Introducing: Tim Totani...

Tim Totani is a singer and songwriter from McAlester, Oklahoma. His style is in the country/rock tradition of Bob Seger and John Mellencamp, and his new EP Back Home was released just last month. We’d like to thank Mr. Totani for taking a few minutes to answer some questions for us here at Musebreak. Musebreak: First of all, tell us a little about yourself. What is your musical background? How did you get started? Tim Totani: I grew up around music from my mom singing to me as a little boy to watching the band play at church. But I didn’t get started playing until junior high school where my music director John Wilcox influenced my passion for playing the most. MB: I’m assuming you play guitar. Do you play any other instruments? What models do you use, and what’s your favorite? TT: I do play guitar, and I’ve played many instruments such as violin, cello, mandolin, bass, drums, and piano. Recently, piano is probably my favorite. I play a Taylor acoustic guitar. MB: What is your process for writing a song? What comes first, the lyrics or the music? TT: When writing a song the process varies. Some days I have lyrics that pop in my head first that I write music for, and other time the music comes first. MB: I mentioned Seger and Mellencamp in the intro, which to my ear are the most stylistically similar acts to your work. What do you consider the most similar? What musicians do you go to for inspiration? TT: I have been compared to Brantley Gilbert on many occasions, and I could see that. And I listen to a lot of artist for inspiration such as Brantley, Florida Georgia Line, Luke Bryan, Eli Young...

Ensembles: The Big Band Jan26

Ensembles: The Big Band...

In the 1920s, as recorded music became more common, there arose the beginnings of an ensemble constructed to appeal to a popular music audience. These groups contained trumpets, trombones and saxophones; supported by a rhythm section, and joined with a group of string instruments for a more orchestral quality. Such groups performed popular tunes and acted as accompaniment for vocalists. The jazz influence was minimal, with little improvisation; however, many period jazz musicians supplemented their incomes as members of such groups. Probably the best known example of groups of this type for contemporary listeners was Lawrence Welk’s orchestra which remained active for many decades. It wasn’t until the late 20s that we begin to see the big band really come into its own. Growing primarily out of New York, Chicago, and Kansas City, these bands dropped the string players, and adopted a musical style that allowed for much more improvisation. With a few exceptions (like Hoagy Carmichael and Johnny Mercer), these groups were primarily formed of black musicians and aimed at black audiences. The recordings were euphemistically referred to as “race records”, and were routinely dismissed as low quality. Still, talent will inevitably rise to the surface, and these groups began gaining larger audiences while crossing the race barriers. Black band leaders became household names and gained the respect of the musical community as a whole. The greatest of these would doubtlessly be Duke Ellington and his Cotton Club orchestra. Also, notable for this period is the fact that improvising soloists became nearly as famous as the band leaders themselves, many of whom would go on to form their own bands. Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, and Benny Goodman were just a few who came from this background. As the 1930s approached, the big band...

Introducing: The Dick Peddicord Band...

My first memories of Dick Peddicord are from 1967, when I fell in with his band of gypsies which became known as The American Television Theater Inc., or T.A.T.T.I.  It was a raggle-taggle band, with several drummers, several bass players, and a small army of guitar players.  We soon became known as the band that changed at every performance, since our lineup was constantly morphing, and the loudest bunch in normally quiet downtown Davis, California. Later, I played lap steel with Dr. Dick and his Yolo County Road Show, featuring the Whole Earth Angels, a miniature choir of pretty young ladies under Dick’s watchful eye, and the metaphorical baton of choir director Jack May.  That led to some demo tapes, recorded in San Francisco’s China Town at the Roy Chen Recording Studio, which I produced.  Dick was so pleased with the demos that he hired my band, Osgoode, to produce an entire album of his songs in the relatively new 24-track format.  One of the high points of that album was a completely new version of “Oh Pleasant Hope”, which had already been recorded once by Blue Cheer, and became the title song of the album on which it appeared. Together we played in several other short-lived bands, and after a longish hiatus, started making music together again in early 2011.  We’ve been keeping busy with several CDs of the Dick Peddicord Band since then: first, Change Of Heart, then Savannah, then Castaway, and finally another one which has no name as yet, but is over half finished. Dick currently lives in Ashland, Oregon, and works for the U.S. Census Bureau as a field representative. Having retired from college teaching years ago, his time now is spent on music and family. After receiving a...