Ann Wilson is one of the premier hard-rock vocalists of all time. Smashing boundaries with longstanding Seattle outfit Heart, she’s enjoyed a decades-long career resulting in more than 35 million albums sold and an induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Wilson recorded much of her new solo album, Fierce Bliss, at the legendary Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Sheffield, Alabama, and enlisted the company of a trio of guitar powerhouses for good measure: co-producer Tom Bukovac, Warren Haynes and Kenny Wayne Shepherd.
Haynes, who last worked with Wilson on her Immortal solo release, returns for Fierce Bliss, bringing along Gov’t Mule for a pair of original songs: Gladiator and Angel’s Blues.
Shepherd accompanies Wilson on two covers: a monstrous version of the Robin Trower classic, Bridge of Sighs, and an ambitious take on the Eurythmics’ hit, Missionary Man, the latter of which has Wilson backed by a 40-person gospel choir.
An ethereal duet version of Queen classic Love of My Life with Vince Gill is also featured on the album, as well as fantasy art by Roger Dean, renowned for his work designing Yes’s sleeve artwork.
We spoke with Ann Wilson about Fierce Bliss, working with Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Warren Haynes and her favorite memories of Heart.
Was it your desire to create a guitar-driven album?
“Yeah, that’s what I’m comfortable with and what speaks to me. I was blessed to get into the company of Tom Bukovac, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Warren Haynes. They’re great players who are also great humans. After we got vaccinated, we all put on masks and went to Muscle Shoals, where Tom had put together this band with Tony Lucido on bass and Sean Lane on drums.”
Known for her catchy pop tunes with a tongue-in-cheek take on domestic life, singer-songwriter and actress Brooke Josephson is showin’ up for another round of infectiously honest and hook-laden material.
Josephson’s new EP, Showin’ Up, is the follow up to her acclaimed and female-empowered Sexy & Domesticated, and features introspective songs discussing the shifting energy and acceptance of who we are, the importance of the creative journey and making a difference, and the profoundness of lost relationship.
Self-produced by Josephson, Showin’ Up was mixed and mastered by Grammy winning engineer, Brendan Dekora (Paul McCartney, Foo Fighters, Anita Baker) and features musicians like guitarists Chris Nordlinger,Tim Pierce (Goo Goo Dolls, Crowded House, Phil Collins) and drummer Seth Rausch (Keith Urban, Sheryl Crow, Little Big Town). The EP also includes Josephson’s spin on the Bonnie Raitt classic, “Love Me Like A Man,” and features a radio single as well as an extended jam.
I recently spoke with Josephson about the new EP and more in this exclusive new interview.
How would you describe Showin’ Up in terms of its sound, and maybe how it relates to some of your previous work?
Josephson: I really leaned in with guitars on this one with Chris Nordlinger. When I think about the progression, both artistically and in my life, there’s been a lot of growth. This one definitely has more of a grounded, rock and roll sound.
What was the writing process like?
Josephson:I actually wrote all of the songs before the pandemic and was performing them live for about six months. It started with lyrics and then I put the music down in my home studio, gave it to my band, and the songs grew every time we played them live. Then we had our opening show at The Whisky in January of 2020 and everything came to a halt. I’ve been sitting with these songs for a bit, and they’ve taken on a whole new meaning from when they were first inspired.
Let’s discuss a few of the tracks, starting with “Rainbow.” What can you tell me about it?
Josephson: “Rainbow” was another one of those songs that was inspired by my daughter. I had picked her up from school one day and she seemed really upset. She put a smile on her face, but I could tell she wasn’t ok. It wasn’t until bedtime that she started crying and said that one of her closest friends had told her to find new friends. It was heartbreaking. So I told her the story of my brother who had a similar issue growing up. Then I remembered that Harry Chapin song, “Flowers Are Red,” and about owning your own color and what makes us special and unique. When she went to sleep I went in and started writing. I wrote it from that perspective and originally planned to release it in 2020. But then the George Floyd trial and Black Lives Matter happened. It was a dark time but there’s been a shift of energy, so when the single finally come out people were ready for something cathartic and bright. It’s a mindful awareness of the differences between us and the humanity that bonds us.
Josephson: I was at a songwriting conference and one of the inspirations was for us to think about writing a song to open our shows with. I thought about what makes doing a live show or going to a show so special, and it’s really all in the power of showin’ up. Not just the audience coming to be present but also as an artist. From the time you pick up your instrument for the first time or start wiring. Having to show up for yourself even when no one else is watching. It leads to the moment when everyone can come together. It’s another song that took on new meaning when I watched the heroes of the pandemic and the essential workers showing up to save lives while we were all stuck at home. It went from a performer’s point of view to something much bigger.
Josephson: That was inspired after my parents divorced after thirty-five years of marriage. Even though I was an adult, it affected me profoundly. My brother and a few close friends also went through divorces well. It’s a song about change but still wanting to hold on to what was. It was my way of writing a song for them.
What made you decide to do a cover of “Love Me Like A Man?”
Josephson: I’ve always been a fan of Bonnie Raitt. That song has so much grit and I’ve always performed it live. In my head I started hearing it with a different rhythm, sort of like the Nine Inch Nails song, “Closer.” We were having so much fun with it in the studio that I just let it keep running. That’s why there’s a radio version and an extended version on the EP. It wasn’t ego driven, we were all just in the groove.
Are there any other projects you’re currently working on right now?
Josephson: In addition to being a mom I’ve been booking things around music and live shows, including acting opportunities that have been popping up. I’ll be in New York in March to film a thriller that centers around the murder of my character. I’ve also been doing the voice of a fairy in a Disney feature that I’ve recently recorded.
Was there something you learned about yourself during lockdown, or a philosophy you’ve taken away from not being able to do the things you normally would?
Josephson: I’ve really had to recognize my struggle with perfectionism, and I didn’t realize how hard I was on myself. I like being productive but also had to be sensitive with two kids taking school on Zoom and my husband, who was also working from home. I’ve been leaning into self-compassions and, in doing so, I have more compassion for others. That was a big takeaway for me.
Now that we’re starting to slowly come out of the pandemic what are you most looking forward to about the future?
Josephson:Collaborating. I still remember when I walked on set for the “Rainbow” music video and saw my band for the first time I was laughing and crying. We were all together making music in the same room again. I’d love to work with other artists, whether it’s writing with them or having other songwriters who are looking for an artist to record their song. I’m really looking forward to collaborating and just being with people.
With a career that spans five decades and includes upwards of one-hundred-million in record sales, multiple Grammy and Brit award nominations as well as the grit and ubiquitous influence of her vocal on songs like “It’s A Heartache,” “Total Eclipse of The Heart,” and “Holding Out For A Hero,” Bonnie Tyler has secured her place as one of the biggest artists in music history.
Now, the indomitable Welsh songstress is set to release her brand-new studio album, The Best is Yet To Come. A twelve-song collection that reunites Tyler with producer David Mackay and features songs from heavyweight writers like Steve Womack and Desmond Child.
Notable songs from the album including “When The Lights Go Down” and “Dreams Are Not Enough,” conjure up memories of a simpler time, while tracks like “Stronger Than A Man” and “Call Me Thunder,” are infectious female-empowering anthems. The album also features Tyler’s infectious takes on Donovan’s “Catch The Wind” and 10cc’s “I’m Not In Love.”
The Best Is Yet To Come can easily be described as one of Tyler’s best. An uplifting, musical jaunt that takes her unique sound, passion and energy and moves it well into the 21st century.
I recently spoke with Bonnie Tyler about The Best Is Yet To Come and more in this exclusive new interview.
How would you describe the new album in terms of its sound and maybe how it relates to some of your previous work?
Bonnie Tyler:It’s uplifting, energetic and, in many ways, feels like a young album. I had such a joy making it and working with David Mackay again. He’s the guy who started off my career in the beginning with “It’s A Heartache” back in 1978. The songwriters I’ve got, like Steve Womack and Desmond Child, are amazing. Steve’s tracks are very much in the vein of Bruce Springsteen and Rod Stewart. I’ve also got backing vocals by Miriam Stockley. Her credits for other artists is huge. It’s a great complement to have her on the album.
What can you tell me about the first single, “When The Lights Go Down?”
I love that song. Just the idea of being on the back porch with the radio on and dancing real slow. It keeps the spirits high and makes me think of things my mother and father had to go through when they were younger. They had a hard time but it’s things like this that pull you together in so many ways.
Read the rest of my
Interview with Bonnie Tyler by Clicking Here.
Songwriter Holly Knight has been the vital force behind the sound of some of rock’s most powerful artists. Her resume includes monster hits by Tina Turner (“Better Be Good To Me,” “The Best”), Pat Benatar (“Love Is A Battlefield”), Patty Smyth (“The Warrior”), John Waite (“Change”), Aerosmith (“Rag Doll”), Heart (“Never”) and Rod Stewart (“Love Touch”).
Knight is one of only a handful of women to be inducted into the coveted Songwriters Hall of Fame, and her songwriting has earned numerous awards, including three Grammys and thirteen ASCAP Awards. The songs she’s written and co-written have appeared on records that total more than 300 million in sales.
Now this legendary artist is sharing her secrets in a special two-part, virtual Rock & Roll Fantasy Camp Master Class. In these exclusive sessions, you’ll have the chance to learn and interact with Knight as she shares her experiences writing for some of the biggest names in music. You’ll learn the secrets behind her craft as well as engage in songwriting exercises and learn the skills to creating a demo. Because the class is limited to twenty students, the experience will be even more intimate.
Part One will be Saturday, July 11 at 8 p.m. ET Part Two will be Sunday, July 12 at 4 p.m. ET
Attendees will receive a Zoom link to the online sessions two days before class.
I recently spoke with Holly Knight about her upcoming two-part Rock & Roll Fantasy Camp Master Class and more in this new interview.
What can fans expect from your Rock & Roll Fantasy Camp Master Class?
Holly Knight: This is a two-part masterclass. The first session will cover my career, working with different artists like Pat Benatar and Tina Turner as well as the inspiration behind writing songs and lyrics. The second session will be an interactive songwriting workshop that will cover songwriting exercises and a basic overview of how to create a demo.
What’s the best bit of advice you can give to an aspiring songwriter?
HK: Write and keep on writing, and write because you have to. Take your time and don’t put anything out that you’ll go back later and feel embarrassed about. Have a strong constitution and expect to hear a lot of no’s before you hear a lot of yes. Always remember that it’s just their opinion. It doesn’t mean that it’s right. Believe in yourself because when it comes to art there’s no right or wrong.
Was a career in music something you always envisioned for yourself?
HK: Oh yeah. I started playing piano on a serious level when I was four and studied classical for ten years. My mother was grooming me to be a concert pianist but I was more interested in taking my skills and being in a rock band. Growing up it was always my dream to have the privilege of being in a band and making your own music and records. I didn’t want to be rich and famous. I just wanted to be in that private club of having respect among your peers and interacting and playing with them. I never knew I would do that through songwriting.
What was the catalyst that made you want to focus more on songwriting?
HK: I had always dabbled in songwriting, but it wasn’t until my first band, Spider, had signed a record deal with Mike Chapman that I started taking it more seriously. The songs I wrote for the band during that time were turned in to the label along with everyone else’s, but we made sure to not tell them who wrote which song. That way there would be no bias. What happened was they would always pick my songs as the singles, which created a lot of tension within the band. I eventually decided to leave, but I still wanted to continue working with Mike. He and I had already written our first song together for the second Spider record, but months later the song wound up on Tina Turner’s album, Private Dancer [“Better Be Good To Me”]. That kicked things off. I moved to California to do more songwriting with him and other writers. There was something magical with the way it all lined up.
How does your writing process usually begin?
HK: Titles. For me, a really good title is the roadmap. Once I have the title I’ll pick up an instrument and start playing. If it’s a guitar it might be something like “Better Be Good To Me,” or “Obsession.” If it’s piano it might be something like “The Best.” Piano allows you to concentrate more on the melodies and chords.
Of all the highlights of your career what stands out to you as most memorable.
HK: I’ve worked with so many amazing people so there are so many moments. The evening of my induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame was certainly one of them. That year was rocking because you had Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Lou Gramm and Mick Jones. Elton John and Bernie Taupin were also there and I was the only woman. That was memorable for sure. I also remember when I met Tina [Turner] while working with her for the second Mad Max movie. I flew to Europe to meet with her and afterwards she invited to go on tour with her. Getting to sit on a road case on the side of the stage watching her do my song was definitely a highlight.
For more information on Holly Knight’s Two-Part Rock & Roll Fantasy Camp Songwriting Master Class Click Here.
During her afternoon tea party, a little girl — played by newcomer, Kennedy Barrie, loses her temper and things get…well, out of control.
The premise for award-winning writer/director Tara Price’sbloody new short comedy, “Tea Time,” can perhaps best be described as “Calvin and Hobbes meets Scarface.” A twisted mixture of childhood imagination and real-life consequence.
Ubiquitous in her storytelling, Price has an innate ability to weave a web of thrills and suspense while bringing out the best in her cast. No better example of this exists than the performance she yields from three-year-old Barrie, who is both insatiably cute and diabolically mean. Barrie’s real-life brother, Tripp, also appears in the film, giving even more visual impact to a short that already combines the best elements of comedy, horror and thrills.
Like her previous short film, “Earworm,” which featured Ernest Lee Thomas [“What’s Happening”], Price enlists the help of another beloved, multi-generational artist by involving wrestling legend Rob Van Dam to participate in a surprise twist.
“Tea Time” is already receiving buzz on the festival circuit, including being selected in the coveted 2020 Women In Comedy Festival presented by HBO. Proving that even though it’s only her sophomore directed film, Price’s star power continues to rise.
I recently spoke with Tara Price about “Tea Time” and more in this exclusive new interview.
What was the inspiration behind “Tea Time?”
Tara Price: I had been working on an outline for a feature about a child whose toys come to life in her dreams and wound up borrowing the idea to make something that was much more simple and fun. The overall idea of toys being alive in a child’s imagination isn’t new. I just ran with it in a weird direction. My one-sheet when I was seeking funding for “Tea Time” described it as “Calvin and Hobbes meets Scarface,” which amused me to pieces and I’ve since been told sums it up perfectly.
What’s your writing process like?
TP: When it comes to short films I have to know how it’s going to start and end before I even start fleshing out the idea. The ending doesn’t have to be tied up in a neat little bow but it has to have some kind of conclusion. I never write with a time frame in mind. I just want to write the idea and keep it interesting. Generally, you can estimate how many minutes the finished film will be based on the number of pages you write.
How did you discover Kennedy Barrie?
TP: Kennedy’s mom was actually a co-worker of mine. She’d recently moved to L.A. and had invited my husband and I to a housewarming party. When we arrived Kennedy answered the door all by herself, as if she were hosting the party. She gave us a tour of the home and by the end of the night she and her brother Tripp, who also appears in the film, were holding court. I was immediately taken with the dynamic between the two of them because that’s what I had written. I remember as we were leaving my husband turned to me and said, “I know what you’re thinking.” I laughed and said, “Is it that obvious?” The next day I brought the idea up to my co-worker and asked if she’d be ok with having her kids in the film. Luckily for me, it all worked out.
Emma Taylor has never been one to follow formulaic trends when it comes to her craft. Although the L.A.-based songwriter’s haunting and ethereal music is drawn from personal inpsiration, it’s the conversational passion in her lyrics that truly defines her as an artist.
There’s a timeless curiosity about Taylor’s sound that not only resonates with the listener but also hearkens to the mid-70s singer-songwriter world of artists like Joni Mitchell, Carole King and James Taylor.
In her new single, “Made Your Bed,” Taylor showcases a new perspective in poetic subject matter. Where previous songs had discussed such topics as being stuck in pongnant, unhappy relationships, we now find the songstress learning to stand up for herself and not settling for anything less. Taylor’s infectious, evocative vocal and uniquely powerful production is a gentle reminder that true artistry still exists in a pablum-fueled world of status quo.
I recently spoke with Emma Taylor about “Made Your Bed” and more in this exclusive new interview.
The first thing I have to ask is how have you been dealing with the quarantine we all find ourselves in?
Emma Taylor:It’s definitely affected me. It’s crazy to not have the inspiration from social interaction but, right now, it’s a lifestyle change we all have to make. I do miss regular day to day things and conversations we all take for granted. As far as performing goes I’m not sure when that will happen again but when it does, it will most likely be different.
Can you give me a little backstory on your new track, “Made Your Bed?”
ET: Some of my previous songs have had an underlying theme of being stuck in a relationship. For this one I really wanted to flip the table and say, “Hey. You’re screwing up and I’m not going to allow it anymore.” It’s a song about taking responsibility for your actions and not letting someone you love get away with it.
In addition to wowing fans around the world as Alice Cooper’s touring guitarist and gracing the cover of Guitar World as one of the guitarists of the decade, Nita Strauss is the first female to have her own signature model Ibanez (the JIVA), including two new models that were unveiled earlier this year.
Her monstrous 2018 debut solo album, Controlled Chaos debuted at #1 on Billboards Top New Artists chart and her guitar clinics are sought out by fans and seasoned players alike.
Now the LA-based guitarist is taking her love of teaching to the next level by launching Rock Guitar Fundamentals, a three-module, online teaching program that’s suitable for guitarists of all levels.
Module One is designed for the novice player and goes over the anatomy of the guitar, including all the basics, including how to correctly hold the pick, fret notes, tuning and more.
Module Two is highly focused on technique and modal theory, approached from a rock player’s perspective to be easily understandable for the modern musician.
Module Three is where you’ll uncover Strauss’ secrets of sweep picking, legato, whammy bar tricks, and more.
Whether you’re picking up the guitar for the very first time of you’re an advanced player who wants to learn some shred tips and tricks, aspiring learners can jump in wherever their skill level is. Better still, purchasing the course gives users lifetime access to all future course updates.
In addition to the new course, Strauss is also hard at work on the follow-up to Controlled Chaos. In this new interview, Guitar World got the lowdown on Rock Guitar Fundamentals and much more.
What was the genesis behind Rock Guitar Fundamentals?
“I love doing my clinics and have had so many requests for lessons via Skype and in person. There was no way to fit it all into my schedule but I thought how cool it would be to put something together that took all or the knowledge I’ve accumulated over the years playing guitar and putting it into the same lesson format I learned from.”
What’s do you find most rewarding about teaching?
“For me, the most rewarding thing is being able to pass along the knowledge and skills that I’ve learned. If you’re someone who has a skill or something you can pass along, I feel it’s incumbent on you to pass it to the next generation so those skills and that knowledge can live on.”
Read the rest of my
Interview with Nita Strauss by Clicking Here.
Legendary Runaways vocalist Cherie Currie describes her new album, Blvds of Splendor, as the record she wish she’d made when she was signed to Capitol Records in the early 1980’s, and for good reason. The album, nearly ten years in the making and produced by veteran drummer/author/ entrepreneur Matt Sorum (The Cult, Velvet Revolver, ex-Guns N’ Roses), is a pure cornucopia of musical goodness spotlighting Currie’s monstrous vocal prowess.
From the album’s high-energy opening track, “Mr. X,” a track originally slated for Velvet Revolver and featuring Slash and Duff McKagan, to the more haunting sounds of “Blvds of Splendor,” a song with a subtle vibe written as a duet and performed with Billy Corgan [Smashing Pumpkins]. Other tracks from the album, like the groove-ridden “Black Magic,” the bluesey “Roxy Roller,” and the apropos “Force To Be Reckoned With,” also demand repeated listenings.
One of the biggest highlights of Blvds of Splendor has got to be the modern remake of The Runaways hit, “Queens of Noise,” where Currie is joined on vocals by Brody Dalle, The Veronicas and Juliette Lewis. Drummer Matt Sorum also pays homage to the band’s late member, Sandy West, by contributing a masterful performance in West’s signature style.
Runaways fans have waited a long time to hear this rock icon do what she does best and will certainly find a lot to like with Blvds Of Splendor. But more importantly, the new album proves that forty-five years after she became the lead singer of the all-female teenage rock band, Currie is still at the top of her game.
I recently spoke with Cherie Currie and Matt Sorum about the new album and much more in this exclusive new interview.
This album has been many years in the making. Can you tell me a little bit about the journey of Blvds of Splendor?
Cherie Currie: About ten years ago Matt reached out about having me do some backgrounds on a project he was working on. I was busy at the time with the movie [“The Runaways”] but later reached out to him about putting together a band when I was opening for Joan [Jett] at the Pacific Amphitheatre. Matt told me he would do it and it was so well received that we wound up getting offered a contract by Joan’s record company. Over the years we thought about recording and releasing the album but something always came up. Now is the perfect time. This is the record I’ve always wanted to make.
Read the rest of my
Interview with Cherie Currie & Matt Sorum Here.
AXS TV’s popular music countdown series, “The Top Ten Revealed,” returns for an amazing 12-episode third season, which premieres on Sunday, April 19 at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT.
The new season, executive produced and hosted by Katie Daryl, begins with the best “Rockin’ ROCK Songs” and is highlighted by tracks from Def Leppard, Scorpions, Twisted Sister and more. Returning musical experts for season three include Sebastian Bach, Lita Ford, Dee Snider and Kevin Cronin, as well as newcomers Mark McGrath, Carnie Wilson and Puddle of Mudd frontman, Wes Scantlin.
Even better is that The Top Ten Revealed is expanding its musical pallete with a treasure trove of goodness filled with new genres along with more honest opinion, fun facts and behind the scenes stories that have made the series a fan favorite.
The Top Ten Revealed Season 3 Schedule:
April 19: Rockin’ ROCK Titles April 26: Epic Songs of ‘74 May 3: Rockin’ Siblings May 10: 80s Break Up Songs May 17: Epic Songs of ‘69 May 31: Songs Stuck at #2 June 7: Soul Songs of the 60s June 14: Yacht Rock June 21: MORE Hits That Were Covers June 28: 70s Folk Songs July 12: Epic Songs of ‘84 July 19: Going Crazy Songs
I recently spoke with Katie Daryl about the new season of “The Top Ten Revealed” and more in this exclusive new interview.
What can fans expect from the new season of “The Top Ten Revealed?”
Katie Daryl: This season is great because we’re introducing new experts like Mark McGrath, Carnie Wilson and Wes Scantlin from Puddle of Mudd and mixing them in with our classic rock favorites — Dee Snider, Sebastian Bach, Lita Ford and Kevin Cronin from REO Speedwagon. The new topics are also neat. We still have our traditional 70’s and classic rock, but we’re also dabbling into new topics that are genre specific. We’ve even got a Yacht Rock list. It’s very exciting.
What categorizes a song as “Yacht Rock?”
KD: It’s funny because a lot of our experts came into the room asking that same question. One of them said it best. It’s a bouncy song that feels like the rhythm of the ocean. Also, if the song is literally talking about sailing and yachts (ala Christopher Cross’ “Sailing”) then it probably made the cut.
Vulnerable, honest and transparent are three of the adjectives that best describe newcomer artist, Drea Jeann. The beautiful songstress, who writes through the lens of personal experience, has an emotionally deep level of maturity and etherealness in her sound that’s well beyond her years. It’s a sound defined from her years of musical theater as well as a hybrid cross between the styles of jazz, pop and r&b.
Whether it’s the haunting groove in the track, “Come Back To Me,” or the somberness of long-dinstance relationships in the song, “Faithfully,” Jeann not only gives listeners a glimpse into her life but empahtically shares her passion the best way that she can — through her music.
I recently spoke with Jeann about her music and more in this exclusive new interview.
To someone who might not be familiar, how would you describe your sound?
Drea Jeann: It’s a little hard to define. I started seriously writing last year with a producer and am still exploring the avenues that define my sound. I only like to write about things that I’ve experienced, so my songs are very authentic and personal. Vocally, I’ve had a lot of jazz training as well as r&b and pop.
What inspires you when you write and create?
DJ: The way that it usually works is that my producer will send me instrumental tracks. After I listen to them, I’ll figure out what I’m feeling and thinking about and willl come up with a melody or hook. Then I’ll start building lyrics around it and how it relates to my feelings or the experiences I’ve gone through. Other times I’ll already know what I want to write about. The it’s just a matter finding the right instrumental to portray it.