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 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.

Featured Artist Interview with Matty Sheets

Not so long ago, I wrote a blog out one of the Greensboro area's most authentic and unpretentious musicians, Matty Sheets. It struck me that I had known of him since roughly 1997 and yet knew little about him outside of the brief time our paths crossed back then in the days of "Perks Coffee and More" where we both performed. I would see or hear something about him from time to time, sparking my curiosity. Over the years his name continued to show up attached to a growing list of different creative projects, bands and businesses, including hosting the longest running open mic in the city of Greensboro, NC at The Flatiron. Research for that blog backed up what I had been hearing from different sources. Writing the blog got me wanting to have him as a featured artist, so I reached out to Matty to see what he would say about doing an interview. I guess I don't need to say any more because if you're reading this, you are just about to watch the result.

Though he doesn't take himself too seriously, by the end of the conversation I think it's pretty clear that he has drive, goals - though not too lofty - and ambition, along with a passion for making music with friends. Add to that being a very vocal proponent for musicians from all walks of life and you have one ... Matty Sheets.

And now for a boatload of links to occupy you:

Many thanks to Mike Garrigan for graciously hosting us for this interview at Two Egrets. And to Melody Watson for her inspiration, technical, and blogging expertise.