I recently interviewed Michael and Kevin Bacon (yes, that Kevin Bacon) for the Baltimore Sun in advance of their sold-out shows in Annapolis performing as the Bacon Brothers. This is no hobby for these guys; the Bacon Brothers have been together since 1995 and have put out six albums. They've been playing music for most of their lives, and Michael is a sought-after composer. Keeping in line with this site, I interviewed them about their songwriting process. I imagine they were relieved; one commenter on the site said that it was the first interview he had read with the band that didn't mention Footloose.Read More
For many of the songwriters I interview, the digital revolution has always been a part of their lives. So it would be easy to think that they embrace technology in their songwriting process. Not so. All of them use journals, diaries, little black books, even typewriters. Heck, one even still owns a Sony Discman.
Enter Jack Tempchin, from the southern California singer/songwriter scene in the 1970s. When he started writing, people used yellow pads and pencils. So we might excuse Tempchin for sticking to his original method. But what does Tempchin use? An iPhone. This is the bizarro world of songwriting, where twenty-somethings use typewriters and diaries, and singer/songwriters from the 70s use iPhones.Read More
It’s hard to describe something when you have no frame of reference, when you have no means of comparison. Such is the case with The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band. When I wrote this review of the band’s latest release The Wages (SideOneDummy records) last week in the Washington Post, I was asked to name a couple of acts that the band might sound like. I was stumped. Because in The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band, we may finally have found that one band in rock and roll who truly sounds like no one else.
The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn band consists The Rev on bottleneck slide guitar (his oldest guitar was made in 1935), his wife Washboard Breezy on the washboard, and his cousin Aaron “Cuz” Persinger on drums (and five gallon bucket). They hail from rural Brown County in Indiana. The Rev’s songs are all true stories; he writes about what he knows. So yes, his mother’s fried potatoes really are the best (“Your Mama’s Fried Potatoes”), a cousin really was on Cops (“Your Cousin’s on Cops”), and The Rev’s brother really did steal a chicken from a zoo (“Fort Wayne Zoo”).
When it comes to The Reverend Peyton and his songwriting, one thing matters above all else: melody. That’s why, as I wrote in my Washington Post review, it’s impossible to stay still at one of their shows. They play front porch, gather-round-and-dance blues with aplomb.Read More