Deep Dive: An AllMusicBooks Podcast
Episode 16: “The Golden Hits of The Shangri-Las” with Ada Wolin

Episode 16: “The Golden Hits of The Shangri-Las” with Ada Wolin

November 5, 2019

Of the many girl-groups that came out of the 1960s, none is more idiosyncratic and influential than The Shangri-Las. They were together only five years, but within that time they subverted pop standards and foreshadowed a generation of tough women in music.

Author Ada Wolin examines the still-elusive validation of 1960s girl-groups as a whole, but also aims to free The Shangri-Las from that category, viewing them instead with the individuality traditionally afforded to rock groups. In fact, says Wolin, they were the “punkiest” of the girl-groups. Our conversation with Ada presents a fresh new look into “The Golden Age of The Shangri-Las.”

Episode 15: “Merle Haggard: The Running Kind” with David Cantwell

Episode 15: “Merle Haggard: The Running Kind” with David Cantwell

October 22, 2019

David Cantwell takes us on a revelatory journey through Haggard’s music and the life and times out of which it came. Focusing on the music “the Hag” created, Cantwell breaks down albums, songs, and the growth of Haggard’s songwriting.

Cantwell deftly weaves together Merle’s story and his songs, with the story of America — clearly in its growing pains stage — and how they fit together. If you’re a newcomer to “the Hag," or if you don’t think Merle Haggard is one of the bedrocks of American and country music, have a listen. David Cantwell will convince you otherwise.

Episode 14: Author David Cantwell on Ken Burns “Country Music,” Tanya Tucker’s new album, and “superhero” Brandi Carlile

Episode 14: Author David Cantwell on Ken Burns “Country Music,” Tanya Tucker’s new album, and “superhero” Brandi Carlile

October 15, 2019

We set out to speak with David Cantwell on his Merle Haggard book "Merle Haggard: The Running Kind," but got tangled up in a lot of very cool stuff in our on-air intros and warm-ups, and thought it an episode unto itself!

David dove into Ken Burns’ recent (and excellent!) PBS series “Country Music” in great and fascinating detail. He also talked about his recent piece in The New Yorker on Tanya Tucker’s new album and why she deserves to be in the company of women country artists who need no last name. Legendary singer Charley Pride, and the false ”war“ between “hat” and alt-country are also dissected.

Episode 13″ “Donny Hathaway Live” with Emily Lordi

Episode 13″ “Donny Hathaway Live” with Emily Lordi

October 1, 2019

In January of 1979, Donny Hathaway fell fifteen stories from a window of Manhattan's Essex House Hotel in an alleged suicide. He was 33 years old and at the peak of his career. Hathaway was a composer, pianist, and soul singer committed to exploring “music in its totality,” whose influence on generations of singers and musicians.

Author Emily Lordi breaks down his essential "Live" album — one of the all-time great live albums — and offers up the story of Hathaway's life, from his beginning in the church, to his numerous musical collaborations, his tragic death, and his uncanny ability to amplify the power and beauty of his songs in the moment of live performance. 

Episode 12: “Alice In Chains: The Untold Story” with David De Sola

Episode 12: “Alice In Chains: The Untold Story” with David De Sola

September 17, 2019

In this episode, we talk to acclaimed journalist David De Sola about his comprehensive biography of Alice In Chains, one of the bands within the burgeoning Seattle scene that would forever change alternative and rock music.

De Sola tells us how drugs nearly destroyed them and claimed the lives of singer Layne Staley and founding bassist Mike Starr. He tells us of guitarist Jerry Cantrell's solo career, and the incredible resurrection of the band nearly fifteen years later with new lead singer William DuVall.

Episode 11: “Can’t Give It Away On Seventh Avenue: The Rolling Stones and New York City” with Chris McKittrick

Episode 11: “Can’t Give It Away On Seventh Avenue: The Rolling Stones and New York City” with Chris McKittrick

September 3, 2019

Explore the history of The Rolling Stones through the prism of New York City. Author Chris McKittrick takes us on a highly detailed tour of the dynamic and reciprocal relationship between the world’s greatest rock'n'roll band and the world’s greatest city.

From The Ed Sullivan Show, to Madison Square Garden, to "Saturday Night Live", the Stones have often reflected the cultural changes of the city. McKittrick tells us the tales of the band that never sleeps and their adventures in turbulent “Fun City!”

Episode 10: Tom Petty’s “Southern Accents” with Michael Washburn

Episode 10: Tom Petty’s “Southern Accents” with Michael Washburn

August 20, 2019

Michael Washburn talks about “Southern Accents,” Tom Petty’s deeply flawed concept album about the South, and its artistic failure and public controversy. Petty made extensive use of the iconography of the American Confederacy — something he soon came to regret.

We’ll discuss how the record both grew out of, and reinforced enduring but flawed assumptions about Southern culture, and break the album down track by track. We'll also throw in our favorite and least favorite Tom Petty records.

Episode 9: “Please Be With Me: A Song For My Father, Duane Allman” with Galadrielle Allman

Episode 9: “Please Be With Me: A Song For My Father, Duane Allman” with Galadrielle Allman

August 6, 2019

Galadrielle Allman joins us to talk about her deeply personal, revealing, and lyrical portrait of her father, Duane Allman, who was killed in a motorcycle accident at the age of twenty-four. She was two years old.

Galadrielle shares some wonderful stories of her father and his music. At the heart of her book is her journey to understand the man millions idolized, but she never knew. It's a story every bit as compelling, beautiful, sad, and singular as her father's.

Episode 8: “Listen, Whitey: The Sounds of Black Power” with Pat Thomas

Episode 8: “Listen, Whitey: The Sounds of Black Power” with Pat Thomas

July 23, 2019

On this episode, we talk to author, noted music producer, and scholar Pat Thomas, who spent five years researching Listen, Whitey! We dig deep into how the movement affected the popular music of the day, including Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, Sly Stone, Marvin Gaye and Motown, Gil Scott-Heron, Nina Simone and others.

Thomas also talks about how bands like The Last Poets and The Watts Prophets foreshadowed and influenced rap music, as well as the musical and cultural world we live in today.

Episode 7: “NEMS and the Business of Selling Beatles Merchandise in the U.S.: 1964-1966″ with Terry Crain

Episode 7: “NEMS and the Business of Selling Beatles Merchandise in the U.S.: 1964-1966″ with Terry Crain

July 9, 2019

The Beatles were not only pioneers in music and popular culture, they were also the progenitors of the music merchandise phenomenon. In fact, the Fab Four earned over $50 million in merchandise sales in 1965!

Author and researcher Terry Crain joins us to talk about Beatles merch — everything from games, dolls, toys, wigs and bubble bath — and other interesting side treks surrounding this trendsetting and nostalgic era.