Thursday, 31 March 2016

Themeless in London

What a wonderful array of musicians we have lined up for this Saturday’s show!
Barb Jungr
I mean, Taj Mahal, Bonnie Raitt, Rosanne Cash, Nat King Cole, Greg Brown, B.B. King, and Barb Jungr …
Barb who? A British jazz singer on an Americana show? What the … ?
Well, I have a confession to make. 
A couple of weeks ago, The Big Fat Wide Americana Hour focused entirely on New Orleans. Then last week, the theme was great covers – remakes of songs that really added something new.
So I promised myself – I swore an oath! – that this week’s show would be themeless. That’s what The Big Fat Wide Americana Hour is all about: We’re not bound by genres or themes. 
We’re motivated only by a desire to hear great American music, whatever the style, right?
So, anyway, I was thinking of songs for this week’s very fine themeless show. And, because I usually include one or two jazz numbers, the Barb Jungr song popped into my head.
And stayed there.
Then, with a start, I asked myself what I could possibly be thinking. This show is about American music. And Barb Jungr is a Brit, for Pete’s sake.
But then it occurred to me that the song that was stuck in my head – Who Do You Love? – was a Bo Diddley song. And you don’t get much more American than Bo Diddley. So why the heck could I not include that song. 
Well, in fact I could.
B.B. King
So, then … the whole idea of Euro-American musical collaborations occurred to me. I thought ofU2 and B.B. King. I thought of Hans Theeskink and Terry Evans. 
And others … including a nice surprise I've included for your listening pleasure.
So, I sort of broke my oath. There is a theme for four or five songs in the middle. But we’re back ranging freely over themeless territory well before the show ends.
The whole darn show this week is a heck of a lot of fun. And if we do have a constant theme, that’s it. Let’s choose great tunes, crank up the volume, get our feet moving, and have a good time.
Your friend,
M.D. Spenser

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Great covers -- a true art

 A myth grew up in the 1960s and '70s -- one that persists, in some quarters, even today. And that is that true artists sing songs they've written. Confessional songs, songs that relatespecifically to their their own lives. 

And the corollary is that anyone with a good voice can produce a good cover of someone else's song. Producing a cover version doesn't require artistry, just a good set of pipes.

Well, this week's show, due out Saturday, is dedicated to dispelling that myth. A wonderful singer can sometimes find more in a song than the songwriter knew was in there. It's an interpretive art -- and the song, instead of being the about a single life, chronicles the lives of us all.

Or else, maybe the singer just knows how to have a heck of a lot of fun.

In any event, join us this week for an hour of great covers -- many of them done by musicians who are great songwriters in their own right. You'll hear songwriters like Little Milton, Dion, Gretchen Peters and Dolly Parton giving their own spin to songs written by others. 

And, I hope, having a darn good, finger-poppin' time while you listen.

See you there -- at ! 

Best wishes,


Little Milton

Dolly Parton

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Around the world in 30 days!

Who could have believed it?

When we started The Big Fat Wide Americana Hour one month ago, the concept was adacious

More than one British radio exec told me it would never work. People like their preferred genre for a reason, they said. Listeners don't want variety. They don't want to hear different stuff. They don't want to hear music they haven't already heard a hundred times before.

Well, guess what? Some people are actually curious. They're stimulated by variety. They like the occasional surprise. They're happy when a radio show introduces them to music they haven't heard before.

The proof? In the first 30 days, The Big Fat Wide Americana Hour has been tuned in by people in 18 countries -- from the U.S. to the U.K., from the Netherlands to New Zealand.

See ... never underestimate people. And never underestimate the power of music. One can only wonder what the next month will hold!

Hear it here:  

It's a success! Onward!

And thanks for listening.


Friday, 18 March 2016

Omission corrected! Nawlins, here we come!

How could it be? 

Five programs into The Big Fat Wide Americana Hour without so much as a nod to New Orleans -- one of the greatest of all American musical cities.

Well, in the show to be released Saturday, March 19, we correct that omission -- and how!

We present a romp though the finest of New Orleans music from past to present. Enjoy Dr. John, Big Mama Thornton, Dr. Michael White, Louis Armstrong ("Well, hello, Dolly ... This is me, Louis!)

Take a trip with us down to the bayou for some swampy rock, blues, rhythm and jazz! All beginning Saturday.

And be sure to drop me a line at I love hearing from y'all!