The fact that in the golden era great West Coast music was not only created in sunny California, but could also flourish in the rather rainy Great Britain, was demonstrated not least by the English duo The Rhead Brothers in the late 1970s. The brothers John and Steve Rhead recorded two albums whose quality could compete with any American production and which are still sought after and loved by many music aficionados today. WEST COAST SOUL talked with John Rhead about their musical beginnings, the making of their two excellent albums, “Dedicate “and “Black Shaheen”, his memories of the Muscle Shoals music scene and the rediscovery of the Rhead Brothers in 2016.
Even if there is still some time left until Christmas, from today on every soul lover can already look forward to this year’s Advent season, because the American soul powerhouse Kelly Finnigan will release his first holiday album at the end of November. So make a note for the wish list!
Three years after his critically acclaimed debut “Walkin’ On Air”, Finnish songwriter, producer and arranger Tomi Malm returns with his sophomore effort “Coming Home” via Contante & Sonante. His new album presents another flawless collection of pop, soul and fusion songs, recorded with the help of some of the most talented musicians on the West Coast music scene. WEST COAST SOUL talked with the multi-talented artist about the making of his new album, the importance of collaboration, the characteristic Tomi Malm sound and his everlasting love for West Coast music.
Once a month we take a look back at the classics and rather unknown album highlights of West Coast music from the 70s and 80s. Join WEST COAST SOUL on a foray through our record collection and travel with us back into the past.
Benny Sings has unveiled his latest single, “Rolled Up” featuring Mac DeMarco. It’s the third new song that Benny has released this year via Stones Throw, two of which he performed on a recent NPR Tiny Desk (At Home) Concert.
The legendary American singer and songwriter Michael Franks has always been a master in playing with genres like jazz and folk, samba or swing. In 1973, the Californian-born artist released his first album, which was followed by countless others in the following decades.Throughout his 45-year career, Franks has collaborated with artists such as blues legends Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, Flora Purim, Kenny Rankin, Ron Carter, The Crusaders, David Sanborn, Toots Thielemans, Eric Gale, and others, and has written songs for The Manhattan Transfer, Patti LaBelle, Carmen McRae, and The Carpenters. His songs have been continually reinterpreted over the past decades and have long since become modern classics. Today this icon of American music celebrates his 76th birthday. WEST COAST SOUL congratulates with a little special that includes some record reviews and an interview with Leo Sidran about his Michael Frank homage “Cool School”. Happy birthday, Michael Franks!
In August 2017 entered with Ned Doheny and Hamish Stuart two music legends and old friends the stages in Manchester and London to revive for three concerts a music era of sophisticated grooves and irresistible melodies. A great chance to talk with both artists about their songwriting-partnership in the 70s, their musical development, the renaissance of West Coast music, current projects and future plans.
In 2015, the British singer, songwriter, producer, founder and bandleader of Mamas Gun, Andy Platts, and the London-based American singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and arranger, Shawn Lee, combined their talents to express their love for the melodic Californian soft rock of the late seventies and their penchant for catchy hooklines and rousing grooves in a joint project – the beginning of Young Gun Silver Fox! Five years later this duo has become one of the biggest phenomena of the genre. Since then, they have released three albums – “West End Coast”, “AM Waves” and “Canyons” – whose quality and catchiness are second to none, and have inspired critics and music lovers likewise. Young Gun Silver Fox have long become synonymous for modern, soulful West Coast music. Reason enough to search through the archive and compile all interviews and reviews for the big Young Gun Silver Fox WEST COAST SOUL special. We congratulate Shawn and Andy on five outstanding and creative years and hope for more great deeds in the near future.
When Marcus Liesenfeld aka DJ Supermarkt released ‘The Ladies Of Too Slow To Disco’ in 2016, he not only created a long overdue monument to the female singers, musicians and songwriters who played a major role in shaping the sound of California in the 70s and 80s, but also compiled one of the most popular editions of the renowned series.
On his new album “Companionship”, prolific writer, producer, performer and multi-instrumentalist Joel Sarakula keeps the mood easy and the grooves deep. Ten new songs see Sarakula develop a deeper, more introspective lyrical style from his previous works as he celebrates and laments friendships, love and loneliness. The result is one of the most exciting albums of 2020. We spoke with the Sydney-born and London-based artist about his new album, his fascination for smooth West Coast and soul music of the 70s, and the effects of the Corona crisis on his new release.
The current corona crisis especially affects musicians, bands and artists. Against this background, we at WEST COAST SOUL would like to give musicians the opportunity to talk about the current situation, but also give fans a little insight into their musical roots. Today we talk with the Berlin based DJ veteran and Too Slow To Disco curator Marcus Liesenfeld aka DJ Supermarkt.
The current corona crisis especially affects musicians, bands and artists. Against this background, we at WEST COAST SOUL would like to give musicians the opportunity to talk about the current situation, but also give fans a little insight into their musical roots. Today we talk with the legendary Brazilian pianist, singer and composer Marcos Valle.
Three years after her excellent debut album ‘Skyline’, British Soul singer, songwriter and pianist Izo FitzRoy releases the highly anticipated follow-up ‘How The Mighty Fall’ this March. Recorded between Paris, London and Sheffield, the native Londoner convinces on her new album with a captivating blend of Gospel, Soul, Funk and Disco and of course with her unique big voice. WEST COAST SOUL talked with the artist about the making of the album, sources of inspiration, strokes of fate, the creative potential of collaboration and the power of gospel music.
After their critically acclaimed milestones ‘West End Coast’ and ‘AM Waves’, Shawn Lee and Andy Platts, better known as Young Gun Silver Fox, return this February with their long-awaited new album ‘Canyons’. In the third chapter of this British-American success story, which began five years ago, the talented musicians, singers, songwriters, arrangers and producers take their listeners on another journey into the world of soulful West Coast, AOR, soft rock and boogie. ‘Canyons’ is a consequent further development of the distinctive YGSF sound and convinces with excellent songwriting and musicianship, wonderful harmony vocals, incisivebrass sections and a superb production. Reason enough to talk with ‘Young Gun’ and ‘Silver Fox’ about the new album, their band anniversary, sources of inspiration, kids and further plans.
Calling Dexter Wansel an all-rounder is no overstatement. As one of the architects of the Sound of Philadelphia, the keyboardist, synthesizer pioneer, composer, producer and arranger worked with dozens of top recording artists such as Teddy Pendergrass, The Jacksons, Patti LaBelle, The Jones Girls, Evelyn “Champagne” King, Lou Rawls and The O’Jays and released style-defining solo albums that have become a goldmine for hundreds of hip-hop artists in the past decades. In February Wansel performs in London and Paris. Reason enough to talk with the legendary artist about his long career, his love for synthesizers and the heyday of Philly Soul.
To describe Patrice Rushen as versatile is an understatement. The legendary pianist, R&B singer, composer, record producer, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and music director has been a wanderer between styles throughout her life. In the late 70s and early 80s she merged jazz finesse with disco elements, soul and funk to a higher level of sophisticated R&B. With the new compilation “Remind Me” Strut Records presents the first definitive retrospective of her career at Elektra / Asylum, which made her an R&B star with unforgettable hits like “Forget Me Nots”, “Haven’t You Heard” or “Settle For My Love”. WEST COAST SOUL talked with the California based artist about her early beginnings, her love for jazz, Quincy Jones, her legendary Elektra albums, her role as a pioneer in music business and future plans.
You just have to name some of his songs like” Livin’ It Up”, “Look Who’s Lonely Now” or “Dream On” to enthuse every West Coast music lover. Behind these songs stands a man who has been working as a solo artist, musician and songwriter for more than four decades. Over the years his resume includes cuts by an array of pop and country artists including Patti LaBelle, Steve Wariner, The Temptations, Bobby Caldwell, Robbie Dupree, Don Johnson and Peter Cetera. To date, he has had over 100 songs recorded by other artists, released nine studio albums and has a loyal following worldwide – especially in Europe and Japan. We’re talking about none other than Mr. Bill LaBounty. WEST COAST SOUL spoke with the accomplished American singer, keyboardist and songwriter about his musical beginnings, his masterpiece “Bill LaBounty” from 1982, the difference between the music scene in L.A. and Nashville, the art of songwriting, old friends and his work on a new album.
To understand what a legend Jerry Hey is in music business, you just have to list some of the world hits in which he was involved as trumpeter or arranger: Toto’s “Rosanna”, George Duke’s “You”, Earth, Wind & Fire’s “In the Stone”, George Benson’s “Give Me The Night”, Lee Ritenour’s “Is It You?”, Michael Jackson’s “Rock With You”… there are countless more. His musical partnership with Quincy Jones is legendary, he was the go-to guy in the L.A. session scene of the late 70s and 80s. Six Grammys ennobled his work. But the Illinois native has never been resting on his laurels, even now he is still active, working with contemporary artists such as Mary J. Blige, Wilco and Katy Perry. WEST COAST SOUL spoke with the American trumpeter, horn and string arranger and orchestrator about his musical beginnings, old companions like Quincy Jones and Maurice White, the secret of a great horn arrangement and the legacy of the L.A. sound.
Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and passionate record collector Ed Motta is not only a music legend in his homeland Brazil. For many years he has inspired his audience worldwide with his unique mixture of soul, funk, jazz and West Coast. Now with his 13th album “Criterion Of The Senses” he returns to the sunny realm of his successful album “A.O.R.”, which five years ago brought the West Coast sounds of the late 70s and early 80s back from the niche into the spotlight. I talked with “The Colossus of Rio” about his new album, his love for perfection, Steely Dan and his more than 30 years lasting career.
When “One Step Closer” was released in 1980, critics and many fans declared the Doobie Brothers’ ninth release the worst album of their career. And it was true that the Doobies were never further away from their biker boogie rock roots than at the beginning of the 80s.
Born in Glasgow, Scotland, Hamish Stuart shot to fame in the 1970’s as the falsetto voice of The Average White Band, his distinctive songwriting and guitar style paving the way for the band’s worldwide success.