When you speak to as many musicians as I do – arriving at a Top Ten is not easy.
There are so many tales of triumph, overcoming obstacles and just pure talent that place musicians on a large or not-so-large stage. There is no ‘best of’ interviews. The list that follows are the ones that stood out in one way or another for various reasons.
Without further ado – here are The Top Ten Interviews of 2019 in no particular order.
The back up singer for The Rolling Stones released a solo album with his own take on Stones’tunes. A spoken word disc with the best rhythms and sounds from the likes of Steve Jordan on drums and Darryl Jones on Bass. A ‘backstage pass’ to Mick Jagger’s philosophical lyrics.
Murray is a Canadian icon. Anyone above the age of forty in Canada – aware of the man’s importance in Canadian music history. Eighteen albums and eleven Juno Awards is an indication yet like most artists from a different era, Murray falls victim to radio not willing to play new tunes from old artists. Murray is still pumping out the tunes and touring with fantastic songwriting skills. Skills – most aspire to and few reach.
David Clayton – Thomas
It is not often an opportunity arises to speak with someone who was on stage at Woodstock. It is also extremely rare to speak with someone who was in jail for four years and learned to play the guitar. David was the lead singer in Blood, Sweat and Tears and played with members of The Band, John Lee Hooker and Bob Dylan to name a few. A walking, talking history of music and – a Canadian treasure. Still pumping out great albums.
April Wine celebrated their fifty year anniversary in 2019 and Brian has been their guitar player since 1978. Brian joined shortly after April Wine opened for The Rolling Stones in Toronto at the El Mocambo nightclub. He was a huge part in the band’s meteoric rise in 1983 with the album Nature of The Beast. April Wine is stilling selling out live shows across North America.
Garland Jeffreys announced his retirement from touring in 2019. One of the most underrated songwriters of all time and one of the first artists to write lyrics about racism in America which was played in the mainstream. Best friends with Lou Reed and has performed or collaborated with the likes of Bob Marley and Bruce Springsteen. A definite candidate for The Rock n Roll Hall of Fame. How many artists have a hand written note from John Lennon wishing them luck?
Not many people born in 1975 or earlier did not own a K-Tel Record. Philip Kives was the brain behind taking the top-hits of the day and selling them as compilation albums. Records such as Goofy Greats and Sound Explosion sold millions world wide and gave the opportunity for one hit wonders to make some money. My Chat with Samantha Kives – the daughter of Philip and current CEO of K-Tel Records was a history lesson in music.
The man engineered The Beatles’ Abbey Road, and Let It Be. Not to mention – Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of The Moon. Parson’s has also has a pretty decent music career as a solo artist with a new album called The Secret released in 2019. Alan also released a DVD teaching the art of musical production in the studio to combat what he fears is a dying art-form. That DVD has been implemented in Universities around the world as an essential learning tool for sound recording. Not bad eh?
Too few people in this world never realize their dreams. Blueberry was not allowed to listen to mainstream radio or music as a kid. No Rock n Roll. He used to sneak around under the covers and during that process started to forge the ideas for his own songs in his head. Fast forward thirty -odd years, Danny BlueBerry has released an album and is playing that music live. He also operates a handcrafted guitar making company. The very music and instruments which were off limits to him for so many years is making so many happy now. Especially Danny.
Jeff had the difficult task of replacing an original member of The Dave Mathews Band. LeRoi Holloway Moore was so popular and many fans did not think anyone could or should replace LeRoi. Not only has Jeff managed to change people’s ideas – he continues his job as a music educator and has released many albums under his own name. Most recently – arranging and producing a homage to Miles Davis with Miles’ original drummer.
Andy’s song Sugar, Sugar turned fifty this year. 2019 also saw Andy inducted onto Canada’s Walk of Fame. The man had nine singles in the Top Forty and recently released his best album. The former Montrealer has returned to Montreal for the past six years to raise money for The Starlight Children’s Foundation with his Andy Kim Christmas show. A true Canadian. Humble and self effacing. A pleasure to speak with.