Category Archives: Artist Interviews

Interviews with KC Cafe Radio Performing Artists

James Woolwine Brings Fresh Energy to the World of Instrumental Music

James WoolwineMulti-instrumentalist James Woolwine has been blessed with a rather heterogeneous musical life up to this point.  From Classical to Jazz, Rock and even Heavy Metal interests, his background in music certainly offers the potential for great things to come.

James began studying piano at the age of 7. He immersed himself in Classical music, with dreams of composing symphonies and concertos. (James used to “air-conduct” Beethoven’s 9th symphony). By the end of high school he was winning scholarships and competitions, seemingly on track to a conservatory education. However, his adolescent urges to “rock out” overwhelmed his Classical inclinations. At the age of 16 James added guitar lessons to his piano studies. Dreams of composing symphonies were replaced by dreams to form the next great Heavy Metal band. He carried this ambition to Berklee College of Music, as a guitar major.

James threw himself into his college studies; adding Jazz harmony and contemporary songwriting to his Classical skills. Ultimately, his Heavy Metal aspirations were not achieved; but he discovered a new fascination in acoustic fingerstyle guitar. James graduated from Berklee cum laude with degrees in Performance and Music Business.

After college, James played in several bands; but found that working in groups can be frustrating. He sought refuge in his roots, composing and performing more frequently as a soloist. In 2009 he began a songwriting collaboration with a talented singer. Together they completed a large catalog of original material, but after three years the partnership fizzled out. Unwilling to give up on their songs, James began singing them himself; while continuing to compose new solo music. However, after three more years experimenting as a singer/songwriter, he ultimately realized his true musical voice is not sung; but played. With renewed focus he committed himself to his (by now) large catalog of solo compositions.

James’s diverse musical upbringing is reflected in his debut album, Solo Piano Destruction.  Featuring a rather bold and daring album cover, Solo Piano Destruction offers up a couple of  Katy Perry cover songs as well as 8 of his original compositions.  It has been a Menu Favorite on KC Cafe Radio since November, 2015.

Recently KC Cafe Radio Music Director Kathy Forste talked with James via Skype.  He describes his diverse music background, and the influences that shape the music that featured on his album.  They also touch on the business of making music, including working as a session musician, performing live and recording.

Listen to the interview here:

Download the interview here: Interview: James Woolwine, 1/5/2016

Music by James Woolwine on KC Cafe Radio

Michael Henchman: On a Road Less Traveled

Michael Henchman

photo credit: Mirifoto.com

Singer/songrwriter and KC Cafe Radio Performing Artist Michael Henchman has spent a lot of time on the road.  Not on a touring circuit.  Rather, Henchman grew up traveling the world in his youth, the son of a career Army officer.  Music was also a significant part of that youth.  His dad an opera lover and his mom an avid pianist, there was always something to keep his melodic “juices” flowing, and by his teens, Michael would find himself writing music.

Later in life, Michael would leave college for the rugged landscape of Alaska, working as a laborer for the TransAlaska pipeline.  There, under the unending daylight of summertime and the relentless harshness of winter, he would discover the inspiration for many of the songs he writes today, and would eventually choose his music as his career.  He has played in various folk, rock and jazz bands, has composed music for television, and has produced his own albums.

Recently, KC Cafe Radio Music Director Kathy Forste talked with Michael via Skype.  They discuss his life growing up traveling the world, and exactly what kind of impact life in Alaska can have on one’s music.  They also talk about the musical landscape, and how dramatically different it can be away from the “lower 48.”  Michael shares the stories behind the inspiration for his album, 40 Miles From Midnight, and gives us a sneak peek into some new projects he is working on.

Listen to the interview here:

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Who’s Zat? Why, It’s John Roy Zat!

John Roy ZattFor San Francisco-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist John Roy Zat, the play on words to the question of “who’s zat?” carries significant meaning.  It also happens to be the title of his latest album, which, as Zat pointed out recently, is an exploration through his rich history in music.

Zat grew up listening to, and becoming influenced by the sounds of the British Invasion – BeatlesStones, Donovan, Clapton, as well as the folk music of the likes of Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, Simon & Garfunkel, The Byrds, Neil Young and others.  He found himself playing guitar in high school, and in college, impressed by the sound of American old time music, began taking up the fiddle.

After college, Zat took up a full-time life as a musician, playing with the likes of Asleep At The Wheel, Tanya Tucker, Kate Wolf, Nina Gerber, Queen Ida and Bill Kirchen, among others.  Taking a break from music to raise a family, and establish a financial career for himself, he would later return to music on a full-time basis.

John Roy Zat has released three albums, Solo, Collaborations, and his most recent album, Who’s Zat earlier this year.  Recently, KC Cafe Radio Music Director Kathy Forste talked with Zat about his life and career.  He describes how music has shaped and molded his life and his own musical creation today.

Listen to the interview here:

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Hilary Scott on a Freight Train Toward Success

Hilary ScottHilary Scott (“with one L”) has been on the express track to a successful music career for some time now.  And with the arrival of her latest album, Freight Train Love, she is well underway on this exciting journey.  Since it’s release, Freight Train Love has been receiving rave reviews from around the world, and her song, Flowers On Mars has been awarded “Americana/Folk Album of the Year” from the Rural Roots Music Commission of the National Traditional Country Music Association.

Recently, KC Cafe Radio Music Director Kathy Forste talked with Hilary via Skype.  They talk about growing up with music and its influence on her life, and how her talent was discovered and nurtured.  They talk about the life of a musician, from touring, to recording, and Hilary shares her thoughts on how Artists are paid for the music they record.  Hilary also shares insight into why it’s important her name is spelled “with one L.”

Listen to the interview here:

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Dave Panico Seeks Something Different In His Music

Dave PanicoUnlike some artists who limit themselves to a singular style and set of influences, Dave Panico cites a fascinating array of jazz legends and contemporary greats as having an impact on his own exciting mix of compelling melodies, strong rhythms and transcendent improvisations.  “I am always looking to do something different with my music. Smooth Jazz can become redundant in its sound, so I like to put a different spin on the music.”

Much of the influence in Dave’s music stems from a time when he would listen to his parents 1940s-era big band recordings.  He absorbed the likes of Benny Goodman, Louis Armstrong, Pete Fountain, and later in life Spyro Gyra, Tower of Power,  and Earth Wind and Fire.

Dave’s sound is further influenced by the Christian values that resonate throughout his music.  From inspiration to performance, Dave never hesitates giving credit where credit is due.

Today, all those influences are masterfully blended to form the unique Smooth Jazz sound that can only be called Dave’s.  He has produced three albums, the most recent of which is titled Tasty Treat, released earlier this year.  He received the Instrumental Artist of the Year Award both at the 2015  King Cat Music Awards and the 2007 Kansas City Christian Music Awards, along with receiving a nomination for the acclaimed Instrumental Artist of the Year Award in 2008 from IndieHeaven-Momentum Awards, Nashville, Tennessee.

Recently KC Cafe Radio Music Director Kathy Forste spoke with Dave via Skype.  They talked about those old big band recordings, growing up with music in his life,,  as well as his early stints in music performance, playing in rock, heavy metal and even reggae bands.  Dave also touches on the Christian message that is woven into his music, as well as the “smooth jazz sound.”

Listen to the interview here:

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Listen to and buy Tasty Treat here:

Dave Panico: Tasty Treat