Sunday, December 16, 2018

Dani Wilde

Joan Jett once said, “My guitar is not a thing. It is an extension of myself. It is who I am.” It’s easy to see and hear this in Dani Wilde’s music. The feeling in her voice along with her emotion-filled guitar playing is a breath of fresh air in the music world today. She’s opened for Johnny Winter, Foreigner, Journey, and has collaborated with Samantha Fish. Dani Wilde is a powerhouse in the Blues world today. She is one of my favorite musicians and someone I believe is making an impact in the art of the Blues.

This is Dani Wilde
Have you always been drawn to The Blues as a musician?
Yes, although I love all music. I was born in the mid 80s and so pop artists like Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston really inspired me to become a singer. I also love country music and Americana- artists like Lyle Lovett and Patty Griffin. And I really love soul music and Motown- Al Green, Smokie Robinson etc. But I was brought up being taken to lots of blues gigs and festivals. I heard lots of John Lee Hooker and Howling Wolf and Muddy Waters on my dad's hifi at home. When I saw Susan Tedeschi and Sue Foley performing live in the early 2000's I knew that was what I wanted to do. By 2007 I had signed to Ruf Records and was on the same label as some of my heroes Sue Foley, and Eric Bibb. 
I’ve noticed many of the guitar players from England don’t use a pick when they play. Starting out, was it a cultural thing for you to play this way or were you looking for a warmer sound that fingerpicking gives you?
Neither, when I was 11, I picked up my brother's acoustic guitar and started to figure out chords and songs. I didn't aspire to be a great guitarist. I wanted to accompany myself singing my favourite songs and to be a songwriter. I started out playing solo gigs in local pubs when I was 13 playing mostly originals and Bob Dylan covers. There were no plectrums in my house nor any other musicians to offer me one, and so I played with fingers and my own style developed. When I was 15 I met bluesman Louisiana Red who also played finger style guitar and he encouraged me to keep playing like this and taught me a thing or two. When I gigged with Girls with guitars, I used a pick occasionally, and when playing back up guitar on Samantha's songs which requires a harder and more heavy rock tone than my own material :) 
If it were possible and you could cover any song with the original artist singing along with you, what would it be?
This is such a hard question to answer. In regards to living artists, I would love to work with Van Morrison. I love all of his songs. I play "It stoned me" in my love set. I’d love to sing Tupelo Honey with him. I would've loved to have performed with John Lee Hooker when he was alive... Boom boom boom or Dimples. I love everything about John Lee. 
I read you opened for Johnny Winter. I saw him play in 1994 and he put on a flawless performance. How was it to meet and open for such a legend in the Blues world?
It was a dream come true. It was at BB Kings club in Times Square NYC. It meant a lot to me. A week after that show I bumped into Johnny and his band again at a festival in Spain and we opened for them again. They were kind to me… really down to earth yet super talented guys. 
Could you tell us a little about your humanitarian work?  
Yes, I have visited Kenya many times and have been deeply saddened by the horiffic poverty that children have to endure in the slum communities. On my trips I worked with a wonderful charity called Moving Mountains to build classrooms and provide education and protection for the most vulnerable and poor children. I also fundraise to help Toto Love Orphanage in Embu Kenya. The orphans there have HIV. Some of the kids appear healthy and are doing well in school. Others are clearly very sick.  The money we raise at my concerts helps to provide medicine and to cover hospital fees and food for the children. Ruth Ndwiga who runs the orphanage is a wonderful lady who works so hard to keep the orphans safe and loved. 
What have you been working on lately, and what would you like for the reader to check out?
I have an album out entitled Live At Brighton Road which was released on Vizztone Records. The album is half electric and half acoustic showcasing the two sides of my music. It can be bought on vinyl and Cd/Dvd. My friend, filmmaker Philip James shot a beautiful video of our live in the studio performances and a video interview with me to accompany the audio recordings. I've recently been on tour in Europe promoting the record. I'm a mum now. I have a beautiful little girl called Poppy, and I took her out on the road with me. It was fantastic fun. 
I also have a new single out. A cover of Joni Mitchell's Case of You recorded with my brother Will Wilde on harp. Will and I tour as an acoustic duo called The Wilde's when we are not touring separately with our electric bands. You can find the music video on YouTube.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Chloe Feoranzo

Along with an incredible voice, Chloe Feoranzo plays the clarinet and saxophone. She pulls you back in time with her music. As you listen you’ll feel like you’re sitting in a 1920s speakeasy enjoying a night on the town. She’s put hard work and dedication into her craft and it shows. Every note, whether voice or instrument, shines bright in her performance. Truly a modern-day link to the past, yet a gem in our musical present.

Chloe studied under Jazz great Charles McPherson. A friend of mine’s father, Mario Rivera was also a Jazz great. He played with Tito Puente for many years. He recorded an album with Dizzy Gillespie, Afro Cuban Jazz Moods in 1975. Over the years, I’ve enjoyed hearing stories from my friend Mario about his father and that magical time gone by. Chloe’s music is reflective of this era.

Music from the past is always a treat to look back on and take in. All of its emotion captured in the recordings of the musicians from years ago. But there’s something special when you see the past alive and well here in present day. Chloe Feoranzo is that present day musician making a lasting mark on the Jazz world.

This is Chloe Feoranzo.

How old were you when you started playing clarinet and saxophone?

I was about 9 or 10 when I first started playing the saxophone in Elementary school band. I was around 12 or 13 when my middle school teacher needed an extra clarinet player and I said why not? Haha.

Have you always been drawn to Jazz as a musician?

I definitely grew up around Jazz even before starting to play an instrument. My parents used to swing dance and loved to listen to the songs they heard in classes at home so I got a taste of it then. After starting music, I was drawn to the older styles of jazz after hearing it live for the first time at the San Diego Jazz Fest. So yes, but I’ve also been drawn to other forms of music as well such as classical, Brazilian choro, old R&B, Irish music, and even pop.

Which artists inspired you when you were starting out?

A lot of my inspiration came from the musicians I heard growing up live in town (I grew up in San Diego), especially the ones that would take me under their wing such as Ron Hockett, Chris Klich, Zzymzzy Quartet, Charles McPherson and practically any group that went to the Traditional Jazz Festivals. Recording wise I loved Billie Holliday, Peanuts Hucko, Lester Young, Gerry Mulligan, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Prima, Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman... I could go on.

I watched a clip of you playing on “The David Letterman Show.” How was the experience for you?

It was a pretty crazy day! A few of the highlights for me was finding out they kept TV studios extremely cold so no one sweats on television, so I basically walked around with my travel blanket for most of the time. Another is right before we did our take (and we were really only allowed to do one even though it wasn't live) Paul Shaffer sees me with my clarinet and goes "Oh! A clarinet!" and proceeds to play a polka beat. To which I then, of course, start playing some vaguely polka-like improvisation and we just jammed on this improv polka for a little bit before the TVs were filming. Lastly, right as we ended our take and Letterman walks off I look down on my mouthpiece to see my reed had completely shifted almost off the mouthpiece, which thankfully waited until after the take to do so or else there would have been some serious squeaks haha. In my excitement to perform I had forgotten to tighten my ligature enough (the thing that holds the reed in place) and luckily the reed cooperated. Whoops.

If it were possible and you could cover any song with the original artist singing along with you, what would it be?

I'll Be Seeing You - Billie Holliday version. Her version is so hauntingly beautiful and perfectly captures the message of the song.

What have you been working on lately and what would you like for the reader to check out? 

I have an all women traditional jazz group called the Shake 'Em Up Jazz Band that is based in New Orleans, also where I currently live. Our newest album called 'A Women's Place Is In The Groove' is an album dedicated to women composers of the 1920s-30s. We have done a couple overseas tours and various festivals around the country. You can find more about the band on our Facebook page ( and at our website( I really love these ladies and the way we make music and hope your listeners enjoy us too!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Lilly Hiatt

Like Loretta Lynn and Neil Young, Lilly Hiatt sings from the heart. Her lyrics and style are reminiscent of the greats I grew up listening to in The Seventies. Yet she also has that rocking edge that rolls along in rhythmic chords much like the bands I loved in The Nineties. Lilly is someone special, someone whose spirit soars high when she picks up her guitar and sings. Truly an original.

From the first time I heard her, I was enthralled with her music. The more I heard the more I wanted to hear. As time went by I would find myself singing her songs as I went through my day. So, after work one afternoon I messaged her and asked if she would do an interview. I put my phone down and collapsed onto the couch. I started to drink some coffee and watch TV. A short time passed and my phone buzzed. It was Lilly. She agreed to do the interview. 

This Is Lilly Hiatt  

How old were you when you started singing and playing guitar?

I have sang for as long as I can remember! And 12 for the guitar.

With your father also being a singer/songwriter, music had to be a large part of your childhood. When writing songs today do you reflect back on the songwriters and storytellers you first heard in your youth?

I certainly do.  I remember Prince being a soundtrack early on.  Purple Rain.  That stuck with me, as did Neil Young's Harvest Moon.  Liz Phair's Whipsmart, that's what my mom jammed when she was letting loose. They all crept in and influenced me amongst the many things I discovered on my own,  I think also just seeing the shows with all kinds of musicians.  Ya know my dad toured with Hootie and the Blowfish, he toured with BB King, Jackson Brown...they all became a part of my musical journey.  My brother was obsessed with Slayer and hip hop, my sister loved Weezer and the Spice Girls.  Everyone was bringing something to the table.

You have a wide range and very unique style of music you write. Who have been your biggest influences over the years?

Why thank you.  Well, I could write a book on it, but I won't.  At least not now.  It's hard to reduce it to just a few folks, but big writer influences I'd say would be Liz Phair, Bob Dylan, Lauryn Hill, Neil Young, Eddie Vedder, Prince, Conor Oberst, Lucinda Williams and my dad of course. But, different eras have occurred and I am an avid fan of a lot of music.

You’ve covered “Guy Clark” with Aaron Lee Tasjan and “The Beatles” with Margo Price. If it were possible and you could cover any song with the original artist singing along with you, what would it be?

See, I am already stressed I left John Lennon out of that last question haha! Well, I want to sing "Daughter" with Eddie Vedder. I plan on it. I also badly want Cardi B to sample a song of mine, and I would happily sing that with her. 

On your third and latest album “Trinity Lane” you worked with Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst from the band “Shovels and Rope.” How did that come about?

I knew them both, and liked them very much as people.  When Michael was suggested to me as a possible producer, I was intrigued and began a musical conversation with him.  We vibed quickly and I knew he would push boundaries with me without pushing my buttons.  I like working with people that are willing to go to the edge and beyond, and he is! Yet with such a chill and respectful attitude.  Great listener. We had a blast if ya can't tell! 

What have you been working on lately and what would you like for the reader to check out?

I am writing up a storm planning to make another record.  Excited to be in a creative haze at the moment.  Next up tour wise is a fun run with Margo Price that goes through New Year's Eve. Should be a fun way to ring in 2019!

Monday, October 8, 2018

Colleen Rennison

Colleen Rennison is a singer, songwriter, and actress. She’s worked in films with Bruce Willis, Michelle Pfeiffer, Minnie Driver, Tom Arnold, Rachael Leigh Cook, Kathleen Turner, Mila Kunis, and many more. None of this I knew when I first heard her voice. A voice that is simply stunning.
I stumbled across Colleen on YouTube. Her band “No Sinner” was under recommendations. My first thought was, what a cool name. I found out later it’s her last name “Rennison” spelled backwards. I clicked the video and the music began. Within the first few notes I could hear those Delta Blues, muddy and smeared with life dripping from the guitarist’s amplifier. Then came Colleen’s voice soulful, strong, and raw with emotion.
I sat watching song after song, blown away at the sound of an old soul singing in this almost forgotten style. I say almost, because in our overstimulated world flooded with perfectly polished music, real talent is hard to find. So when you run across someone of Colleen’s caliber you instantly take notice.
The next morning waiting to clock in for work I looked her up on the web. I followed her and within a few hours she followed me back. A few weeks passed and I decided to reach out and see if she would do an interview. The next day she wrote back and agreed.
So this is Colleen Rennison.

Have you always been drawn to the blues as a musician?

I think so, I’ve always been drawn to anything with soul and pain... I’d say the blues has a lot of that.
When writing lyrics do you pull from journal entries or is writing songs a more spontaneous action for you?

I definitely go back into old journals if I manage to keep my hands on them. Sometimes it’s painful but it’s worth it. When you’re in the throes of a feeling you might not be in the position to sit down and write a song about it, but to jot down something is key, even if it doesn’t seem significant at the time it can be very valuable in the future when you have time to reflect and write.

Which artists inspired you when you were starting out, and still inspires you today?

I listened to a lot of Etta James, Aretha, Martha Reeves, Nina Simone... still do. My musical tastes have expanded slightly but never really changed.

I noticed you ride a motorcycle. What kind do you have, and how long have you been riding?

I’ve been riding for about 3 years now, taught myself after a bad breakup and I moved to Saskatoon. Haven’t looked back since.
While riding your bike and enjoying the open road do lyrics or lines for songs come to you?

I started riding to clear my head, but turns out it just spins in circles like your wheels. When I’ve got nothing but my thoughts sometimes they’ll start to sound like a song and end up writing themselves into one.

What have you been working on lately in music or film that you would like the reader to check out?

I just came back to Vancouver from Austin for The Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) where a film I was in called “Kingsway” showed. It’s a dark comedy about a dysfunctional family where I play Lori, a pregnant singer who rides a motorcycle (the only real stretch was on my T-shirt for that one). I wrote a few songs that made it into the film, and I’m hoping to flesh them out into an EP soon. Also, Colin James just released his new album and I’ve got some backup vocals on it. You should check it out! It’s a great album!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Behind The Axe

My father

Gave me my first axe

When I was 8 years of age

39 years later

It’s my go to tool

I’ve honed my skills behind the axe


Honed its blade!!!

Its weight

Its length

Its handle

Which soaks in my sweat


Sometimes my blood

Becomes a part of me

And me of it!!!

A symphony of

Cutting, slicing, and chopping

Me, the conductor

It, the instrument

The Axe and Cutting Mattock

Have been in my hands

My father’s hands

His father’s hands

His father’s, father’s hands

So on and so forth

All the way back to Ireland, Scotland, and Wales

Back to Scandinavia and The Vikings

The axe is deeply rooted in my blood


Everything that is me

When it comes to working outdoors

One day

When I’m old

And my hands too feeble

Too crippled

To hold my axe

I’ll look back on the lands I’ve shaped

The dirt I’ve churned

The trees I’ve fallen

And remember

My days

Behind the axe

Monday, May 28, 2018

Open Letter to Brandon Graham

Time slips by or maybe
I’m slipping as time goes by me?
Not every day is a drag
But it seems the ones
That involve passing by the TV
When the news is on
Can really bring me down
I’d much rather walk outside
Stroll down the path with my friends of the woods
Like a raccoon named Sugar
She’s so large
So big
I believe from
Eating out of the ice cream store’s dumpster
Down the street from my home
She waddles from the weeds and peers at me with
Dark curious eyes
Then slowly makes her way back into the brush
There’s also a deer I’ve named Brownie
Her husband Buck Owens and their child Jane Fawn-Da
Also come to say hello
A turkey named Loner
He is always alone
And a rabbit named Tag
It runs to me then back away
Then back to me then away it runs
They all seem to be so much more entertaining
Than anything on the tube…
And Brandon
I still wonder how your writing is going from time to time?
I wonder about all of my friends
Who practice the craft of words
Along with my own thoughts of what next to write?
Lizzy Worth is still doing her thing above us
In that far away land called Canada
I’m sure she still scribbles words
Her cat Plumb
Most likely meowing in circles around her
As she pulls words from the air like magic
And arranges them on paper
Illian Rain is up there too
Her cat’s named Leroy
I’m sure he meows
I’m just not sure how much it affects her writing
Whatever the case
Illian and Lizzy are such strong voices
From the land of Canada
And Brandon
I still talk to Lizzie Woodham from across the sea
Emailing words through wires way over there
She’s patient with me and my questions
About her writing
About the places and things that make up Europe
From Scottish Snow Flakes
The Irish Sea
The smells and sounds of the streets of Soho
But most of all she listens to me and my wandering mind
What a friend I have in her!!!
And Brandon
Mallory Smart is still out there somewhere
The windy city I believe
Or maybe the city of wind?
She loves coffee, you know?
She writes and publishes
Publishes and writes
Words swirl around her mind
Like a cyclone
At least that’s what I believe they do!
When I met Mallory
Another person that loves “The Beats”
It gave me hope for the future
And Brandon
I still think of your encounter with Burroughs
It still makes me smile
And Brandon
I still wonder if we, us, and our friends in writing
Will ever have a name associated with our work?
With our lives?
Like “The Beats” or “The Lost Generation”
I’ve pondered this question for years?
So, I will now take it upon myself to name us
“The Holding Generation”
There! I’ve coined it!!!
I feel we are holding onto hope
Holding onto anything
That tomorrow will be better than today
That moms and dads will be able to hold
Their children after a day at school
That the kids will carry books
Instead of bulletproof jackets
Holding onto the thought
That maybe just maybe
People will stop killing each other
Holding onto the idea that society
Will somehow someway get their act together…
But most of all
Holding on
While we continue to write and create art
That’s all I can do anymore

Sunday, April 22, 2018


Between Belbedere and Clyed
The last days of his youth
Were coming to an end
He was born into a world of hard labor
The plow, the axe, and the crosscut saw
Were the tools by which
His family carved out a living
They migrated wherever
The next income could be made
The North Florida farmlands of Hilliard
To the snake-infested waterways
Of the Okefenokee Swamp
Cutting timber and growing crops
Were their way of life
Life was also lived
On the mean streets of North Jacksonville
Was where you went
When all other options were gone
His father grew up on these
Same streets delivering turpentine
From the forest surrounding the city
At the age of 14 in 1906
He would gear up mules
And make the journey alone
On a wagon
His overalls stained with sticky pinesap
With tobacco
With sweat
With dirt! 
Now his son
Was following his father’s footsteps
Work was not all that thrived in Riverview!
On the north side
When the sun went down
With his hair slicked back
His blue eyes sparkling in the streetlights
This young man
Would slip into the night
With his brothers and friends   
Going from honky tonks to juke joints
Anywhere a good time could be had!
When you were a child of The Great Depression
Had seen times so hard
Your parents boiled the seed
For planting that year’s crop
To feed your brothers and sister
To feed you!
Any happiness even if through recklessness
Was excepted
His way of living
On the edge of existences   
Was drifting away
Drifting toward a domestic life
Of a father
Of my father
On a Sunday afternoon in 1952
One last ride was taken
He and his Harley 74
With its
Suicide shift jutting upwards
Its 1200 CC motor winding out
The wind stinging his face
As he blasted through
Florida’s highway heat waves, and humidity
He hit the Main Street Bridge
On the north side of the city
At 100mph
Crossing over
From one life to another
From Harleys to house mortgages
From ‘42 Ford coupes
To station wagons
He would raise his kids
With only stories of the life he left behind
But the promise
That our lives
Would be better than the one he had lived!
The sun set on his wild ways
But rose every day for us
In the figure of our father!
His 82-year-old hands wrinkled and scared
Point here and there in the horizon
Telling me stories
About the places and people
That once were alive!
Yet he can’t find any trace
Of the world that surrounded his childhood
But the world he created for us will live on
For generations to come
All made by a man who was born into nothing
But was able to give us everything  

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Harry Crews Biography

A short time ago I was informed I’m in the new Harry Crews biography Blood, Bone And Marrow by Ted Geltner. I ordered a copy and when it arrived, I opened it to see my name in the index. With a smile, I turned the pages and saw my time spent interviewing Harry typed within. This book is well put together and is a wonderful read. It’s definitely worth the buy. Pick up a copy today and enjoy the life and times of one of the greatest writers of our time!

Harry Crews biography Blood, Bone And Marrow by Ted Geltner

Friday, February 2, 2018

The Truth Is Told Better This Way

Liz Worth : The Truth Is Told Better This Way. It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of Liz Worth and have been since the first time I ran across her work. She is one of my all-time favorite writers and I am lucky enough to call her my friend. Her work and friendship have helped me through some very difficult times. She is original, fearless, and true to herself. All of these qualities shine brightly in the text of her new book. It’s apparent to me her words will be around for generations to come.
The first book I read by her was, Eleven Eleven. It’s still one of my favorite works of poetry she’s done. I was more than thrilled to be reminded of that masterpiece while reading through the pages of “The Truth Is Told Better This Way.” Like the dots of George Seurat producing a timeless work of art, Liz punched letter by letter, word by word, into a book of poetry perfection. Her view of the world is transcended so beautifully within these pages I think anyone who loves poetry would love this book. Pick up a copy today and enjoy the words of Worth. A true artist of our time.