GORDON HASKELL

How has music inspired you?

I was first inspired by music at the age of 4 on my first visit to church where I heard of the beauty and love in the world, which up to that point had eluded me. This started me playing /fiddling on the piano arousing more interest until I joined my first group at the age of 14.

Your musical inspirations?

 Do you mean what songs ''came'' to me or who inspired me?-- I'll cover both answers--- Ray Charles and Nat King Cole inspired me . One expressed the pain I felt, one expressed the love I had inside me. From there I began to write but it was the ''It is and it isn't'' album (1972) that showed me that I was a channel for things I could barely understand. It took me many years to realise the meaning of that work. By 1988 I was tuned in and began to trust the process. All my work since then was done by being totally in tune with my maker and whenever I went out of tune I had writer's block. Negativity never works for me so I would never force out musical works that were in any way violent or aggressive. I see those emotions/songs as someone's neurosis, not their higher self at work, so I choose not to put that vibration out to the world as I find it depressing to be adding to the world's violence.

Favourite CDS, songs or musicians?

Stevie Wonder for all the above reasons. All his songs are totally in tune with a higher consciousness.

Michael Franks ditto.

Marvin Gaye ditto

James Taylor ditto

Boz Scaggs--- He is similar to me , having taken a long time to 'arrive' , and appreciating it all the more by travelling the road less travelled.

The Beatles-- They had it , and channelled it, but I am not sure if they knew it or not. But they definitely brought through ''All you need is Love'' and ''Let it Be'', and Lennon's ''Imagine''. Of them all George Harrison remained the most focused and aware.

There are tall stories, improbable sagas and unlikely tales. Then there is Gordon Haskell. The singer-songwriter's hit single 'How Wonderful You Are' has been one of the most delightful surprises of recent musical years. An effortless, jazzy ballad that oozes class from every note, the song's heart-warming message has struck a chord with a million listeners of all ages. Even before its official release, the song had surpassed The Beatles' 'Hey Jude' and Frank Sinatra's 'My Way' to become the most requested record ever aired on BBC Radio 2.

Now the single is followed by Harry's Bar, an album of rare and intimate beauty, characterised by Haskell's uplifting songwriting and evocative, grit-and-honey voice.

It has taken the world more than a little time to catch up with this talent of Gordon Haskell.

In another life, back in the 1960s, he jammed and recorded with Jimi Hendrix, in the 1970s he made best-selling albums with 'King Crimson' and recorded a solo album produced by Atlantic Records. Then his career went into a tailspin, which only serves to make his current success all the sweeter. "I wasn't ready before and if I'd made it back then I know I would have screwed up," he says philosophically. "There's a time for us all. And this is my time right now."

By the mid 60s, he was playing bass in 'Les Fleur De Lys' and recalls a session with the group for John Peel's 'Top Gear', on the same programme were Cream, Procul Harum and Free. When 'Les Fleur De Lys' broke up, there were brief flirtations with 'Cupid's Inspiration' and the 'Flowerpot Men'. Then at the height of the prog rock era, Fripp invited his old friend to replace Greg Lake as the singer in 'King Crimson'.

He recorded two hit albums with them, 1970's In The Wake Of Poseidon and Lizard the following year. But, although 'King Crimson' were one of the biggest groups in Britain at the time, a dissatisfied Haskell soon quit having discovered that his tastes and musical interests lay in a completely different direction.

More inspired by the likes of Ray Charles and Nat King Cole than 70s prog rock, in 1971 that direction lead him to an impromptu audition for Atlantic Records at London's Dorchester Hotel. From this he won himself a record deal, It Is And It Isn't was released in 1972 and has attained cult status as a sought-after collector's item.

By 1984, Haskell had decamped to Denmark where he survived by 'playing seven nights a week to drunks in bars'. He spent a decade there, performing every night making his voice 'stronger and deeper' and honing his songwriting skills, before returning home to England. On his return he teamed up with Ian Brown, owner of independent label Flying Sparks, and recorded 'How Wonderful You Are' in a little studio in Oxford.

The song, that went on to make Haskell a household name throughout the country, was recorded in one take with a small group of handpicked musicians . After the song was championed by Radio 2, he was signed to a long-term album deal. But instead of fretting about fortune and chasing celebrity, Haskell is still more concerned with perfecting his craft as a guitarist, singer and songwriter. "Look at someone like James Taylor, who just continues to get better and better," he says. In a world where instant gratification is now the expectation, Gordon Haskell is in for the long haul. He might have been doing it for more than 30 years. But he has only just started.

The new album ''The Lady wants to know'' is released on August 23rd on RandM Records. Produced by Hamish Stuart and engineered by John Gallen. The single ''The Lady wants to know'' is released on September 13th. It is a tribute to my favourite artist Michael Franks.

The rhythm section consists of Ralph Salmins on drums, Steve Pearce on Bass, Julian Jackson on harmonica, Peter Murray and Tony O Malley on keys, and Robbie McIntosh on guitar. It also features Nigel Hitchcock, Paul Yeung (Saxes), Bosco (Percussion), Neil Sidwell (Trombone), Paul Spong and Martin Shaw (Trumpet), Jim Mullen (Guitar) and Gavyn Wright (First Violin and Concertmaster).
www.gordonhaskell.com
Gordon Haskell shop

DENNIS LOCORRIERE

*How has music inspired you?

The moment I 'found' music, I knew it was something that was gonna be with me and in me for the rest of my life. As it turned out, it was, and is, the most important thing. It's not something I could ever explain. I don't think I'd even want to spend much time trying. It just makes me feel good. When I find new music that I really like, it lifts my whole day... week... month ! It also gives me a way to try and convey that feeling I love so much to others, through music of my own.

*Your musical inspirations?

My biggest musical inspiration, personally, was my mother. She wasn't a musician or a singer. She was a 'fan'. She loved music, particularly an expressive voice. Her enthusiasm made me 'listen' and taught me to appreciate.

My biggest professional influences would be, first, SAM COOKE, for opening my ears to what a truly great singer is and, secondly, THE BEATLES, for exciting me enough to want to try it myself.

*Your favorite CD’s, songs, or musicians?

My favourite CDs, artists and songs are too numerous to get into here.
I will say it again,tho...THE BEATLES ! Anything they did changed the way we looked at the world. People who have no idea who they were/are and couldn't name one of them or a single one of their songs, were affected by them, in some way, if they were alive in the last 40 years.
I doubt we will see their like again.

DENNIS LOCORRIERE is one of the last great undimmed American heroes.

Without reservation he still has one of the finest voices around, impassioned heartbreak and lost innocence…and that’s 19 years after the group he sang for decided to call it a day.

And the group? That happy but very edgy band who clocked up hit after pop hit….the one and only mega-successful DR HOOK. Dennis Locorriere was the VOICE of Dr Hook (but not the one with the eye patch!).

As one of the biggest bands across the world in the seventies and early eighties, Dr Hook’s plaudits are impressive.

Hook amassed more than 60 gold and platinum records scoring No 1 hits in more than 42 countries… they had massive world-wide success with classics like “Sylvia’s Mother”, “When You’re In Love With A Beautiful Woman”, “A Little Bit More” and the original and definitive version of “The Ballad Of Lucy Jordan”… they spent 300 days a year on the road for 15 years.

But Dennis’ story doesn’t stop there. For more than 30 years he’s paid his dues. He’s appeared in a major movie with Dustin Hoffman. He’s starred in a universally acclaimed one man play written specially for him, “The Devil And Billy Markham”, at New York City’s Lincoln Centre. He’s written songs that have been recorded by a wide variety of other artists including Bob Dylan, Southside Johnny, Crystal Gayle, BJ Thomas, Olivia Newton-John, Waylon Jennings, Helen Reddy and Willie Nelson.

In 1999, some 15 years after he moved to Nashville and disbanded the group, Dennis secured yet another platinum album for the “Dr Hook Love Songs” CD. This was accompanied by a major sell-out tour of the UK followed by tours of Europe and Australia.

In 2000 he released his first solo album “Out Of The Dark” and won new audiences on another major UK tour also performing several European festivals and touring Australia.

Late in 2001 Dennis played several solo shows recorded for a triple live CD/DVD box set which was released in 2003 and to coincide with his 75 date 2003 / 4 tour a live DVD  “Alone With Dennis Locorriere” was released.

Dennis Locorriere is an artist who is, truly, once seen never forgotten. His shows always encompass his greatest hits and with “The Best of Dr Hook” having recently topped charts all over the world and the release of his brand new solo projects, his timing couldn’t be better.
www.dennislocorriere.com/
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TERRI HENDRIX

photo: Kim Maguire

Music has inspired me to reach out and do things I would not normally do.
 Traveling, performing, and talking in public are examples.
In addition, music inspires me to learn more on my instruments so I can
channel my energy into a better means in which to communicate. It keeps me
challenged. I like this challenge in my life. I like that everything I put
into my music I can get right back out of it and see results. Sure, every
performance is its own entity and some are better than others. I can always
tell when I'm practicing and learning new things. I can also always tell
when I've grown stagnant. I may not see the results for some time from a
period of "woodshedding" but sooner or later, I know I will. I'm always
seeking that musical inspiration to keep me going. I like the feeling I get
when I hear a song on the radio or in a record store that moves me. It's a
thrill. It makes me want to rush home and in the privacy of my music room
... create. For me, staying musically inspired and reaching beyond what I
know and what's safe keeps my inner torch lit. I truly feel, if I stay
inspired then I'll have hopefully have the opportunity to inspire others.

Biography

The Art of Removing Wallpaper

When Terri Hendrix released her last album, 2002’s The Ring, it marked the end of the first part of a long and rewarding creative journey that propelled the San Antonio-born, San Marcos, TX-based songwriter to some of the most celebrated performance venues in America, including the Austin City Limits Music Festival, Live at Mountain Stage and the Kerrville, Philadelphia and Newport Folk Festivals. Supported by a dedicated grassroots fan base, Hendrix — who studied opera on scholarship at Hardin-Simmons University before dropping out to milk goats for guitar lessons and hone her chops on the central Texas open-mic circuit — has bypassed label offers in favor of releasing such albums as her 1998 breakthrough Wilory Farm and 2000’s Places in Between on her own Wilory Records. Her one-of-a-kind mix of folk, pop, country and jazz-inflected roots rock has long been lauded by publications ranging from Mojo to Texas Monthly to Billboard and London’s The Guardian, but The Ring was the album that raised the bar. It tripled her fan base, gained widespread radio support that opened new touring opportunities, and launched her new distribution system, in which she used her 50,000-member mailing list to market her e-commerce store, www.terrihendrix.com. In doing so, The Ring quickly outsold all of her previous releases without the costly trappings associated with most major distributors. In addition, Performing Songwriter declared it “thoroughly captivating” and one of the 12 best independent releases of the year.

So how exactly does one follow that? Simple: break it all down, and start again new. In the two years following The Ring’s release, between her relentless tour schedule and co-writing a Grammy-winning instrumental for the Dixie Chicks (“Lil’ Jack Slade”), Hendrix took time off for a long, hard look at her life, career and music. “It was time for a reality check — personally, with my business, and with my music,” she says. “I had achieved my goals and I was restless for new beginnings.” She was inspired in no small part by the Zen-like task of stripping away the layer upon layer of bad wallpaper that smothered her newly purchased, fixer-upper home in ducks and polka-dots. The raw beauty (and patches of just plain raw) she found hidden beneath mirrored the personal themes she was simultaneously exploring in her writing. “I realized that ‘wallpaper’ is everywhere,” she explains, “from the news on the TV and radio to the way we all hide our true feelings from ourselves and the rest of the world on a daily basis. The more wallpaper I peeled away in my home, the more obsessed I became with stripping it away from my life, too, and writing about the truth underneath it all.” And so began her brand new journey, the first chapter intriguingly titled — what else? — The Art of Removing Wallpaper.

“Every song is about how things may look one way on the outside, but they might really be something totally different,” says Hendrix. Or, as she puts it succinctly in the album-opening “Breakdown,” “Sooner or later the day’s gonna come / When you have to face / What’s underneath it all.” It’s an unflinching examination of life’s truths — good and bad — reflected as nakedly in her originals as it is in the album’s three telling covers, including an impassioned take on rapper LL Cool J’s “I Need Love,” a song first introduced to the folk world by Luka Bloom but taken here by Hendrix to a place all her own. “I shied away from it at first because it’s already been done twice before,” admits Hendrix, “but in the end I felt like I didn’t have a choice, because I enjoyed singing it so much. Plus, I really wanted to change it to a woman’s point of view, but sing it unisex so everyone could relate to it.”

If the overt sensuality of “I Need Love” and the serious introspection of tracks like “Breakdown” and “One Way” catch some listeners off guard, well … that’s the point. While not without the flashes of musical and lyrical whimsy that many consider to be Hendrix’s trademark (along with the homespun charm and humor that shine through her spirited live performances), it’s fitting that an album so focused on truth vs. perception should lead even veteran Hendrix fans into unexpected territory. To wit: both “Monopoly” and “Judgment Day” are couched in gospel, but her unapologetic, critical stance on both is more fire and brimstone than hallelujah. “One Night Stand,” meanwhile, is a bundle of contradictions squeezed into a sexy party dress — coy and vulnerable on the loose and funky surface, assertive and proudly impenetrable underneath: “You may think that you may know just who I am / but you’re not even close.”

Hendrix recorded The Art of Removing Wallpaper in Austin with musical cohort, co-producer and business partner Lloyd Maines, along with longtime band members Glenn Fukunaga (bass) and Paul Pearcy (drums). Hendrix and Maines have worked together since 1997, when the Lubbock-born guitarist (Joe Ely, Jerry Jeff Walker) and Grammy winning producer (Dixie Chicks) was won over by the songwriting on one of Hendrix’s demo tapes and soon after by her stylistic range and work ethic.

While the demands of running a label could easily distract even the most dedicated of artists, Hendrix is committed to further mastering the fine art of not being sidetracked by, as she calls it, “the part that’s not art.” “I keep the business separate from my music, and luckily I have a good team that helps me keep them separate,” she says. “I'm fortunate that my business runs off my fan base. I see my fans as my own A&R team across the country, and I believe that if I stay inspired then they'll remain interested in what I do. So for the most part, I keep my goals strictly musical: for every record to be something more than the last, and to better myself as a musician so I can always play to the best of my ability, whether it be in front of 15,000 at a folk festival or 70 people at a smaller venue.

“Everything else,” she adds with a grin, “is just more wallpaper.”

Richard Skanse
Editor, Texas Music
Richard Skanse has chronicled Terri Hendrix’s career since 1996 for publications including the Austin American Statesman, Texas Music magazine, RollingStone.com and the San Antonio Current.
www.terrihendrix.com
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DEREK TRUCKS BAND

Musical influences & favorite musicians?  

There are too many amazing influences to mention but this is a start...

Ali Akbar Khan
Wayne Shorter
John Coltrane
Howlin Wolfe
Son House
Sun Ra
Elvin Jones
Bobby Bland
Ray Charles
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
Stevie Wonder

The Derek Trucks Band

Derek Trucks -- guitar
Kofi Burbridge -- keyboards, flute & vocals
Todd Smallie -- bass & vocals
Yonrico Scott - drums, percussion, & vocals
Mike Mattison - lead vocals

The Derek Trucks Band has been a work in progress for over 10 years, slowly blending jazz, rock, blues, Latin, Eastern Indian, and other world music into the sound that now defines the DTB. The mission of the band has been to assemble a group of musicians that share a passion for improvisation and musical exploration, and to develop a special musical unity by performing with this core group of players for an extended period of time. The focus of the band is on the art form itself, despite the current trend of image-driven music on the scene today. The DTB aims to create progressive roots music in an effort to move the art form forward and re-establish substance over hype. Following is a brief history of the band, and the diverse background of the musicians that make up the DTB.


Derek's musical career began at the age of nine, when he picked up a five dollar acoustic guitar at a yard sale. "It was nothing special," he claims. "I had no desire to play. It was just the only thing that looked interesting." But that seemingly meaningless purchase changed his life. After learning what he could from his father and a family friend Derek began playing with other musicians around town. "It happened pretty quick," Derek remembers. Within the span of a single year, he had purchased an instrument, learned how to play, and began touring - with his father acting as road manager/chaperone, "making sure I was only exposed to the stuff that I was supposed to be exposed to…Keeping me away from the madness." Derek's touring became more and more frequent, eventually forcing Derek to change to an on-the-road schooling program to finish high school. What had begun as a weekend activity had grown into Derek's lifestyle, his life.

Derek got his first paying gig at age 11 and formed his first band at age 12. Todd Smallie, who played with many jazz and blues musicians in the Atlanta area, entered the picture in 1994, when Derek was 15 years old. "We have so many stories and so much in common. It's been an amazing experience with him," Derek says of his friend and band mate. "We ended up having babies together at the same time, too, which is pretty wild."

In 1995, Yonrico Scott rounded out the band's permanent rhythm section. Forty-six-year-old Yonrico brings an incredible lifetime of experience to the table. Like Derek, Yonrico began at an extremely early age, picking up the drums when he was only 7 years old, playing gospel music in church. While growing up in Detroit, Yonrico studied under Motown drummer George Hamilton before moving south to attend the University of Kentucky, where he received a Bachelor's Degree in percussion performance. "I thought we lost him for a minute. He was on his way out," Derek somberly reveals, referring to the extensive open-heart surgery Yonrico underwent last October. "So this album (Joyful Noise) was a real blessing. It's the first time we really played together after his surgery, so there was a lot of emotion and energy around the session with him."

Born in the Bronx, raised in Washington, DC, Kofi Burbridge first picked up the flute at age 6. He soon began ear training and studying theory at the same time. Kofi's musical education was rooted in classical and jazz -- for the flute. While attending college at the North Carolina School of the Arts, Kofi landed his first touring gig. Eventually making his home in Atlanta, Kofi took advantage of numerous opportunities to play with his brother Oteil (bassist extraordinaire) and a host of like-minded, enthusiastic musicians. He joined the Derek Trucks Band in 1999.

The Derek Trucks Band released its eponymous debut (Landslide) in 1997, following it up in 1998 with Out of Madness (House of Blues). Both albums were produced by John Snyder (Etta James, Dizzy Gillespie), and quickly informed listeners that there was a lot more to Trucks than his blues guitar prodigy label would indicate.

In 1999, Derek was asked to join the Allman Brothers Band, taking over slide guitar duty. When your childhood heroes ask you to play, "no" is hardly an option. But with so much invested in the Derek Trucks Band, breaking up the group was also out of the question. Derek decided to balance the two, and between them he keeps up an extensive touring schedule that leaves little time at home in Jacksonville. In fact, between his own group and the Allman Brothers Band, Derek played more than 365 shows in 2000 & 2001, reaching a combined audience of more than a million people in those two years alone.

In May of 2002 the DTB added vocalist Mike Mattison to the touring line up. Mike had been performing in the New York City area as part of a duo called Scrapomatic. Mike started Scrapomatic in 1995 in Minneapolis with guitarist Paul Olsen, and the duo was immediately recognized and critically acclaimed for their original brand of music. Mike was nominated for Best Male Vocalist as part of the Minnesota Music Awards that year. Scrapomatic plans to release their debut record on Artists House Records in early 2003. The Derek Trucks Band looks forward to upcoming writing sessions with Mike and continued collaborations.

The Derek Trucks Band is constantly on tour, circling the entire country two to three time a year. This would not be possible without the incredibly talented a devoted DTB road crew. Following are the band members behind the scenes:

Marty Wall- Sound Engineer/ Tour Manager
Joe Main- Band Tech
WJ Smith- Bus Driver
www.derektrucks.com

TODD SHARP

* How has music inspired you? 
 
Well - it entered my ears and went straight to my soul somehow when I was about ......I don't know how old. My parents were/are musicians so it was always there to affect me even as a very tiny man. I think Music inspires all of us - though it seems people aren't paying much attention to it these days.  
 
I am not a religious man but I was reading a thing about the Lords Prayer recently that attempted to explain the biblical phrase "Our Daily Bread"  check it out: It said that bread "Manna" really stands for everything we need to get fed spiritually as well as nourishment for the body.  Food, shoes, a blanket, books, sex, freedom, mobility, stories, fables, humor, companionship. Music gives me all of it except food & sex. We are working on that here at the institute though.
 
Music has inspired me in so many ways that I couldn't explain it for trying. It mysteriously helps me to connect with the universe when I am otherwise lost or at odds.
 
* Your musical inspirations?
 
Everything really, most prominently: Fred & Iris Sharp, Beatles, JS Bach, The Band, James Brown, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Clapton, Ludwig V. Beethoven, Freddie, Albert, BB King, Chuck Berry, Bill deArango, West African Music,  I'm sure I am leaving out at least 100 prominent influences including the birds that sing in my back yard. 
 
* Favorite CD's, songs, or musicians? 
 
Favorite singers: Ray Charles & Gladys Knight
 
Favorite song/record: that's hard but I try: "What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong,  "Surfs Up" by Brian Wilson, "Axis Bold as Love" - Hendrix, "Shake, Rattle & Roll" by Big Joe Turner, "You Can't Always Get What You Want" by the Rolling Stones, "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" Beatles, The Night they Drove Old Dixie Down" The Band, Beethoven's 9th.
 
Musicians:
Bob Dylan has definitely re-entered Earth's orbit, Delbert McClinton sings so good it hurts, Beka Bramlett is one of the best singers you may not have heard of yet. Stephen Bruton is someone you might want to get to know, Billie Holiday, Louie Armstrong, Jimi Hendrix, Elvis Costello, Charlie Christian, Frank Sinatra, Brian Wilson, Randy Newman, Steve Winwood, Shawn Colvin, Christine Mcvie, Johnny Cash, Tom Waits, Jeff Beck plays pretty good guitar - for a grease monkey! Louie Prima!, Jimmie Vaughn, Ernest Ranglin, Levon Helm, Richi Havens, Richard Manuel, Garth Hudson, Peter Gabriel, Michael Penn, John, Paul, George & Ringo, Charlie Watts, Jim Keltner, Steve Gadd, Mick Fleetwood, Fred Below, (I love a good drummer) Lowell Fulson, Gerald Jemott, Niki Hopkins, Chick Corea, Leland Sklar, The Spinners, Randy Newman, James Taylor, Miles Davis, Elmore James, Robert Johnson, somebody stop me!!!
 
Thanks, come visit me at www.toddsharp.com
Todd

The call came from Boulder, one icy spring day. Todd Sharp was on the line. His voice is easy to recognize: relaxed, dusky, reflective. He was on the road with Delbert McClinton, a longtime colleague and one of the many friends Todd has made over some twenty-odd years of playing music.

From his first gigs playing lead guitar with Hall and Oates, back in '76, through performing and songwriting collaborations with artists such as Christine McVie, Rod Stewart, Mick Fleetwood, and Bob Welch, to the likes of Carlene Carter and Bonnie Raitt, Todd has lived the musician's life to the fullest. The late hours and long hauls from smoke filled clubs to sold out stadiums. Top 10 hits and everything in between -- those struggles for inspiration that either wear you down or build you up. In Todd's case, he's learned to take it all in and put it back together as an artist with plenty to say.

That's what Walking all the Way is all about. Todd's second solo album is more than a collection of great songs played with real feeling. It is, in fact, a chronicle of one man's progress through the years -- and, in the universal issues it explores, it is our story too.

Listen …

"Being on the road is always an adventure," Todd says, "It’s really all about playing music and connecting with people, although in a lot of respects the travel part is not as exciting as it once was, because the world is getting so much smaller. Everything's the same, in a lot of ways. You have to keep your eyes open for the differences. So I carry a little book around, and if I find a great little restaurant or record store or whatever, I'll keep track of it, so that going to Dallas or Indianapolis or wherever isn't just a question of going from one hotel room to the next."

He began making music when he was eleven years old, back in Cleveland Ohio, a son of musical parents, and started gigging just a few years later. In 1976 Hall & Oates hired him to play lead guitar. Todd, all of nineteen, left town and never looked back.

Listen …

“I've battled my demons, without going too deep into it”. On this album, 'Widow Maker' is such a man’s plea, where he talks straight to his demons.  'Right Down to the Minute' is about life in the real lane, where what you think is who you are.  'I Remember' is sort of a bookmark to a more innocent time. It’s about a person looking backwards in his life, as all of us do at one time or another”.

'Here & Now' is a dialogue, a prayer of sorts. It’s a guy talking about his life: his kids, his wife, God. The point of the song is that he comes to realize that faith, and everything else in life is always a here and now issue, and you need to pay attention. That's a theme for me too; I've certainly spent a lot of time not paying attention to the right things".

"The song 'Walking All the Way to Idaho' is about a journey.   Idaho struck me as a far away place that's not very easy to get to. It starts out in sort of a painful place, with this guy talking about 'My daddy used to say that his seed was bad, and my momma used to say don’t believe that man.' Lots of us grow up dragging this kind of baggage around. The song is about getting on your feet and going somewhere else.

All of these stories are told in songs that reflect Todd's exceptional skills as a writer. His lyrics are smoothly crafted yet dead-on honest, and his hooks are so sharp they almost sting. Backed by a killer band that includes guest appearances by Delbert McClinton, Bekka Bramlett, Stephen Bruton and Stan Lynch, Todd sings with rare intensity and plays guitar with a blazing joy that's even harder to find in modern pop music.

Listen …

"Frankly, I am very proud of 'Walking all the Way', especially for the fact that so much of it is captured live in the studio. You have to be careful that the process doesn’t get in the way of the music. There's something so much more honest about playing live. It's always seemed to me that there's the live world and there's the recording world. I thrive much better in the live world so I made a very deliberate effort to approach the recording of this record that way. I don’t think we did more than three takes of anything”.

'Walking All the Way to Idaho' is a completely live take. “The only thing we did to that is mix it. Personally, I'm very proud of that one, not so much as a writer but because I'm in a band that's this good. This is Delbert’s band on this record. We’ve all been playing together for a few years now and you can really hear it on this one”.

That live world -- the world of life, of music that moves the body and words that touch the soul -- is where this album dwells. The infectious, poppy feel and optimistic  'Right as Rain', the raw, bluesy groove of 'I Believe in You’, the bleak introspection of 'Widow Maker', and the varied textures and melodies that flow through every track make Walking All the Way a rich offering from someone whose journey as an artist is far from over.

It was getting late in Boulder when we asked Todd if he'd written anything new in his notebook during the past few hours. He laughed -- "I did write something down in my notebook today, though it’s an idea from a book I'm reading". Apparently this was one of those days of freeways and chain restaurants. "On days like that, you have to look elsewhere for the seeds of your next idea. I will always remember something I read from an interview with John Lennon just before he left us, where he was asked how he found his inspiration for songs. Lennon said something like: You have to open yourself up to the world that’s around you. There are things everywhere. Street signs, billboards – people say stuff at the grocery store. You have to have your antenna up. I try to follow his method, that’s where my songs come from."

Listen …
www.toddsharp.com

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 2003-2005