May 20 2016

StrongWriter On the Radio: (Episode 74) “Toni Tennille – A Memoir of Sunshine and Shadow” [part 1 of 2]

Whenever I get the opportunity to interview a famous songwriter, I feel the need to step up my game and ask questions that my listeners are dying to know.  This, of course, is rarely the case on my radio show, where I had a wonderful conversation with the lovely Toni Tennille.  She, along with the Captain, contributed several definitive pop songs of the 1970’s, and in our conversation, Toni happily shares some stories behind the tunes.  I tried to discuss the very compelling book (Toni Tennille: A Memoir) that she wrote with her talented niece, Caroline Tennille St. Clair. This was a challenge, because the publisher never sent the book to me as assured, but Toni understood this and gave me two full episodes of warm and fun conversation. I learned a lot about her role as a prolific songwriter and classically trained pianist, as well as the often disheartening marriage with Daryl Dragon and their partnership as a musical act. Take a listen, and you will enjoy Toni Tennille’s southern charm and friendly personality as much a I did!   ~ Dean

Featured Guest:   Toni Tennille

Cathryn Antoinette “Toni” Tennille is best known from her ’70s and ’80s chart-topping hits with the pop duo Captain & Tennille.  After thirty-nine years together, Toni and husband Daryl Dragon separated in 2013 and finalized their divorce in July of 2014.  Suddenly single, Toni has found peace in her new life surrounded by family, her dogs and cats, and the music she still loves to play on her grand piano.  A classically trained pianist and a prolific song writer, Toni has also released numerous solo albums celebrating the romantic music of big band and American standards.  She has just completed a memoir of her life and career which will be released in April 2016.

Toni Tennille 008 singing loud

Visit Toni Tennille’s website:
www.ToniTennille.net

A very special THANK YOU to Toni Tennille for the use of her images and music! © 2016 Toni Tennille, all rights reserved

Captain & Tennille - ''You Never Done It Like That''

February 6 2016

StrongWriter On the Radio: (Episode 68) “Milt Larsen – Good Collaborators Are Like Siamese Twins”

Today’s episode is the conclusion of my conversation with the incredible Milt Larsen!  If you missed part one, you can go back and listen here! Milt shared insight from all facets of his life’s work, including songwriting. We discussed his collaboration with Richard Sherman, specifically on Smash Flops (see below) and how songwriter’s can deal with stalls or blocks in their creativity. But the whole conversation is just a relaxing chit-chat with one of Los Angeles’ living legends of entertainment and magic! Hope you enjoy!!
~  Dean

Featured Guest:   Milt Larsen

MILT LARSEN is best known for his role in the world of magic.  In September 2016, he will celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of his annual stage show It’s Magic!  In 1963, he founded the world famous private club for magicians, the Magic Castle in Hollywood.  He is a true renaissance man in that his career encompasses writing, producing and performing.

In the songwriting field, the team of Sherman and Larsen have a cult comedy following for their outrageous songs (for their time) Smash Flops and Banned Barbershop Ballads.  He has written many stage revues and musicals.  A new musical, Pazzazz – Music and Lyrics by Richard M. Sherman and Milt Larsen, enjoyed a full-scale premiere production at the University of Texas, and would have its world premiere at Santa Barbara’s Lobero Theater in 2008.

As a performer, he has been seen yanking tablecloths in films and commercials.  He has been the opening act for The Amazing Johnathan in Las Vegas.  He has been a lecturer at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. and magic conventions around the world.

He created and hosts a weekly radio feature HEAR THEM AGAIN – For the First Time, featuring recordings from the first half of the 20th century. The show is now heard on CRN digital radio Saturdays and Sundays www.crntalk.com

Get the reissued edition of SMASH FLOPS
featuring songs by Sherman & Larsen.

Available at iTunes!

Insert

 

Writing Career of Milt Larsen (Top 12 Facts)

Visit Milt Larsen’s website for more info:
www.MiltLarsen.com

Special thanks to Milt Larsen for the use of his images and music.
© 2015 Milt Larsen – All Rights Reserved

December 18 2015

StrongWriter On the Radio: (Episode 63) “Cindy Alexander – An American Girl’s Sweet Musical Journey”

“Cindy Alexander – An American Girl’s Sweet Musical Journey”
including the songs “Burdens and Bones (How Bad Do You Want It?)” and “American Girl”

Today is my final interview show of the year, and what a way to wrap up 2015!  All month long, it has been De-CIN-ber, in honor of my latest featured guest Cindy Alexander!  In this conclusion, we talk more about her songs and life, but Cindy also shared stories of her voyage through the music business and her success so far.  Parts of her musical journey are bittersweet, as she expresses in a song from her latest EP An American Girl.  The track is called “Burdens and Bones (How Bad Do You Want It?)”  It allowed Cindy to tell a story publicly about how she was led to a disappointing situation, one of which she was narrowly taken advantage by an entertainment mogul.  I appreciate that Cindy shared that story on the program.  The personal responsibility and grace that Cindy shows as she pushes on through her challenges is something that inspires me, and of course, I’m sharing it with you.  I really hope you enjoy my three part series featuring the wonderful singer/songwriter Cindy Alexander.  Here are the links to hear PART ONE and PART TWO, in case you missed them.  Blessings and best wishes!  ~Dean

Featured Guest:   Cindy Alexander

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Cindy was trained at the acclaimed USC School of Drama but realized quickly that there was enough “drama” in real life and the best part she could play… was herself. So, she wrote what is now 7 cd’s (and added to numerous compilations and soundtracks) worth of her life, which she has performed all across the United States, Japan, Germany, Ireland, and islands as far as Barbados and Guantanamo Bay. Music has always been the key to her adventure, and she soaks up the stories of those she meets, the cultures, the geography, the spirit and the down and dirty details of the road she travels. As a seasoned writer and performer, she has tackled numerous subjects – not only the classic singer/songwriter confessional fare of dysfunctional relationships, marriage, and motherhood, but also her personal discovery and recovery from breast cancer, the perils of the entertainment business, classic literature, sexuality, spirituality, history and the human condition. There is no topic which is out of bounds – she tells The Truth.

Cindy Alexander CONNECTS, and her relationship with her fans has funded her recording projects and fueled her continued success as a touring indie musician.

Cindy’s new EP An American Girl is available NOW at

blue elan logo

Cindy Alexander 000 American Girl cover

CINDY ALEXANDER - Play (Official Lyric Video)

Visit Cindy Alexander’s website:
www.cindyalexander.com

Special thanks to Cindy Alexander for the use of her images and music.
© 2015 Cindy Alexander – All Rights Reserved

December 11 2015

StrongWriter On the Radio: (Episode 62) “Cindy Alexander – Writing Through the Curves”

“Cindy Alexander – Writing Through the Curves”
including the songs “See You In L.A.” “Anesthesia” “Heels Over Head” & “Old Dreams”

Did you miss the premiere episode of StrongWriter On the Radio featuring my special guest Cindy Alexander?  Part One can be heard by clicking here, and Part Two has lots of talk about Cindy’s music and songwriting.  I had a lot of fun hearing behind the scenes tales of making her music videos, and we started to discuss her newest project, An American Girl.  I was not expecting Cindy to turn the tables on me, but she asked me to explain my own cancer experience on my show.  After all, she was gracious enough to share her double mastectomy story with me, and for that, I appreciate her.  But the music goes on, and Cindy is writing strong and beautifully.  Please enjoy this episode, and be sure to listen to the conclusion next week!  ~Dean

Featured Guest:   Cindy Alexander

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Cindy was trained at the acclaimed USC School of Drama but realized quickly that there was enough “drama” in real life and the best part she could play… was herself. So, she wrote what is now 7 cd’s (and added to numerous compilations and soundtracks) worth of her life, which she has performed all across the United States, Japan, Germany, Ireland, and islands as far as Barbados and Guantanamo Bay. Music has always been the key to her adventure, and she soaks up the stories of those she meets, the cultures, the geography, the spirit and the down and dirty details of the road she travels. As a seasoned writer and performer, she has tackled numerous subjects – not only the classic singer/songwriter confessional fare of dysfunctional relationships, marriage, and motherhood, but also her personal discovery and recovery from breast cancer, the perils of the entertainment business, classic literature, sexuality, spirituality, history and the human condition. There is no topic which is out of bounds – she tells The Truth.

Cindy Alexander CONNECTS, and her relationship with her fans has funded her recording projects and fueled her continued success as a touring indie musician.

Cindy’s new EP An American Girl is available NOW at

blue elan logo

Cindy Alexander 000 American Girl cover

CINDY ALEXANDER - Play (Official Lyric Video)

Visit Cindy Alexander’s website:
www.cindyalexander.com

Special thanks to Cindy Alexander for the use of her images and music.
© 2015 Cindy Alexander – All Rights Reserved

December 4 2015

StrongWriter On the Radio: (Episode 61) “Cindy Alexander – Gracefully Living Through the Big C”

“Cindy Alexander – Gracefully Living Through the Big C”
featuring the song “Play”

This December is all about the big C, and that stands for Cindy!  I’m talking about indie singer-songwriter Cindy Alexander, who actually isn’t big at all, as she stands measuring five-foot-two and about 100 lbs.  Her petite frame is a contrast to her powerful voice and grand songwriting, which give an open display to Cindy’s big heart.  And just in case you happened to think of the word cancer when I said the big C, that was a reference to Cindy’s breast cancer diagnosis in 2013.  It’s also about the proverbial curve she hit head-on and over the wall, and the courage to continue to live her dreams, on her own terms.  You’ll understand when you hear this very special conversation I had with this wonderful award winning singer-songwriter, wife, mother, breast cancer thriver and so much more.  Please enjoy this part one of a three part series!   ~Dean

Featured Guest:   Cindy Alexander

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Cindy was trained at the acclaimed USC School of Drama but realized quickly that there was enough “drama” in real life and the best part she could play… was herself. So, she wrote what is now 7 cd’s (and added to numerous compilations and soundtracks) worth of her life, which she has performed all across the United States, Japan, Germany, Ireland, and islands as far as Barbados and Guantanamo Bay. Music has always been the key to her adventure, and she soaks up the stories of those she meets, the cultures, the geography, the spirit and the down and dirty details of the road she travels. As a seasoned writer and performer, she has tackled numerous subjects – not only the classic singer/songwriter confessional fare of dysfunctional relationships, marriage, and motherhood, but also her personal discovery and recovery from breast cancer, the perils of the entertainment business, classic literature, sexuality, spirituality, history and the human condition. There is no topic which is out of bounds – she tells The Truth.

Cindy Alexander CONNECTS, and her relationship with her fans has funded her recording projects and fueled her continued success as a touring indie musician.

CINDY ALEXANDER - Play (Official Lyric Video)

Visit Cindy Alexander’s website:
www.cindyalexander.com

Special thanks to Cindy Alexander for the use of her images and music.
© 2015 Cindy Alexander – All Rights Reserved

November 27 2015

StrongWriter On the Radio: (Episode 60) “Brian Hutson – Brian Celebrates a Blue Christmas”

This week’s episode is a bonus recap of my previous interview with singer-songwriter Brian Hutson.  This video covers the November 12 release of “Blue Christmas,” which is Brian’s first holiday single.  If you haven’t heard our entire interview yet, I posted it on this page.  Have a Blue Christmas, everybody!   ~ Dean

Brian Celebrates a Blue Christmas

“Brian Hutson – We’ll Have a Blue Christmas With Brian”
featuring the song “Blue Christmas

Dean interviewing Brian Hutson, November 11, 2015.

Featured Guest:   Brian Hutson

New York City’s Brian Hutson is a classically-trained singer with a rich and powerful voice.  He splits his time as a 9-to-5 investment banker on Wall Street, and at night, he transforms into a smooth crooner. His broad range of vocal repertoires includes jazz, pop, easy listening, Broadway, opera, and classical music.

After graduation, Brian began working on Wall Street, balancing the demands of his job with time for his creative outlet – singing and songwriting.

While singing Michael Bublé’s Everything at his office holiday party, Brian was discovered by AP Music Group President Joe Vulpis. Vulpis immediately took Brian into the studio and recorded their first two singles, “Let It Ride” and “She’s My Woman.” Released to radio in June 2015, “Let It Ride” has remained in the top 10 of the AC Top 200 chart for over 9 weeks. Both songs and his most recent single “Blue Christmas” are available worldwide for download.

New singles, Let It Ride and She’s My Woman, now available worldwide for download on Amazon Music, Google Play, Spotify, and more.

Download Brian’s new single “BLUE CHRISTMAS!”
Available on iTunes, Amazon Music, Google Play, and Spotify!

Brian Hutson 007 iTunes banner

BRIAN HUTSON - Blue Christmas (Lyric Video)

Visit Brian Hutson’s website:
www.BrianHutsonMusic.com

Special thanks to Brian Hutson for the use of his images and music.
© 2015 Brian Hutson

November 21 2015

StrongWriter On the Radio: (Episode 59) “Brian Hutson – We’ll Have a Blue Christmas With Brian”

“Brian Hutson – We’ll Have a Blue Christmas With Brian”
featuring the song “Blue Christmas

New York based singer songwriter Brian Hutson returned to the program this November, and he brought a festive offering.  Following up on the huge success of his debut top ten single “Let It Ride,” Brian has just released his first holiday tune, “Blue Christmas!”  If you haven’t heard the previous episode in which I featured Brian, I invite you to have a listen by clicking here.  Brian has a unique crooning style in his version of the 1957 Elvis classic, and we talked about his experience recording it.  November is too early (some say) to be playing Christmas music, but you’ll certainly get into the spirit with Brian.  Have an early Blue Christmas!!   ~ Dean

Featured Guest:   Brian Hutson

New York City’s Brian Hutson is a classically-trained singer with a rich and powerful voice.  He splits his time as a 9-to-5 investment banker on Wall Street, and at night, he transforms into a smooth crooner. His broad range of vocal repertoires includes jazz, pop, easy listening, Broadway, opera, and classical music.

After graduation, Brian began working on Wall Street, balancing the demands of his job with time for his creative outlet – singing and songwriting.

While singing Michael Bublé’s Everything at his office holiday party, Brian was discovered by AP Music Group President Joe Vulpis. Vulpis immediately took Brian into the studio and recorded their first two singles, “Let It Ride” and “She’s My Woman.” Released to radio in June 2015, “Let It Ride” has remained in the top 10 of the AC Top 200 chart for over 9 weeks. Both songs and his most recent single “Blue Christmas” are available worldwide for download.

New singles, Let It Ride and She’s My Woman, now available worldwide for download on Amazon Music, Google Play, Spotify, and more.

Download Brian’s new single “BLUE CHRISTMAS!”
Available on iTunes, Amazon Music, Google Play, and Spotify!

Brian Hutson 007 iTunes banner

BRIAN HUTSON - Blue Christmas (Lyric Video)

Visit Brian Hutson’s website:
www.BrianHutsonMusic.com

Special thanks to Brian Hutson for the use of his images and music.
© 2015 Brian Hutson

October 30 2015

StrongWriter On the Radio: (Episode 56) “Laura Pursell – I’ll Be Seeing You In L.A.”

“Laura Pursell – I’ll Be Seeing You In L.A.”
featuring the songs “Home” “Some Other Time” & “I’ll Be Seeing You”

Today is the final episode of my conversation with Laura Pursell and her dad Bill Pursell.  If you missed the previous episodes, you can listen to PART ONE here … and PART TWO here.  As we wind down our time together, father Bill gives his insight on making records in his day (1950’s & 60’s) in contrast to the present.  Laura, still dealing with her laryngitis, contributes stories and displays that wonderful father-daughter banter that led me to share this visit as a three-part event!  I am looking forward to seeing Laura perform live in L.A. now that her voice is all better.  As you will discover, her vocal style is classic and smooth, with a touch of class!  I hope you enjoy!!    ~ Dean

Featured Guest:   Laura Pursell

(with special guest Bill Pursell)

Laura Pursell is at home singing with a solo guitar or a 32-piece orchestra. What started out as coffee house gig with a jazz duo on Santa Monica Boulevard in 1997 rapidly progressed into a series of concerts, benefits and appearances culminating in a show at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center in Nashville with her father, pianist Bill Pursell. In 2001, she had the honor of singing for Betty and President Gerald Ford in Palm Springs.

After studying songwriting with Harriet Shock and Jai Josefs, she began working with British songwriter/composer Chris Cutler, shaping demos for other songwriters. Realizing they had hit upon a unique writing and production style, a blend of British rock and jazz, they wrote and produced their own song, “Found.” Over the years, Laura has recorded and performed with some of the greatest and accomplished jazz musicians on the West Coast, including Earl Palmer, Ron Anthony, Barry Zweig, Ron Eschete, Doug MacDonald and countless others.

Bill Pursell wrote 8 out of 10 arrangements of their new album The Very Last Dance Hall Left In L.A. and played piano on all 10 tracks. The rich orchestration, recorded by Nashville’s A-team players. Mr. Pursell is perhaps best known for his hit record “Our Winter Love,” but also played piano on many of Johnny Cash’s albums in the 1960s, and worked as a session musician and arranger for Patsy Cline, Johnny Paycheck, Hoover, Joan Baez, Eric Andersen, Scotty Moore, J.J. Cale, Willie Nelson, Dan Fogelberg, and others. In 1985, Pursell was named Composer of the Year by the Tennessee Music Teachers Association.

Visit Laura Pursell’s website:
www.LauraPursell.com

Special thanks to Laura Pursell for the use of her images and music.
© 2015 Laura Pursell – All Rights Reserved

Laura Pursell’s album
The Very Last Dance Hall Left in L.A.
is now available on iTunes!

Laura Pursell 001 Very Last Dance Hall cover

I Can't Help It (If I'm Still in Love With You)

October 23 2015

StrongWriter On the Radio: (Episode 55) “Laura Pursell – A Tale Of Two Fires”

“Laura Pursell – A Tale Of Two Fires”
featuring the song “I Wanna Look Good For My Man”

I hope you heard part one of my conversation with Laura Pursell and her dad Bill Pursell.  If you missed it, you can listen to it right here.  So what are the two fires?  I got to hear from Bill’s perspective the “baptism of fire” that his daughter Laura went through when she first hit the big stage almost twenty years ago.  But Mr. Pursell also shared his recollections of Johnny Cash, specifically the time Bill played piano on “Ring Of Fire” in 1963.  And speaking of that year, I learned why his top ten instrumental “Our Winter Love” set a trend in recorded music.  Laura chimed in as much her weakened voice allowed, but to hear them together is priceless!  Please enjoy!   ~ Dean

Featured Guest:   Laura Pursell

(with special guest Bill Pursell)

Laura Pursell is at home singing with a solo guitar or a 32-piece orchestra. What started out as coffee house gig with a jazz duo on Santa Monica Boulevard in 1997 rapidly progressed into a series of concerts, benefits and appearances culminating in a show at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center in Nashville with her father, pianist Bill Pursell. In 2001, she had the honor of singing for Betty and President Gerald Ford in Palm Springs.

After studying songwriting with Harriet Shock and Jai Josefs, she began working with British songwriter/composer Chris Cutler, shaping demos for other songwriters. Realizing they had hit upon a unique writing and production style, a blend of British rock and jazz, they wrote and produced their own song, “Found.” Over the years, Laura has recorded and performed with some of the greatest and accomplished jazz musicians on the West Coast, including Earl Palmer, Ron Anthony, Barry Zweig, Ron Eschete, Doug MacDonald and countless others.

Bill Pursell wrote 8 out of 10 arrangements of their new album The Very Last Dance Hall Left In L.A. and played piano on all 10 tracks. The rich orchestration, recorded by Nashville’s A-team players. Mr. Pursell is perhaps best known for his hit record “Our Winter Love,” but also played piano on many of Johnny Cash’s albums in the 1960s, and worked as a session musician and arranger for Patsy Cline, Johnny Paycheck, Hoover, Joan Baez, Eric Andersen, Scotty Moore, J.J. Cale, Willie Nelson, Dan Fogelberg, and others. In 1985, Pursell was named Composer of the Year by the Tennessee Music Teachers Association.

Visit Laura Pursell’s website:
www.LauraPursell.com

Special thanks to Laura Pursell for the use of her images and music.
© 2015 Laura Pursell – All Rights Reserved

Laura Pursell’s album
The Very Last Dance Hall Left in L.A.
is now available on iTunes!

Laura Pursell 001 Very Last Dance Hall cover

I Can't Help It (If I'm Still in Love With You)

October 16 2015

StrongWriter On the Radio: (Episode 54) “Laura Pursell – Father Daughter Day In the Last Dance Hall Left In L.A.”

“Laura Pursell – Father Daughter Day In the Last Dance Hall Left In L.A.”
featuring the song “The Very Last Dance Hall Left In L.A.”

Personally, I never had the experience of a “take your daughter to work day,” but my featured guest appreciates that pleasure quite periodically.  Singer Laura Pursell recently took her famous musician dad Bill Pursell to work with her, and together they created an elegant musical project, an album called The Very Last Dance Hall Left In L.A.  And it’s not the first time; the two have worked on four previous albums over the past decade or so! I had such an enjoyable time getting to know these two wonderful people, and I invite you to savor the back-and-forth dialogue between this father/daughter team.  It is really quite special.  Stories, advice, music.  It’s all here times two, so enjoy the show!  ~ Dean

Featured Guest:   Laura Pursell

(with special guest Bill Pursell)

Laura Pursell is at home singing with a solo guitar or a 32-piece orchestra. What started out as coffee house gig with a jazz duo on Santa Monica Boulevard in 1997 rapidly progressed into a series of concerts, benefits and appearances culminating in a show at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center in Nashville with her father, pianist Bill Pursell. In 2001, she had the honor of singing for Betty and President Gerald Ford in Palm Springs.

After studying songwriting with Harriet Shock and Jai Josefs, she began working with British songwriter/composer Chris Cutler, shaping demos for other songwriters. Realizing they had hit upon a unique writing and production style, a blend of British rock and jazz, they wrote and produced their own song, “Found.” Over the years, Laura has recorded and performed with some of the greatest and accomplished jazz musicians on the West Coast, including Earl Palmer, Ron Anthony, Barry Zweig, Ron Eschete, Doug MacDonald and countless others.

Bill Pursell wrote 8 out of 10 arrangements of their new album The Very Last Dance Hall Left In L.A. and played piano on all 10 tracks. The rich orchestration, recorded by Nashville’s A-team players. Mr. Pursell is perhaps best known for his hit record “Our Winter Love,” but also played piano on many of Johnny Cash’s albums in the 1960s, and worked as a session musician and arranger for Patsy Cline, Johnny Paycheck, Hoover, Joan Baez, Eric Andersen, Scotty Moore, J.J. Cale, Willie Nelson, Dan Fogelberg, and others. In 1985, Pursell was named Composer of the Year by the Tennessee Music Teachers Association.

Visit Laura Pursell’s website:
www.LauraPursell.com

Special thanks to Laura Pursell for the use of her images and music.
© 2015 Laura Pursell – All Rights Reserved

Laura Pursell’s album
The Very Last Dance Hall Left in L.A.
is now available on iTunes!

Laura Pursell 001 Very Last Dance Hall cover

I Can't Help It (If I'm Still in Love With You)