National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins is a rock-star of science who was instrumental in the identification of multiple genes for hereditary disease including cystic fibrosis, Huntington’s and neurofibromatosis.
He led the Human Genome Project in the 1990's that resulted in the mapping of the entire human genome sequence in 2003.
In 2009 he was nominated by President Obama to be Director of the Nationals Institutes of Health, with unanimous confirmation by the Senate. Since that time, he has boosted research efforts in Alzheimer’s disease, innovative brain science, set the stage for precision medicine, and many other areas.
We had the great honor to sit down with Dr. Collins and talk about scientific surprises and musical exploration, about the importance of collaboration and listening, and about how music, family and spirituality seem to travel in similar circles.
Song 1: Hallelujah / Leonard Cohen, performed by: Francis Collins, Renee Fleming and the National Symphony Orchestra - 2017
Song 2: New River Train / The Ward Family of Galax, performed by: The Monroe Brothers - 1936
Song 3: The Times They Are A Changin’ / Bob Dylan, performed by: Francis Collins, Joe Perry, Rudy Tanzi - 2009
Song 4: Symphony No. 3 in E flat, Op. 55 “Eroica” 2nd movement / Ludwig van Beethoven, Berlin Philharmonic with Herbert von Karajan - 1986
Song 5: The What Makes Scientist Cry Blues, performed by Francis Collins, Joe Perry, Rudy Tanzi - 2009
Song 6: Disease Don’t Care / Francis Collins, performed by Francis Collins - Live at the NIH - 2019
A performance by A Far Cry - Live at City Winery Boston - February 28, 2019 in Boston, MA.
Recorded after our fourth ConcertCast - a conversation and performance in front of a live audience.
To listen to the entire conversation, go here: http://abovethwww.abovethebasement.com/131-a-far-cry
Johannes Brahms, Viola Quintet in G Major, Op. 111
Antonín Dvorák : The Terzetto in C, Op. 74 (B. 148)
Episode 131 - a ConcertCast Event with A Far Cry
Classical music is pretty much the only music in the world that still sounds beautiful when the musicians are tuning up. It sounded so great we decided to start the episode with a brief tuning session.
We were joined by Megumi Lewis, Omar Chen Guey, Caitlin Lynch, Jae Cosmos Lee, Michael Unterman and Jason Fisher, several of The Criers from the Boston based chamber orchestra A Far Cry.
We invited these fine musicians to City Winery Boston for another live ConcertCast.
Founded in 2007, A Far Cry has been nominated for three Grammys. Playing music from various time periods they incorporate both new and time tested works with the goal “to wrestle the music they love back from the cultural baggage it's accumulated”.
Throughout the episode you will hear movements of Dvorak’s Terzetto, played by Jae Cosmos Lee, Omar Chen Guey and Jason Fisher. Caitlyn Lynch then joins Jason and Jae for a conversation with us and they answer a few questions from the audience.
The final piece they play by Brahms is published separately as part of our In Concert Series above.
They both sound absolutely beautiful.
ConcertCast: Antonín Dvorák : The Terzetto in C, Op. 74 (B. 148)
In Concert Series: (separate episode) Johannes Brahms, Viola Quintet in G Major, Op. 111
Episode 130 - a conversation with Ari Hest.
With a distinctive voice and beautiful melodies, Ari Hest has carved out a diverse career as an independent artist. Several of his songs have appeared on TV and Film soundtracks, and 2014 collaboration with Judy Collins earned him his first Grammy nomination for their album Silver Skies Blue.
Now with a brand new baby in the mix, he and his wife, the very talented musician Chrissi Poland, have settled in the South Shore of Massachusetts.
We sat with him at of Lucky Finn Café overlooking the harbor in Scituate, Massachusetts. While sipping our espressos, we talked about how he started out in music, guitars, collaboration and babies.
Special guest co-host David Moore otherwise known as MALIN sits in for Ronnie Hirschberg this time around.
Song 1: Bird Never Flies (The Break In)
Song 2: Heart of a Lion (Natural)
Song 3: I Choose Love (Silver Skies Blue with Judy Collins)
Song 1: Sato (Single)
Song 2: Leaving Her Alone (The Break In)
Episode 129 - a conversation with Livingston Taylor.
Boston’s own Livingston Taylor is a musician, teacher and interested man. Yes – we said interestED, not interesting. Not that Livingston isn’t interesting, because he certainly is. This will all make sense in our conversation.
Liv is a full professor at Berklee College of Music where he teaches Stage Performance. He is currently celebrating a 50+ year career with a brand new album called "The Best of LIVe – 50 Years of Livingston Taylor Live". This album has 11 tracks from his upcoming box set of the same name featuring unreleased live performances spanning his career from 1969 through 2016.
There is also a fantastic documentary called "Livingston Taylor: Life Is Good” that won The Van Gogh Award for the Feature Documentary category at the Amsterdam International Film Festival and you can check that out on Amazon.
Livingston has played with Joni Mitchell, Linda Ronstadt, Fleetwood Mac, Jimmy Buffett, and Jethro Tull to name just a few and he continues to play and tour internationally.
Liv flew in from Martha’s Vineyard (and I mean he actually flew himself in as he is an instrument-rated pilot) to have a truly great conversation in his Watertown offices with us.
We talked about teaching, performance, learning and even about Steel manufacturing – he’s a man who has an insatiable thirst for being interested and he will tell you without asking that he loves you.
And he means it.
Song List: All songs from the album "The Best of LIVe – 50 Years of Livingston Taylor Live"
Song 1: Our Turn To Dance (From Snapshot)
Song 2: I Ask You Once (Demo)
Song 3: Get Out Of Bed (Live)
Song 4: Good Friends (Live)
Song 5: Sit On Back (Live)-
We are taking a little detour from our usual format to bring you this very special episode.
We hosted a conversation between the illustrious sports reporters Gordon Edes and Steve Buckley with arguably the most well know Presidential Historian in the world - Doris Kearns Goodwin.
With the 2018 Red Sox World Series Trophy in the room, we talked, sang and celebrated Red Sox Baseball while raising money for the amazing Pete Frates Family Foundation.
We would bet that most of you listening either participated in or at least heard of the Ice Bucket challenge. Started by Pete Frates who was struck with ALS a few years ago, with his parents John and Nancy and the millions of people who took part in the challenge, the foundation has raised a ¼ of a billion dollars to fight ALS, which is just astounding.
We were truly honored to have John and Nancy Frates join us on that Sunday evening to say a few words as well as Red Sox great Sam Horn, Red Sox Poet Laureate Dick Flavin and the Sox Fenway Park organist Josh Kantor.
It was a special night, made all the more wonderful not only by the money raised but the gathering of friends and family.
Episode 127 - a conversation with Jared Bowen.
We took a ride early one morning to the WGBH studios in Brighton, Mass to sit with arts and entertainment reporter and Boston native Jared Bowen. Jared has talked with all sorts or amazing people.
Jared can be found, well – really everywhere. He is an Emmy award-winning host of the TV series, 'Open Studio with Jared Bowen', a contributor to the WGBH magazine program, 'Greater Boston” and you can also hear him the radio on 89.7, where he talks about what’s going on in Boston for the performing arts on WGBH’s 'Morning Edition' and 'Boston Public Radio'.
He is also a coach and judge on the choir competition show 'Sing That Thing!' These are only a few of the things Jared does. He is a busy guy and we were happy to get a chance to sit and talk Boston arts and culture.
Music and narration outtake courtesy of WGBH Boston from Open Studio with Jared Bowen
Episode 126 - a conversation with Oompa
We first ran into Oompa at Boston One Night Band back in 2018 – listen to Episode 123 for our conversation with Richard Bouchard about that event - but Oompa immediately stood out to me and I quickly put her down as someone to reach out to.
Fast forward almost exactly a year later and we happily got a chance to sit with her and also guest host and Hip Hip know it all Ike Walker for a great conversation.
Oompa is fresh off her two Boston Music Awards for Best Unsigned Artist and 617 Sessions winner and is currently in the studio to release her next album.
We talk hip hop of course, but also touch on teaching, writing, and her being the gay auntie of Boston. Oompa is all energy and is passionate about her music, poetry and the City of Boston.
Song 1: Nicky’s Song (November 3rd)
Song 2: Say Her Name (November 3rd)
Song 3: Dear Mama (November 3rd)
Song 4: Dope
Song 5: Catch 22 (November 3rd)
Episode 125 - a conversation with Peter Gammons.
As a Boston Red Sox fan living in the NY/NJ area back in the 90’s and early 2000’s, life as a Sox fan was...well...difficult. Especially after Game 7 of the ALCS when the New York Yankees walked off the Sox in 2003.
But that was just the beginning of a Red Sox renaissance that eventually brought the city of Boston 4 World Series Trophies since - including the recent 2018 championship. With 11 championships since 2001 – Boston fans really have nothing to complain about when it comes to sports.
But during that painful time of losing before all the winning, there were a few people we turned to for our Red Sox fix. Peter Gammons was number one on that list.
So what is a world class sportswriter and analyst doing on a music podcast?
Peter is also a songwriter and guitarist and has played with the likes of Eddie Vedder, Will Dailey, Buffalo Tom and many others. He also started Hot Stove, Cool Music – which is the signature fundraiser for The Foundation To Be Named Later started by Paul and Theo Epstein.
But Peter is much more than just a sportswriter and musician, he is also a humanitarian who works hard for the kids in the city of Boston. We spoke with Peter at his scholarship dinner for the Peter Gammons College Scholarship in Boston and got to talk with Chief Cook and Bottle Washer, CEO and Executive Director of The Foundation to Be Named Later Allyce Najimy, Scholar Program Manager Lesly Suriel, the Foundation's founder Paul Epstein and Boston musician Will Dailey.
All songs from the album Never Slow Down, Never Grow Old
Song 1: Tanqueray
Song 2: Come, Labor On
Song 3: Model Citizen