Featured Artist Interview with Annalise Stalls

It's amazing how some things fall into place with suspicious ease, while others take an inordinate amount of time and effort to complete. I discover this reality again and again in the world of music. Such is the case with my interview with saxophonist, composer, arranger and now writer, Annalise Stalls. We were both determined to make it happen, but life and its many unforeseen or uncontrollable circumstances was just as determined to throw wrenches into our well made plans. Still, the determination on our side finally won out and we were able to sit down recently to talk.

What strikes me most about Annalise, is that while on the outside she appears shy, unassuming and almost demure, she is also confident, passionate, driven and full of ambition to reach new and higher goals personally and professionally. She seems to manage these contradictory personas comfortably and comes across as quite charming. There is no doubt about her love of music, her desire to stretch its boundaries and achieve even greater success - and pleasure - from writing and performing. She speaks of it in matter-of-fact terms as if it has already been decided and done and I like that vision. As is often the case, when we settled into a rhythm, the conversation grew more comfortable, easy and relaxed which is what I am always hoping for. Enjoy!

Many thanks to anonymous donor for graciously hosting us for this interview and to Melody Watson for her inspiration, technical, and blogging expertise.

Featured Artist Interview with Dave Fox.

This featured artist interview ends with my guest Dave Fox playing one of several pianos that fill his spacious office. I found myself transfixed as he elicited tone after beautiful tone, his hands moving across the keys with grace and precision. That's talent, for sure, but much more. It is also the product of a lifetime of acquired knowledge, practice, application and passion for music in its many forms and means of expression. It is all that wrapped up in a man that just can't wait to share it all with a friend, a band mate, a classroom full of students, or an audience. There's a lot more to know about him, but somehow these images seem most poignant and serve to portray the essence of who he is.

There are undoubtedly many accomplishments of which he can be proud yet Dave does not give one the impression that he ever feels the need to point them out, drop hints or invoke them through innuendo. Instead, there is just an everpresent glint in his eye that tells you he is already visualizing and planning the next project, the next lesson, the next gig and they are each exciting to him in their own ways. With new students, varying band members and gigs in venues throughout the state, Dave manages to keep things fresh and vibrant moving fluidly through these ever-changing scenes. For a man in perpetual motion, he seems to have found a rhythm that allows him to keep the pace while appearing to be ambling along in a laid back, free and easy style. Part of being talented is the ability to make what, to the casual observer might seem difficult, look easy. Most of that my friends comes from drive, persistence and plain old hard work. Here's one man who genuinely appears to enjoy the work. I hope you have a good time getting to know a little about him here. I did!

And now for some links to occupy you:

Many thanks to Dave Fox and Greensboro College for graciously hosting us for this interview and to Melody Watson for her inspiration, technical, and blogging expertise.

Featured Artist Interview with Channing & Quinn

While being able to help indie musicians tell their story is humbling and rewarding in its own right, the coolest and most fun thing about doing these interviews is, for me, discovering how many truly hard-working artists there are out there doing their best to be good at their trade and make a name for themselves, while being genuinely down-to-earth people as well. That's a tricky balance to maintain. Maybe it's just me and the path that led me here, but I have dealt with some real shallow characters in my time; ones who bought into the "I'm a star" syndrome and were only in the business for what it could do to massage their egos. I find the musicians I meet today are much more "aware" of themselves and the world around them and look at the bigger picture. Thankfully.

Such is the case with the most recent pair of featured artists, Channing & Quinn. On and off the stage they are warm, welcoming and comfortably-approachable. Now if you've been to a party where you might have known only the host or maybe no-one at all, you can understand what a challenge it is to be in unfamiliar surroundings and amidst a sea of strange faces. Imagine doing that night after night in places far removed from the comfort of home. It says a lot about these two that they have found a way to keep travelling on the road fun and fresh enough to go at it with heart-felt smiles and renewed energy night after night, making new friends everywhere they stop. I left our interview feeling like a friend myself. So much so that I entertained crashing their wedding in September, until I was coaxed out of that notionby the Lady in my life... heh.

From their meeting in Boone, NC while working on theater productions, through Amtrak train tours, Airstream tours, countless bars, coffee shops, festivals and house concerts, Channing & Quinn have been focused on writing and performing music to the delight of all of us who have had the chance to experience them live. Here's to many more years of their quirky brand of fun and entertainemt. Please sit back and enjoy the chat.

And now for some links to occupy you:

Many thanks to The Creative Center for graciously hosting us for this interview and to Melody Watson for her inspiration, technical, and blogging expertise.