Q&A With Tommy Keene

One of MAGNET’s favorite former guest editors and guitar-pop singer/songwriting legends, Tommy Keene has returned with Behind The Parade (Second Motion), his ninth LP. Some (including Keene) are saying it’s his best since 1989’s Based On Happy Times; while that notion notably shortchanges 1996’s Ten Years After and 2006’s Crashing The Ether, Behind The Parade is inarguably as insistently and consistently entertaining as anything the man has done in his roughly 30-year career. Keene is supporting Behind The Parade with a short September jaunt featuring a mostly new group: Drummer Rob Brill (Berlin) and guitarist R. Walt Vincent, co-producer and mixer of Keene’s last two LPs, will be joining him along with longtime bassist Brad Quinn. (Brill, who played on Behind The Parade, has kept time in Keene’s band before but not since the Songs From The Film tour in 1986.) We spoke to Keene from his house in Los Angeles about his songwriting approach, tunes he won’t perform live and the late Clarence Clemons. (Fun fact: Keene is a diehard Bruce Springsteen fan, having seen close to 60 Boss shows.)

“Deep Six Saturday” (download):

“Running For Your Life” (download):

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Q&A With Tift Merritt

Tift Merritt is about as approachable as they come. An email inquiry to her press rep prompts an almost immediate response from the artist herself. “I’m happy to catch you up on what we’ve been up to lately and the like … just let me know if phone or email is better for you.” Merritt’s only stipulation: that any interview happen after 11 a.m., so she can get in her daily practice session on a piano she’s been using at a club not far from her Manhattan apartment. You could argue that, with a voice like hers, Merritt should be able to afford her dream piano by now. But while she may not be a household name (yet), she’s on a trajectory not unlike a few of her singer/songwriter luminaries (Emmylou Harris, Lucinda Williams), stockpiling critical plaudits and fan adoration for the four studio albums she’s released since 2002. Her most recent, See You On The Moon (Fantasy), is the scaled-back, introverted antithesis of what may be her only bid for a wider audience, 2004’s polished roots-rock zinger Tambourine. That’s the one that earned her a Grammy nod for best country album. (Guess no one bothered to tell the academy it wasn’t country.) MAGNET caught up with Merritt as she was gearing up for a series of live dates opening for the Jayhawks.

“Engine To Turn” (download):

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Q&A With Tedeschi Trucks Band

Since the mid-’90s, Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks have both had successful music careers, she as an acclaimed singer/songwriter and he as an electrifying guitar player with his group and the Allman Brothers Band, among others. The two met on tour in 1999, married a couple of years later and had two children, but their hectic solo schedules often kept them apart. To rectify the situation, they formed the Tedeschi Trucks Band, an 11-member ensemble that recently released debut album Revelator (Sony Masterworks), which was recorded at the duo’s home studio. Knowing how much they like to do things together, we asked Tedeschi and Trucks to guest edit magnetmagazine.com all week. We recently caught up with the two of them via email.

“Bound For Glory” (download):

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Q&A With Of Montreal

of Montreal’s music is hard to define, given it changes more often than frontman Kevin Barnes’ sequined and feathered outfits during a live show. One album might be heavy on the drum machine and synthesizer, while another showcases Barnes’ best high-pitched Prince wail with more traditional strings and percussion. The Atlanta band boasts a prodigious body of work; in a decade and a half, Barnes and Co. have churned out 10 albums, eight collections and 29 singles and EPs, including their most recent effort, thecontrollersphere (Polyvinyl). That’s not even counting their various side projects and demanding tour schedule. MAGNET recently caught up with Barnes via email, and he provided some insight into how he finds time to relax (he doesn’t) and discussed his band’s constantly evolving sound, his desire to collaborate with Sufjan Stevens and Erykah Badu, his honest opinion of commercial success and the key to artistic longevity. Barnes and of Montreal’s two art directors—wife Nina Barnes (a.k.a. geminitactics) and brother David Barnes—will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week.

“L’age D’or” (download):

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Q&A With Her Space Holiday

This week’s release of Her Space Holiday‘s 10-track, self-titled album marks the end of the one-man musical project that Marc Bianchi started back in 1996. Fittingly, HSH’s final album is also the first on the Austin-based Bianchi’s No More Good Ideas label. While he has some live dates set to support the LP, the genre-defying musician mostly plans for the album to be the closing statement from HSH, who over the past decade and a half has also remixed tracks by the likes of R.E.M., Bright Eyes, Elastica and the Faint. Bianchi can now add MAGNET guest editor to his already-impressive resume, as that’s what he’ll be doing all week. We recently caught up with him via email.

“Ghost In The Garden” (download):

“The Ballad Of Jan And Bess” (download):

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