Twangri-La got a chance to spend some quality time with Elijah Ocean and speak about his latest album, Born Blue, released on August 13, 2021. Born Blue is a pretty straight ahead, traditional country record heavily fortified with the Bakersfield Sound. Elijah also discussed the record making process, touring, and working with other artists. Read more to find out what is on his mind. You can listen to and buy Born Blue here.
Twangri-La (TL): I want to congratulate you on your new album, Born Blue.
Elijah Ocean (EO): Thank you.
TL: I’ve had a chance to listen and it’s 100 percent authentic country—definitely captured that Bakersfield sound.
EO: That sound has been a huge influence on me, for sure, over the last bunch of years. I dove pretty heavily into that.
Thomas Dolby is one of the pioneers of using synthesizers in rock and roll music. As Thomas explains, there was a real backlash from the so called big hair rockers against musicians, such as Thomas, who felt that a rock band was electric guitars, electric bass, drums, and maybe a keyboard or organ. Luckily, Thomas followed his muse and synthesizers are now commonplace in rock and pop music. For me and teenagers who came of age in the 1980s, Thomas Dolby was, and still is a big deal. Dolby is now a professor at Johns Hopkins University and is about to embark on a US tour in August.
Interview by Jonathan DeWoskin and Bonni Kaplan DeWoskin
Will Hoge has quietly amassed quite an impressive catalogue. Anchor’s which was released on August 11. 2017, was Hoge’s tenth studio album in the span of 20 years. Will speaks openly about touring, writing, recording and his awesome wife and kids. Will also opens up about social injustices that are going on right now and why he feels a responsibility to get the word out that we need to find a better way to interact.
WH = Will Hoge BKD = Bonni Kaplan DeWoskin (TwangriLa 1) JD = Jonathan DeWoskin (TwangriLa 2)
I met Lilly Hiatt and her wonderful band about two months ago at a house concert in Baltimore. It was a great place to see a show, especially one that features Lilly Hiatt. Lilly is amazing. She writes, sings, plays guitar, and performs. She does all four things at an extremely high level. Most importantly, Lilly is one of the sweetest people you will ever meet. She was gracious enough to speak to me before her concert.
Robbie Fulks is a dynamic performer with a career that has lasted 30 years and is still going strong. The 2016 album Upland Stories was Fulks’ 13th. I wrote 12th in the interview, but upon further review, it is his 13th. No question, he is an incredible talent that is willing to put in the work to constantly improve. Given those facts, the most impressive characteristics about Robbie is that he is very humble and incredibly gracious. He is the same guy in the dressing room as he is on stage: warm, compassionate, charming, and has a great sense of humor. Did I mention that he can write, sing, and play his ass off? Let’s read what Mr. Fulks has to say:
You can’t just talk the talk, you have to walk the walk. Jimmy Horn, front man of King James And The Special Men, walks the walk. Although not born in Louisiana, Horn has adopted the culture and speech so well, that you would think he had lived in the Big Easy all his life. He has walked a lot, that is another way of saying that Jimmy put the musical work in. He and the Special Men have become a New Orleans Institution. Jimmy is a philosopher, along with being a tremendous musician. Read what he has to say.
From left to right: Matt Pittman, Mike Link, Antone Findahl, Ryan Vernazza, and Riley Murphy (kneeling)
Interviewed by Harry Kaplan
I got to spend about an hour over the phone with the band Full Moon Light from San Diego. They released a self-titled album in April 2017 that is hot as molten lava. Their style fuses southern rock, country, blues, and a little bit of reggae & ska. They are all highly qualified musicians that are willing to put in the hard work necessary for the next step up. They have the stuff to appeal to a wide audience. The fellas talked about the album, musical genres, and playing. They also turned the tables on me a few times, asking me questions. These guys were a blast to interview, give it a read……(more…)
From front to back: Kim Rancourt, Don Fleming, Steve Shelley, Joe Bouchard, and Gary Lucas
Interviewed by Harry Kaplan
Kim Rancourt may not be a household name, but he should be. Not only did he release one of the best albums of 2017 so far in Plum Plum, but Kim has always been in the right place at the right time. He grew up in Detroit and had the opportunity to see the MC5, The Stooges, and Sun Ra. He moved to New York and became a regular at CBGBs during the salad days in the mid to late 70s. Then Kim became hooked up with Sonic Youth and the 80s post punk bands of New York. Kim is also a tour guide at Lincoln Center and Coney Island. Most importantly, Kim is a super nice guy and incredibly humble. His stories are captivating and he gives a great interview.
I was incredibly fortunate to score an interview with the two founding members of the Blackfoot Gypsies, Matthew Paige (guitar and vocals) and Zach Murphy (drums). The name of their new album is To The Top and that is where these guys are headed. Their material and live performances are so good that their trajectory is only moving in one direction. In addition to incredible talent, all of the band members are incredibly humble, genuinely nice guys. It is easy to root for people like that. They talk about the new album, playing live, and many other interesting topics.