Should artists, having achieved fame, use that platform to speak their minds on politics? Opinions run the gamut: absolutely yes, absolutely no, in small doses, etc. Don't drag us through the mud or keep us aware...are either of these options an obligation of artists?
Meryl Streep lit things up at this year's Golden Globes with a lengthy dissertation of her feelings on the political climate, waxing eloquent about what are now the standard criticisms of the President-elect. Some folks squirmed, some applauded. Just about everyone in the theater was delighted, not surprising given the mostly-Liberal Hollywood gang. Sound off, leave a comment. I'd love to know where you stand on this.
My two favorite moments of the Globes (which I did not see in it's entirety) were the Katherine Wiig/Steve Carrell bit about traumatic experiences seeing animated films as kids and the very last line of Streep's speech, a quote from Carrie Fisher, "Take your broken heart and turn it into art. The podcast ends with my poem based on that line.
Who doesn't love the holidays? Well, to be honest, a lot of us. But we muddle through. In this episode, we take a little stress off with some stand-up comedy from Michael McIntyre, who talks about our interesting food choices at holiday time. There is an excerpt from Dickens' "A Christmas Carol", as Scrooge parts ways with the Ghost of Christmas Present (which looked nothing like Donald Trump, promise). And what would any holiday observance be without some music? Here we have Kyle Bledsoe, bluesman extraordinaire, who happens to be celebrating Christmas One with his new baby. Check out his happily bluesy version of "Silent Night". Enjoy!
How time flies! We have now done 50 episodes of Mumcast: The Rick Mummey Show!
We appreciate all the support we've had and look forward to doing more. On this episode, we selected some interesting nuggets from among our 50 shows, including excerpts from our chats with musician/writer Tim Brouk, Songwriter extraordinaire Scott Greeson, Nashvillian/Musicians Hall of Fame curator/BR-549 bassist Jay McDowell, SF Jazz Collective's Matt Penman, and guitarist/songwriter/great guy Pat McClimans. Music from BR-549, SF Jazz, And Pat. More info here
Joe Peters is an accomplished singer, songwriter, performer, humanist, and world traveler. His songs reflect his varied experiences and his love for people. If there's a theme that runs through all the songs he's written and recorded it would be "Love Yourself. Love Life. Love everybody else." Not the easiest thing in contentious times. We caught up with Joe while he was attending a songwriters' retreat in Michigan. We talked about his music, the idea of honing one's craft, what musicians can do in tough times to distract or to lend a voice to protest. We also talked about the strange circumstances that created his song "Find the Yeti In You" from his new release "Clouds Thick, Whereabouts Unknown". Interesting guy with plenty to say musically and in this conversation.
We thought a long time about what to present in an episode that comes out on Election Day. I decided: Why not try to prevent a brief meditative time folks could turn to and take refuge, if, like me, they'd like to step away a minute or 15? This piece is thunderstorm and ocean sounds, with instrumental music improvised by me on the mighty EWI (electronic wind instrument). Use it on election day or any weird day, of which there will be many. For my two cents on the day, check my blog at rickmum.com. Now, take a few deep breaths, relax, turn off the madness a moment.
Flat Five are a Chicago group of amazing musicians that bring their individual influences together for a gumbo of quirky covers and originals. To quote the Facebook bio "Alex Hall, Kelly Hogan, Scott Ligon, Casey McDonough, Nora O'Connor Kean -- separately, these folks are in-demand touring and recording musicians for bands like Neko Case, The Decemberists, NRBQ, Jakob Dylan, Mavis Staples, Andrew Bird, J.D. McPherson, Robbie Fulks, Wanda Jackson, The Mekons, The New Pornographers, Alejandro Escovedo, and many more -- but collectively they are The FLAT FIVE Chicago -- five talented individuals who play together for the fun of it -- for the sheer joy of exploring all kinds of vocal music. Hopeless harmony junkies, all of 'em. They can't not do it. They just can't."
Their new release, in the making since 2014, is "It's a World of Love and Hope", is a perfect intro to this band. It combines influences from 60s pop, jazz, swing, country. The songs, written by Scott Ligon's brother Chris, have what the label, Bloodshot Records calls a "wide-eyed sweetness". A very apt description of these tunes that vary in genre, but have this thread running through that approaches the world with a wonderful sense of fun that reminds you of NRBQ at times, but is very much the Flat Five's vibe. The tune tunes included here, "You're Still Joe" and "Almond Grove" are examples of the diverse influences that make this wonderful album. "It's a World of Love and Hope"-maybe if we keep saying it, it will be.
Cubs win! Cubs win! Not only the popular mantra after what over the years has been a rare occasion, this has been humming in the brains of Cubs fans everywhere since Chicago won the National League pennant, the first such occurrence since 1945. This episode attempts to explain the phenomenon of Cubs fandom to our friends who aren't into sports. We also make some commentary about our personal feelings and memories related to the ball team, and we end with some clever Cubs-related music from the late, great Steve Goodman. We promise to get back on the music/arts track next time, but we couldn't resist a little Cubitude.
Dr. Will Miller, proprietor of Dr. Will's Neighborhood and The Gathering, educator, counselor, speaker, comedian, took off some of his hats and sat down with us. We had a conversation on satire, and whether these times are so self-satirizing that it must be difficult to try and be more tragicomic than the real events. In times like these, MAD Magazine can just about write itself! We touched on the role of art, music, and comedy to provide the service of sending up the elite, commenting on politics and important issues, or simply providing a useful distraction from modern chaos. Will is a fabulous conversationalist, and you'll enjoy his take on what's happening. We end with a tune from Joe Peters, who will doing a show October 15th with Mike Kelsey at GLM Live in Lafayette (michaelkelsey.com for tickets)
Carrie Newcomer has been plying her trade for a good while, and has grown in musical maturity and audience throughout the years, starting in her early days in Indiana. She now crisscrosses the country, delivering her music and message to the praise of critics and audiences. She has a new release,of which she's very proud, called "The Beautiful Not Yet" (release date 9/16/16), accompanied by a book of poems, essays, and lyrics. She sings,teaches and speaks at conventions, retreats, and other gatherings, delivering a message that encourages us to find and love ourselves. Her music seeks to aid us in withstanding the difficulties and distractions of our troubled times. Our conversation concludes with her song, "A Shovel is a Prayer". You'll hear what the critics and crowds are talking about.
This is, for now, the last Mumcast from Phoenix AZ. It's back to our studio next time! While rummaging about in my dad's stuff, I found a CD, mastered from old vinyl, of my high school jazz and concert bands. They were quite good. Our directors, Herman Matlock and Raymond Grivetti, were superb music educators, the kind every school should have.
It's school time again. Does your school district support the teaching of art and music? I suggest you lobby like hell if they do not. I had unforgettable learning and personal experiences via band in Hobart, Indiana. Everyone should have that opportunity.
This podcast contains 2 pieces from the jazz band, and ends with a patriotic classic from the concert band and choir. They are from 1970-72. Ancient stuff, kids. No cable, no cell phones, and we rode our pet Dino to school!
In 2016 so far, we have seen the deaths of a big group of iconic creative people in the music, arts, and entertainment worlds. This episode addresses the stories of three comedy icons who passed on to the Big Stage this year: Doris Roberts, Gene Wilder, and Garry Shandling. Each of these people have left huge marks on their corners of the entertainment business, and have left behind numerous shining examples of their genius which will live forever. Produced with crude tools in the Arizona heat, this one ends with music from our band, Dr. Fine & d'Gleet.
Lisa Parrish Parker and Anne Roscher Parks are two very different artists. Lisa's exhibit at Tippecanoe Arts Federation contains pieces inspired by the found objects of which they're made, and by the artist's desire to bring meaning to those objects. She puts together various elements and portrays a variety of emotions. She recently learned about fractal art, also represented in the exhibit, titled Perceptions of Time and Space, that runs until September 9th (some examples here). She let us in on her process for creation, and we interviewed her while she was in the process of assembling her exhibit.
Anne Parks is a painter, with a background in art and art education. She works from her West Lafayette home, and produces beautiful paintings that reflect her love for nature, and the animals and structures found therein. After leving her job at Purdue, Anne dedicated herself to creating art that makes her happy. It is very artful work, that is also accessible to the consumer. She spoke about the importance of art education, and about her motivaton and inspiration. Find her art at anneparksart.com
Friends are great. Talented ones are a bonus! My friend, John Frigo, is an artist, illustrator, music aficionado, and so much more. His art work is well known in the Lafayette, IN area. Many have seen his very cool posters for shows put on by the Friends of Bob music co-op, of which John is still a member. We discuss how the music coop works and has really helped the music scene locally. We discuss the roots of John's work (you can find some samples of his work here on the Friends of Bob Facebook page), and his influences artistic and musical. Among those was Mad Magazine, a favorite of mine as well. John once went on a quest to produce a Drawing a Day, which is tougher than you think. He talked about that experience and his love of passing on his knowledge and love for all things art.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Beatles. Ed Sullivan said those words, and popular music was never the same. We all know the legendary prowess and reach of the group, and of Lennon/McCartney's songbook. There are an incalculable number of cover versions of that magical Beatles portfolio. Our buddy Keith Austin, former radio colleague, ad exec, musician, and Beatles fan extraordinaire, joined us for a discussion of the Beatles tunes, and we examine a tiny fraction of what's out there, from the ridiculous to the sublime. And we end with a spaced-out spaceman sing/talking a classic. It's fab, it's gear, it's a hoot!
Rick Siler is the force behind the Rickerrocker.com team, covering local music events and venues. Rick is sponsoring the main stage at the Music Matters Festival in Darlington, IN on August 5-6 (details here). The fest features 11 bands over the two nights, some of whom have been on this podcast, and some we don't know. It's the brainchild of guitarist/songwriter/band leader Jason Wells, who is also the dad of Gibson Wells, a spectacular teen guitarist, and his not-to-miss band The Edgars. We also touched on some tips for putting your band's name out there, from social media to the proper press kit contents. Rick had a great notion about what keeps bands from pushing themselves, a notion I never had considered. We concluded with one of the festival bands, the Down Low Kickers, who will give you a perma-smile.