Joey BaronThere's a transcript of a lecture he gave a few years back here in LA, which is required reading for anybody who cares about music. Joey is arguably the most important improvising musician of our period.
Ray Campi I've produced two of his records. Ray is like having the history of country music come to life before your eyes, plus he's a fantastic slap bassist and vocalist. Also, he's a sweet, wonderful man who has always been there fighting the good fight for the best of American music.
Matt CartsonisOne of the funniest, great musicians I know. Matt plays with so many different people that it's mindbending just to see what he's up to.
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Ellery Eskelin Tenor saxophonist Ellery Eskelin has become one of the leading lights of progressive improvising, which is to say he lives in New York and plays often at the Knitting Factory leading his own groups (which boast such players as Marc Ribot and the avant-gardalicious accordionist Andrea Parkins). He is also in Joey Baron's fantastic Baron Down, a trio of drummer Baron, saxophonist Eskelin, and trombonist Josh Roseman. Ellery is also the son of Rodd Keith, the left-field assembly line genius who spent much of his musical life composing, arranging, and producing backing tracks for MSR Records, the "send us your song poems" imprint of the sixties and seventies. Ellery's web site is chock full o' Ellery info, as well as a great place to go to find out about his father.
Kinky Friedman Kinky Friedman combines the three things every American should -- Jewishness, country music, and great mystery novel writing. His website is more fun than most, but then, so is Kinky.
Glenn Gould An excellent and informative site by Sony Music Canada.
John HartfordA true original. Equal parts Earl Scruggs and steamboat archivist Capt. Fred Way. John was the first person I ever bought a record of, and I've bought 'em all since. He updates it every so often with a fireside chat (in print), and he's always up to something interesting, whether on the river or in music. Right now, he's doing a book on seminal mountain fiddler Ed Haley, which is indispensible to the study of traditional American music.
Katy MoffattKaty Moffatt is the greatest singer in the world, and her songs are just fantastic. "St Antony With Broken Hands," "Walking On The Moon," and "Didn't We Have Love" are things I play for myself, and we recorded "Crazy, Dangerous & Blue" on St Christopher's Arms. Miles Davis once said that you can be around the right person for two minutes and your direction will be totally changed, and that's the influence Katy had on my musicality.
NRBQProbably the greatest band night in-night out in rock'n'roll. Seeing them changed my life. Everybody who cares about music should be checking them out as often as possible. For those who don't know, Terry Adams' Terrible disc is one of the real gems of the last five years.
Stan RidgwayIf I have a hero, it would be Stan. I've never written anything as good on my best day as Stan has written on his worst. He's a master of songs and arrangements. The Billy Wilder of songs.
Johnny "Guitar" WatsonFor my money, the ultimate guitar solo is JGW's "I'm Gonna Hit That Highway." And that's just the tip of the iceberg. He's never quite gotten his due, and if you don't know his stuff, you should really learn more about him.
Frank ZappaOne of the two or three most compelling musical figures of our century, and somebody whose interviews have influenced me as much as his compositions. Always Brilliant, and totally thought-provoking. Frank's death was, for me, like losing a family member.
Allied ChemicalMP3 downloads from Lonely Town, St Christopher's Arms, and Couch, Los Angeles can be found at this site.
Dionysus I produce a lot of records for these folks. Their catalogue is one of the most interesting around these parts. Definitely always worth a look-see.