Listening In Podcast 2006.09.06 – "Bobby's Idle Hour"

I met Pete Muncie at Bobby’s Idle Hour on Music Row in Nashville. I had heard that you scratch the surface on just about anybody in Nashville and you’ll find a songwriter, so I wanted to test out how true that was. Pete had worked that whole day as a carpenter before getting up there and pouring his heart out in his songs – forgot a few words here and there, but that was OK – and warmed up the stage for a night of song swapping. Later on, the guitar slingers and out of towners rolled and ripped it up. I spoke to Pete before all that, in the twilight of the evening.

That same evening, I overheard two guys in cowboy hats talking at the bar – one was good and drunk, said to the other – “You remind me of that ‘Broken Back!’ ‘Broken Back.’ You heard of that?” Another guy stepped in as if to break up a fight. The guy in the cowboy looked up at him with this thems-fighting-words look on his face and said “I wisht I never even had to think about that movie.”

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"Modern Acoustic" Reviews Our CD Clubs

Rich Kassirer did a great story about the CD Clubs that were launched by last year’s broadcast of “Pass the CD” on Weekend America. Rich is good friends with Jamie Barth, who joined one of the CD Clubs this year and has been an avid member all year. Check out Modern Acoustic for regular stories about the up and coming acoustic music scene by people who really care about it. Thanks, Rich – hope you launch a club or two with that issue!

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The People Will Be Heard

Writer Jennifer Kabat did a great piece for the Adobe Design Center on the potential for interactive technology to stoke public dialogue: The People Will Be Heard: Interactive technology in public spaces. It includes a look at interactive projects I have been involved in at ESI Design, as well as work by Jake Barton, David Small and AllofUs. A quote of mine she included: “No one wants to see themselves as just a consumer… the blip at the end of a production line. Now there are tools for being a participant, for being part of the conversation, and museums are becoming part of a two-way dialogue.”


Weekend America 2006.07.29 – "Listening In With Steve Grable, Trucker"

“LISTENING IN WITH STEVE GRABLE, TRUCKER: WHAT MAKES A GOOD ROAD SONG?” to air Saturday, July 29, 2006 on Weekend America.

Hear the Original Broadcast

LOCATION: TA Truckstop, Breezewood, PA – intersection of Interstates 76 and 70 on the old Lincoln Highway, near the Maryland border — In this piece, we’re in the cab with Steve Grable and we get a chance to hear what makes a good road song for him. Grable’s speaks with us over the strains of “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” (Poison), “Is This Love?” (Whitesnake) and “Caught Up In You” (.38 Special).

About trucks, he says “They’re loud, they’re obnoxious. Nobody wants em, they’re hard on the road system. They do more damage to our highways than anything. But the bottom line is this – nobody wants to drive six hundred miles for a roll of toilet paper. And until you do want to drive 600 miles for a roll of toilet paper, this truck’s gonna have to go down the road.”

About four-wheelers (that is, the rest of us who use the road), he has this to say – Watch out! Don’t cut off a truck just cuz you can. A fully loaded truck and trailer weights 80,000 pounds, 40 times more than the average car! I promised him I would help put out the word. Every trucker I talked to said the same thing.

About road songs, he says “A lot of guys, what they would consider road songs are different. For me, the songs that I like going down the road are songs that… memories – that bring back little pieces of my life. Music like this… when I don’t have time to stop to enjoy the view, to get out of the truck for a few minutes, because I’m pressed on having to be there. I’ll put the music in and listen to different tunes that make me feel good inside because there’s a little part of that song that’s special to me, because it either meant something to me personally.
So, what’s a good road song for you? Let me know – I’m putting together the ultimate playlist for the road and I’m looking for suggestions. Tell me title, artist and why it’s a good song for the road (gideon at listeningin dot org).

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CD Clubs Going Strong

The CD clubs that were launched by the “Pass the CD” segment on Weekend America are going strong. The idea is that a group of 12 strangers (who met through the radio) share music for a year together. Each month, another member of the club is up – they put together a mix, burn 11 copies and snailmail them to the rest of the club. In addition to the two that I am in – The Penguins and The Owls, there are seven other self-organizing clubs – all going strong. You can see some of their playlists on the club blogs -
The Owls –
The Penguins –
Gideon’s 13 –
The Geckos
Other groups communicate via email lists, or, like the MIXMOO club, through Yahoo Groups.


Weekend America 2006.04.08 – "The Story of John Prine"

At his Nashville studio, John Prine and I listen to the recordings that first gave him the idea that he might be able write songs of his own: Dylan’s “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carol,” Roger Miller’s “Dang Me” and Hank Williams’ live radio broadcast, “The Health and Happiness Show.” The piece ends with Prine’s reminiscences his father’s birthplace of Paradise, Kentucky and the song he spun from it.

Original Broadcast

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John Prine on Weekend America

On Saturday, April 8, 2006, my recent “Listening In” interview with John Prine will air on Weekend America. We listened to the recordings that he was listening to when he first got the idea he wanted to make up songs of his own – Mississippi John Hurt, Hank Williams (Sr.), Roger Miller, Bob Dylan. In the piece, we end by listening to “Paradise” and then “The Glory of True Love” from his 2005 album, “Fair and Square.”

Prine has written some fantastic lyrics over his 35 year career – what is your favorite line from Prine? What is your favorite Prine rhyme? Let me know at prine -at- listeningin -dot- org.


Weekend America 2006.02.18 – "Music and Mardi Gras"

“Music and Mardi Gras” begins in New York with Tom Piazza, author of “Why New Orleans Matters,” playing recordings that show us why New Orleans matters to him.  Next, we are transported to New Orleans, listening to the same songs with Gregg Stafford on his porch.  Stafford is a staunch proponent of New Orleans’ traditional music and occasional bandleader at Preservation Hall.   Mardi Gras “Indian” songs elicit their feelings about having a Mardi Gras in the wake of Katrina. The piece features music by the Silver Leaf Brass Band, Danny Barker and the Wild Tchoupitoulas.

Original Broadcast

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Marketplace 2005.10.06 – “You Don’t Know Jack”

On commercial music radio, it seems Wolfman Jack has been replaced by just… Jack. Features Bruce “Cousin Brucie” Morrow, who went to Sirius after WCBS’s controversial flip to the Jack format. Gideon D’Arcangelo reports.
Original Broadcast

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"Excuse me, can I check out what you're listening to?"

I want to know what you’re listening to. I also want to know when you listen to it, how you found it, what you are listening to it on and, most importantly, why you are listening to it. How does music fit into your life? Why does it move you? I am constantly searching for new ideas about music and how people listen to it for my radio documentary programs. Send me a story about you and your music to gideon -at- listeningin -dot- org.


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