The third season of Live From Robot Dog Studio with Tim Lewis began on December 28 of 2018. We thought about putting Troy Millette on Volume 2, but the session did not play out on my local music radio show on WBKM.ORG
until January 3rd, so being on volume 3 seemed reasonable. It was a pleasure having Troy come in. He's a total pro and easy to talk to. His stories bring smiles and his music is gorgeous. It was a great beginning.
I had seen Happy Spangler play around a lot recently and was desperate to get some of their music. They played a show in late January and knocked it out of the park. I expected them to be a trio but they brought Aya Inoue and Samara Lark Brown along to add some backing vocals. Between that and Barbara's hawk screams, it was a great show. I almost chose Hawks to be on this album, but Golden Cadillac sounded like an old classic the first time I heard it and is too epic to not be here.
I remember one day Ryan Cohen said he had been working with a woman named Jesse Taylor who might be interested in doing a show. I went out and saw her play a few times in local clubs and quickly became enamored. She came in and played a couple of my favorite songs and added the super-fun Road Trip to the mix.
Last year Arty LaVigne and Mark Christensen had played a show with Bardela that was pretty cool. This year they came in as Radio Underground and played more rocking darker songs. The conversation was fun, since Arty's a pro, and their music grabbed me. I'm glad they chose Gone, Gone, Gone for this album since it would have been very hard if I had to choose.
An interesting opportunity arose when Jeremy Gilchrist spent a little time in the Burlington area in 2019. He played around a lot before moving south a year ago or so, and was the second performer in the first year of the series. I was only having solo artists do three songs at that point and now do at least four. It was fun to be able to bring him back in and hear some new songs such as Indigenous Souls. In the audio clip he dedicates it to his fiancée but they've gotten married since then.
I remember seeing Smokestack Lighting once in the middle of a couple of bands I knew and was blown away. Their heavy sound just soothes my soul. Also, Raf Soto is very dedicated to our local music scene. He has helped many bands, plays in many bands and makes shows happen all the time. It was a pleasure to have him and his band play for us.
I remember seeing the name Jessica Rabbit Syndrome in show listings a few times before finally making it out and seeing them play. I was hooked immediately. Their heavy, sludgy sound is great but I think it's Ali's MEL9 that adds a bit of a keyboard sound that distinguishes them. I do this series so I can learn about things like this.
I was pleasantly surprised when Cricket Blue said they would do a Robot Dog session. I've been enamored with their music for a while and felt honored. They played a few songs from their new album and it played on my radio show the day before their album release show. I'm glad we could time it so well.
One day Cole from Green Chapel reached out about doing one of these. I had seen them a few times and loved their heavy flowing vibe. I was happy to bring them in and loved everything about their music. They had me pick the song and it was a hard choice.
The next show brought one of the two controversies of the year. I brought in a band of local Veterans, but their band name evoked an uncomfortable reaction, as it could be seen to have a nefarious reference. We shortened the name to Late Night but it didn't really matter. Their music was frantic and frenetic and lush an gorgeous and downright crazy at times. They were stunning. Worries had been cast aside by the end of the show.
Up next was the mighty Steph Pappas Experience. It took a bit of time to set up and when I walked in the door I was not sure what format the band would be. I was surprised to see them set as an acoustic trio but I was completely in a roll with it mindset. At one point in the show Steph let the listeners in radio land know that they were acoustic which was important, since they sounded more intense than most electric bands. The whole show was a complete joy.
I had seen Jason Baker play a few times and loved his clear and wry vision of our reality. I was excited to have him come in and loved his stories. I felt like I learned a lot about music just by listening to him talk. Before the show he said he had learned a classic metal song that was really an old blues song. I asked him to play it at the end and Ace Of Spades was fun, if a little rough. His choice of The Last Coral Left Alive for this album was perfect.
I ran into Clark from Blowtorch at Waking Windows in May and we set up a time for them to come in. Their songs were short and they often use effects between songs so I had the idea of having them play double songs with the interview in between. I think it worked well for them so you get to hear two of their songs on this album.
I did an interview with Big Heavy World one day some time ago and hung out for their live music Rocket Shop. I heard Bethany Conner play for the first time that night and put in an effort to go see her again and again. We finally set up a date and she and her dad Greg played a fun show. She's very bright and engaging and so easy to talk to. She let me choose the song, and it was tough, but Clearer works well on many levels.
I had been excited to get the next band in for a long time and enjoyed seeing them play a couple of sets the night before. Unfortunately both Becky and Dianne from the Dirty Blondes blew out their voices and didn't have much left for the show. We almost just cancelled but since everyone was there, we did it anyway. The vocals are a bit rough but the band rocked nicely. We'll have to have them in again next year, before they play out at a show.
One day a music and dance instructor from UVM named Clare Byrne reached out to ask about playing her music. I played a few of her songs on my radio show and enjoyed them. Not long after releasing her new album, her guitar player Ted Looby reached out to see about doing a session. Her band was lovely at the album release show a couple of months earlier so I said yes immediately. She brought in a smaller version of the band but they sill sounded like a mini orchestra. She chose Ocean Arrives for this album and I hope you like the symphonic sound.
I had been chatting with Sad Turtle off and on for a while to come play a session. We finally lined up a time and they came in and nailed it. They have a lovely smooth sound but can get very powerful when they play live and this session captured it. The interview was fun, especially when I asked how you title an instrumental song.
I ran into Matt Hastings at the Art Hop at his woodworking shop. We talked about Ver Sacrum coming in to play and soon set up a time. He played a multi-part instrumental that was stunning to watch and hear. It's amazing how captivating one person can be when they really let loose. We had a fun conversation and he played a gorgeous shorter song with vocals at the end. I almost went with that but thought the long epic piece would be a perfect end to this album.
I had seen The Red Newts a few times but they often play at times and places I can't make, so I had to bring them in to hear them live. They played a couple of classics and a new song that was a stunner. They chose Ask Yourself as the song for this album and I couldn't be happier.
Wolfhand play gloriously heavy music and had held my attention for some time. I was happy they wanted to do a session and the timing could not have been better. We recorded the show on a Sunday and it played on my radio show the next Thursday, which was Halloween. With songs like The Devil Arrives and Canyon Wizard, it was perfect.
One day Remi from Community Garden reached out about doing a show. I had seen them a couple of times and said yes. The show came together quickly and was such a delight. All of their songs have a lovely message and the music just makes me feel happy. I'm sure I was smiling for every moment.
We had a few heavy bands in this year but not a punk band, so it was fun to begin December with Comrade Nixon. They launched the first song before I could begin my intro and the show was a joyous blur. With abstract lyrics about art and blistering volume, it was a great time.
Recently, two of my favorite singer songwriters began playing together and agreed to come in for a show. I wanted to really highlight each so asked if each would play three songs. Hearing Andriana Chobot and Josh Glass playing together was magical. Andrew Bedard joined in on drums and they had a huge powerful sound. I thought it only fair to include one of each of their songs on this album. Andriana chose Coffee and Josh chose Treat Me Like A Joke and it was impossible to go wrong.
Earlier this year a local super group formed and I missed their first few shows. I finally caught Matthew Mercury at GPN and was blown away. I already had their first album and loved their music but seeing them live was over the top. I caught them a couple of times during the fall and Ezra asked if they could come on my show. i said yes immediately and we set it up for a late December day. They let me choose the song and I had to go with the newer song Jeannie Harlow, though I really love all of their songs. The session was played on the last radio show I did in 2019.
Just to add to the fun, this Fall, local genius Matt Hagen designed 5 shows that happened on Thursday Nights in October at Light Club Lamp Shop. Each had a different Halloween theme. I was hoping to get him to come into the studio to play some of it for us, but he just didn't have time. Instead Robot Dog Studio went to out to the club and recorded two of the five shows live. I've included a clip from the Angel Bones and the Filthy Fist show, which featured segments from several horror movies acted out on stage. Annie Parmalee creepily cited the name of a movie and two characters. Chris Friday and Kris Brown became the characters and amused the crowd. Matt Hagen played ambient music that ranged from a whisper to a scream while flanked by the intense cello playing of Lauren Costello and the magical music saw of Johnnie Day Durand. Dracula is included to give you a sense of what the night sounded like.
That was the third show in the series. We also recorded the fist night which was Matt playing and singing murder ballads accompanied by Brett Lanier on pedal steel. The Woman In Black will give you a sense of that show.
It was another great year at Robot Dog studio. We have already begun planning shows for 2020.