A new podcast continuing the history as told by the music makers themselves, chronicling the life we love to live, behind the songs we live to love.
Episode 12. The McBroom Sisters
The McBroom Sisters
"Did you exchange a walk-on part in the war for a lead role in a cage?"
After spending years working on other people’s projects, the McBroom Sisters have just released their own album – and done so on their own terms.
In this episode, I talk with Durga and Lorelei McBroom. These incredible sisters are on the shortlist when some band needs a powerhouse guest vocalist, and they each boast star-studded resumes that any musician would envy.
Durga and Lorelei on stage with Steve Hackett
Lorelei has done major tours with Pink Floyd, the Rolling Stones, and Rod Stewart, along with working with a diverse range of musicians, including Nile Rodgers, Mark Collie, Chris Isaak and (with her sister) Steve Hackett from Genesis. Her songs have been recorded by Sister Sledge and Earth, Wind & Fire’s Philip Bailey, and, for the past decade, Lorelei has been a featured vocalist for the acclaimed Australian Pink Floyd Show.
Lorelei singing with Rod Stewart
Durga also has sung with Pink Floyd – both in the studio and on tour. Her techno rock duo Blue Pearl, with Killing Joke bassist Youth, scored a hit with “Naked In The Rain” and she collaborated with Billy Idol on his Cyberpunk album. Durga has performed with numerous Pink Floyd tribute groups, and now fronts the tribute band Pink Floyd Legacy.
Durga performing in the Pink Floyd Show UK
In our conversation, the McBroom Sisters talk about how their busy careers resulted in their debut album taking seven years to finish and how the pandemic factored into completing it. The album’s title, Black Floyd, reflects their extensive connection with Pink Floyd’s music and also pays homage to the many black musicians who influenced rock ‘n roll.
Besides putting their own stamp on several classic Floyd tunes, the sisters also showcase their own original material on Black Floyd, which includes co-writes with long-time Pink Floyd collaborators Jon Carin and Guy Pratt as well as Motörhead’s late frontman Lemmy Kilmister.
Louise with Lorelei and Durga
I am also one of the album’s guest performers, singing with them on “Wish You Were Here.” I’ve known Durga and Lorelei since we were teens and we reminisce a bit about growing up in Los Angeles. They also candidly discuss being black women in the rock world, the image of women in society, and how they have used their sexuality in empowering ways.
Please enjoy this insightful conversation with Durga and Lorelei McBroom on episode 12 of Song Chronicles.
Episode 11. Gloria Estefan - Part 2
Song Chronicles proudly presents its eleventh episode, the second of a two-part conversation with Gloria Estefan.
Gloria Estefan has lived a phenomenal life since arriving in America with her family from Cuba when she was two years old. As a teenager, she joined the Miami Sound Machine, where she also met her future husband Emilio. The group slowly built a following over the course of a decade, first finding success in Latin America before hitting it big internationally with “Conga” in 1985.
Whether with the Miami Sound Machine or solo, Gloria has been a regular on the charts, racking up hits with “Can’t Stay Away From You,” “The Rhythm is Going to Get You” and “Anything For You” in the ‘80s; "Coming Out Of The Dark," "Mi Tierra," and "Oye” in the ‘90s, and “Wrapped/Hoy,” “Out of Nowhere,” and “Hotel Nacional” in the 21st century. She has sold over 100 million records worldwide, ranking her among the top-selling artists around the globe. And that success continues with her recently released album, Brazil305, which debuted in the top 10 on Billboard’s Tropical Albums chart.
The many prestigious accolades that Gloria has received almost match the number of her hit songs. She was the first Cuban-American to receive the Kennedy Center Honors and the first female singer to be awarded Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year. Gloria and Emilio were the first couple and first Cuban-Americans to receive the Gershwin Prize as well as the first couple to get the Presidential Medal of Freedom. A cultural trailblazer and role model, Gloria also has been honored for her humanitarian and philanthropic work by organizations like MusiCares, Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, National Music Foundation, and Billboard.
Gloria and Emilio receive the Medal of Freedom from President Obama
Alex Wong/Getty Images North America
Talking from her home in Miami Beach, Gloria shared some of her experiences during the pandemic. There were some things that she enjoyed — like doing interviews from home and being able to do her own hair and make-up (she also revealed that she’s known as the “eyebrow queen”) — and things that she disliked (such as not being able to easily get together with the rest of family, especially her 8-year-old grandson).
Gloria with her daughter Emily and niece Lili
She has kept busy during the pandemic not only working on the release of her new album, but also developing a Facebook Watch series, Red Table Talk: The Estefans that she is doing with her daughter Emily and niece Lili. One thing that she loves about doing this show is that it allows her to spend more time with her daughter.
Gloria performing with Emily
Emily Estefan is an up-and-coming singer-songwriter and Gloria talked about trying to coax her to release more of her music and not be so caught up in making recordings sound perfect. Her advice to her daughter — as well as any musician — is that making music is about “the free expression of emotion, a thought (and) an idea.”
We also had a candid discussion about the highly sexualized ways that young female performers are often presented nowadays. While believing that everyone should express themselves as they want to, she cautions to think twice about doing a lot of “booty shaking” because it can come back to haunt you. Gloria, who revealed that she always tries to “elevate” with her music, said that there’s “no need to do something outside of your comfort zone…(and) it would be a shame if you did it to get attention.”
Gloria performing in 1991
ABC Photo Archives via Getty Images
One thing that has kept Gloria balanced — during the pandemic as well as before — is something that happened to her 30 years ago. In 1990, Gloria was very badly injured in a tour bus accident. She was nearly paralyzed and
Episode 10. Gloria Estefan - Part 1
Song Chronicles is proud to present its tenth episode, part one of a two-part conversation with Gloria Estefan.
The Cuban-American singer achieved worldwide stardom in the mid-80s. Her long, successful career has been recognized with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Kennedy Center Honors, the American Music Award for Lifetime Achievement, and induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Additionally, her life and musical career with her husband Emilio serve as the basis for the Broadway musical On Your Feet!
I spoke with Gloria from her home in Miami Beach on August 19, the week after the release of her long-awaited album Brazil305. During our conversation for Song Chronicles, Gloria spoke on a wide range of topics, from her start in the music business to the art of songwriting and music that has influenced her.
She also speaks about the importance of family — throughout her life and during the pandemic — and a mother-and-daughter theme runs through the interview. This seems quite appropriate since I got to know Gloria in 2013 when she performed at the White House as part of the Gershwin Prize ceremony honoring my mother Carole King.
Gloria Estefan performs at the Gershwin Prize ceremony honoring Carole King
Photo by Pete Souza. Courtesy of The White House
Gloria came from a family that was full of musicians. Her mother was a born performer who actually won a Shirley Temple contest that included a trip to Hollywood. Gloria’s grandmother, whom she described as being very forward-thinking for her time, was ready to take Gloria’s mom to Hollywood; however, her grandfather forbade them from going.
Gloria's mother and grandmother
Gloria was two when her family arrived in America from Cuba. As a child, Gloria enjoyed singing but she was introverted and shied away from performing. Her grandmother, who was like a stage mother to her, urged Gloria to sing, telling her “you won’t be happy unless you do what you are meant to do.”
Gloria shares the funny story about the first time she met Emilio Estefan in 1975 when she was 17. His accordion was covering his shorts “so it looked like he was naked” but “he had great legs.” That summer, Gloria saw Emilio’s band, the Miami Latin Boys, play at a wedding. He asked her to sing; she did and got a standing ovation. He asked her to join his band but she said no. Eventually, though, she said yes, remembering what her grandmother had told her. Her mom, however, was quite upset over her joining the group, so Gloria got her cousin, Mercy, to join too.
That is Gloria on the right
Emilio loved the first song Gloria ever wrote, “Tu Amor Conmigo,” so much that it was put on the band’s first single. Since there were now girls in the Miami Latin Boys, they needed to change their name. Gloria says that she didn’t like the name Miami Sound Machine; her idea was simply Miami, but the new name served them well.
That first single was a big hit in Latin America, where they played to large crowds, but it wasn’t a hit in America, where they still played weddings. This taught her that fame “can go away as fast as it comes,” adding that “it was important that I had a good ten years before worldwide success exploded” because it allowed her to be more relaxed and honest on stage, which in turn made her a better live performer.
Gloria and Emilio on their wedding Day
Courtesy of Gloria and Emilio Estefan
Gloria married Emilio in 1980 on the day that she turned 21. She admits that they are “a rare combo.” She says that they are two different types who “empower each other” and are “strong-willed but not (with) big egos.” She also describes Emilio as "the biggest feminist that she knows" with "no qualms with women being in positions of power."
She admires his “uncanny abili
Episode 9 Al Schmitt - Part 2
Al SchmittPart 2
Song Chronicles is proud to present the second of a two-part interview with Al Schmitt. This episode, done via Zoom on August 7, took place three days after the first interview after Al emailed to say that he had some additional stories and memories he wanted to share. It’s a testament to his generosity and work ethic that Al would take the time to follow-up because he wanted to make this interview even more special even after a great first interview – which is a fascinating conversation on its own.
Al Schmitt has spent his 70-some year career making things better. The universally revered engineer and producer has received awards with the most notable all-time Grammy winners – and the top among engineers - as well as receiving the honored prestigious Grammy Trustee Award.
Al Schmitt with Tommy LiPuma and Paul McCartney
Al’s unrivaled resume crosses generations and genre lines. The 90-year-old master of the soundboard has worked with a seemingly endless list of musical superstars: from Miles Davis to Madonna, Quincy Jones to Nina Simone, Dolly Parton to Brian Wilson, Elvis Presley to Bob Dylan, Liza Minnelli to Luis Miguel, Kenny Rogers to Kenny G., Linda Ronstadt to Rod Stewart.
Al with Ray Charles
In this episode, Al shares some of his favorite moments from his illustrious career – like the time in the early ‘60s when he hung out in a hotel suite with Sam Cooke and Cassius Clay (just weeks before took the name Muhammad Ali). Cooke was helping out Clay, who just had gotten a record deal, and Al recalls how funny and irreverent to two men were - “I never laughed so hard in my life.”
Al had a long-running working partnership with Henry Mancini, which started with the Peter Gunn record and resulted in Al’s first Grammy for the Hatari! soundtrack. The acclaimed composer, Al reveals, had a great sense of humor as well as a great way to endear himself with session musicians – here’s a hint: it involves how doing one song past 11 pm made the musicians very happy.
Al at work at Capitol Studios
When Al was a kid, he used to play hooky from school to go see Frank Sinatra sing at the Paramount Theatre. And Sinatra was one artist that he had long to work with but never had – until producer Phil Ramone called him to engineer Sinatra’s Duets album. It was a job, Al says, he would have done for nothing. He talks about how the studio was set up for Sinatra and how the singer wanted to do this “this way” in the studio as well as what a thrill it was just to be part of Sinatra’s dinner party for three nights.
His Sinatra stories also involves the fabled U47 microphone, a subject close to Al’s heart because he is a self-described “microphone freak.” During this episode, Al discusses how much he enjoys mic-ing a room and trying them out in different placements, moving the band around the room. He fondly remembers his time at RCA where he would experiment in the studio every day and discover the ambience and best recording spots in the room. Al also describes his process of working with an artist to make for the most rewarding and productive recording session.
Diana Krall with Al Schmitt
During my conversation with Al, he speaks too about how he developed such a strong work ethic as well as his various interests outside of the studio. Additionally, he shares how he has continued working during the COVID pandemic, having recently wrapped up engineering jobs on upcoming releases by Diana Krall and Melody Gardot.
Episode 8. Al Schmitt - Part 1
Al SchmittPart 1
Song Chronicles is proud to present the first of a two-part interview with Al Schmitt. These episodes offer a unique behind-the-scenes look - from a master of his craft – on what happens on the other side of the glass when musicians go into a recording studio.
Al Schmitt is the definition of a living legend. During his unparalleled career, the 90-year-old engineer/producer has worked with an incredible list of musical giants: Frank Sinatra, Duke Ellington, Sam Cooke, Barbra Streisand, Henry Mancini, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Willie Nelson, Neil Young, Steely Dan, Celine Dion, Queen Latifah, and more are names that only scratch the surface of a career of the highest excellence: his knowledge and work ethic makes the greatest of greats want him at the helm. The arc spans far and wide with Frank Sinatra to Bob Dylan singing Sinatra, as well as Nat King Cole & Natalie Cole’s “Unforgettable”.
Al Schmitt with Niko Bolas
Now in his seventh decade at the board, Al has hardly slowed down. He has just finished mixing a new album from Diana Krall, with whom he already has earned three Grammys. In fact, Al has won more Grammys – 20 – than any other engineer and ranks among the top 15 of all-time Grammy winners.
During Neil Young sessions at Capitol
(Neil Young and Niko Bolas pictured)
I met Al when he came to speak to the members of the Blackbird Academy’s audio engineering program that I enrolled myself in last year in Nashville. He came in with his good friend, and fellow producer/engineer, Niko Bolas, who I've been fortunate to know since I was 18, when I was recording at Record One in Sherman Oaks (a studio once owned by Allen Sides as part of Ocean Way), where Niko was working alongside producer/engineer, Val Garay.
I spoke with Al recently, August 4, 2020, during the quarantine. We spoke via video on Zoom, talking about his illustrious career, innovative recording techniques, and the musicians who he’s worked with.
Al Schmitt and Steve Genewick
Al developed his love for the studio very early in his life. As a child, the New York City native hung out at the recording studio owned by his uncle, Harry Smith. Not the folklorist Harry Smith but the Harry Smith (née Schmitt) who ran the first independent recording studio on the east coast. He was starry-eyed with his uncle’s work and life. Les Paul was his “Uncle Les,” who took young Al to hockey games, boxing matches, and bar.
Smith instilled in Al some valuable lessons about studio work, such as: “You’ve got to treat your equipment like a Swiss watch and it’ll take care of you”. Al says that’s why you’ll never see him putting coffee and stuff like that on his console.
His uncle also lined up an apprenticeship for him, then 19 and just out of the Navy, at Apex Recording Studios, where he received tutelage from another of his mentors, the fabled engineer/producer Tom Dowd, who Al describes as “one of the great engineers of all time.”
It was at Apex too that Al ran, quite by accident, his first recording session for none other than Duke Ellington – and a very kind Duke, who told the novice engineer: “Don’t worry son, we’re gonna get through this. It’s gonna be fine.”
Al has become known for his clean, unembellished sound, which he developed early on when he only had a few microphones to work with. This taught him the importance of mic placement to get the sound right for a take, particularly because there wasn’t the technology yet to go back and fix a take.
“I've always been an experimenter with microphones and how to set up things,” he reveals. “I set up a big band one day and the next day I'd set them up exactly the opposite and I'd move them around the room until I got the best place.”
Al Schmitt & Niko Bolas with Jo
Episode 7. Peter Case - Part 2
Peter CasePart 2
Peter in Venice, California with his dog Mattie
April 8, 2019
photo by Louise Goffin
"I write to know what I think" - Peter Case
In the follow-up to Episode 6, which was Part One of this interview, the conversation continues that took place on April 8th, 2019. To bring us up-to-date, Louise makes a Zoom call to Peter in August 2020 to find out how his music, recording and touring plans have changed, in response to the pandemic.
When asked on the spot to give his shortlist of perfect songs, here's what he said:Bob Dylan -Desolation RowThe Beatles- Penny Lane (Lennon-McCartney)Hoagy Carmichael - Stardust (Hoagy Carmicheal-Mitchell Parish)The Drifters - Up On The Roof (Goffin&King)Otis Redding - A Change Is Gonna Come ( Everton Bonner / John Christopher Taylor / Sam Cooke)
If you haven't listened to Part One, you can listen at the link below:
Customer ReviewsSee All
Audio quality improves
I’ve been a Louise fans since Kid Blue. Great to hear her talk to other song writers, always good. Early episodes had audio issues, newer ones, like Kathy Valentine, is very pleasing.
Dylan episode is great but a tough listen.
Really enjoying the interviews and content! Thanks for your contribution to the industry, Louise!
It’s awesome to hear from songwriters directly! Louise is a great host.