Tuesday, December 14, 2010
An Interview with Matt Costa on “The Paul Leslie Hour”
Recorded November 12, 2010 at the Loft at Center Stage in Atlanta, Georgia.
Like a troubadour in the days of old, Matt Costa wandered through the back of the Atlanta music venue called the Loft. He strummed his guitar and wailed on his harmonica while the musicians in his band played. They formed a straight line like a small marching band. Costa told me he wanted his listeners to feel a “sense of relation.” The crowd was already there and primed; ready to hear these “Songs We Sing,” the title Costa gave his first album. As the band pushed through the excited crowd, some sang along while most clapped. In keeping true to his goal, Matt Costa’s concert was as relatable as his music and the man himself. He started the concert from the audience as a reminder that they were as much a part of the show as he was.
I invite you to read the conversation we had backstage prior to Matt Costa’s show.
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s a great pleasure to welcome our special guest Matt Costa here at the Loft at Center Stage. So first of all, thanks for making the time to do this.
Yes, thanks for having me on the show.
Who is Matt Costa?
Well, I don’t know. I’ve been trying to figure that out my whole life. I guess that’s the challenge, but today—songwriter. Going to be doing some songs here in Atlanta, for the time being. Let’s see—28 years old and enjoying it.
You’ve got a new album out on Brushfire Records. It’s entitled “Mobile Chateau.” So for everyone that’s wondering—what exactly does “Mobile Chateau” mean?
Well, quite literally my wife had made a mobile—in the chateau we were staying at in France. From there the idea changed into a movable feast sort of thing—all of the people who were involved with making the record, playing on it and the artwork and stuff like that. So it’s my own movable feast.
Do you have a favorite song from the album?
Everyday is different, because you feel different ways everyday. I really liked the way “Drive” turned out. I like that song because it’s collaboration in a sense that I took the initiative to make. There’s a singer from the sixties named Bob Lynn who wrote a song called “Go Ask Your Man.” My uncle had turned me onto him. So anyways, it’s half of his lyrics, half of my lyrics. Then I rewrote all the music to it. So I essentially co-wrote and rewrote an old song that was half my idea and half the original idea. I like that one for that reason because I’ve never done that before. I never thought I could sing those songs, put it on a record and believe it. For some reason I felt a great parallel with him in that song. I never felt like another song like that was my own, until now. That was interesting, something new that I did on this record.
Matt, tell us about some of your influences.
John Steinbeck. The guys in my band, they’re influences. I think you put yourself around people that push you. Donavon, Airport Convention. A lot of sixties, British. I learned to play folk music because of their interpretations of it, and then finally I went back to American roots. But now I’m kind of going back. I always go back to those British, late sixties records for inspiration, at least on this record I did.
I wanted to ask you about one of the songs from the last album “Unfamiliar Faces,” the song is “Mr. Pitiful.” I really like that one, if you don’t mind going back and talking about one from the last record.
Sure, yeah. Well, I wrote that song. I bought a piano from a piano shop in Sacramento and I had just moved into a place up there that I was renting. I bought the piano. It was a nice piano shop, they had thousands of dollars of pianos—ya know, like hundred thousand dollar pianos, fifty thousand dollars, nice Steinways, nice ones. I found this one in the corner. I didn’t want to spend. I didn’t have enough money to buy a real nice piano, but I saw one in the corner. I asked the guy how much it was. “This one?” He was trying to get rid of it. The finish was all messed up on it, the keys were all jagged, wood was coming through on the black keys and he said “I’ll give it to you for 250 bucks.” “250 bucks?” “Yeah, you just got to get somebody to take it home.” I had a friend pull the truck up. I gave him 250 bucks and took that piano home. I started working on playing more piano. I always like working on piano, I think it’s a helpful tool when you can’t go any further on a guitar you can take a melody to the piano, chords and stuff like that and it can grow. You can’t get the full low end on the guitar, for the bass notes so you can’t hear how things play together. So I wrote “Mr. Pitiful” one day on that piano. That’s the first song I ever wrote on that piano. The feeling of how someone’s own character or something can make you feel like you did something personally that offended them. I guess on both ends, it just sounds almost ironic the way that the lyrics play with the upbeat thing. I like using subjects that juxtapose the music because I’m always drawn to upbeat melodies and upbeat sounds.
Is there a part of music that you’d say you like better than the other? You write songs. You record music and you perform. You’re in different modes when you’re doing each one, but they all interplay. Sometimes you try to emulate sounds from a live show on a recording or sometimes you do the opposite. Sometimes you try to emulate sounds from a recording on a live show. Sometimes you’re working on, you’re playing a song and you write a little riff to a song and you’re doing it during sound check or something like that and sometimes you’re during the middle of a show and you try something out, a song and you never thought of it that way just because in the moment it makes you think about it differently so you push yourself to play it. You discover something about it. I think they’re all intertwined, but I’d say I really like the writing process and the satisfaction of creating something new and writing a song. I like the creation aspect of it. That’s my favorite part, so writing a song and having that feeling afterwards that you released this feeling and now it has an identity. Older songs too, recreating those and making those evolve with your own musical abilities. As you play, you’re going to learn more. Recently on this record, I’ve wanted to do subtle changes in the songs—going to radio stations and things, when we do performances in the studios at NPR and stuff like that, incorporating things that weren’t on the original recording or on the record so those are documented at the time. You don’t want to go back and rerecord a whole record, but it’s cool to capture that moment again with an evolution. That’s something that only in the last month or so, on this tour, have really enjoyed the idea of trying to do.
When somebody goes and they hear you perform or when they listen to one of your records, what is it you want the listener to get out of that experience?
Wow. When someone listens to the music I think, a sense of relation. A lot of times there’s live lessons in music. You hear something and you go “Man I never knew that.” That that happened to someone else in their life or in the same way or how to deal with something. Or just a little bit of an escape from the monotony of something. That’s why you put on your headphones and could be anywhere and you could be someplace else. So I think I take the listener and try to create as much of an out of body experience as possible.
Now the latest album is “Mobile Chateau” and everyone can check out mattcosta.com. They can also check out brushfirerecords.com. Speaking of Brushfire, how did you find your way on the Brushfire Record label? I remember in 2005 you were performing with ALO. How did that happen?
Well, I put out the first record “Songs We Sing” with my friend Tom. We did it independently. Emmett Malloy and Jack Johnson heard that, they are the two main folks behind Brushfire Records. They asked me to come out on tour. In the middle of that tour, we’d been getting along so well they asked me if they wanted me to put my music out on their record label. So that’s how it came about. I said yeah, because I liked a lot of the ideas. I put so much time in the music. It’s nice when the music becomes a community and also gives back to good causes. The people’s motives are true and pure.
Is there anything you’d like to say before we leave?
Keep on keepin’ on. Make sure you enjoy things. Sometimes I think it’s easy to forget that. I have to remind myself all the time. In any circumstance it’s easy to take things for granted—the people around you and everything. Don’t take anything for granted because there’s always someone in a worse position. When you see someone in that position, you gotta help ‘em out.
Mr. Costa, thanks for the interview.
Yeah, my pleasure.
Copyright © 2010—Paul Leslie & Lifestyles Entertainment—All Rights Reserved
Sunday, November 28, 2010
John Goodwin is an incredible singer-songwriter who has recorded his most recent album "Goodwin." John Goodwin has recorded six albums, the newest record features a new direction with solo acoustic performances and duets with Jessica Andrews, Michael McDonald and Jeff Bridges. John Goodwin is also a visual artist--a painter and photographer. His songs have been featured in several major motion pictures including Crazy Heart, Surf's Up, The Amateurs, and Tideland.
Monday, November 22, 2010
The Paul Leslie Hour welcomes Jeff Daniels
Joining us on The Paul Leslie Hour for a fascinating profile is Actor, Singer-Songwriter, Recording Artist and Playwright Jeff Daniels! Recorded on stage at Smith's Olde Bar in Atlanta, Georgia--the celebrated Motion Picture Star and Musician gave us an in-depth interview about his incredible songs. He even performed an unplugged, acoustic song just for the listeners. This will be one you do not want to miss!
Sunday, November 14, 2010
The Paul Leslie Hour welcomes Shari Belafonte
Shari Belafonte has been described as a Renaissance woman. In the entertainment world she has been credited as an actress, model, writer, singer and spokesperson. She is well known for her role as Julie Gillette on the prime time television series "Hotel" which was broadcast from 1983 to 1988. She has starred in several motion pictures and television programs. She co-hosted the syndicated series "Lifestyles with Robin Leach and Shari Belafonte" and a travel show called "Travels in Mexico and the Caribbean with Shari Belafonte" She is the international spokesperson for the Starlight Children's Foundation and was also named one of the top ten celebrity endorsers by the Wall Street Journal. There's more...Shari Belafonte is also an avid photographer. Her collections include "Postcards from Cuba" and most recently an acclaimed collection entitled "Italia" of photographs she took in Italy. She is also a recording artist with two albums to her credit: Eyes of Night in 1987 and her sophomore release "Shari" in 1989. Along with an in-depth interview, we are also pleased to feature selections of her recorded music in this fascinating profile. It's no wonder why she has been called a Renaissance woman.
A Harry Nilsson Special with special guest: Actor Curtis Armstrong on "The Paul Leslie Hour.
Motion picture actor Curtis Armstrong is best known for the movies and television programs he has starred in, including his first major role as "Miles" in the 1983 hit "Risky Business." However, Armstrong is also known for being one of the foremost experts on the late musician Harry Nilsson. Join us as we celebrate the music of one of the greatest songwriters--Harry Nilsson!
Monday, October 18, 2010
Chubby Checker is an American singer and legend who popularized the Twist, a Hank Ballard song and an accompanying dance in 1960. 2010 is the 50th anniversary of the Twist, and it is with great pleasure we present a special and interview with the legendary Chubby Checker.
Chubby Checker is the only recording artist to place five albums in the Top 12 all at once. He changed the way we dance to the beat of music, Checker told Billboard, "Anyplace on the planet, when someone has a song that has a beat, they're on the floor dancing apart to the beat. And before Chubby Checker, it wasn't here."
Enjoy the show!
Sunday, September 26, 2010
On this episode, we are pleased to present an interview with Mr. Walter Breuning in celebration of Mr. Walter Breuning's 114th Birthday. He was born September 21, 1896 and according to the Gerontology Research Group, he is the oldest living human being in the entire world. Walter Breuning was born in Melrose, Minnestota. In 1918, he moved to Great Falls, Montana where he worked for the Great Northern Railway. He was married to Agnes, a woman who was a railroad telegraph operator from Butte. She passed away in 1957. They had no children and Mr. Breuning never remarried.
Walter Breuning has lived through part of the 19th Century, all of the 20th Century and lives into the 21st Century. He says he can remember his grandfather talking about his experiences in the American Civil War and recalls the day President William McKinley was shot in 1901 as the day he got his first haircut.
Mr. Breuning dresses in a suit and tie daily and exercises every day. We are pleased and honored to welcome him for a special interview. Along with a conversation, we will be playing music from every single decade of Mr. Breuning's long life. That's over 100 years of music. Join us as we watch the evolution of music and talk with a man who's message can be appreciated by all.
Elvis Presley is known to all as the King of Rock 'n Roll. From his humble beginnings in Tupelo, Mississippi; Elvis Presley was one of the most popular singers and icons of the 20th Century. His influence continue to grow and Elvis Presley music is still loved by all ages around the world.
In Atlanta, Georgia there was a girl with a Rock 'n Roll Dream...Meet Shawn Williams, a girl who loves Elvis and knows that although the King is Gone, he still lives on...in the heart of the people. She decides to start an all female tribute band to perpetuate the King's music and in 2010, the Pelvis Breastlies are born.
Recorded at Real 2 Reel Studios in Atlanta, Georgia we invite you to meet Shawn, Erin, Davi, Katy and Elizabeth and enjoy live musical performances from their band: The Pelvis Breastlies. Listen in for a full hour of music and interviews. Viva Las Pelvis Breastlies on The Paul Leslie Hour!
© Photography Catherine Sebastian/ CSP Images
"The Paul Leslie Hour" proudly presents an exclusive interview with the legendary John B. Sebastian of Lovin' Spoonful fame. His songs are loved all over the world - ("Do You Believe In Magic?" "You Didn't Have To Be So Nice" "Daydream.")
You'll hear the songs that changed a generation and an exclusive interview recorded backstage at the Roswell Cultural Arts Center.
Troy Allan is a singer/songwriter and musician from Vidor, Texas. He plays rhythm and some lead and does solo shows singing everything from originals to country to island music and classic rock. Troy was influenced as a kid by Willie and Waylon, and George Strait all the way to Van Halen...with a side of James Taylor.
Troy has released his first CD entitled ONE MAN ONE GUITAR, as well as his first full studio "Just South of Corpus" cd. That CD was the 2008 Texas Music Awards Top 5 Finalist for Male Vocalist, and Song of the Year for the title track. Troy has been the Bass player for a Tropical Rock band called Hannas Reef for 3 years. Troy learned he had a very rare stomach cancer--Linitis Plastica. It is the fastest growing cancer known to man and also the most deadly. Troy stumbled across this disease early and made a full recovery. Due to the silent growth and virtually no symptoms from this cancer, Troy has taken it upon himself to alert the masses. He has learned since his Stomach removal surgery in January 2010 that he is now the longest living person with Linitis Plastica. After learning this, Troy launched the "TROY ALLAN CANCER FREE 100 HOUSE CONCERT TOUR."
One of those house concert tour dates was in Georgia. He stayed at the home of Monte Tolar and we had the opportunity to catch up with Troy Allan and even have him perform a mini-concert for the benefit of all those who would like to listen in.
Rick Coleman, author of Blue Monday: Fats Domino and the Lost Dawn of Rock 'n Roll returns to continue the discussion on the one and only Fats Domino!
This episode is a tribute to a man who was once a guest on this program. He was one of the first inductees into the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame and is also a member of the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame. Along with Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis and Chuck Berry he is one of the founding fathers of Rock 'n Roll. He is the legendary Fats Domino.
Who is Rick Coleman? Rick Coleman is the foremost authority on Fats Domino and the author of the critically acclaimed book "BLUE MONDAY: Fats Domino and the Lost Dawn of Rock 'n Roll." He also contributed articles for Rolling Stone, Billboard and Offbeat magaziine. His book BLUE MONDAY is the first ever biography of Fats Domino. Fats Domino is a somewhat reclusive rock 'n roll star--interviews are rare, but Rick Coleman's friendship with Fats allowed him the opportunity to interview Fats Domino on several occasions. The interview we present here and the music from Fats Domino may inspire you to Walk to New Orleans, find your Thrill on Blueberry Hill, or to be a Wheel Someday, Walk Someone Home or maybe just Let the Big Beat Keep You Rockin' In Your Seat...
Who is Clarence Henry? He's most known to the world as "Frogman" Henry who came into the world of music with his trademark croak in his debut song "Ain't Got No Home." Other hits including "You Always Hurt the One You Love" and "(I Don't Know Why) But I Do," both from 1961. The latter appeared in the 1994 major motion picture "Forrest Gump," sparking a revival to Frogman's career which has endured to this day.
In 1964, Clarence "Frogman" Henry opened 18 concerts for the Beatles in the United States and Canada, but his approximate two decades of performances on world-famous Bourbon Street in New Orleans, Louisiana have been seen by multitudes of tourists and locals alike. His recordings and performances have won him fans of all ages and backgrounds. Many famous musicians have cited Frogman as an influence including Paul McCartney, Paul Shaffer, Elton John, Jimmy Buffett, Bono of U2 and Mark Sandman of Morphine among many others.
Clarence "Frogman" Henry has been recognized by the Rockabilly Music Hall of Fame and in April 2007, "Frogman" was inducted into the prestigious Louisiana Music Hall of Fame. We invite you to listen to Frogman's story--in his own words, recorded in his home in New Orleans. We also invite you to listen to some of the best music we've ever heard!
Who is Harry Connick, Sr.? It depends on who you ask! In the state of Louisiana, Connick was the district attorney of the Parish of Orleans from 1973 to 2003.
Harry Connick, Sr. is also a singer of many of those great classic songs the world seldom has the good fortune to hear these days. Like Harry Connick, Jr. his illustrious and talented son, Senior is also a crooner. Along with an exclusive interview recorded in his home, we will be featuring a variety of great songs including selections from Connick's two albums "New Orleans...My Home Town" and "All of Me." Tune in and hear some of the greatest songs ever written, sung by a man who can sing 'em!