How Twirl Radio Spent Its Summer!

What do you call it when you take on too much, and get in over your head? I call it Summer, 2008! Yep, I overbooked tons of fun things for Twirl Radio to get involved with. So let’s just dive into July and August and see what happened!

You may recall that Mad Tea Party were the Twirl Radio Artists of the Month for May. I interviewed Ami and Jason, for my show on May 24th, 2008. (Click here for the podcasted interview.) They emerged, apparently unharmed, from the Twirl Radio interview, to make their way to California a second time in about two months. I missed their Sacramento show the first time around, but life’s full of second chances. I caught them out at the Sonoma County Fair, in the heart of California’s beautiful wine country, on July 27th, 2008. Fantastic show–they delivered on the promise of their Found A Reason CD, released on July 15th. They were even kind enough to dedicate a song to me. I’m not sure if they could see me blushing in the audience.

On August 16th, the stars were all in alignment–to smack me in the head with an abundance of good musical fortune! The Rock the Future Festival was happening that weekend in Eugene, Oregon, and I was going to cover it somehow for Twirl. (Eugene is several hundred miles north of Sacramento, for those of you who need this information.) On the very same day, Tippy from Tippy Canoe and the Paddlemen was scheduled to pay me a visit in the Twirl studios, in anticipation of that evening’s performance at Luna’s Cafe in Midtown Sacramento. So what’s a poor, double-booked DJ to do?

Thankfully, my friend, rocker Suzanne Benorden came to the rescue. Suzanne lives in Eugene, and obliged my request to cover the festival for Twirl Radio. She phoned in a couple of reports live from the festival (listen to podcast here). The underlying goal of the festival is to develop a youth community that will put on shows for causes they are interested in. The hope is that the school system will embrace it as a way to engage kids while teaching them all the skills that go into the business end of music, from finding vendors and running sound, to playing in a band. Suzanne is now my Twirl Radio Oregon Bureau Chief! On a serious note, she’s working on a follow up to her Boomchick album. Suzanne will be coming to Northern California to perform in San Francisco in October, and with any luck, I might be able to get her to make a wrong turn off the freeway and spend some time with me on the radio here in Sacramento!

And what kept me in Sacramento that day? Aside from impending travel plans the next day, which would have taken me about as far away from Eugene as you can get and still stay in the same country and time zone, there was also the little matter of Tippy Canoe paying an in-studio visit to the show (listen to interview here). Tippy was nice enough to send me a copy of her Parasols and Pekingese CD in advance of her visit. She’s the second ukulele player I’ve met this year, and anybody influenced by the likes of Squeeze, Dinah Washington, The Carpenters, and Elvis Costello is all right in my book. Opportunities like this don’t often come around, so Paddlemen or no Paddlemen, I wasn’t going to miss this for anything. Tippy came in near the end of the show, and absolutely charmed my listeners in three different time zones (and they told me so)! She was funny and gracious, and I’m sure she put on a great show that night. Yep–had to miss that one, as I was getting ready for the trip. But the good news is that someone told me that life’s full of second chances! Tippy is again venturing east from her Bay Area base to play in Sacramento on October 19th, and with any luck, I’ll catch her and the Paddlemen then.

August 28th brought Laurie Larson to Sacramento. Laurie is a former radio announcer and manager, so we’ve had lots to talk about. She’s touring on her second album, A Striking Resemblance, which features smart, classic rock songs and showcases her singing, playing, and her knack of putting together a top-notch band. Laurie tells me that although she can’t seem to get noticed that much in her home city of Phoenix, she’s pretty big in places like Utica, NY, where she performed to appreciative crowds the previous week. She said it was strange walking into stores and seeing her concert posters on the walls! I know the feeling. Twirl seems to be the only radio show currently playing her extremely radio-friendly Endless Thank You Loop, which is just magnificent. I have a feeling others will figure this out too. And her song Corporate Chew Toy chronicles her bad old days in commercial radio, working for a tyrannical boss. It features a hilarious cameo appearance by one of her nice bosses, doing an impression of the mean one. I got to spend some time chatting with Laurie before her set at Club Retro, but alas, she went on too late on a work night, and, you guessed it, I missed this one too. She was part of a seven act bill, in which many genres were represented, and was one of the headline attractions. The funny thing about it is that she followed a loud, head-banging metal band. The same people who comprised the mosh pit for the previous act turned into a really attentive, receptive crowd huddled around her for her acoustic set. Well, you know what they say about second chances–maybe I’ll get another chance to see Laurie perform.

So other than that, it’s been a pretty quiet summer here in Twirl Radioland. And I’m gearing up for even more great music and interviews as we move into Fall. Stay tuned–you never know what’s coming next!

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