My Favorite Album #020 - Morgan Evans on Silverchair’s “Diorama”

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It’s time for some local heroes on our 20th episode, as CMC Oz Artist of the Year and Newcastle singer/songwriter Morgan Evans heads into the podbooth to chat with host Jeremy Dylan about Silverchair's classic 2002 record of orchestrated rock Diorama.

Along the way, they break down classic songs “Across the Night”, “The Greatest View” and “Luv Your Life” and chat about creating music without boundaries, Morgan’s work with Diorama engineer Matt Lovell, the Disney style orchestrations of Van Dyke Parks and weird vs pop.

Listen in the player above or download the episode by clicking here.

Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes here.

My Favorite Album is a podcast unpacking the great works of pop music. Each episode features a different songwriter or musician discussing their favorite album of all time - their history with it, the making of the album, individual songs and the album’s influence on their own music.

Jeremy Dylan is a filmmaker from Sydney, Australia who has worked in the music industry since 2007. He directed the the feature music documentary Jim Lauderdale: The King of Broken Hearts and the feature film Benjamin Sniddlegrass and the Cauldron of Penguins, in addition to many commercials and music videos.

If you’ve got any feedback or suggestions, drop us a line at myfavoritealbumpodcast@gmail.com.

 LINKS

- Buy our album of the episode on iTunes here.

- Morgan Evans on iTunes, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

- Jeremy Dylan’s website and Facebook page.

PREVIOUS EPISODES
19 - Emma Swift on Car Wheels On A Gravel Road by Lucinda Williams
18 - Danny Yau on Hourly Daily by You Am I

17 - J Robert Youngtown and Jon Auer (The Posies) on Hi Fi Way by You Am I

16 - Lester the Fierce on Hounds of Love by Kate Bush

15 - Luke Davison on Green Onions by Booker T and the MGs
14 - Jeff Cripps on Wheels of Fire by Cream

13 - Mark Holden on Blue by Joni Mitchell (Part 2)
12 - Mark Holden on Blue by Joni Mitchell (Part 1)
11 - Gossling on O by Damien Rice
10 - Matt Fell on Temple of Low Men by Crowded House
9 - Pete Thomas on Are You Experienced? by Jimi Hendrix (Part 2)

8 - Pete Thomas on Are You Experienced? by Jimi Hendrix (Part 1)
7 - Sam Hawksley on A Few Small Repairs by Shawn Colvin
6 - Jim Lauderdale on Grievous Angel by Gram Parsons
5 - Mark Moffatt on Blues Breakers by John Mayall and Eric Clapton
4 - Darren Carr on Ten Easy Pieces by Jimmy Webb
3 - Mark Wells on Revolver by The Beatles
2 - Mike Carr on Arrival by ABBA
1 - Rob Draper on Highway 61 Revisited by Bob Dylan

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Pre-order my documentary ‘Jim Lauderdale: The King of Broken Hearts’ now!

As anyone who knows me or follows me on social media will know, I’ve spent the past three and a half years of my life directing, editing and co-producing a feature documentary on the life and times of one of my friends and idol Jim Lauderdale.

It’s been a long and winding road across several continents and enough emails between myself, my producer Chris Kamen and labels and publishers that if you printed them, you could call it a lost Harry Potter novel.

At long last, we’re ready to unleash the film on the general public on September 15, on the eve of the Americana Music Festival. You can pre-order the film RIGHT NOW on our website - just go to http://jimlauderdalemovie.com

Here is the press release announcing the film release:

GRAMMY-WINNING AMERICANA MUSIC ICON JIM LAUDERDALE
CELEBRATES 25 YEARS OF RECORDING WITH NEW DOCUMENTARY

‘The King of Broken Hearts’ set for release September 15

“One of the most engaging music documentaries of the last few years”
-       Juli Thanki, The Engine145

Jim Lauderdale, the two-time Grammy winning hit Nashville songwriter and icon of Americana music, is set to mark his 25th year of record-making with the release of a new feature documentary chronicling his unconventional life and career.

Jim Lauderdale: The King of Broken Hearts tells the story of the two-time Grammy winner from his Carolina roots, honing his chops in the 80s country scenes of NY and LA, false starts and record company frustrations, before George Strait sold six million albums with two of his songs and catapulted Jim to the A-list of Nashville songwriters, penning hits for Patty Loveless, Gary Allan, the Dixie Chicks, Blake Shelton, Solomon Burke and more.

He pioneered the Americana sound and became the face of the genre, hosting the Americana Music Awards for over a decade and producing a prolific series of albums encompassing country, bluegrass, rock and soul that have won him critical acclaim and a devoted fan base around the world.

Jim’s story is told through interviews with Jim, Buddy Miller, Elvis Costello, John Oates, Rodney Crowell, Gary Allan, Tony Brown, Randy Kohrs, Sunny Sweeney, Ketch Secor and more. It also features performances with his country and bluegrass bands from the start of his career through to recent shows in the wine country of Australia and Nashville’s legendary Station Inn.

The documentary was shot in iconic locations such as Nashville’s legendary RCA Studio A, the Joshua Tree area in California and the 25th annual MerleFest in Wilkesboro, NC. The film is directed by Australian filmmaker Jeremy Dylan and produced by Chris Kamen and Dylan.

“Turning Jim’s life into a film has been an adventure with as many unexpected twists and turns as Jim’s career and as satisfying as one of Jim’s songs,” says director Jeremy Dylan. “No matter what you think you know about Jim Lauderdale, this movie will surprise you”.

The film also features an intimate, all access look at the making of Lauderdale’s acclaimed, star-studded new album I’m A Song – from songwriting beginnings stalking through the California desert to racing against time to finish the songs in the studio with legendary musicians like Rock’n’Roll Hall of Famer James Burton.

The film premiered at Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame, the Grammy Museum in LA and NYC’s Lincoln Center. It will be available for digital download and DVD from September 15 at jimlauderdalemovie.com and can be pre-ordered now. 

For media enquiries, please contact producer Chris Kamen on chris@jimlauderdalemovie.com

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My Favourite Album #019 - Emma Swift on Lucinda Williams’ “Car Wheels On A Gravel Road”

On the eve of the Americana Music Festival, singer-songwriter and Double J disk jockey Emma Swift drops into the podbooth to chat with host Jeremy Dylan about one of the seminal Americana albums of the 90s - Car Wheels on a Gravel Road by Lucinda Williams.

Along the way they break down classic songs Right On Time, Can’t Let Go, 2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten, Joy and Metal Firecracker and talk about the album’s tumultuous production process, the intimacy of Lucinda’s lyrics, why Jim Lauderdale is a genius harmony singer and Emma closes the episode with a beautiful acoustic rendition one of the album’s best songs - Greenville.

Listen in the player above or download the episode by clicking here.

Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes here.

My Favorite Album is a podcast unpacking the great works of pop music. Each episode features a different songwriter or musician discussing their favorite album of all time - their history with it, the making of the album, individual songs and the album’s influence on their own music.

Jeremy Dylan is a filmmaker from Sydney, Australia who has worked in the music industry since 2007. He has directed the feature film Benjamin Sniddlegrass and the Cauldron of Penguins and the feature music documentary Jim Lauderdale: The King of Broken Hearts, in addition to many commercials and music videos.

If you’ve got any feedback or suggestions, drop us a line at myfavoritealbumpodcast@gmail.com.

 LINKS

- Buy our album of the episode on iTunes here.

- Emma Swift’s show Revelator on Double J.

- Emma Swift on iTunes, Twitter and Facebook.

- Jeremy Dylan’s website and Facebook page.

PREVIOUS EPISODES
18 - Danny Yau on Hourly Daily by You Am I
17 - J Robert Youngtown and Jon Auer (The Posies) on Hi Fi Way by You Am I

16 - Lester the Fierce on Hounds of Love by Kate Bush

15 - Luke Davison on Green Onions by Booker T and the MGs
14 - Jeff Cripps on Wheels of Fire by Cream

13 - Mark Holden on Blue by Joni Mitchell (Part 2)
12 - Mark Holden on Blue by Joni Mitchell (Part 1)
11 - Gossling on O by Damien Rice
10 - Matt Fell on Temple of Low Men by Crowded House
9 - Pete Thomas on Are You Experienced? by Jimi Hendrix (Part 2)

8 - Pete Thomas on Are You Experienced? by Jimi Hendrix (Part 1)
7 - Sam Hawksley on A Few Small Repairs by Shawn Colvin
6 - Jim Lauderdale on Grievous Angel by Gram Parsons
5 - Mark Moffatt on Blues Breakers by John Mayall and Eric Clapton
4 - Darren Carr on Ten Easy Pieces by Jimmy Webb
3 - Mark Wells on Revolver by The Beatles
2 - Mike Carr on Arrival by ABBA
1 - Rob Draper on Highway 61 Revisited by Bob Dylan

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My Favorite Album #018 - Danny Yau on You Am I’s “Hourly Daily”

Our You Am I exploration continues this week, with a discussion of the follow up to Hi Fi Way: the ambitious song cycle Hourly Daily. Musician, music industry executive and Australian Institute of Music teacher Danny Yau joins host Jeremy Dylan to chat about the record.

Along the way, they break down classic songs including Soldiers, If We Can’t Get It Together and Flag Fall $1.80 and talk about Tim Rogers’ unique singing style, what it’s like to grow up in the same part of town as your heroes and why the album hasn’t dated.

Listen in the player above or download the episode by clicking here.

Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes here.

My Favorite Album is a podcast unpacking the great works of pop music. Each episode features a different songwriter or musician discussing their favorite album of all time - their history with it, the making of the album, individual songs and the album’s influence on their own music.

Jeremy Dylan is a filmmaker from Sydney, Australia who has worked in the music industry since 2007. He has directed the feature film Benjamin Sniddlegrass and the Cauldron of Penguins and the feature music documentary Jim Lauderdale: The King of Broken Hearts, in addition to many commercials and music videos.

If you’ve got any feedback or suggestions, drop us a line at myfavoritealbumpodcast@gmail.com.

 LINKS

- Buy our album of the episode on iTunes here.

- Danny Yau’s website and the 90% Hits podcast.

- Jeremy Dylan’s website and Facebook page.

PREVIOUS EPISODES
17 - J Robert Youngtown and Jon Auer (The Posies) on Hourly Daily by You Am I
16 - Lester the Fierce on Hounds of Love by Kate Bush

15 - Luke Davison on Green Onions by Booker T and the MGs
14 - Jeff Cripps on Wheels of Fire by Cream

13 - Mark Holden on Blue by Joni Mitchell (Part 2)
12 - Mark Holden on Blue by Joni Mitchell (Part 1)
11 - Gossling on O by Damien Rice
10 - Matt Fell on Temple of Low Men by Crowded House
9 - Pete Thomas on Are You Experienced? by Jimi Hendrix (Part 2)

8 - Pete Thomas on Are You Experienced? by Jimi Hendrix (Part 1)
7 - Sam Hawksley on A Few Small Repairs by Shawn Colvin
6 - Jim Lauderdale on Grievous Angel by Gram Parsons
5 - Mark Moffatt on Blues Breakers by John Mayall and Eric Clapton
4 - Darren Carr on Ten Easy Pieces by Jimmy Webb
3 - Mark Wells on Revolver by The Beatles
2 - Mike Carr on Arrival by ABBA
1 - Rob Draper on Highway 61 Revisited by Bob Dylan

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My Favorite Album #017 - J Robert Youngtown and Jon Auer (The Posies) on You Am I’s “Hi Fi Way”

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The seventeenth episode of My Favorite Album breaks new ground for the podcast, as host Jeremy Dylan is double-teamed via Skype by two guests for a discussion of Aussie rock legends You Am I's classic 1995 album Hi Fi Way. Singer-songwriter J Robert Youngtown from frosty Tasmania and expert witness Jon Auer (of legendary bands The Posies and Big Star) from a sweltering Paris.

The trio break down classic songs The Applecross Wing Commander, Handwasher and Cathy’s Clown and discuss Tim Rogers' lyrical insight, the impact of the band's change in drummers and Jon, who mixed the album, recalls a near death experience with Tim Rogers on the eve of the sessions.

Listen in the player above or download the episode by clicking here.

Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes here.

My Favorite Album is a podcast unpacking the great works of pop music. Each episode features a different songwriter or musician discussing their favorite album of all time - their history with it, the making of the album, individual songs and the album’s influence on their own music.

Jeremy Dylan is a filmmaker from Sydney, Australia who has worked in the music industry since 2007. He has directed the feature film Benjamin Sniddlegrass and the Cauldron of Penguins and the feature music documentary Jim Lauderdale: The King of Broken Hearts, in addition to many commercials and music videos.

If you’ve got any feedback or suggestions, drop us a line at myfavoritealbumpodcast@gmail.com.

 LINKS

- Buy our album of the episode on iTunes here.

- J Robert Youngtown in Bandcamp, on Twitter and Facebook

- Jon Auer in iTunes, on Twitter and Facebook

- Jeremy Dylan’s website and Facebook page.

PREVIOUS EPISODES
16 - Lester the Fierce on Hounds of Love by Kate Bush
15 - Luke Davison on Green Onions by Booker T and the MGs
14 - Jeff Cripps on Wheels of Fire by Cream

13 - Mark Holden on Blue by Joni Mitchell (Part 2)
12 - Mark Holden on Blue by Joni Mitchell (Part 1)
11 - Gossling on O by Damien Rice
10 - Matt Fell on Temple of Low Men by Crowded House
9 - Pete Thomas on Are You Experienced? by Jimi Hendrix (Part 2)

8 - Pete Thomas on Are You Experienced? by Jimi Hendrix (Part 1)
7 - Sam Hawksley on A Few Small Repairs by Shawn Colvin
6 - Jim Lauderdale on Grievous Angel by Gram Parsons
5 - Mark Moffatt on Blues Breakers by John Mayall and Eric Clapton
4 - Darren Carr on Ten Easy Pieces by Jimmy Webb
3 - Mark Wells on Revolver by The Beatles
2 - Mike Carr on Arrival by ABBA
1 - Rob Draper on Highway 61 Revisited by Bob Dylan

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Coming to a record store near you…

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My Favorite Album #016 - Lester the Fierce on Kate Bush’s “Hounds of Love”

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"Religion is sticky" - Anita Lester, 2014

On the sixteenth episode of My Favorite Album, ghost pop singer-songwriter Anita Lester (AKA Lester the Fierce) comes by to talk about the weird, wild and wonderful Kate Bush and her seminal 1985 album Hounds of Love.

Along the way, they break down classic track Running Up That Hill and the Ninth Wave song cycle and talk about whether this album could be made in the age of shuffle, authenticity vs. sincerity, Bush’s cultural musical roots and how someone turns out when they’re raised on Kate Bush records.

Listen in the player above or download the episode by clicking here.

Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes here.

My Favorite Album is a podcast unpacking the great works of pop music. Each episode features a different songwriter or musician discussing their favorite album of all time - their history with it, the making of the album, individual songs and the album’s influence on their own music.

Jeremy Dylan is a filmmaker from Sydney, Australia who has worked in the music industry since 2007. He has directed the feature film Benjamin Sniddlegrass and the Cauldron of Penguins and the feature music documentary Jim Lauderdale: The King of Broken Hearts, in addition to many commercials and music videos.

If you’ve got any feedback or suggestions, drop us a line at myfavoritealbumpodcast@gmail.com.

 LINKS

- Buy our album of the episode on iTunes here.

- Lester the Fierce in iTunes, on Instagram, on Twitter and Facebook

- Jeremy Dylan’s website and Facebook page.

PREVIOUS EPISODES
15 - Luke Davison on Green Onions by Booker T and the MGs
14 - Jeff Cripps on Wheels of Fire by Cream

13 - Mark Holden on Blue by Joni Mitchell (Part 2)
12 - Mark Holden on Blue by Joni Mitchell (Part 1)
11 - Gossling on O by Damien Rice
10 - Matt Fell on Temple of Low Men by Crowded House
9 - Pete Thomas on Are You Experienced? by Jimi Hendrix (Part 2)

8 - Pete Thomas on Are You Experienced? by Jimi Hendrix (Part 1)
7 - Sam Hawksley on A Few Small Repairs by Shawn Colvin
6 - Jim Lauderdale on Grievous Angel by Gram Parsons
5 - Mark Moffatt on Blues Breakers by John Mayall and Eric Clapton
4 - Darren Carr on Ten Easy Pieces by Jimmy Webb
3 - Mark Wells on Revolver by The Beatles
2 - Mike Carr on Arrival by ABBA
1 - Rob Draper on Highway 61 Revisited by Bob Dylan

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My Favorite Album #015 - Luke Davison (The Preatures) on Booker T and the MGs “Green Onions”

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On the fifteenth installment of My Favorite Album, drummer and very tall man Luke Davison, from Sydney rockers The Preatures, heads into the pod booth in between dates of the band’s Two Tone Melody tour. Luke and host Jeremy Dylan discuss the classic 1962 debut LP from Booker T and the MGs - Green Onions.

Along the way, they break down classic tracks “Green Onions” and “Twist and Shout”, talk about the accidental creation of the band, how the MGs songwriting process parallels The Preatures, Luke’s work in R&B band The Fabulous Rumble’ators, why simplicity is the hardest thing to pull off and how music ends up in Viagra commercials.

Listen in the player above or download the episode by clicking here.

Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes here.

My Favorite Album is a podcast unpacking the great works of pop music. Each episode features a different songwriter or musician discussing their favorite album of all time - their history with it, the making of the album, individual songs and the album’s influence on their own music.

Jeremy Dylan is a filmmaker from Sydney, Australia who has worked in the music industry since 2007. He has directed the feature film Benjamin Sniddlegrass and the Cauldron of Penguins and the feature music documentary Jim Lauderdale: The King of Broken Hearts, in addition to many commercials and music videos.

If you’ve got any feedback or suggestions, drop us a line at myfavoritealbumpodcast@gmail.com.

 LINKS

- Buy our album of the episode on iTunes here.

- The Preatures in iTunes, on Instagram, on Twitter and Facebook

- Luke on Instagram and Twitter.

- Jeremy Dylan’s website and Facebook page.

PREVIOUS EPISODES
14 - Jeff Cripps on Wheels of Fire by Cream
13 - Mark Holden on Blue by Joni Mitchell (Part 2)
12 - Mark Holden on Blue by Joni Mitchell (Part 1)
11 - Gossling on O by Damien Rice
10 - Matt Fell on Temple of Low Men by Crowded House
9 - Pete Thomas on Are You Experienced? by Jimi Hendrix (Part 2)

8 - Pete Thomas on Are You Experienced? by Jimi Hendrix (Part 1)
7 - Sam Hawksley on A Few Small Repairs by Shawn Colvin
6 - Jim Lauderdale on Grievous Angel by Gram Parsons
5 - Mark Moffatt on Blues Breakers by John Mayall and Eric Clapton
4 - Darren Carr on Ten Easy Pieces by Jimmy Webb
3 - Mark Wells on Revolver by The Beatles
2 - Mike Carr on Arrival by ABBA
1 - Rob Draper on Highway 61 Revisited by Bob Dylan

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TRANSFORMERS PT 3: Into the unknown with The Preatures, Lady Ella and Sir Paul

TRANSFORMERS is a series of articles looking at artistic transformation among musicians. Read part one here and part two here.

In the past week, I’ve been to two gigs where the artist has contravened one of the prime directives of rock concerting - shut up and play the hits.

On Saturday night, hometown heroes The Preatures descended on the Metro Theatre. The sold out show was the group’s first Sydney set since conquering the Northern Hemisphere in the first half of 2014 - in a campaign that encompassed Bonnaroo, South by South-West, Coachella and Glastonbury - while simultaneously recording tracks for their forthcoming debut LP.

Unless they were planning on delivering a 25-minute long set, or stacking the decks with covers, the quintet’s performance was going to largely consist of non-hits - many of them yet to be released to the public.

New tracks like Whatever You Want, Ordinary, Cruel and Somebody’s Talking were peppered amongst audience favourites from their three EPs and the tour-naming single Two-Tone Melody. These unfamiliar tunes provoked some of the biggest reactions of the night, clearly demonstrating the trajectory of the band’s songwriting skills - as the hooks are becoming sharper and arrangements more dynamic.

Whereas the Preatures filled their set with fresh gems partly out of necessity, Ella Hooper’s setlist on Thursday night at Newtown Social Club was a completely deliberate mission statement.

A successful recording artist in some configuration for the better part of twenty years, Hooper has a deep back catalogue and a substantial list of singles she could have drawn on to construct a crowd-pleasing show. Instead, save for a earth-shaking Kate Bush cover performed with opening act Jack Colwell, the Victorian singer-songwriter and her backing trio Gothic Teapot unleashed a show entirely comprised of numbers from her soon to be issued debut solo LP - In Tongues.

“As much as I know some fans would like to hear my old songs, and I’m appreciative of their enthusiasm, I feel it would confuse and lessen the impact of the new stuff, so I don’t do it. I might gain a few ticket sales if I did but I don’t think it would be worth it creatively as I’m trying to push my self forward and going forwards while constantly looking backwards or referencing the past feels counter productive.” - Ella Hooper, Tone Deaf

By making the bold choice to entirely eschew the familiar Killing Heidi and The Verses material that has sold her hundreds of thousands of records, Hooper was staking a flag of confidence in the foundation of her new songs. The punters bumped and jived with the trio of singles, but as with the Preatures, some of the strongest reactions came from unreleased album tracks. Everything Was A Sign is devastating and bitter, Dead Star was a disaffected disco-grunge kiss-off and the jagged guitar and synth stabs from the In Tongues title track implanted themselves in the crowd’s collective consciousness from the first chorus.

It was a risky move, but it paid off. Focusing exclusively on “Ella Hooper” material made the show a clear artistic statement, free of the distractions inherent in calling to mind previous stages in her artist evolution.

Of course, this isn’t the first time an artist identified strongly with a successful band has taken the A train to Solo Town with a one-way ticket, speeding with assurance away from the long shadow that their old group might cast.

In April 1970, Paul McCartney was the first member of the Beatles to publicly announce he was leaving the band. The breakup had been brewing since the tumultuous Let It Be sessions a year earlier, and John Lennon had let the other three know he was quitting already. But McCartney wrote the writing on the wall for all to see, a week before his debut solo album McCartney was released.

In the later years of the band, Paul McCartney was the driving force behind the Beatles. John Lennon had become disillusioned with what he increasingly saw as pretentious production methods and a constraining public image of the band, George Harrison was sick of getting only a couple of songs on each album (although being the third best songwriter in the Beatles is nothing to sneeze at) and Ringo Starr was just sick of the tension within the group.

So McCartney was the most committed to being a Beatle, and while Harrison began stockpiling songs for what would later become his seminal All Things Must Pass album and Lennon channeled the angry energy of his ‘primal scream’ therapy into the songs that would comprise Plastic Ono Band, McCartney was putting both his best and second best feet forward into Let It Be and Abbey Road - The Long and Winding Road, Oh! Darling, Golden Slumbers, Two of Us, Get Back and Let It Be all came from their last two albums. So when it came time to go solo, his best material was sapped.

“It’s the impossibility of the universe to follow The Beatles, as all bands ever since have found.” McCartney told Uncut Magazine in 2007. “Even bands who have almost been successful at it.”

McCartney’s 1970 solo debut - McCartney it was called - features one astonishing classic (Maybe I’m Amazed) and three fun gems (Every Night, Tedd Boy and Junk). The rest of the album is largely comprised of short song sketches (the opening track is forty-six seconds long) and jams - unusually, they are jams with himself, as McCartney plays all the instruments on the album.

In 2014, fans like myself can enjoy the album as a loose, easy-going fun record - McCartney de-stressing in his home studio and pumping out the jams. But as a follow up the greatest records in the history of pop it must have seemed a bit insubstantial.

But Beatle Paul was now firmly solo Paul, and he began to draw in collaborators, while eschewing live gigs. In 1971, he issued Ram - featuring classic songs like Too Many People, Heart of the Country and the #1 Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey. Retaining Ram drummer Denny Seiwell and his wife Linda on keyboards, McCartney drafted in his friend Denny Laine to play guitar, and thus Wings were born.

In December 1971, the newly christened Wings released Wild Life - barely six months after the release of Ram. The hurriedly-recorded eight song album was an effort to capture the spirit of a live performance, but this was interpreted by some rock critics as sloppiness.

Regardless of the reaction to Wild Life, McCartney had a focus and direction now - and a band he could gig with. But as with Ella Hooper, he wanted his solo material to stand on its own terms, and resolved to play no Beatles tunes on the Wings tour. But rather than invite the wrath of spurned Beatlemaniacs by booking a massive widely-promoted tour for fans desperate to hear Here There and Everywhere and Drive My Car, the wise Liverpudlian hit upon a plan for a stealth attack.

“We literally took off in a van up the M1, got to Ashby-de-la-Zouch, liked that name, ‘Great! Turn off here’. But there wasn’t a gig, there was just a little village and nothing else there. It was a signpost,” recalls McCartney today. “Anyway we kept going until we got to Nottingham University, and then it suddenly hit, ‘Ah, that’s it – let’s do universities.’”

The comic and slightly surreal scene would be thus - the van pulls up outside a suitably located university, an emissary was sent out to locate the unsuspecting rep for the local student union and pitch them the idea of the world’s greatest pop songwriter doing a gig in their hall that night, or perhaps the next night. The skeptical rep walks over to the van, sees Paul, goes “Blimey Charlie” and drops his tea, and the gig is booked.

Tickets went for a price of what is today around $8.50, split equally amongst the band members. I’ve paid a lot more than that for some pretty shithouse gigs.

The biggest issue with the Wings University Tour was lack of substantial material. These days, Sir Paul can do three hours of stone cold classics and still leave half the crowd thinking “Oh, but he didn’t play [INSERT SONG HERE]”, but in ’72, Wings only had one short record out. So they ended up padding the sets out with Little Richard covers and fibbing that there had been requests to repeat some songs from the beginning of the show.

“This is what I thought it was going to be about. Camaraderie. A baptism of fire. Learning to play together, getting a chemistry.”

The strategy worked, and Wings were established as a band. They would undergo numerous lineup changes through the remainder of their wingspan, but this further cemented Paul McCartney as a solo force. The hits flowed through subsequent albums - Hi Hi Hi, My Love, Live and Let Die, Jet, Let Me Roll It, Band on the Run, Junior’s Farm, Listen to What the Man Said - and by the 1975/76 Wings tour, Beatles-era classics like Lady Madonna, Blackbird and The Long and Winding Road started to creep back into the set. By then, Paul McCartney was a commercial and musical powerhouse in any form, and all his sonic children could play happily together on stage.

And just for a bit of synergy, here’s a video of Ella Hooper singing a Paul McCartney song:

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My Favorite Album #014 - Jeff Cripps on Cream’s “Wheels of Fire”

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On a contentious fourteenth episode of My Favorite Album, Mississippi Shakedown frontman, producer and studio owner Jeff Cripps steps into the podbooth to chat/argue about Cream’s smash hit 1968 double album Wheels of Fire.

In the spirit of the band, Jeff and Jeremy butt heads over the studio disc vs. the live disc, whether the band’s live power came from cooperation or competition, whether Eric Clapton's live versions of Crossroads measure up to the version on this album and much more. They also break down classic tracks White Room, Spoonful, Crossroads and As You Said.

Listen in the player above or download the episode by clicking here.

Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes here.

My Favorite Album is a podcast unpacking the great works of pop music. Each episode features a different songwriter or musician discussing their favorite album of all time - their history with it, the making of the album, individual songs and the album’s influence on their own music.

Jeremy Dylan is a filmmaker from Sydney, Australia who has worked in the music industry since 2007. He has directed the feature film Benjamin Sniddlegrass and the Cauldron of Penguins and the feature music documentary Jim Lauderdale: The King of Broken Hearts, in addition to many commercials and music videos.

If you’ve got any feedback or suggestions, drop us a line at myfavoritealbumpodcast@gmail.com.

 LINKS

 - Buy our album of the episode on iTunes here.

 - A Sharp Recording Studio’s website and Facebook page.

 - Jeremy Dylan’s website and Facebook page.

PREVIOUS EPISODES
13 - Mark Holden on Blue by Joni Mitchell (Part 2)
12 - Mark Holden on Blue by Joni Mitchell (Part 1)
11 - Gossling on O by Damien Rice
10 - Matt Fell on Temple of Low Men by Crowded House
9 - Pete Thomas on Are You Experienced? by Jimi Hendrix (Part 2)

8 - Pete Thomas on Are You Experienced? by Jimi Hendrix (Part 1)
7 - Sam Hawksley on A Few Small Repairs by Shawn Colvin
6 - Jim Lauderdale on Grievous Angel by Gram Parsons
5 - Mark Moffatt on Blues Breakers by John Mayall and Eric Clapton
4 - Darren Carr on Ten Easy Pieces by Jimmy Webb
3 - Mark Wells on Revolver by The Beatles
2 - Mike Carr on Arrival by ABBA
1 - Rob Draper on Highway 61 Revisited by Bob Dylan

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TRANSFORMERS Pt 2: The Three Debuts of Ella Hooper

TRANSFORMERS is a series of articles looking at artistic transformation among musicians. Read part one here.

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“I’ve never been crazy about playing my old stuff anyhow as it feels harder and harder as the years pass to genuinely connect to a long gone emotion or incident… that’s half the reason I write, to process and get over things.. and once you’re over it, move on!” - Ella Hooper, Tone Deaf

Imagine if you were expected to look and behave as you did in high school for the rest of your adult life. Even if you were an accomplished and high-achieving teenager, it’s unrealistic and unfair to suppose that this will define who you are once you reach the age or majority and beyond.

Personally, I can imagine few things more horrifying than living my adolescence in public and then having it archived on YouTube for future generations to see.

In the same way that children are not fully-fledged human beings and are in a constant state of evolution and trial and error, there is typically a period of artistic puberty many artists go through. Rare is the Jimi Hendrix, the performer who arrives fully formed on their first recording.

You may have been King (or Queen) Shit in high school. You may have been the star point guard of the football squad*, but that doesn’t mean you have to be a Socceroo through adulthood and into your dotage. Regular people are allowed to reset and reevaluate attitudes and career paths as they head into adulthood. Musicians are often held more to the standards of sitcom characters - consistency is the name of the game. The audience wants to know who you are in a very clearly defined manner - in image and musicality - and expect you to hold to that with little variation.

*Warning: sports metaphors may not have been checked for authenticity by a third party.

So who is Ella Hooper?

The amount of interviews in which she still has to field questions about her dreadlocks (which she got rid of a dozen years ago) suggests that the collective popular imagination still associates her largely with Killing Heidi, the rock band she fronted from 1996 until it disbanded almost a decade ago. Hooper is occupying an unusual position in that she is the same age as the people who grew up with her music.

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Hooper’s first debut album came fourteen years ago, when Killing Heidi released Reflector off the back of a string of hit singles that had broken the country-bred band (Ella and brother Jesse hailed from Violet Town in Victoria) into the mainstream via Triple J. The record won four ARIA awards and sold over 350,000 copies in Australia - this was back in a time people still bought albums in that kind of volume.

Hooper’s long awaited debut solo release In Tounges is set to drop sometime this year into a vastly different musical landscape, after three singles - Low High (November 26, 2012), Häxan (April 26, 2013) and The Red Shoes (June 20, 2014). Hooper is a self-confessed tinkerer, but you can’t blame any artist for taking extra special care over their debut album.

“To me, the album is about journey,” says Ella. “In my mind, there’s this character, a girl who’s breaking away from her past, going from the country to the city, falling in love, getting into scrapes … Seasons is a metaphor for that cycle. You have good times, hard times, then you’re reborn.”

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That’s a quote from 2010, anticipating the release of Hooper’s second first album  - Seasons by The Verses. Produced by Mitchell Froom - who twenty-eight years ago helped Neil Finn transform from Split Enz ringleader into Crowded House originator - this was Hooper’s first artistic reinvention, a dramatic shift from the sound of Killing Heidi, but still a creative partnership with her brother Jesse. The idea of stamping out a new identity for herself was clearly on her mind even then.

A debut album is a delicate thing, especially these days. When pop music was at its peak in the 1960s, the album cycle spun so rapidly that artist would produce a minimum of a record a year - often more. The debut album would typically be a studio recreation of their live show, replete with numerous covers - often a couple of Chuck Berry songs in the mix. Then it would be a gradual evolution of succeeding albums to mature and define their own unique sound.

In the contemporary music world, a pop artist drops a record every two to three years. In the post-Thriller industry, albums are pillaged for around five singles, further slowing the rate of release. If an artist doesn’t arrive fully-formed on their first LP, the audience is unlikely to wait three years and give them a second chance.

So in 2014, there’s an onus on a debut album to answer the question: WHO ARE YOU? The key distinction in Ella Hooper’s case is that she has an opposite problem to most artists in this position. The typical baseline is one of complete ignorance: No one listening has any idea who you are. With Hooper, there are many ideas, often conflicting, in the public consciousness regarding her identity. Is she the dreadlocked grunge girl fronting Killing Heidi? The sparkling anorak delving into pop history on the sadly departed Spicks and Specks? One half of shimmering folk-rock sibling duo The Verses? A DJ bantering with Top 20 hit makers on 2DayFM?

Hooper is also in the unusual position of having three debut albums. This would normally be a contradiction in terms, but this time around is the first time you’ll see ELLA HOOPER emblazoned above the title on the record sleeve. If the album’s a dud, “Ella Hooper” can’t break up. She can’t go solo from herself.

From existing evidence, lack of quality is not likely to be a concern. The three singles have been lit by a smokey swagger - spooky production laden with tremolo guitars, hard to specifically classify. The “gothic soul” moniker might fit perhaps. The tracks called to mind Eno era Bowie if sung by Stevie Nicks, with a seasoning of Let Love In Nick Cave.

I have a theory that most great albums are about something. They have a theme, in the same way as a great film or novel. Elvis Costello’s early records are about “revenge and guilt” (to quote the man himself), Born in the USA is about reaching for the American dream and falling short and Keith Urban’s Golden Road is about self-destructive impulses being curbed by love.

Obsession and transformation seem to be the order of the day here, judging by the lyrics in the trio of singles. A flavour of dark sensuality pervades. Hooper has alluded to the album being created in the wake of the end of a relationship - borne out by songs that compare a lover to the ‘light from a dead star’. The whole record seems to be a woman grinding out their darker impulses into modes somber and triumphant.

If artistically or financially successful, this album will be the opening shot in a campaign that could last the next half-century of Hooper’s life. Crafted with producer Jan Skubiszewski, these songs are unmistakably contemporary, in the way the much of contemporary music is drawing on elements of classic rock, blues, pop, folk and Americana. But they’re also unlikely to be mistaken for Killing Heidi or The Verses tracks. But who could blame someone who’s spent half their life being interviewed, written about - having other people try to define her - for wanting to craft an artistic statement that speaks to who she is now. These are Ella Hooper songs, and to listen to them is to hear the sound of someone who’s spent their most expansive and naturally curious years (adolescence) as a creative professional, redefining who she is as a woman, charging forward into the next phase of their career.

Ella Hooper plays the Newtown Social Club this Thursday night, with Low Lux and Jack Colwell. Tickets here.

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My Favorite Album #013 - Mark Holden on Joni Mitchell’s “Blue” (Part 2)

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Legendary singer/actor/songwriter/producer Mark Holden returns for part two of our Joni Mitchell extraveganza. In this episode, Mark and host Jeremy Dylan delve deep into some of the Blue album’s most iconic songs - River, A Case of You, Little Green and California - and Mark explains the allure of Los Angeles and reveals where the whitest place on earth was in the 1960s.

Listen in the player above or download the episode by clicking here.

Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes here.

My Favorite Album is a podcast unpacking the great works of pop music. Each episode features a different songwriter or musician discussing their favorite album of all time - their history with it, the making of the album, individual songs and the album’s influence on their own music.

Jeremy Dylan is a filmmaker from Sydney, Australia who has worked in the music industry since 2007. He has directed the feature film Benjamin Sniddlegrass and the Cauldron of Penguins and the feature music documentary Jim Lauderdale: The King of Broken Hearts, in addition to many commercials and music videos.

If you’ve got any feedback or suggestions, drop us a line at myfavoritealbumpodcast@gmail.com.

 LINKS

 - Buy our album of the episode on iTunes here.

 - Mark Holden on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

 - Jeremy Dylan’s website and Facebook page.

PREVIOUS EPISODES
12 - Mark Holden on Blue by Joni Mitchell (Part 1)
11 - Gossling on O by Damien Rice
10 - Matt Fell on Temple of Low Men by Crowded House
9 - Pete Thomas on Are You Experienced? by Jimi Hendrix (Part 2)

8 - Pete Thomas on Are You Experienced? by Jimi Hendrix (Part 1)
7 - Sam Hawksley on A Few Small Repairs by Shawn Colvin
6 - Jim Lauderdale on Grievous Angel by Gram Parsons
5 - Mark Moffatt on Blues Breakers by John Mayall and Eric Clapton
4 - Darren Carr on Ten Easy Pieces by Jimmy Webb
3 - Mark Wells on Revolver by The Beatles
2 - Mike Carr on Arrival by ABBA
1 - Rob Draper on Highway 61 Revisited by Bob Dylan

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TRANSFORMERS Pt 1: How Hugh Laurie broke the Curse of the Singing Actor

TRANSFORMERS is a series of articles looking at artistic transformation among musicians.

“By day they fight crime. But at night, they become something extraordinary. Something other. They become the Copper Bottom Band!”

That was the Old Time Radio style introduction that opened Hugh Laurie’s concert at Newcastle’s Civic Theatre this May. Delivered from offstage in Laurie’s sonorous Etonian tones, it presaged the status that would be given to the assortment of incredible musicians scattered across the stage and let the audience exhale in relief.

“Don’t worry,” the subtext of that introduction seemed to say. “This will be fun”.

The show, which clocked in at a little under two and a half hours, was a masterclass in dynamic show construction and deftly flipped any potential troubling meta aspects of the enterprise into positives.

Audiences have a innate skepticism toward anyone from one creative discipline who attempts to crossover into another. An actor who dares to sing is viewed with narrow-eyed suspicion, as if they abusing the privilege of celebrity. “Hold on, we said you could be talented at one type of thing” says the amorphous public. “Not two”.

There are many cautionary tales littered through show-biz history that would seem to bare this out. Would Bruce Willis have secured a record deal without already being John McClane? And he’s far from the only offender.

There also comes to the problem of artifice. While actors who can wring a myriad of distinct subtleties out of a wide range of characters are praised as “chameleons”, the same word is often used as a damning insult by the rock press. Even someone as successful and spectacular as David Bowie is frequently accused of “insincerity” because of his shifting musical and stylistic personas.

So when his eight-season run as the title character of one of America’s most popular television drama was coming to an end, Hugh Laurie had good reason to cautiously weigh up his options. Mulling over various offers for movies and new TV shows (he knocked back the lead in NBC’s big budget swashbuckling drama Crossbones, which went John Malkovich), he kept coming back to the offer of a recording contract from the Warner Brothers.

After a fair deal of mulling, Laurie accepted the offer and set about exposing the worst kept secret in showbiz - that he was a closet rock star, of a kind. Anyone who had seen A Bit of Fry and Laurie, Jeeves & Wooster or House would have not been surprised to learn that the lanky thesp had aptitude as a musician. Indeed, the writing process for House often seemed to involve creator David Shore entering the writers room on a Monday morning saying “You know, I was at this party with Hugh on the weekend and it turns out he can play piano/guitar/sing/ride a motorcycle”.

Essentially what Laurie did was act as if he’d already had a leather-trousered rock’n’roll career and subsequent fall from the charts, and skipped straight on to the rootsy reinvention phase. Whereas artists like Robert Plant, Tom Jones, Elton John, etc. ruled the pop charts for decades before they rethought their sound and headed down the Americana path, armed with semi-obscure folk and rhythm and blues numbers, Laurie went there as step one.

"I was not born in Alabama in the 1890s. I’ve never eaten grits, cropped a share, or ridden a boxcar. I am a white, middle-class Englishman, openly trespassing on the music and myth of the American south.” - Hugh Laurie, Let Them Talk liner notes

Authenticity is, like many over-used critical terms, vaguely defined at best. Depending on who you talk to - and who they’re talking about - it can mean an artist writes their own songs, sings about their own direct life experiences, doesn’t use drums machines or autotune or even doesn’t use words of more than three syllables. Whichever definition you prefer, it seems that “authentic” is generally good, and “inauthentic” is bad.

What’s open to question is how much this popular conception of authenticity ever relates to the reality people read into it. Dylan and Springsteen would probably land high up on a hypothetical “most authentic” list. But do they have to be authentic?

Dylan has spent most of his career seemingly just plain fucking with his audience by changing up his style and subject matter whenever he gets bored or it seems like the listening public is getting a real handle on who he is. Springsteen is still pumping out heart-rending anthems of the working class struggling with the American dream, but he’s been a multi-millionaire rock star for most of his life now. So neither of them are really authentic. They have to settle for just being brilliant.

Hugh Laurie has recorded two excellent albums that have stamped out a distinct rootsy blend of blues standards, R&B, jazz and spirituals. The key to their success, and to the compelling nature of Laurie’s live shows is wrapped in two qualities - sincerity and humility.

The distinction in how I’d distinguish sincerity from authenticity is that sincerity has much more to do with the underlying sentiment of music than the more superficial trappings that often concern the arbiters of authenticity. For an example - Lana Del Rey strikes me as incredibly sincere, as does Bowie. But both of them are expressing themselves through heavily constructed personas.

Laurie’s choice of material across his two records (Let Them Talk and Didn’t It Rain) are tellingly elegant, romantic and built around the concept of the blues as a salve for the broken hearted. The swaggering braggadocio of artists like Bo Diddley and other rockier blues singers is rare to find here, even on the funky rave-up of Dr. John’s Wild Honey (featured on Didn’t It Rain) is less a boast than an ode to the confidence-instilling intoxication of substances and the fairer sex.

Laurie’s humility is perhaps his most stereotypically English trait. But as a showman, Laurie has turned what could be a crippling flaw into a virtue. The selfishly humble artist picks forlornly at an acoustic guitar while staring at their shoelaces, whereas Laurie turns his self-effacement into exultation for his fellow players. Americana luminary Joe Henry, Laurie’s producer, assembled a staggering cast of pickers, thumpers and blowers to bring texture and drive to the studio.

Laurie has no reason to feel insecure as a player. Listening to his fingers dance, slide and groove across the grand piano is something to behold. He’s a tight rhythm guitarist and his childlike enthusiasm for the music propels even his most forlorn of vocals, slipping into the vaguely Southern accent the same way Mick Jagger and his British R&B contemporaries did in the 60s.

It’s that same love for the blues and those who have devoted their lives to practicing it that makes Laurie such a generous band leader. Normally saying the leader of a band is the most visibly joyful audience member would be at best a backhanded compliment, but Laurie clearly revels in the musicianship of his fellow players and gets a massive kick out of watching them do their thing from the best seat in the house.

By giving spotlight moments to, in particular, backing vocalists Gaby Moreno and Jean McClain - who take lead on a number of tracks - Laurie shows both his confidence as an instrumentalist and crafty showmanship by controlling the dynamics of the show. By flitting between piano, guitar, singing solo and yielding centre stage to Moreno and McClain, the audience is constantly being refreshed and confronted with new configurations and experiences.

Much of the audience walked into the Civic Theatre that night with apprehension in the back of their minds. Many an actor turned muso has thrown up a self-serious front, preempting accusations of dilettantism by humorlessly acting as if they were under no obligation to provide entertainment to the audience in anyway that could be linked to their other career. Hugh Laurie showed no such insecurities.

“We’ve done 150 shows or so now, and I was always keen that the show shouldn’t be a recital or an execution of an album, say. I wanted it to be dramatic and funny and exciting; for it to be a real show.” - Hugh Laurie, Komo News

His clear gratitude for the opportunity to fulfil his childhood ambitions while embarking on a second career at middle-age shone through the entire evening, and when he and the Copper Bottom Band stood sweat-drenched at the front of the stage, bowing for their third standing ovation, there was no doubt that this was not a team of authentic blues players and a thespian interloper, but a cast of equally matched musicians.

“I’m a jack of all trades, master of fun” - Hugh Laurie, Wild Honey.

Indeed.

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My Favorite Album #012 - Mark Holden on Joni Mitchell’s “Blue” (Part 1)

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We hit a dozen episodes with our second two-parter, as Aussie music legend Mark Holden steps into the podbooth to join host Jeremy Dylan for an expansive lovefest on Joni Mitchell's heartbreakingly beautiful 1971 masterpiece Blue.

Along the way, they talk about Joni’s instrumental prowess, writing in open tunings, BB King's stamina, the way Blue has influenced succeeding generations of musicians and bumping into Joni at a Hall and Oates gig.

Come back next week to hear part 2 as Mark and Jeremy break down classic songs River, My Old Man, California, Little Green and A Case of You.

Listen in the player above or download the episode by clicking here.

Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes here.

My Favorite Album is a podcast unpacking the great works of pop music. Each episode features a different songwriter or musician discussing their favorite album of all time - their history with it, the making of the album, individual songs and the album’s influence on their own music.

Jeremy Dylan is a filmmaker from Sydney, Australia who has worked in the music industry since 2007. He has directed the feature film Benjamin Sniddlegrass and the Cauldron of Penguins and the feature music documentary Jim Lauderdale: The King of Broken Hearts, in addition to many commercials and music videos.

If you’ve got any feedback or suggestions, drop us a line at myfavoritealbumpodcast@gmail.com.

 LINKS

 - Buy our album of the episode on iTunes here.

 - Mark Holden on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

 - Jeremy Dylan’s website and Facebook page.

PREVIOUS EPISODES
11 - Gossling on O by Damien Rice
10 - Matt Fell on Temple of Low Men by Crowded House
9 - Pete Thomas on Are You Experienced? by Jimi Hendrix (Part 2)

8 - Pete Thomas on Are You Experienced? by Jimi Hendrix (Part 1)
7 - Sam Hawksley on A Few Small Repairs by Shawn Colvin
6 - Jim Lauderdale on Grievous Angel by Gram Parsons
5 - Mark Moffatt on Blues Breakers by John Mayall and Eric Clapton
4 - Darren Carr on Ten Easy Pieces by Jimmy Webb
3 - Mark Wells on Revolver by The Beatles
2 - Mike Carr on Arrival by ABBA
1 - Rob Draper on Highway 61 Revisited by Bob Dylan

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My Favorite Album #011 - Gossling on Damien Rice’s “O”

On the eleventh episode of My Favorite Album, we welcome our first female guest as the remarkable Gossling (aka Helen Croome) sits down with host Jeremy Dylan to talk about Irish singer-songwriter Damien Rice's seminal 2002 album “O”.

Along the way, they break down classic tracks “Delicate” and Volcano”, explore the origins of Helen’s cello obsession and compare Ireland and Melbourne’s climates and pubs.

Listen in the player above or download the episode by clicking here.

Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes here.

My Favorite Album is a podcast unpacking the great works of pop music. Each episode features a different songwriter or musician discussing their favorite album of all time - their history with it, the making of the album, individual songs and the album’s influence on their own music.

Jeremy Dylan is a filmmaker from Sydney, Australia who has worked in the music industry since 2007. He has directed the feature film Benjamin Sniddlegrass and the Cauldron of Penguins and the feature music documentary Jim Lauderdale: The King of Broken Hearts, in addition to many commercials and music videos.

If you’ve got any feedback or suggestions, drop us a line at myfavoritealbumpodcast@gmail.com.

 LINKS

 - Buy our album of the episode on iTunes here.

 - Gossling on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

 - Gossling on iTunes.

 - Jeremy Dylan’s website and Facebook page.

PREVIOUS EPISODES
10 - Matt Fell on Temple of Low Men by Crowded House
9 - Pete Thomas on Are You Experienced? by Jimi Hendrix (Part 2)

8 - Pete Thomas on Are You Experienced? by Jimi Hendrix (Part 1)
7 - Sam Hawksley on A Few Small Repairs by Shawn Colvin
6 - Jim Lauderdale on Grievous Angel by Gram Parsons
5 - Mark Moffatt on Blues Breakers by John Mayall and Eric Clapton
4 - Darren Carr on Ten Easy Pieces by Jimmy Webb
3 - Mark Wells on Revolver by The Beatles
2 - Mike Carr on Arrival by ABBA
1 - Rob Draper on Highway 61 Revisited by Bob Dylan

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Mr Jeremy Dylan

mrjeremydylan
Moods for Moderns