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Join music journalist, critic and historian Rich Kienzle as he chronicles country music ... and a lot more.

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  • Ronnie Milsap
    Music critic Rich Kienzle reviews Ronnie Milsap's "Summer Number Seventeen." [6:02]
  • Gene Ludwig -- Pat Martino Trio
    Music critic Rich Kienzle reviews "Young Guns" by Gene Ludwig and the Pat Martino Trio.
  • David Nail/Lake Street Dive
    P-G pop music critic Scott Mervis talks with Rachael Price of Lake Street Dive. Country music critic Rich Kienzle reviews David Nail's "I'm A Fire."
  • The War on Drugs/Don Williams
    P-G pop music critic Scott Mervis talks with Adam Granduciel of The War on Drugs. Country music critic Rich Kienzle reviews "Reflections," the latest from Don Williams
  • Johnny Winter
    Music critic Rich Kienzle reviews "True To the Blues: The Johnny Winter Story."
  • Tommy Osh/Dierks Bentley
    P-G pop music critic Scott Mervis interviewed the late Pittsburgh rocker Tommy Osh [real name Thomas O'Shanick] a few days before Osh died in a car accident. This week, we have excerpts from that interview. Later in the podcast,...
  • Albert Lee
    Music critic Rich Kienzle reviews "Albert Lee Live at the Iridium."
  • Eric Church/The Show
    P-G pop music critic Scott Mervis talks with Johnny Saint-Lethal and Brandon Mitchell of The Show. Country music critic Rich Kienzle reviews Eric Church's "The Outsiders."
  • Suzy Bogguss
    Country music critic Rich Kienzle reviews "Lucky" by Suzy Bogguss. [6:38]
  • Mike Bloomfield
    Music critic Rich Kienzle reviews "From His Head to His Heart to His Hands," a collection of recordings by guitar great Mike Bloomfield.
  • The Hold Steady/"Inside Llewyn Davis"
    P-G pop music critic Scott Mervis talks with Craig Finn of The Hold Steady, and music critic Rich Kienzle reviews the" Inside Llewyn Davis" soundtrack.
  • The Pixies/Lone Justice
    P-G pop music critic Scott Mervis talks with Pixies guitarist Joey Santiago. Music critic Rich Kienzle reviews "This Is Lone Justice: The Vaught Tapes 1983" by Lone Justice.
  • The Nox Boys
    P-G pop music critic Scott Mervis talks with Zack Keim and Sam Berman of The Nox Boys about their debut album "Nox Boys."
  • The Departed: Music Legends Who Died in 2013/Fist Fight in the Parking Lot
    P-G pop music critic Scott Mervis talks with Abby Krizner of Fist Fight in the Parking Lot about the band's new album "Year of the Ox." Music critic Rich Kienzle looks back at some of the noted figures in music...
  • Best of 2013
    Music critic Rich Kienzle shares his picks for the top records of 2013.
  • "Merry Christmas Baby"
    Music critic Rich Kienzle looks at several interpretations of the Charles Brown classic "Merry Christmas Baby."
  • Jake Owen
    Country music critic Rich Kienzle reviews Jake Owen's "Days of Gold."
  • "It's a Scream How Levine Does the Rhumba: The Latin-Jewish Musical Story"
    Music critic Rich Kienzle reviews "It's a Scream How Levine Does the Rhumba: The Latin-Jewish Musical Story, 1940s-1980s,"
  • James Booker
    Music critic Rich Kienzle reviews James Booker's "Classified."
  • The Beatles/Charles Wallace
    P-G pop music critic Scott Mervis talks with Ethan Winograd of the band Charles Wallace about their CD "Mariposa." Music critic Rich Kienzle reviews The Beatles' "On Air -- Live at the BBC, Vol. 2."
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When I was growing up in Greensburg in the late 60's, I regularly hit Greensburg News, the local newsstand, to buy a copy of the Village Voice.  Why?  Because of the "Scenes" feature authored by Howard Smith, a name shamefully forgotten in the annals of that era's now-revered cultural history (revered by many--my own views are mixed).  Smith did a feature called "Scenes" that involved him interviewing some of the biggest movers and shakers in the culture and music, which particularly interested me.   His interviews were of the moment and reflected the way things were at a given moment.  And he didn't just do them for print. He hosted a night time show for the innovative New York City rock station WPLJ-FM, a pioneer of the "progressive rock" radio format that at the time was revolutionary.

Smith captured the states of mind of a lot of the political types of the era like Andy Warhol and Abbie Hoffman, but more importantly (at least for me), Pete Townshend, Arlo Guthrie,  Sly Stone,  John & Yoko in the wake of the Beatles' breakup, Clapton, Mick Jagger, Carole King, Frank Zappa, Jimi Hendrix and so on.  Later, he and Sarah Kernochan won an Oscar for producing Marjoe, the 1972 documentary about former kid evangelist turned actor and producer  Marjoe Gortner, long before the imfamous televangelist scandals of the 80's.

Like I said, Smith, now 76 and suffering from cancer and until now his cultural chronicles have been forgotten except by the hardcore. That's that's a shame, but it's about to change.  Starting today "The Smith Tapes" will be downloadable on Amazon as mp3 files and on iTunes on November 27.  This Vanity Fair article offers more info and a sample of the John-Yoko interview, talking about the final two Beatles albums and their breakup.  The clip (even with Yoko inserting herself) gives an idea of how on top of things Smith was and why the rest of the material is worth hearing.   The New York Times has a piece as well.

To raise money for "The Smith Tapes," a box set of the material, with a list of interviewees, there's this Kickstarter page.  Note it's racking up some impressive pledges at this point.

From YouTube, this is a three-part Smith interview with the Doors' Jim Morrison, surprisingly mellow, from November, 1969.   This isn't seasoned, mellowed and distorted by decades of revisionism, fading memories and BS; this was Morrison's frame of mine at the time. The other tapes reflect the same sort of mindset.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

 

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