranging conversation about creativity, collaboration, and and his evolving career. PART ONE:Paul and Scott talk about the recent Ed Sheeran copyright infringement trial.PART TWO:Our in-depth conversation with Matt MaherABOUT MATT MAHER:Matt Maher is one of the leading songwriters in contemporary Christian music. Raised in Canada, he studied jazz at Arizona State University before launching an artist career and releasing his major label debut, Empty & Beautiful, in 2008. The album spawned the Top 5 single “Your Grace is Enough.” He went on to find further success as an artist with self-penned songs such as “Alive Again,” “Hold Us Together,” “All the People Said Amen,” and the double platinum single “Lord, I Need You.” He has been nominated for nine Grammy awards and was named the GMA Dove Award Songwriter of the Year in 2015. Finding great success with parenthetical titles, Matt has written four songs that have hit #1 on Billboard's Christian Airplay chart for him as an artist: “Because He Lives (Amen),” “Glory (Let There Be Peace),” “Alive & Breathing” (no parentheses), and “The Lord's Prayer (It's Yours),” Additionally, he's hit #1 by writing for other artists, including “I Lift My Hands” (with Chris Tomlin) and “Come As You” (with David Crowder). Further successes writing for other artists includes Chris Tomlin's “I Will Rise,” “Third Day's “Soul on Fire,” and Cody Carnes's “Run to the Father,” among many others. Matt's most recent album as a songwriting artist is called The Stories I Tell Myself.
Summary: Why the heck are we having comedian on Songcraft?Part One:Paul and Scott chat about comedy, fandom, and the great Willie NelsonPart Two:Our in-depth conversation with the very funny Dusty SlayAbout Dusty Slay:Comedian Dusty Slay hasn't written a song that you've heard, but he's written a lot of jokes, and a lot of those jokes are about songs. Growing up in a trailer park in Opelika, Alabama, Dusty tried his hand at community college before dropping out. His plans to join the army were foiled by an arrest, so, at age 21, he moved to Charleston, South Carolina, where he spent years working as a pesticide salesman while moonlighting as an aspiring comedian at open mic nights. After getting sober in 2012 he got serious about his comedy career. After being voted "Best Local Comedian" and winning the Charleston Stand Up Comedy Competition two years in a row, Dusty eventually relocated to Nashville where he continued to build his comedy platform with his unique brand of self-described "clean comedy with an edge." He became the youngest comedian to ever perform at the Grand Ole Opry and, in 2019, Variety listed him as one of "10 Comics to Watch." Today, he has close to a half million Tik Tok followers, a Comedy Central special, and appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel Live! In 2021, Slay appeared on season three of the Netflix comedy special series The Standups. He hosts a podcast about drinking, drugs, and religion called We're Having a Good Time, and is a co-host of the popular Nateland podcast, alongside fellow Nashville comedians Nate Bargatze, Brian Bates, and Aaron Weber. In April, all four performed at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena to a record-breaking crowd of over 19,000 fans.
SUMMARYOur guest is author, educator, and celebrated singer-songwriter Dar Williams who emerged from the vibrant mid-90's Boston scene that included Patty Griffith, Melissa Ferrick, Throwing Muses, Vance Gilbert, and Jonatha Brooke. Dar has now recorded more than a dozen studio albums, and recently released the book How to Write a Song That Matters, which was born from the songwriting retreats she's been conducting since 2013. PART ONEScott and Paul talk about AI and the impact it's having on the world of songwritingPART TWOOur in-depth interview with Dar Williams ABOUT DAR WILLIAMSAuthor, educator, and celebrated singer-songwriter Dar Williams was always in the right place at the right time for the success she's had over a career that has spanned 30 years. She emerged from the vibrant mid-90's Boston scene, inspired by the eclectic influences of alt-rockers, Berklee jazz musicians, slam poets, and folk artists, including Patty Griffith, Melissa Ferrick, Throwing Muses, Vance Gilbert, and Jonatha Brooke. After a year of touring non-stop with her first album, The Honesty Room, in 1994, she was invited by Joan Baez to tour in Europe and The United State. Dar has now recorded more than a dozen studio albums, and recently released the book How to Write a Song That Matters, which was born from the songwriting retreats she's been conducting since 2013.
Summary:Our guest is Chris Shiflett, Foo Fighters guitarist, Rock & Roll Hall of Famer, 12-time Grammy winner, and solo artist named "Americana's biggest rock star" by Rolling Stone. Part One: Scott & Paul talk about country crossover and why Halloween's no fun at the Duncan housePart Two: Our in-depth interview with Chris ShiflettAbout Chris Shiflett:Best known for his work in Foo Fighters, Chris Shiflett is a punk veteran, Americana and rock songwriter, modern-day guitar hero, and an artist who's been blurring the lines between genres for more than 25 years. He's an alum of California-based punk bands No Use for a Name and Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, as well as his own projects Jackson United and Chris Shiflett and the Dead Peasants. Named "Americana's biggest rock star" by Rolling Stone, Chris balances his full-band projects with a thriving solo career. The twelve-time Grammy winning Rock & Roll Hall of Famer's forthcoming country album—and his third as a solo artist—is called Lost at Sea.
Brent Smith is known as one of the best voices in rock thanks to his work as the lead singer, primary lyricist, and contributing songwriter to the band Shinedown. Formed in Jacksonville, Florida, Shinedown has gone on to land 30 singles in the Top 5 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock chart. With 18 of those songs reaching the top spot, the band holds the record for the most number one singles in the chart's history. Their music has been streamed more than 6.5 billion times around the globe, and 15 of their singles have been certified either gold, platinum, or multi-platinum. Shinedown has sold more than 10 million records, and their latest album, Planet Zero, is continuing the trend of rock dominance. In our conversation with Brent he shares how Otis Redding opened his eyes, why he's committed to suicide prevention, and the nuts and bolts of his writing process with the band.
We're joined by Grammy winner Robert De Leo, who is best known for his work in Stone Temple Pilots. Collaborating with lyricist and vocalist Scott Weiland, Robert wrote or co-wrote the music for many of the group's classic songs, including “Plush,” “Creep,” “Wicked Garden,” “Vaseline,” “Interstate Love Song,” “Big Bang Baby,” “Down,” “Hollywood Bitch,” and “Between the Lines.” Outside of their music in Stone Temple Pilots, Robert and his brother Dean have also written and recorded songs for their band Talk Show, as well as Army of Anyone, which is a collaboration with Filter frontman Richard Patrick. Since the death of Weiland and subsequent lead singer Chester Bennington, the De Leo brothers and drummer Eric Kretz continue to make music as Stone Temple Pilots with current vocalist Jeff Gutt. Most recently, Robert has released his debut solo album, Lessons Learned, a deeply personal collection of original songs. Featuring a handful of guest singers, it's a different sound than listeners might expect from De Leo, exploring the the vibes of Laurel Canyon, Americana, roots music, and a healthy dose of one of Robert's musical heroes, Glen Campbell. In this episode you'll hear a lot of great new music and gain a deeper appreciation for some of the amazing Stone Temple Pilots catalog as Robert grabs his guitar and breaks down some of those classics in mind-blowing depth. This is one of our favorite Songcraft conversations, and you definitely won't want to miss it.
SUMMARY:We chat with Rock & Roll Hall of Famer and Song of the Year Grammy nominee Mike Campbell, who's best known for his work with Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, but is also a songwriter who co-wrote "Refugee," “Here Comes My Girl,” “You Got Lucky,” “Runnin' Down a Dream,” “Stop Draggin' My Heart Around," "Boys of Summer," “The Heart of the Matter," and many more. He chats about working with Tom, collaborating with Chris Stapleton, and his fantastic band The Dirty Knobs. PART ONE:Paul and Scott chat about the contenders for "Best American Rock Band of All Time" and talk about the conclusion of season one of Songcraft (which lasted for 8 years and 200 episodes). Find out what's next! PART TWO:Our in-depth conversation with Mike CampbellABOUT MIKE CAMPBELL:Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Mike Campbell is best known as the lead guitarist for Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, but is also a prolific songwriter who co-wrote some of the band's best-known classics. Among them are “Refugee,” “Here Comes My Girl,” “You Got Lucky,” “Runnin' Down a Dream,” “Makin' Some Noise,” and “You Wreck Me.” He's also a co-writer of the Stevie Nicks duet “Stop Draggin' My Heart Around,” as well as the Don Henley classics “The Heart of the Matter” and “Boys of Summer,” the latter of which earned Mike a Grammy nomination for Song of the Year. In addition to collaborating with Petty, Nicks, and Henley, Campbell has written songs with Bob Dylan, John Prine, Jeff Lynne, Chris Stapleton, The Dixie Chicks, Roger McGuinn, Cheap Trick, Marty Stuart, JD Souther, Susanna Hoffs, and others. He's performed on albums by a list of luminaries that includes Aretha Franklin, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Jackson Browne, Bob Seger, Linda Ronstadt, Michael McDonald, and Warren Zevon. Additionally, the ten-time Grammy nominee was named one of the top 100 guitarists by Rolling Stone magazine. In recent years, Campbell has been focused on his previous side project, The Dirty Knobs. Though they formed over 20 years ago, the group released its debut album in 2020. Their second album, and most recent release, is called External Combustion.
PART ONE:We pay tribute to Songcraft friend and legendary songwriter Lamont Dozier, who passed away recently at the age of 81. In happier news, we discuss Paul's recent nomination for a GMA Dove Award for Songwriter of the year before diving into the Ringo Starr Instagram foot controversy. PART TWO (14:39):We make an important announcement about the future of Songcraft, reveal the winner of our Dave Alvin book giveaway, and share all the details on the brand new Byrds coffee table book. PART THREE (22:13):Our in-depth interview with Roger McGuinnABOUT ROGER McGUINN:Our guest on this episode of Songcraft is Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Roger McGuinn. Best known for his work with The Byrds, Roger's distinctive 12-string electric guitar style helped propel the singles “Mr. Tambourine Man” and “Turn! Turn! Turn!” to the top of the charts. As a songwriter, Roger wrote or co-wrote many of the band's classics, including “Eight Miles High,” “5D,” “Mr. Spaceman,” “So You Want to Be a Rock ‘n' Roll Star,” “Drug Store Truck Drivin' Man,” “Ballad of Easy Rider,” “Chestnut Mare,” and others. He launched a solo career in the 1970s, releasing albums that explored new musical territory, and touring as part of Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue. By the end of the decade, Roger had reunited with former Byrds bandmates Chris Hillman and Gene Clark as a trio known as McGuinn, Clark & Hillman, which yielded the McGuinn-penned Top 40 single “Don't You Write Her Off.” His 1991 comeback album, Back from Rio, included the Billboard Mainstream Rock hits “King of the Hill” and “Someone to Love,” and featured songs co-written with Tom Petty, Dave Stewart, Jeff Lynne, Mike Campbell, and McGuinn's wife Camilla, who has since become his primary songwriting partner. A lifelong folk music enthusiast, McGuinn has recorded hundreds of songs as part of his online Folk Den project. A compilation album, Treasures from the Folk Den, earned Roger his third Grammy nomination. Most recently, the three surviving founding members of The Byrds—McGuinn, Hillman, and David Crosby—have put together an oversized 400-page coffee table book of photographs and oral history called The Byrds: 1964-1967, which is available for order in both standard and limited-edition autographed versions at www.byrdsbook.com.
SUMMARY:Our guest on this episode is John Hall, founder of the band Orleans and co-writer of the group's enduring hits "Dance with Me" and "Still the One." He chats with us about how Janis Joplin launched his songwriting career, co-writing Steve Wariner's #1 country hit "You Can Dream of Me," and how he ended up serving two terms as a US Congressman before returning to music.PART ONE:Paul and Scott chat about Orleans' legendary "naked" album cover, and band/artist names you're afraid to say out loud. If you've ever stressed about how to say Husker Du, Bon Iver, Chvrches, or Bjork, we've got you! PART TWO:Our in-depth interview with John HallABOUT JOHN HALL:John Hall is a musician, songwriter, community activist, founder of the band Orleans, and former US Congressman. After forming the group Kangaroo, which shared house band duties with Bruce Springsteen's group The Castilles at Greenwich Village's legendary Café Wha, Hall worked extensively as a sideman. He toured and/or recorded as a guitarist with Seals & Crofts, Taj Mahal, Bonnie Raitt, Little Feat, Carly Simon, Jackson Brown, and others, but established himself as a songwriter when he and then-wife Johanna penned “Half Moon” on Janis Joplin's Pearl album. After John formed the group Orleans, he and Johanna continued to find success as songwriters with the band's hit singles “Dance with Me” and “Still the One.” The following decade, John became a chart-topping country writer when he co-wrote Steve Wariner's #1 single “You Can Dream of Me.” He's known for co-founding the organization Musicians United for Safe Energy with Jackson Brown, Bonnie Raitt, and Graham Nash. John helped organize the legendary 1979 No Nukes concerts at Madison Square Garden, and his song “Power” became the anthem for the event. In 2006, John was elected to the US House of Representatives, representing New York's 19th District. After serving two terms, he returned to making music. John's songs have been covered by Millie Jackson, Chaka Kahn, Ricky Skaggs, Taj Mahal, Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt, James Taylor, Levon Helm, Bobby McFerrin, Bonnie Raitt, Chet Atkins, New Grass Revival, Jose Feliciano, Bill Anderson, The Oak Ridge Boys, Patty Loveless, and more. His most recent solo album is called Reclaiming My Time. We spoke with him in June of 2021 when the album was brand new and when he was working on some Orleans projects that have since become available and can be found at johnhallmusic.com.
SUMMARY:We're joined by Northern Irish singer/songwriter and frequent Ed Sheeran collaborator Foy Vance, who chats about addiction, spirituality, and the creative process. PART ONE:Inspired by Foy Vance's magnificent whiskers, Scott and Paul go down the rabbit hole to discuss the greatest musical mustaches in history. Actually, the mustaches aren't musical in and of themselves, they're just attached to musicians. But you get the idea. PART TWO:Our in-depth conversation with Foy VanceABOUT FOY VANCE:Northern Irish singer/songwriter Foy Vance launched his recording career with his own record label and quickly gained attention as his songs were used on various TV shows. Touring with Ed Sheeran exposed his music to a wider audience, and his 2013 album Joy of Nothing, which featured a collaboration with Bonnie Raitt, won the inaugural Northern Ireland Music Prize for best album. After signing with Sheeran's Gingerbread Man label, Vance released his third studio album, The Wild Swan, which was executive produced by Elton John and released in 2016. Aside from his own recordings, Foy co-wrote four songs on Ed Sheeran's Multiply album from 2017 and four more on Sheeran's Divide LP from 2017. Additionally, Foy's songs have been recorded by Alicia Keys, Miranda Lambert, H.E.R., Keith Urban, Rag N' Bone Man, and others. In total, he has released nine EPs and six studio albums. His most recent, and his fourth for Gingerbread Man Records, is called Signs of Life.
PART ONE:Paul and Scott chat about the canonical playlist that's part of every Independence Day fireworks display, the time Scott accidentally hit Lee Greenwood in the face with a water balloon, and how our Patreon supporters can get the chance to get their hands on one of the very first copies of Dave Alvin's forthcoming book New Highway. PART TWO:Our in-depth interview with "Fourth of July" composer Dave Alvin on the Fourth of July! ABOUT DAVE ALVIN:Grammy-winning artist, musician, songwriter, poet, and roots music pioneer Dave Alvin launched his professional career when he and his brother Phil founded the Downey, California, based group The Blasters. Blending rockabilly and R&B, Dave became the band's primary songwriter, penning classics such as “Marie, Marie,” “American Music,” “Border Radio,” “Jubilee Train,” “Little Honey,” “Dark Night,” and “Long White Cadillac,” which later became a Top 40 country hit for Dwight Yoakam. After a brief stint as a member of the band X, Dave launched a solo career and continued to craft critically-acclaimed songs that defy genre, including “Fourth of July,” “Haley's Comet,” “Dry River,” “King of California,” “Abilene,” “Ashgrove,” “Harlan County Line,” “Johnny Ace is Dead,” and “Downey to Lubbock,” a collaboration with Jimmie Dale Gilmore. Dave's songs have been covered by Los Lobos, Little Milton, Buckwheat Zydeko, Shakin' Stevens, Joe Ely, Robert Earl Keen, James McMurtry, and others. Additionally, his music has been featured on a number of TV soundtracks, including Justified and The Sopranos.
PART ONE:It's mailbag time! What are you saying about us?PART TWO:Scott and Paul's in-depth interview with Nashville Songwriters Hall of Famer Bob MorrisonABOUT BOB MORRISON:After an artist career recording for the Columbia, Barnaby, Capitol, and Monument labels, Bob Morrison hit the #1 spot on the country charts as a songwriter with Kenny Rogers' recording of “You Decorated My Life.” Also a Top 10 Billboard pop hit, the composition earned Morrison a Grammy for Best Country Song. Additionally, he co-wrote “Lookin' for Love,” a #1 country single and a #5 pop hit popularized by Johnny Lee from the soundtrack of the film Urban Cowboy. Other chart-topping selections from Morrison's catalog include Debby Boone's “Are You on the Road to Loving Me Again,” Conway Twitty's “Don't Call Him a Cowboy,” and Highway 101's “Whiskey, If You Were a Woman.” Further highlights from his songbook include Olivia Newton-John's cut of “The River's Too Wide,” Reba McEntire's Top 10 single “(You Lift Me) Up to Heaven,” Kenny Rogers' Top 5 “Love the World Away,” Conway Twitty & Loretta Lynn's “I Still Believe in Waltzes,” Gary Morris's “The Love She Found in Me,” George Jones's “Shine On,” and the Dixie Chicks' “Tonight the Heartache's on Me.” Just a few of the many other artists who've recorded Bob's songs are Ray Charles, Roy Orbison, Glen Campbell, Jerry Lee Lewis, Sammy Davis Jr., Ray Price, John Anderson, Barbara Mandrell, Dottie West, Mel Tillis, The Kendalls, and The Carpenters. He was named ASCAP Country Songwriter of the Year in 1978, 1980, 1981, and 1982, as well as NSAI Songwriter of the Year in 1981. In 2016 Bob was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.
SUMMARY:Our guest is Grammy winner Kristian Bush, best known as one half of the country duo Sugarland. He chats about a career that has earned him six BMI awards, five ACM awards, and five CMA Vocal Duo of the Year honors, as well as about his ambitious new solo project, which will include four albums in one year that will present a total of 52 songs.PART ONE:Paul and Scott talk celebrity softball tournaments, John Schneider, waterbeds, and Walter Payton. And it's even weirder than it sounds. PART TWO:Our in-depth conversation with Kristian BushABOUT KRISTIAN BUSH:Kristian Bush is best known as one half of the platinum-selling country duo Sugarland. The Sevierville, Tennessee native spent his formative years making music with his brother Brandon, who would go on to play keyboards in the rock brand Train. Kristian launched his professional music career from Atlanta in 1994 with the folk-rock duo Billy Pilgrim, which released two albums for Atlantic Records. Within the decade, he moved on to form Sugarland with Kristen Hall and Jennifer Nettles, and the group's debut single “Baby Girl” became a massive hit. Their debut album, Twice the Speed of Life, which was produced by Garth Fundis, was certified triple platinum. With the departure of Kristen Hall, Sugarland became a duo that went on to rack up five #1 hit singles, including “All I Want to Do” and the Grammy-winning “Stay.” Additional hits followed, including the double platinum “Stuck Like Glue” and “Babe,” a collaboration with Taylor Swift. Sugarland has sold over 22 million albums worldwide and was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. Kristian has earned six BMI awards and is a four-time Grammy nominee. In addition to five ACM awards, Sugarland has won the CMA's Vocal Duo of the Year honor five times. Kristian's most recent solo project is called 52, a series of four albums comprised of a total of 52 songs. The first installment, called ATL x BNA is available now.
PART ONE:Paul and Scott reflect on returning to large-scale concerts, and talk about their recent experiences seeing Paul McCartney and Pearl Jam.PART TWO: Our in-depth conversation with Ann WilsonABOUT ANN WILSON:Four-time Grammy nominee and Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Ann Wilson is best known as the lead singer and co-songwriter for the band Heart, which she and her sister Nancy formed in 1973 and propelled to rock superstardom. One of the pioneering female-fronted rock bands, Heart's self-penned classics include “Crazy On You,” “Magic Man,” “Dreamboat Annie,” “Barracuda,” “Little Queen,” “Heartless,” “Straight On,” “Dog & Butterfly,” and “Even It Up.” In the mid-1980s they reinvented themselves as mainstream radio hitmakers with a string of successful singles, including “What About Love,” “Never,” “These Dreams,” “Nothin' at All,” “Alone,” “Who Will You Run To,” “There's the Girl,” “All I Wanna Do Is Make Love to You,” and “Stranded.” As Heart, Ann and Nancy Wilson have sold more than 35 million albums worldwide. Since 2007, Ann has released three full-length studio albums and two EPs. Her most recent, Fierce Bliss, which was released at the end of April, is her first solo album to include original material.
SUMMARY:Our guest is seven-time Grammy nominee and 1997 Best New Artist Grammy winner Paula Cole. She joins us to chat about her early work with Peter Gabriel, her monster hits “Where Have all the Cowboys Gone” and “I Don't Want to Wait,” her work as an instructor for the Berklee College of Music, and her ongoing musical development, including her latest album, American Quilt. PART ONE:Paul and Scott chat about background singers. Or do we call them backing vocalists? Additional vocalists? I'm not sure we really ever settled it.PART TWO:Our in-depth interview with Paula ColeABOUT PAULA COLE:Our guest on this episode of Songcraft is Paula Cole. The 1997 Best New Artist Grammy winner rose to prominence with her self-produced second album, This Fire, which spawned two massive hit singles. “Where Have All the Cowboys Gone,” a Top 10 hit that earned three Grammy nominations, and “I Don't Want to Wait,” which was used as the theme song for the show Dawson's Creek. Subsequent albums explored a range of stylistic ground, earning Cole critical acclaim and an eventual place on the faculty at the Berklee College of Music. She was the first woman in history to earn a Grammy nomination for Producer of the Year with no male collaborators. The BMI Pop Award winner has a total of seven Grammy nominations, and continues to write and release new music. Her most recent album is American Quilt.
SUMMARY:Our guest is Richard Thompson, a three-time Grammy nominee who has earned lifetime achievement honors from the Americana Music Association and the BBC Awards. Named one of the top 20 guitarists of all time by Rolling Stone magazine, Thompson is a highly revered musician and songwriter whose music has been covered by Elvis Costello, Robert Plant, REM, Emmylou Harris, and many others. Algonquin Books recently released the paperback version of Richard's memoir Beeswing: Losing My Way and Finding My Voice, 1967-1975. PART ONE:Paul and Scott talk about which music books they love, and one that Scott really hates. PART TWO:The guys chat about their friends at Pearl Snap Studios.PART THREE:Our in-depth conversation with Richard Thompson.ABOUT RICHARD THOMPSON:Our guest on this episode of Songcraft is three-time Grammy nominee and Ivor Novello award winner Richard Thompson. Named as one of the top 20 guitarists of all time by Rolling Stone magazine, Thompson began his career as one of the architects of the British Folk Rock movement with his band Fairport Convention in the late 1960s. The 1970s and early ‘80s brought a series of critically-acclaimed duo albums by Richard and his then-wife Linda Thompson. Two of those releases—I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight and Shoot Out the Lights—were named among Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Returning to a solo career after the musical and marital partnership concluded, Thompson has released more than 20 solo studio albums and film soundtracks, and has earned lifetime achievement honors from the Americana Music Association and the BBC Awards. He was bestowed with an Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace, and his song “1952 Vincent Black Lightning” was named by Time magazine on its list of the 100 Greatest Songs Since 1923.” As influential a songwriter as he is a guitarist, Richard's music has been covered by Elvis Costello, Robert Plant, Don Henley, REM, Sleater-Kenny, David Byrne, Linda Ronstadt, The Five Blind Boys of Alabama, Emmylou Harris, Bonnie Raitt, Los Lobos, The Del McCoury Band, David Gilmour, Alison Krauss, Patty Loveless, Shawn Colvin & Loudon Wainwright III, among others. Algonquin Books recently released the paperback version of Richard's memoir Beeswing: Losing My Way and Finding My Voice, 1967-1975.
SUMMARYOur guest is critically-acclaimed singer/songwriter Paul Thorn, who has carved out an independent career from his home base in Tupelo, Mississippi, that has earned him legions of dedicated fans. His latest release is a highly personal album titled Never Too Late to Call. PART ONEPaul and Scott chat about the Grammy Awards, somehow find a way to make it all about them, and figure out that being a guest on Songcraft is a great way to get a Grammy nomination. PART TWOOur in-depth conversation with Paul ThornABOUT PAUL THORNTupelo, Mississippi, native Paul Thorn started out as a professional boxer before being discovered by Miles Copeland and signing a recording contract with A&M Records. Thorn eventually struck out on his own and formed the independent Perpetual Obscurity Records with manager and songwriting partner Billy Maddox. They've gone on to release nine studio albums, four of which have hit the Billboard charts. All Music writes that Thorn's catalog has “balanced blues, rock, gospel, country, and soul in a singular strain of Americana with songs that embrace the human condition with their humor, irony, pathos, tenderness, heartbreak, grief, anger, and joy.” Though his songs have been recorded by Shenandoah, Tanya Tucker, Toby Keith, Sawyer Brown, Kim Richey, Billy Ray Cyrus, Jerry Jeff Walker, Diane Schuur, and others, nobody delivers a Paul Thorn song with the same touch as the man himself. From “It's a Great Day to Whup Somebody's Ass” to “Pimps & Preachers” to “I Don't Like Half the Folks I Love” to “Mission Temple Fireworks Stand,” Paul's diverse catalog has built a dedicated audience who love his unique sense of the craft and his mesmerizing skills as a performer. His latest album, produced by Matt Ross-Spang in Memphis, is Never Too Late to Call.
PART ONE:Paul and Scott talk about Pearl Snap Studios, contrabassoons, penny whistles, and bagpipes. PART TWO:The guys remember Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins, who recently passed away, chat about Taylor's previous gig playing for Alanis Morissette, and talk about why Debbie Gibson deserves serious respect. PART THREE:Our in-depth conversation with Debbie GibsonABOUT DEBBIE GIBSON:You may know Debbie Gibson for her late 1980s hit pop singles “Only in My Dreams,” “Shake Your Love,” “Out of the Blue,” and the chart-toppers “Foolish Beat” and “Lost in Your Eyes.” What you might not realize is that Debbie wrote all those hits completely solo while still a teenager. At the age of 16 she became the youngest artist ever to have written, produced, and performed a #1 single on the Billboard charts. She once shared the ASCAP Songwriter of the Year honor with Bruce Springsteen, the same year she was nominated for Best Pop Female Vocalist by the American Music Awards and Favorite Female Music Performer by the People's Choice Awards. Now more than 35 years into her career, Debbie has sold over 16 million records worldwide, and has released 10 studio albums. Her most recent, The Body Remembers, was released last August, and is her first US studio album in 20 years to feature all original songs, including a new duet version of “Lost in Your Eyes” with Joey McIntyre of New Kids on the Block. Though she was named one of Billboard magazine's Top 60 Female Artists of All Time, Debbie has also found success in musical theater, starring in Les Miserables and Cabaret on Broadway, and in the London West End production of Grease, among more than a dozen other productions. Never a pre-packaged pop invention of record label executives, Debbie was a musical prodigy who has continued to make her mark as a singer, songwriter, producer, musician, actor, and entrepreneur.
SUMMARY:Our guest is Jerry Cantrell, the founder, lead guitarist, co-lead vocalist, and primary songwriter of Alice in Chains. The nine-time Grammy nominee has written more than 20 Top 10 hits on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart, has sold more than 30 million albums worldwide, and was named one of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” by Guitar World magazine. His latest solo release is the critically-acclaimed Brighten. PART ONE:Paul and Scott chat about their high school years, the Seattle explosion, Chuck Klosterman's new book, and why certain bands from the much-hyped grunge movement evolved and survived when others burned out. PART TWO:Our in-depth interview with Jerry CantrellABOUT JERRY CANTRELL:Nine-time Grammy nominee Jerry Cantrell is best known as the founder, lead guitarist, co-lead vocalist, and primary songwriter of the hard rock band Alice in Chains. Signing with Columbia Records in 1989, the Seattle-based band got lumped into the grunge explosion of the early 1990s when Cantrell-penned classics such as “Man in the Box,” ”Would?,” “Rooster,” and “Down in a Hole,” took over MTV and Billboard's Mainstream Rock chart. But Alice in Chains was always about more than Seattle hysteria. By the middle of the decade they'd released three multiplatinum selling studio albums—Facelift, Dirt, and the self-titled Alice in Chains—as well as three EPs, including Jar of Flies, which went triple platinum and became the first EP in history to top the Billboard 200. A string of Top 10 singles, including “No Excuses,” “I Stay Away,” “Grind,” “Heaven Beside You,” and “Again” established the band as rock radio mainstays. Plagued by struggles with addiction, Alice in Chains took a hiatus from live performances before regrouping in the spring of 1996 for an appearance on MTV Unplugged. The subsequent album hit the Top 5 on the Billboard 200 and was certified Platinum. That same year the band found themselves on another extended hiatus, leading to the release of Cantrell's debut solo album, Boggy Depot, in 1998. The death of Alice in Chains singer Layne Staley in 2002 could have meant the end of the band, but they eventually regrouped and released the Gold-selling Black Gives Way to Blue in 2009, and the follow-up album, The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here. Both releases hit the Top 5. Alice in Chains has continued to release new music as recently as 2018's Rainier Fog album, and the band has now sold more than 30 million records worldwide. In addition to his first solo release, Cantrell put out the album Degradation Trip Volumes 1 & 2 in 2002. His most recent release, the critically-acclaimed Brighten, is his first solo record in almost two decades. Named among Guitar World magazine's “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time,” Jerry is also a formidable songwriter. More than 20 of his compositions, both with Alice in Chains and as a solo artist, have hit the Top 10 on the Billboard rock chart.
SUMMARY:Our guest on this episode is Roland Orzabal of Tears for Fears. Known for such classics as “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” “Shout,” “Head Over Heels,” “Mad World,” and “Sowing the Seeds of Love,” the group has a brand new album, The Tipping Point, and is embarking on a major world tour. PART ONE:Scott and Paul read listener emails and set the record straight on their opinion of the moon landing.PART TWO:Our in-depth conversation with Roland Orzabal.ABOUT ROLAND ORZABAL AND TEARS FOR FEARS:Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith formed Tears for Fears in Bath, England, in 1981 and have gone on to sell 30 million albums worldwide. Their major breakthrough in the UK came in 1982 with the Top 5 single “Mad World” and the subsequent platinum-selling album The Hurting. They gained major steam in the US with their sophomore album Songs From the Big Chair, which included the hit singles “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” “Shout,” and “Head Over Heels.” Featured in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, Songs From the Big Chair reached #1 and was certified five times Platinum by the RIAA. Tears for Fears' follow-up single “Sowing the Seeds of Love” was another massive hit, but Curt departed the group not long after. Following a couple of albums with Orzabal at the helm, the duo reunited for the Everybody Loves a Happy Ending album in 2004. Now, after a long wait of 17 years, Roland and Curt have just released their seventh studio album The Tipping Point, and are embarking on a major tour. Even as they bring us new music, their legacy is well-established as one of the most unique and influential British groups to emerge in the last few decades. Their songs have been covered or sampled by Gary Jules, Adam Lambert, Lorde, Kanye West, Drake, and many others. And, in 2021, the band was honored with the Outstanding Song Collection honor at the Ivor Novello Awards in London.
SUMMARY:Our guest is nine-time Grammy nominee and two-time winner Janis Ian, who is best known for her classics “Society's Child” and “At Seventeen,” both of which were inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. She joins us to chat about her long career and her latest studio album, The Light at the End of the Line.PART ONE:Scott and Paul talk about "We Don't Talk About Bruno" and the changing definition of how something becomes a hit. PART TWO:Our in-depth conversation with Janis IanABOUT JANIS IAN:Though best known for the folk-tinged classic “At Seventeen,” Janis Ian is an artist whose musical creativity crosses several genres. The nine-time Grammy nominee and two-time winner first gained national attention at the age of 15 when her self-penned “Society's Child” became a Top 20 Billboard pop hit in 1966. Produced by Shadow Morton, who had built a reputation as the producer of radio friendly girl groups like The Shangri-Las, the song took a new direction and tackled the considerably heavier and controversial topic of interracial romance. It was banned from radio and Janis was targeted with death threats.After several albums for the Verve and Capitol labels, Janis signed with Columbia in the mid-1970s and found her greatest commercial success with the album Between the Lines. In addition to the Top 20 Adult Contemporary hit “In the Winter,” the album featured the chart-topping “At Seventeen.” Janis performed both songs as the musical guest on the very first episode of Saturday Night Live. On the strength of that LP she was nominated for Grammy awards for Song of the Year, Record of the Year, Album of the Year, and Best Pop Vocal Performance, the latter of which she won. Both “Society's Child” and “At Seventeen” have since been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Other classics from the Janis Ian songbook include “Jesse,” which was a hit for Roberta Flack, and “Stars,” which has been recorded by Nina Simone, Cher, Shirley Basse, and Joan Baez. A truly international artist, Janis's “Love is Blind” reached #1 in Japan, while “Fly Too High” topped the charts in South Africa and reached the Top 10 in Australia and the Netherlands. In the mid-1990s Janis launched her own label, Rude Girl Records. Her most recent release, The Light at the End of the Line, is Janis's first album of new material in 15 years. She has announced it will be her final solo studio album.
SUMMARY:Our guest on this episode of Songcraft is Natalie Hemby, a six-time Grammy nominee and two-time winner who has earned five CMA Song of the Year nominations and was named Music Row magazine's 2021 Female Songwriter of the Year. Her songs have been recorded by Kacey Musgraves, Alicia Keys, Lady Gaga, Maren Morris, Ed Sheeran, Sheryl Crow, Dierks Bentley, Eli Young Band, Kelly Clarkson, Chris Isaak, Blake Shelton, Lee Ann Womack, and many others. We last spoke with Natalie in 2017, but we catch up with her today to find out more about her life as a behind the scenes songwriter, her work with supergroup The Highwomen, and her critically-acclaimed solo album Pins and Needles. PART ONE - 2:49Scott and Paul chat about Pearl Snap Studios and set the stage for this very special "old friends" episode.PART TWO - 6:02They guys welcome longtime friend and fellow music geek David Manning to argue about beloved songs that they actually hate. PART THREE - 39:20Our in-depth conversation with Natalie HembyABOUT NATALIE HEMBY:When we first spoke with Natalie Hemby in 2017 she'd already racked up three CMA Song of the Year nominations and written a half dozen #1 singles, including “Pontoon” and “Tornado” by Little Big Town, “Downtown” by Lady A, “You Look Like I Need a Drink” by Justin Moore, and Miranda Lambert's “White Liar” and “Automatic,” the latter of which was named ACM Song of the Year and snagged Natalie her first Grammy nomination for Best Country Song. In the five years since then, her songwriting star has continued to rise. She co-wrote three songs on Kacey Musgraves' Golden Hour, which won the Grammy for Album of the Year—across all categories—and earned Natalie a CMA Song of the Year nomination for “Rainbow.” Natalie co-wrote two songs with Lady Gaga for the soundtrack to A Star is Born, including Song of the Year Grammy nominee “Always Remember Us This Way” and the Grammy winner for Best Song Written for Visual Media, “I'll Never Love Again.” She has scored additional #1 hits with Jon Pardi's “Heartache Medication,” as well as Miranda Lambert's “Bluebird,” which was nominated for both CMA and ACM Song of the Year, and the Best Country Song Grammy. Natalie beat herself in that Grammy category when she won the Best Country Song honors for “Crowded Table,” which she wrote with Lori McKenna and Brandi Carlile. The song was recorded by the supergroup The Highwomen, of which Natalie is a member alongside Carlile, Marren Morris, and Amanda Shires. “Crowded Table” was also named Song of the Year by the Americana Music Association, while The Highwomen won Americana Album of the Year and Duo or Group of the Year. Recent pop cuts, including Kelly Clarkson's “I Dare You” and Ed Sheeran's “Love in Slow Motion,” illustrate Natalie's versatility and underscore why she was named Music Row magazine's 2021 Female Songwriter of the Year. In addition to her work with The Highwomen, Natalie's been flexing her considerable artist muscles recently with the release of her album Pins and Needles, which PopMatters calls “a phenomenal album from an artist coming into full possession of her gifts.”