The Show On The Road features interviews and exclusive acoustic performances with songwriters, bandleaders and musicians from around the world. Hosted by Dustbowl Revival's Z. Lupetin, each episode features an in-depth and playfully creative conversation about the real day to day lives of artists and their inspirations.
Bahamas: The Cozy Dadrock You Forgot You Needed (Part 2)
Remember when Easy Listening became the Smooth Jazz section of pop and rock n’ roll? But maybe we could use things a little easier these days. In the second part of my epic talk with Bahamas from his cozy cottage in Nova Scotia - we lean into embracing that softer side of ourselves as songwriters, fathers and edgy citizens just trying to make sense of a changing world. Afie Jervanen isn't shy about it: he would LOVE his records to be in the Easy Listening section of your local record store.
While Afie’s newest record Bootcut may seem like a warm country-tinted collection that you can safely put on in the background at a dinner party with everyone wearing turtlenecks and sweatpants - underneath, there are needles and shards of memory glass sticking up through the softness. Look no further than “Sports Car” maybe about his absent father who would have preferred a fast muscle car to a new kid in the house - or “Gone Girl Gone” the banger of the LP which takes a squinting look at what that crazy (but exciting) ex is up to now (yes he references Only Fans). Wonder how that one went over at his Opry debut a few months back?
Feel free to dive into the first part of our conversation to jump into more songs from Bootcut or stay right here as Afie and I discuss how travel, social media and the tricky financial realities of being a touring musician and dad mess with our sense of self as partners, fathers and creators - and how the music can always be there like a magic potion - no matter who you choose to be in the future.
Bahamas: Canada's New (Old School) Country King (Part 1)
What’s the first thing you think about a mustachioed songwriter who enjoys rocking wind-breaker sweat suits and lives and creates on the edge of icy Nova Scotia? That he’s going to write maybe the best old-school Nashville country record of the year, of course.
Maybe the warm, slightly humorous diversion is right in his tropical name. But with his newest LP Bootcut, beloved Canadian singer-songwriter and ace guitarist Afie Jurvanen AKA Bahamas might have thrown some long-time listeners (like this podcaster) for a loop by channeling his inner Alan Jackson and George Strait, but in a nice, warm way. I’ll admit I was concerned at first. Must everyone go country? Sliding steel guitars, twangy solos, his signature low-drawl and gorgeous lady-led harmonies? You bet. But it feels serenely natural on him. And yes, Bahamas did make his Opry debut a few months back so he is fully diving in and it shows.
In this first part of our dive into Bootcut and beyond - we hear how Bahamas brings his daughters into his songwriting, how he’s had to let go of his younger “hunk” guitarist roots and how he’s connected being a songwriter and a quirky online “content-creator” into his art. In these fractious times, especially as the seasons get darkest - maybe we all need a new LP that doesn’t try and reinvent every sonic wheel or show off with shredding guitar histrionics (he used to tour with Feist) and rapid-fire poetic gymnastics. Is Bootcut like a warm hug reaching out from your car speakers? Maybe.
Try listening to the heartfelt, soft opener “Just A Song” and the yearning piano-ballad closer “Nothing Blows My Mind” - to hear how he’s trying to be at peace with the chaos and mystery of being a father, a son and a citizen who is just doing his damn best. With his second time here on our show, it’s easy to hear how comfortable Afie has gotten in his skin. Thankfully, his music has never been better.
Monsieur Periné: Colombia's Soundtrack For The Apocalypse
Putting on a new record can feel like an instant sonic vacation for your mind - or maybe it’s the best type of time travel? This week we take a trip to the teaming clubs of Bogotá and Cali Colombia (or shall we say, Colombia came to a movie studio conference room here in LA) to talk to multi-lingual lead singer Catalina García who for the last fourteen years has led adored jazzy roots-pop icons Monsieur Periné along with master instrumentalist Santiago Prieto.
It’s heady times for the band: their newest LP Bolero Apocalíptico was just crowned best alternative music album at the Latin Grammys and I was able to catch up with Catalina the night before her performance at Disney Hall with the LA Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel. While her infectious laugh and the band’s often nostalgic and cheerful sounds may lean one way - listen closer and the new LP dives into some serious subjects that hit close to home for Catalina - like the desperation of climate change, government sponsored violence and poverty.
Harnessing her love of cumbia, swing, bossa nova, and folk styles from across Latin American, Catalina
sings in Spanish, French, Portuguese and English depending on the mood and with her work in Monsieur Periné, she’s been able to collaborate with some of the brightest lights in Latin music such as Ana Tijoux, Vanesa Martin, Vicente Garcia and more. Take a listen to “Cumbia Valiante” featuring Tijoux which touches on the massive protests against corruption that she and her family have participated in in her native Colombia.
While the world was shut down over the pandemic - an unexpected surprise happened for the band. An older jazzy song of theirs "Nuestra Canción” (a fan favorite) from their 2015 record Caja De Música somehow became a Tik-Tok sensation, rising to the top of the music chart and was then streamed over 150 million times. If you’re in a bad mood? Put that one on ASAP.
Indeed, the group rarely comes to California - but when asked about her favorite all time show - Garcia mentions playing at sunset at the Santa Monica pier many years before. Truly the amount of travel she and her bandmates have undertaken across three continents is staggering - and there are many more stories to come.
iLe: From Puerto Rico With Love And Fire
What if you sang before you spoke? When you come from a vibrant San Juan musical family like iLe (the creative persona of Ileana Mercedes Cabra Joglar), it all makes sense. Singing has been in iLe’s bloodstream from day one: from listening to her actress mother and singer-composer grandmother, to joining school choir and then stealing the show as a teenager in her stepbrothers’ superstar Puerto Rican alternative hip-hop collective Calle 13.
She made her critically-adored solo debut iLevitable in 2015 and has become a master at gathering some of the leading Latin-music luminaries (from Natalia Lafourcade to Ivy Queen) and speaking truth to power through her music, celebrating and challenging Puerto Rico and its rich traditions. During the fiery Telegramgate protests, she collaborated her stepbrother Residente and Bad Bunny on “Sharpening The Knives” which focused on the unheard voices of local Puerto Ricans still suffering after Hurricane Maria.
It can be hard to describe ILe’s sound. She mentions that a little dose of feminism may be what dreamy boleros, Caribbean folk music and cheerful salsa of her childhood needs - after all, even the female-sung classics were often written by men. ILe isn’t afraid to upend classic genres by using hip-hop, trap beats and synth-psychedelia alongside ringing acoustic instruments and old-school Caribbean percussion to create a bigger technicolor soundscape. The more personal LP Almadura followed in 2019 and in this taping, we sit down to discuss her lushly cinematic and unapologetically political 2022 LP Nacarile.
Little Feat: Bill Payne’s Rock Piano Masterclass (Part 2)
What do legends like Bob Seger, The Doobie Brothers, Jackson Browne, Stevie Nicks, Bonnie Raitt and Pink Floyd all have in common? They’ve all tapped pianist and master keyboardist Bill Payne - one of the co-founders of folky-funk cult favorites Little Feat to lend his special sauce to their records or touring bands. Stories? Yeah, Bill’s got a few to tell us.
In this second part of our epic talk - we go back through Bill’s life from his first piano lesson to playing with the Greatful Dead in stadiums - and keeping the spirit of his lifelong project with the late Lowell George - Little Feat going fifty years and counting. How do you create that adrenaline of a life show in the hush of the studio? Bill’s idea: create your own audience in your head.
Check out the beautiful deluxe reissues of Sailin’ Shoes and Dixie Chicken which feature never-before-heard songs and demos.
Little Feat: Staying Funky Fifty Years On (Part 1)
Most bands who started in the tumultuous year of 1969 like Little Feat never make it out of that creative cauldron. How many heroes faded away or flamed out and can only be found now on classic rock radio or in dusty record bins? Little Feat is still here.
And while the group lost talented but tempestuous lead singer and guitarist Lowell George along the way - as we learned in the first part of our wide-ranging conversation with renown keyboardist, songwriter, photographer and band co-founder Bill Payne, this ever-evolving collective of artists was able to keep the dream alive, delighting devoted fans with seminal live records like Waiting For Columbus and showing off their signature harmony-rich folk and brassy funk with a new tour while reissuing their beloved records Dixie Chicken and Sailin’ Shoes with never-before-heard material.
The more you look, the more you see that Little Feat is like a fifty year old best kept secret - the genre-bending band that many masters like Elton John and Robert Plant and even The Rolling Stones love to see live - with songs like “Willin’” being covered by everyone from Linda Ronstsadt to Gregg Allman to The Byrds. Meanwhile Payne has had an epic career playing keys in bands like The Doobie Brothers and expanding his creativity into fine art and authorship. Little Feat has always been that special group that, while never achieving world-wide fame, is always waiting to be discovered anew.
Love this show
Zach is a great interviewer who truly lives and loves the music scene. And it really shows in the way he able to relate and get his guests to open up. Love being a fly on the wall on these conversations!
Amazing, creative interviews.
This show gets better and better. Love how intimate and creative Z’s interview style is- gets to the heart of things and a really honest picture into a creative person’s life where music plays a starring role. And the musical performance at the end is magical! If you love music and art, give it a listen.
The Bird Dogs love this podcast!
My band Laney Lou and the Birds Dogs has been cruising through all of the episodes of Show on the Road since we discovered it a couple of years ago. There’s nothing more inspiring than listening to people you know or wish you knew talking about things we can deeply relate to as a touring band. Show on the Road covers every topic of a traveling musician, from great venues and memorable gigs to the worst gas station stops or divey hotels. Two of our favorite episodes were with John McCrea from CAKE and with Dave Simonett from Trampled by Turtles. Thanks for keeping us entertained Z!