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 Danny Sparks

He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother

The road is long...with many a winding turn that leads us to who knows where, who knows where?

But I'm strong, strong enough to carry him...He ain't heavy, he's my brother

written by" Bobby Scott & Bob Russell        made famous by: The Hollies

Yes, my featured artist interviews are about musicians. But musicians are people with stories to tell that often go deeper than the music they write and perform. It wasn't until I sat down to prepare for my interview with Danny Sparks, that it occurred to me how I had unconsciously stayed away from the more personal questions with my guests. Chalk it up to inexperience, or an unwritten rule about privacy and personal space that was surely pounded into my brain as a kid. Either way, it seemed like hallowed ground and therefore no place to tread.

First some back story...Danny and I became reacquainted one night when he wandered into a local Restaurant & Bar called McPhersons in Greensboro, where I was performing. It had been years since we had seen each other, but I recognized his face immediately. He used to stop in quite regularly when I played there more frequently several years ago, so after such a notable absence, it was naturally a surprise. During my break we struck up a conversation. The story he set about telling me filled in all the details and answered questions about what had happened to him. By the time he finished, I was at a loss for words to say and it must have showed on my face. And yet, despite what could only be described as the perfect storm of unfortunate events he shared with me, there was excitement and fire in his voice. He had finally solidified his connection with God and begun writing songs during his travails. I asked him if he would let me interview him and he responded " Sure." almost before I could finish the question. Of course that led to me asking if he would feel comfortable enough to share the story he told me, with my audience. A contemplative expression came across his face as he pondered the prospect. Fighting through an instinctual desire to keep it all to himself, he agreed.

Danny tells the story better than I could and you will get more from it if I don't "set it up" ahead of time. we progressed into talking about what has been a challenging path for him the past few years. It is often hard enough for most of us to discuss personal trials in privacy, one-on-one with a trusted friend, but to be able to share it with me on camera and in turn allow me to present it you, well... that's another thing all together. I heard a phrase recently that seems appropo here which is... "We make plans and God laughs". None of us knows just what we will face along our journeys and how we deal with the hand we are dealt is what determines the outcome and quality of our existance.

Each of us has a story that wants to be told, but even more, that needs to be heard by someone... anyone. Though there are flashes of expressions on his face that belie the fact that there is still healing to be done, Danny's outlook and attitude are positive and fuel his newfound desire to write, record and release music with an uplifting message. I wish him all the success he desires and deserves.

Some Links of Interest:

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.

Featured Artist follow up - Anna Lazuli 1.3.13


I Thought I would share a little tidbit with those of you who have read my featured artist blog and/or seen the video interviews. One of my recent guests, Anna Lazuli is travelling in connection with another line of work she is passionately involved in. Here is what she had to say about it on facebook:

"On my way to Chile and Peru until the end of the month. Bye for now, guys! I am organizing an event in Chile called "Voces Duraderas: Digital Media for Endangered Languages in Latin America" and you can read about it here."

It is heartening and inspiring to know the kinds of efforts being put forth by passionate people for some truly great causes. There are so many stories like this worth telling and uplifting to hear. Safe journey Anna. Perhaps I can find out more about her trip to share in the weeks to come.

Some Links of Interest: