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Above The Basement - Boston Music and Conversation

Above the Basement offers casual and candid discussions with musicians, artists, producers and others from Boston and beyond. The conversations offer experiences ​from those shaping Boston's music community and for whom music is a passion. You'll hear their stories, hardships ​​faced and overcome...and why they love what they do.
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Above The Basement - Boston Music and Conversation
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Feb 14, 2018

Massachusetts native Mark Erelli is a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer and has been in the Boston music scene as a professional for almost 20 years.

He just released Mixtape – a compilation of covers from musicians who inspire him.

We had a great conversation covering his high school bands, the link between science and music, his move from entomology to full time musician, his thoughts on collaboration in the writing process and also the importance of reading instructions on smoke machine use.

Song List

Song 1: Brokedown Palace (Mixtape)
Song 2: Basement Days (Little Vigils)
Song 3: French King (For a Song)

Live Songs

Song 1: Ophelia (Mixtape)
Song 2: Against All Odds (Mixtape)

Feb 7, 2018

Chuck and Ron know all their listeners have frequently pondered the following question:

What do their Mom’s think of Above The Basement?

They decided to get to the bottom of it! After a lovely brunch at Woods Hill Table they sat with professional mothers Gloria Clough and Judy Hirschberg. They pestered them with questions and let them tell embarrassing stories about them - all the while fishing for compliments that only a mother could give.

Song List:

Song 1: Maggie (Ron Hirschberg - 1995)
Song 2: Sometimes (After The Frost - Northern Point) - 2010)
Song 3: This Time (Last Call For Opinions - The Butler Frogs)

Jan 31, 2018

We met with David Wax and Suz Slezak - appropriately enough in a guesthouse where they were staying with their own family of four.

They are on a 10 city tour as a duo - humming along the way with new creations of melodies and lyrics while at the same time teaching their kids a thing or two about language, culture and the road.

Their music will both soothe and surprise you, treating the ears with harmonies and often unexpected but pleasant repetitive lines and hooks - – it is an anthropological journey into their own Mexo-Americana connection.

This 2 piece is usually a 5 piece band and - spoiler alert - the upcoming touring show seems to be expanding to a 7 piece in a town near you soon.

Blindfolds optional...

Song List:

Song 1: Every Time Katie (Guesthouse)
Song 2: Wheelbarrow Baby (Electric Artifacts)
Song 3: Guesthouse (Guesthouse)
Song 4: Harder Before It Gets Easier (Knock Knock Get Up)
Live Song 1: Time Will Not Track us Down (Guesthouse)
Live Song 2: Lavender Street (Everything is Saved)

Jan 25, 2018

The final installment of our Boston Children's Chorus episodes! 

We sat with BCC Founder Hubie Jones and a few board members, sponsors and supporters, including Joel and Sue Sherman, Meg Clough and Bob Rivers just before the Boston Children's Chorus Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration at Symphony Hall Boston.

We also had the unique opportunity to talk once again not only to current BCC singers, but a few alumni as well!

We got their thoughts on the event, the importance of such a wonderful program and the example the kids of the BCC sets for us all.

Song List:

Song 1: A Change Is Gonna Come
Song 2: Pride - In The Name Of Love
Song 3: Before My Time
Song 4: We Are One
Song 5: Amazing Grace

Jan 17, 2018

We talked with Matthew Stubbs as he was just about to take the floor with his band Matthew Stubbs and The Antiguas for his 2017 Boston Music Award winning residency DownBeat Mondays at The Sinclair.

The B-Movies showing on the TVs along with the psychedelic light show and animation coloring the band create a surreal environment – made all the more amazing by the fantastic instrumental mix of what has been called Acid Blues.

While he has two great solo albums under his belt - he just released his first self titled album with The Antiguas (called Matthew Stubbs and The Antiguas).

But you gotta hear these guys live to really appreciate the entire package.

Song List: All songs from their self titled album Matthew Stubbs and The Antiguas.

Song 1: Del Diablo
Song 2: El Segundo
Song 3: Unwinder

Jan 11, 2018

We caught Vancil just before he departed for his 18 month journey as principle drummer on Hamilton: An American Musical.

Hailing from Boston, Vancil is an award winning jazz drummer, producer and musical director. Vancil, or “Coop” talked with us at Charles Haynes’s studio about academic music, sharpening the tools and becoming a listener.

We spoke about his beginnings as an eager 4th grader in the Metco program in Wellesley, MA and his road to becoming a sought after professional musician embarking on a tour with the most talked about musical of our generation.

Song List:

Song 1: Song For My Father (Vancil Cooper/Gabriela Martina)
Song 2: Open (Lindsay Lucas)

Jan 3, 2018

British pianist, vocalist and performer Tom Odell writes and sings from the soul and gives an unforgettable live performance with his band that is both modern and classic at the same time.

We were thrilled to sit at Strongroom Studios in East London where he was putting the final touches on his latest album. The surrounding color and lighting around the instruments made up for the fact that I kicked over his tea and Ronnie left 2 very expensive microphones in the back seat of the Uber we took to get there – which we fortunately got back later that evening.

This was a special trip for us at Above The Basement as two Bostonians visiting England. There was a lot of healing that needed to happen following the Boston bombing in 2013 ¬- and it’s fitting that we sat in Strongroom Studios when Tom’s song Heal was featured in the movie Stronger.

To that end we would like to dedicate this episode and the inspiring music behind it to the healing victims, their families and caregivers throughout our Boston hospitals - in particular the amazing staff at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital – whose motto is, appropriately enough - "Find Your Strength".

Song List:

Song 1: Concrete (Wrong Crowd)
Song 2: Heal (Long Way Down)
Song 3: Somehow (Wrong Crowd)
Song 4: Constellations (Wrong Crowd)
Song 5: Supposed To Be (Long Way Down)

Dec 31, 2017

We all have a voice but seldom can we come together to sing in harmony. The BCC makes this possible literally and figuratively from as early as age 7 and continuing throughout high-school.

From over 100 zip codes in the greater Boston area, this group of 450 young singers meet each week to learn, rehearse and perform under the guidance of artistic director Anthony Trecek-King and executive producer Ben Hires.

This is part two of our conversation as we invited some of the young singers to the conversation and got their thoughts on the wonderful experiences they’ve had with The Boston Children’s Chorus.

As Dr. Martin Luther King day approaches, the BCC not only prepares for their concert in Symphony Hall, they reflect on his legacy and the everyday impact of his message on their own lives and the city of Boston.

Song List:

Song 1: Pride (In the Name of Love)
Song 2: I Will Sing

Dec 30, 2017

We all have a voice but seldom can we come together to sing in harmony. The BCC makes this possible literally and figuratively from as early as age 7 and continuing throughout high-school.

From over 100 zip codes in the greater Boston area, this group of 450 young singers meet each week to learn, rehearse and perform under the guidance of artistic director Anthony Trecek-King and executive producer Ben Hires.

In our two part conversation, Anthony, Ben and several members of this outstanding and creative chorus discuss the connections among new friends, and the power of harmony.

As Dr. Martin Luther King day approaches, the BCC not only prepares for their concert in Symphony Hall, they reflect on his legacy and the everyday impact of his message on their own lives and the city of Boston.

Song List:

Song 1: On My Way
Song 2: Oh Canada
Song 3: Pride (In the Name of Love)
Song 4: I Will Sing

Dec 20, 2017

We sat with Lisa Rodio, Tim Steiner and Fraser Gordon at their rehearsal space in the north of London and discussed why they do what they do and what we can expect from them in the near future.

When you mix musical melodies and rhythm with movement and communication, a dose of humor and shared emotion, the result can be nothing short of magic.

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, based in London, has been able to make this possible through the work of professional classical musicians along with music scholars, educators, therapists and healthcare providers.

They created this experience with amazing programs like Strokestra, and The Irene Taylor Trust 'Music in Prisons' through The Lullaby Project.

RPO continues to provide these special experiences to groups around the UK and beyond, as well as to schools with children with disabilities, centers for autism and more.

Check out our website for more information on both of these projects.

Song List:

Song 1: Troyte - Barry Wordsworth conducts Elgar
Song 2: Dead Elvis - Charles Ullery (Michael Daugherty)
Song 3: Lullaby
Song 4: Strokestra
Song 5: Nimrod - Barry Wordsworth conducts Elgar

Dec 15, 2017

We traveled across the pond to London speak with legendary bassist and awesome human Leland Sklar the morning after his performance on tour with Phil Collins.

We sat in his hotel room to talk music, politics (yes...politics), tv theme songs, writing, dirt, gear....the list was endless.

Special thanks to our very first guest, bassist Alison Keslow, for the introductions to this episode.

This is part two of two.

Song List: Song 1: Your Smiling Face - James Taylor
Song 2: Don't Lose My Number - Phil Collins
Song 3: In The Air Tonight - Phil Collins

Dec 12, 2017

We traveled across the pond to London speak with legendary bassist and awesome human Leland Sklar the morning after his performance on tour with Phil Collins.

We sat in his hotel room to talk music, politics (yes...politics), tv theme songs, writing, dirt, gear....the list was endless.

Special thanks to our very first guest, bassist Alison Keslow, for the introductions to this episode.

This is part one of two.

Song List:

Song 1: Stratus - Billy Cobham (off the album Spectrum)
Song 2: The Rockford Files Theme - Mike Post

Dec 5, 2017

Boston born and raised rocker Carissa Johnson plays with energy and attitude and her quick hitting songs are a throwback to gritty punk rock and roll.

Carissa is nominated for three Boston Music Awards, including Rock Artist, New Artist and Unsigned Artist of the Year.

She was also the winner of the 2017 Boston Rock & Roll Rumble and has her own media label called Fuel Heart Productions. She is currently doing workshops on DIY touring with musician Vanessa Silberman of A Diamond Heart Production.

We were fortunate to have Vanessa as a special guest on this episode as well.

Song List:

Song 1: The Fool (Long Way Down)
Song 2: Sinking, Flying (Long Way Down)
Song 3: Only Roses (Long Way Down)
Song 4: Deleria (Long Way Down)

Live songs: You Lost You and Cardinal (from the upcoming album Talk Talk Talk)

Nov 22, 2017

Vapors of Morphine is Boston's own Dana Colley (baritone saxophone), drummer Jerome Deupree and New Orleans transplant singer/guitarist Jeremy Lyons.

Vapors continues the story of the great Boston 'Low Rock' band Morphine through their music while creating their own unique sound.  Morphine disbanded after the sudden and tragic death of frontman, composer and bassist Mark Sandman in 1999.  

They shared their thoughts last week and talked the new Morphine LP, how they all came together to form Vapors, their recent tour of Europe and what they are doing now.

Song List:

Song 1:  If (A New Low)
Song 2:  Hurricaine (Members of Morphine w/ Jeremy Lyons)
Song 3:  The Other Side (A New Low)
Song 4:  Pulled Over The Car (Members of Morphine w/ Jeremy Lyons)
Song 5:  Renouveau--Daman N'diaye (A New Low)

Nov 19, 2017

Kyle Bent has been rapping in Randolph, Massachusetts since the third grade and began recording his own material soon after that. Over the years he has honed his freestyle talents and become an introspective lyricist with a positive message.

The Jamaican born performer has seven albums under his belt including Dreams of God and Complex Simplicity just released in 2016.

Song List:

Song 1:   Life's Good (from the album Complex Simplicity)
Song 2:   Conversations (Complex Simplicity)
Song 3:   Higher Power (from the album Dreams of a God)
Song 4:   Complexity (Complex Simplicity)

Nov 15, 2017

Indie electronic trio CONTACT with Matt Rhoades, Austin Bryant and John Mellino sat with us to talk about their dark, melodic orchestral pop with an '80s post-punk influence.

CONTACT's sound blends infections hooks, hauntingly beautiful compositions, and stadium sized energy.

They just released the first single Gravekeeper off their upcoming album and they are nominated for two 2017 Boston Music Awards, including Electronic Artist of the Year' and Pop Artist of the Year.

 

Song List:

Song 1: DYK
Song 2: Blood Drive
Song 3: Killing Mine
Song 4: Gravekeeper

Nov 12, 2017

We sat around a very tiny table in the art room of a local school with the Grammy nominated and chart topping band The Fray.

The Fray’s debut album, How to Save a Life in 2005 was certified double platinum and they have had numerous other hits including Over My Head (Cable Car), You Found Me and enough other great songs to have them come out with a compilation album last year called Through the Years: The Best of the Fray.

We talked with Isaac Slade, Joe King, Dave Welsh and Ben Wysocki just before they went on stage for The Umbrella Community Arts Center concert series.

They are all really wonderful guys and we had a great talk.

Song List:

Song 1: How To Save A Life - from How To Save A Life
Song 2: Over My Head (Cable Car) - from How To Save A Life
Song 3: You Found Me - from The Fray

Nov 8, 2017

Julie Rhodes began singing in front of audiences only a few years ago and has taken Boston by storm.

Her debut album Bound To Meet The Devil has garnered rave reviews for her beautiful, soulful voice and she has wowed enough people with her live performances to get 5 Boston Music award nominations, including Live Artist of the Year, Unsigned Artist of the Year, Americana Artist of the Year, Female Vocalist of the Year and a shared nomination for Music Video of the Year with STL GLD, Dutch ReBelle and Tigerman WOAH.

She also just received Musician of The Year for 2017 from Improper Bostonian Magazine, so she may need a bigger mantle to hold all her awards by the end of the year.

Song List: All songs from Bound To Meet The Devil

Song 1: Collector Man
Song 2: Hey Stranger
Song 3: Skyscraper Blues
Song 4: Holes

Nov 1, 2017

Singer, songwriter and instrumentalist Kris Delmhorst sat with us at Club Passim and talked about recording her new album The Wild, her upcoming tour, her dreams of having a porch to play guitar on with her musician husband Jeffrey Foucault (who co-produced the new album with her) and whether or not to sing with your eyes open or closed.

Yup - we talked about that.

The wonderful Rose Polenzani co-hosted. Rose is a singer-songwriter as well and the host of the roving band of musicians Sub Rosa. She has also sung on some of Kris’s past recordings including a Cars cover album that Kris did back in 2011.

Song List:

Song 1: All The Way Around (The Wild)
Song 2: Hollow (The Wild)
Song 3: The Light In The Hall (The Wild)
Song 4: You Might Think (Cars)

Live songs: I Don't need To Know It All and Lonely West (The Wild)

Oct 25, 2017

Singer-songwriter and teacher at Berklee College of Music, Susan Cattaneo switched gears towards a life in music after finding a sign in the cracks of a sidewalk (there's a song in there somewhere).

She then took the big leap to join the amazing music community of songwriters in Boston. A well respected songwriter with numerous awards for her music, her songs have been described as "New England Americana with a twang."

She has just released her latest album The Hammer and the Heart.

Jonathan Beakley guest hosts.

Song List: All songs from The Hammer & The Heart

Song 1: The River Always Wins (featuring Mark Erelli)
Song 2: In The Grooves (featuring Bill Kirchen)
Song 3: Fade To Blue (featuring Nancy Beaudette)
Song 4: Work Hard Love Harder (live)
Song 5: Field Of Stone (live)

Oct 18, 2017

Alyssa is the founder of Lysten Boston and has been booking, promoting and developing Boston bands and artists since 2014. 

This is the second year in a row she has been nominated for the Boston Music Awards Promoter of the Year. She also works for PledgeMusic - an online direct-to-fan music platform that helps connect musicians to their fanbase.

She is the primary booker for The Plough and Stars in Cambridge and recently produced the Tremont Takeover event at The Wang Center and she currently has a fantastic roster of musicians, including Radclyffe Hall, Le Roxy Pro, Cruel Miracle and Ed Balloon.

Song List:

Song 1:   Cruel Miracle - Do You Owe Me from Manifesto
Song 2:   Ed Ballon - Bounce Back from Yellow 20-Somethings
Song 3:   Radclyff Hall - Rather Be from Ghosts
Song 4:   Le Roxy Pro - Bushkill from the self titled Album

 

Oct 11, 2017

We made a trip up to Burlington, VT and ventured to the home of Ryan Miller, the Accidental Ambassador of the great state of VT.

Maybe you ran into Ryan in an apple orchard in Vermont, or possibly downtown Burlington. Perhaps you’ve heard him on the radio as lead singer and guitarist in the acclaimed group Guster.

Ryan has built a career in scoring for film and also hosts a PBS TV show aptly called Makin' Friends with Ryan Miller, where he travels the state of Vermont speaking with “high functioning weirdos.”

We discovered that Ryan is a creative force in many ways when he kindly invited us to his home for a great conversation.

In this episode we include new songs from his upcoming film scores that are pretty amazing. See song list below:

Song one:     Moving In - Tig soundtrack
Song two:     One Man Wrecking Machine - Guster
Song three:   Road Trip - The Fundamentals of Caring soundtrack
Song four:    Goodbyes - Tig soundtrack
Song five:     This Is The Only Time We Have - The Fundamentals of Caring soundtrack

Oct 4, 2017

While touring as a rock drummer for Vermont's own Waylon Speed, Justin had a crazy idea: to manufacture vinyl records.

In three years he has produced thousands of unique records riding the vinyl wave in Burlington, VT.

The Burlington Record Plant is a labor of love and without any initial experience in production, Justin has become an innovator in the vinyl world, building on a foundation of hard work and determination.

Song One: What goes Up (Blowtorch)
Song Two: Unwound (Blowtorch)
Song Three: Running Colours (Sliding Spring)

Sep 27, 2017

In 2001, twenty-two year old Roberto Plano won first prize at the Cleveland International Piano Competition​.

Sixteen years later he emigrated to Boston, Massachusetts with his family to continue his pursuit of music academia at Boston University College of Fine Arts.

Mr. Plano has traveled the world and has won countless awards for his poetic musicianship and performances.

We sat with Roberto at Boston University to discuss food, family and his musical roots.

Music:

Musica Ricercata: No 7, Cantabile, molto legato - Inspiration - Paolo Paliaga and Roberto Plano

Hymne de L'enfant a' Son Reveil - Franz Liszt Harmonies Poetiques et Religieuses - Roberto Plano

Arvo's World - Inspiration - Paolo Paliaga and Roberto Plano

Sep 20, 2017

Grammy nominated Folk and Americana singer-songwriter Alastair Moock became inspired by music at a young age when he first saw Pete Seeger and Arlo Guthrie in concert and has passed on that inspiration in his music and his educational programs in local schools.

He is a solo artist that speaks a language we can all relate to, whether age 5 or 95, and he is a quintessential collaborator with fellow singer-songwriters in the studio and on the stage.

We sat with Alastair to talk about his career transformation from adult folk to family music, what parenting did for his music and what it's like to write songs with your 5 year old daughter at her hospital bedside.

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