Results for Columbia

interviews

Bully

Our guest this week is the alternative grunge band out of Nashville, Bully. The group is fronted by Minnesota native Alicia Bognanno, with drummer Stewart Copeland (no, not the drummer of The Police,) bass player Reece Lazarus and guitarist Clayton Parker. In 2013, the band signed with Columbia on their Startime International label and in June of this year, released their debut full-length album, Feels Like.

Jim first saw Bully perform at SXSW this year in Austin and was blown away by their sonic power and emotional lyrics. A few weeks ago, Bully came into the studio and while unfortunately Greg couldn't be there, Jim had a great time talking to the members about their past professions, '90s nostalgia and their unique sound.

Go to episode 510
specials

Best Albums of 2012…So Far

Determining a year-end“Best of”album list is the highlight of a critic's year. Now that it's June, Jim and Greg get a jump on the winnowing down process with the Best Albums of 2012…So Far. Here are their mid-year best picks:

Go to episode 343
classic album dissections
At Folsom Prison (Live)Live at Folsom Prison available on iTunes

Johnny Cash Live at Folsom Prison

Live at Folsom Prison has been regarded as one of the greatest live recordings in rock and roll history and marks a point of redemption in Johnny Cash's long career. As Greg explains, he was considered by many to be a has-been. But, in 1968 Columbia producer Bob Johnston took Cash up on his long-time idea of recording at a prison. The singer had previously played shows in prisons, but had not recorded. It's a fitting location for the“man in black,”since he had flirted with trouble and had spent some time in jail. He also went through a divorce, developed a drug problem, and seemed to be all but finished in the music industry. But one of Folsom's guest vocalists, June Carter-Cash, played a huge role in helping Johnny Cash get his life back on track. Cash won the Album of the Year at the 2nd annual Country Music Awards for Folsom Prison, and it helped make him a huge star again.

The location of the recording was a key factor to the album's success. Folsom Prison was not a friendly place. As Jim describes, it was an ugly, smelly, scary“dungeon”where law-abiding citizens would not feel very comfortable. But Cash wanted to record an album there because he showed empathy toward the prisoners, and the performer's cool demeanor brought out an energy and excitement in the audience that hadn‘t been heard in live recordings before. In addition to June Carter, Cash’s band at Folsom consisted of the Tennessee Three, Carl Perkins and the Statler Brothers.

Jim and Greg pick out the key songs on At Folsom Prison to wrap up the dissection. Greg goes with "25 Minutes to Go". It was written by Shel Silverstein from the perspective of a convict on Death Row who is counting down the minutes of his life. You can hear the crowd's enthusiastic response throughout the song.

Jim discusses "Greystone Chapel", the last song on the album. It was written by Glen Sherley, a former inmate at Folsom. The Reverend Gresset introduced Cash to the song the night prior to the performance, and it moved Cash so much so that he decided to make it his closing song.

Throughout Johnny Cash's entire career, he walked a line between sinfulness and redeeming grace. At Folsom Prison highlights Cash's artistic intentions, not to preach at the prisoners of Folsom, but to relate to their situations. He was singing as one of them, a sinner, who would rather hang out with prisoners than "some of the 'saints‘ he’d met."

Forty years later the album is still inspiring artists such as Reverend Horton Heat, Pine Valley Cosmonauts, and Uncle Tupelo.

Go to episode 141
At Folsom Prison (Live)At Folsom Prison available on iTunes

Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison

Johnny Cash's At Folsom Prison turns 45 this month, and Jim and Greg celebrate its birthday by revisiting their Classic Album Dissection. Considered one of the greatest live recordings in rock ‘n’ roll history, At Folsom Prison marks a turning point in Johnny Cash's long career. As Greg explains, by the late sixties Cash was considered a has-been. He'd been through a divorce, developed a drug problem, and was releasing albums of questionable taste. But in 1968, Columbia producer Bob Johnston took the "Man in Black" up on his long-time idea of recording at a prison. It's a fitting location, Jim notes, for an artist who'd spent time in the slammer himself. At Folsom Prison captures Cash's moment of redemption. Backed by Carl Perkins and the Tennessee Three and joined onstage by June Carter, Cash sang about the prison experience in songs like "Folsom Prison Blues," "Dark as a Dungeon," and "Greystone Chapel." At Folsom Prison swept the Country Music Awards that year, cementing Cash's comeback.

Go to episode 392
reviews
Music for Men (Deluxe Version)Music for Men available on iTunes

The Gossip Music for Men

Next up is a review of Music for Men, the major label debut from The Gossip. The underground trio is fronted by Beth Ditto, whom Jim describes as a feminist and gay activist, as well as a "Fat-Activist." Her onstage persona caught the attention of superstar producer Rick Rubin, who brought the band to Columbia. Unfortunately, as Greg relays, Rubin did the band no favors. The drumming sounds crisp and precise, but Ditto's voice has been stripped of its bluesy passion. A disheartened Jim agrees. If he weren‘t married, and Ditto weren’t gay, Jim says he'd want to marry her. But you get none of her life force on this album. Both critics give Music for Men a Trash It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 201
dijs

Greg

“Ring of Fire”Johnny Cash

For his Desert Island Jukebox selection, Greg celebrates the musical legacy of Cowboy Jack Clement, the country music producer, songwriter, and artist who died recenly at age 82. Jack made his name at Memphis's Sun Studios during the 1950's, recording greats like Jerry Lee Lewis. But it was at Columbia that he helped craft Johnny Cash's inimitable "Ring of Fire." The night before the“Ring of Fire”recording session, Cash had a dream about Mariachi trumpets. And he knew just who to turn to make that dream a reality. Greg credits Clement's horn riff on“Ring of Fire”with the track's enduring energy and distinctiveness.

Go to episode 403
news

Music News

Adele continues down her path of superstardom by scoring the biggest recording deal in the history of music. After three albums on the British indie label XL, Adele has signed a deal with Sony for around $132 million. She will be on the conglomerate's subsidiary label, Columbia, alongside artists like Barbra Streisand, Bob Dylan and John Mayer. In the mid '90s and early 2000s, musicians like Prince, R.E.M. and U2 were signing massive recording deals. However in 2016, substantial contracts are much harder to come by due to the large decrease in album sales. Adele seems to be the exception to the rule, which is reflected in her new, record-breaking contract.

Go to episode 548