Van Wilks is my friend, a native Texan from Galveston and currently lives in Austin.
Since his first release, Van Wilks has built an illustrious career that includes six solo albums, one live album, and multiple globe-spanning tours with acts such as ZZ Top, Heart, Van Halen, Journey, Aerosmith, and countless other. His career has led him on a scorched earth path from Texas to Moscow, the Virgin Islands to India, and everywhere in between. Along with that, Van Wilks was featured on ZZ Top’s Live at Montreux Jazz Festival DVD.
Throughout the years, Wilks has acquired an impressive trophy collection, winning multiple Austin Music Awards, being voted best electric and acoustic guitarist in the Austin Chronicle Readers Poll, and being inducted into the Texas Music Hall of Fame. In addition to that, Wilks guitar prowess has been featured on albums such as the Geezinslaw Brothers’ The Eclectic Horseman (w/ Willie Nelson), The Texas Christmas Collection (Duet w/ Eric Johnson), Texas Guitarslingers Volume I, Double Trouble’s Been A Long Time, and KLBJ-FM’s Local Licks.
Van Wilks credentials highlight his successful and storied past. 21st Century Blues lets us know that Van Wilks will continue to be a trendsetter that is here to stay.
In this interview you can hear Van play his favorite Beatles song, hear about his friend Billy Gibbons and their special relationship, hear Van’s favorite Beatles song played by another artist and hear a funny Willie Nelson story. To listen to Brandon’s interview with Van Wilks click here:
Dan Bullock has worked in banking and financial management for over 30 years. He is also a community activist and founder of The Mosey Project. He is the former president of Leadership Austin, Ronald McDonald House, Seton Cove, Texas Lyceum, Umlauf Sculpture Garden, Wild Basin Wilderness, and Zachary Scott Theater among many other community leadership roles. So what would he have to do with The Beatles?
Following their Ed Sullivan Show debut, the Beatles first live U.S. performance was in the Washington Coliseum in February, 1964. They had immediately signed with Capitol Records, who organized possibly the first ever national closed-circuit theater presentation to showcase the Beatles and emerging Capitol stars Lesley Gore and The Beach Boys. Saturday, March 14, 1964.( see below)
The major theaters in the largest cities were booked, and top bands in those areas were brought in to warm up the local crowds before the main event. Dan’s band, The Imperials, were a big deal at CU-Boulder at the time, and were tapped for the Denver audience. They emerged on a rising orchestra stage in their classic Paramount Theatre, to a screaming group of kids and their puzzled, protective parents who were among the first to experience Beatlemania.
Gary Nicholson is a number one hit songwriter, two- time Grammy- winning producer, recording artist, world traveling performer, and session guitarist. There are over 500 recordings of his songs, from country, blues to rock and roll. Some artists who have recorded his songs include my Mom’s favorite, Bonnie Raitt, my Uncle’s favorite, Willie Nelson, Robert Plant, Etta James, Keb Moe, Stevie Nicks and my favorite, Ringo Starr.
In my interview Gary talks about how the Beatles music has influenced his own music. He talks about the songs he wrote for Ringo, writing with Ringo and a funny Ringo story. He also talks about his favorite Beatles songs and a funny Beatles story. Gary then talks about all the amazing projects he has in the works. This is an interview not to miss. Very special.
INTERVIEW WITH GARY NICHOLSON
Gary Nicholson singing “Give more Love” which he discusses in his intervie
Gary talks about his new projects which includes a song he wrote with Willie Nelson’s “He wont ever be gone”
One of Gary’s latest projects with Michael McDonald “Just Strong Enough”
I am honored to interview Bill Paige who is a famous music editor, writer and musician who lives in my hometown of Dripping Springs. He has interviewed rock legends such as Roger Daltrey (the Who), Electric Light Orchestra and Queen. He has performed many concerts including an anniversary celebration of John Lennon among others. But I am lucky to know Bill Paige as my friend. He teaches me how to play guitar and sing. He also started exceptional Saturdays helping all my friends get together to play music at Hudson’s on Mercer in Dripping Springs. For all you Beatles fans we would love for you to join us at 10 AM at Hudson’s on Mercer in Dripping Springs for exceptional Saturdays. I never miss a Saturday and would love for you to join us.
Here is my interview with Bill Paige
Links related to this interview
Exceptional Saturdays – A weekly music experience developed by Bill Paige held at Hudson’s on Mercer. The group has musicians and kids and young adults with disabilities playing, singing and enjoying music.
I have had the pleasure of knowing Mike since I was little. I have been in his studio, The Zone, many times over the years. Mike played me some out-takes of a John Lennon recording in the studio. We have talked about our love of the Beatles. The Zone is one of the top recording studios in Texas. Mike is also a musician, playing bass and guitar with many artists over the years. He has worked with Peter Rowan, Jerry Jeff Walker, Taj Mahal and Love Helm. He is currently playing with Rhythmic Statues.
My next guest was my Beatles tour guide in Liverpool England. She is a lively person with a wealth of knowledge about the Beatles. She has a true passion for all things Beatles and you all know I am the Beatles number one fan, but she truly may be the closest runner-up. I learned so much from her when I was in Liverpool. Please welcome Jackie Spencer from Liverpool England. If you listen to the SiriusXM Beatles Radio Show you might catch Jackie giving a little Beatles history information.
Open the gates to Strawberry Fields Liverpool – You can support the restoration of Strawberry fields. Order a tee-shirt or other items all benefiting the restoration. Strawberry Fields will be the training hub which will provide the opportunities to change the lives of marginalised young people – those who may need extra support to develop the skills and confidence to secure work, live independently and play an active part in society. And the gardens will provide a much-needed space to escape and explore, away from our busy everyday lives.
I’d like to introduce you to Darin Murphy. He played John Lennon in the Broadway play titled “Lennon”. Darin is a talented and well-known musician and songwriter here in Austin, TX. He plays in an Austin retro cover band known as Skyrocket. He also plays with BottleRock, a spin-off band of Skyrocket that focuses on British rock. Here he plays Beatles music which is his love. I’ve had the privilege of hearing Darren play at the radio station and around Austin. I love hearing Darren play John Lennon. Each time I have heard him he makes me happy.
Below is my full interview with Darin Murphy (click below to play).
In addition to singing, songwriting and playing, Darin is also an accomplished actor.He has just completed his part in a movie titled “My Ranger”, the second feature-length film produced by X Horn Productions. It is written & directed by David N. Reyes. The dramatic comedy was shot in Austin, Texas in the Spring of 2017.
My next guest Nick Randolph is a singer, songwriter and musician who lives in Austin Texas. You may have seen Nick play with his former band Stonehoney or perhaps as a member of The South Austin Moonlighters back in 2014. These days Nick can be seen and heard playing solo sets or sitting in with numerous other musicians around Austin, including one of my favorite local bands The Egg Men. I feel lucky to be friends with Nick and to be able to see him perform in my home town.
My interview includes some great music sung by Nick himself, a crazy Paul McCartney story and his favorite Beatles songs. Always entertaining – you will love Nick like I do.
Listen to my interview with Nick Randolph
Nick Randolph with Stone Honey (his former band)
Nick Randolph singing the Beatles.
Here is a bonus question I asked Nick about his favorite Beatles cover.
Bruce is an American singer- songwriter. He is famous for his number 1 hit in 1962 with his song “HeyBaby”. It stayed number 1 for 3 weeks and he had other songs in the Billboard Top 100. Bruce toured Europe in 1962 where the Beatles were the opening band. Some people say that Bruce Channel’s music influenced the Beatles. Bruce became a famous songwriter in Nashville writing songs for artists such as John Conlee, Janie Fricke and T.J. Sheppard. “Hey Baby” has been recorded by many artists over the years including Ringo Starr. “Hey Baby” became popular again after the movie Dirty Dancing.
In my interview you will hear Bruce talking about the early years of 1962 when the Beatles were the opening band for Bruce Channel. You will also hear about the famous harmonica of Delbert McClinton teaching John Lennon and you will hear some amazing stories on Hey Baby, Bruce’s number 1 hit recorded over 200 times with various artists including Ringo Starr. Very special.
My cousin in Nashville, James Pennebaker, is a multi- instrumentalist, playing violin, guitar, mandolin and pedal steel. James has played with many bands and musicians and is currently on tour with Delbert McClinton.
James has played with many different acts such as Lee Roy Parnell, Billy Joe Shaver, Pam Tillis, and Delbert McClinton. James talks about the early years when he heard the Beatles music, his favorite Beatles song and what it is like playing with so many great musicians. Did I mention that he is my cousin (several times removed) and I am glad to have him in my family? I hope you enjoy the interview.
LISTEN TO JAMES’S FULL INTERVIEW HERE (click link)
Here are some highlights of James playing with some great acts.
Lee Roy Parnell – Fresh Coat of Paint (James on guitar)
Delbert McClinton on the Road to Austin – Giving It Up For Your Love
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