October 21, 2019

The Creative Spark: New interview collection coming this fall

Creative people have a certain spark: a brightness in their eyes, an inquisitive way of looking at the world, a desire to make things. But that spark doesn’t reside solely in people seen as creators. It’s in all of us, just waiting to break out.
In this collection of interviews with some of the most creative people of our time — musicians, authors, explorers, and chefs — these makers speak about what drives them, what helps them to see the world in fresh ways, and what inspires them turn their visions into art.
During the past decade, Michael Shapiro has interviewed some of our most creative luminaries. Yet it’s not simply that Shapiro has had access to so many supremely talented people — it’s that he gets them to go deep. These interviews serve as a gateway for each one of us to chart our own creative paths, enrich our lives, and bring our true selves into the world.

Man stricken with ALS finds new voice in singing partner; June 12, 2018

She asked him: “Bernie, how are you going to make an album if you can’t speak or sing?”
He replied: “I want you to be my voice,” but initially she didn’t think she could do that.
Dalton kept sending Goldman handwritten lyrics, asking her to help him put music and melody to his words.
“I was working on my own album,” she said, a follow-up to her 2016 release, “Black Wings.”

“But he’s persistent, extremely persistent, and he kept sending me the lyrics in the mail. He said, ‘This can be your next record.’ And there was just something so important and heartfelt about what he was doing.”

Goldman launched a GoFundMe campaign that raised more than $23,000 to pay for producing Dalton’s album.

Members of Goldman’s band joined Goldman and Dalton in a recording studio and knocked out a song a day. Dalton was involved in every aspect of song creation, from the melodies to the horn parts, offering his comments on a dry-erase board or giving a thumbs-up or thumbs-down to the musicians’ suggestions.

They named the band Bernie and the Believers and titled the album, “Connection.” Last February they had an album release party at the San Francisco club Slim’s.

Sweet home Chicago: Blues, baseball and barbecue, Inspirato, Summer 2015

Sometimes, if you’ve worked with an editor for a while, she approaches you with an assignment. And occasionally she opens the door to your dream story. When my editor at Inspirato suddenly had an opening for a feature and asked me to pitch a story about Chicago, I sent in essence a three-word reply: “Blues, baseball, barbecue.” Ultimately I got the assignmet and wrote about my favorite aspects of the City of Big Shoulders.
Here’s an excerpt from the story: Wrigley Field has been showing its age, but that’s part of its charm, and a new Jumbotron installed this year adds 21st-century technology to the creaky yard. Mark Gonzales, who covers the Cubs for the Chicago Tribune notes that baseball is “deep-rooted” in Chicago and that loyalty is passed down through the generations. “You can always sell hope, and hope remains strong with the Cubs.”
That hope is captured in Norman Rockwell’s 1948 painting The Dugout. It focuses on a slump-shouldered bat boy with dejected Cubs players sitting in the dugout behind him. Above are several jeering fans, but there’s one smiling kid, thrilled just to be at the game. That’s the symbol of the true Cubs fan.

Grateful Dead documentary: North Bay has starring role (May 2015)

“It will come out when it’s ready,” said Kreutzmann, 45, the son of Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann. “It would be nice to hit the 50th anniversary, but making a better film is more important.”

Boz Scaggs still smooth after all these years (May 2015)

The classics remain fun because “I never play a song the same way twice,” Scaggs said. “It’s different every night.”

Pete Seeger: 3 stories you’ve never heard

Just two months ago, Seeger appeared in support of the Buffalo newspaper guild to encourage the union to fight for its rights.

Adriena Daunt Leaving Single Malt Curlers

Singer, tambourine player Adriena Daunt announced she’s leaving the Single Malt Curlers.

Cowboy Junkies keep it fresh

In the early 1990s, Cowboy Junkies lead singer Margo Timmins performed just for me.

Hugh Laurie’s in the house: concert preview for The Press Democrat

“Blues can bring out in me every single human emotion,” Laurie said, “or at least every emotion that I know of. ‘Let Them Talk’ is an odyssey — my destination is the holy city of New Orleans.”

Heavenly voices: How Ladysmith Black Mambazo went from dream to fame

I recently interviewed a founding member of the South African vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo who told me the band started as a dream – see excerpt below. The band plays March 2 at Napa’s Uptown Theater – here’s the excerpt: Mambazo’s music, a hybrid of Zulu harmonies and gospel stylings, came to the group’s […]