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Interviews

Jason Mraz Acoustic Guitar magazine

Behind the song: “Lucky” by Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat

"Lucky," the sweet, swaying duet written by Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat with Tim Fagan, was originally released on Jason Mraz's 2008 album We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things.  During an interview for Acoustic Guitar magazine (published in the October 2010 issue), Mraz told me that "Lucky"—like six of the tracks on the We Sing album—originated...

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Behind the Song: “When the Master Calls the Roll” by Rosanne Cash

"When the Master Calls the Roll," a brilliant story song from Rosanne Cash's triple-Grammy-winning album The River and the Thread, has a back story that must be a rarity in the annals of songwriting: an artist co-wrote it with her husband and ex-husband. In the case of this song, Cash's collaborators were producer/guitarist John Leventhal...

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Behind the song: “Sunny Came Home” by Shawn Colvin

“Sunny Came Home,” Shawn Colvin’s bright-sounding but lyrically dark song that scored Grammies in 1998 for both Song of the Year and Record of the Year, has a highly unlikely origin story. In 2017, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary release of the album A Few Small Repairs, Colvin shared the recollections below about...

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Chris Thile on being a “serious, curious” musician

I think serious, curious musicians owe it to themselves and to the music-loving public to avail themselves of all the tools. You run into a lot of people who are consciously leaving vast swaths of their potential musicianship undeveloped in the name of staying pure. Those kinds of decisions don’t achieve the desired result, because...

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David Rawlings on writing songs from tradition

[Poor David's Almanack] came out of 20 years of thinking about folk music and the roots of things, and seeing that so much beauty comes out of the fluidity of writing from things that move you. Sometimes I listen to songs that I love and I think, 'Wow, it’s like we’re all standing on the...

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Behind the song: Joni Mitchell on writing Blue

One of the most memorable experiences of my life as a music journalist was an epic interview with Joni Mitchell back in 1996. For three hours in a restaurant in Los Angeles, she held forth about guitar and songwriting and much more—her dizzying tangents touched on everything from physics to Picasso to her love for the...

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Graham Nash on his songwriting evolution from the Hollies to CSN

I was trained in my time with the Hollies to write two-and-a-half-minute songs to play right before the news. We knew how to make hit records; we knew how to create music you couldn’t forget after you heard it twice. But the lyrics were a little juvenile, a little teenager, you know—“Riding along on a...

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Behind the song: “The Music Never Stopped” by the Grateful Dead

In a 2008 interview for Acoustic Guitar magazine, Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead shared with me the story of writing "The Music Never Stopped" with his childhood pal John Perry Barlow. The Dead recorded the song on Blues for Allah (1975), and it remained a staple of the band's live repertoire. Inspired in part by my conversation with...

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Copyright 2019 Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers