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The Homegrown Playlist

24 Apr

Sad Max
Home Grown Playlist from Down Home Cookin 3/17/23

The Homegrown Playlist is one of the most popular segments of Down Home Cookin’, which airs every Friday 1-3 PM Central time on WDBX 91.1 FM, Carbondale IL ( The segment is an extended playlist of the best acts from the region (and they are very, very good). Right up above this paragraph, that’s a typical example of the Homegrown Playlist. Click on it and enjoy some fine tunes.

Ivas John
Big Larry Williams
Gina Rae Odum
Sturg & Friends
The Screen Syndicate (minus Mike Lesclesius)
Barbara Hollek
Kent McDaniel hosts Down Home Cookin’

Rick Droit on WDBX

31 Oct

Songwriter Rick Droit appeared on WDBX’s Lonesome Roy’s Radio Hoedown last spring, not long after his return to Southern Illinois after a couple decades in Austin, Texas.. In between conversation with Loy Addiington, the show’s host, Rick played acoustic versions of several of his originals. Rick and Loy had a great rapport, and their conversation was just about as enjoyable as the the songs. Below is an excerpt from the show.

Rick Droit on WDBX

Regina Zavala & Stick Gilbert on WDBX

1 Sep

In 2017 Regina Zavala journeyed to Carbondale from her native Honduras attend Southern Illinois University. She almost immediately joined into the local music scene. Her vocals, guitar works, and songwriting turned heads, and her charm made her friends everywhere. In Time she transferred from SIU to University of Texas, where she earned a Masters degree. Then she made us all glad by finding work around here and returning.

Again she lit up the local scene, and we enjoyed that for a good year. The time came recently, though, when she felt the need to return to her homeland. We all wish her the best there, and hope we’ll see her again. I’m happy that not long before her departure, she stopped by WDBX along with her good friend Stick Gilbert for a farewell performance, on Down Home Cookin’. A recording of the show is right below, and I hope you’ll check it out. You’ll be glad you did.

Regina Zavala

Kent McDaniel

Pics from the Birthday Bash

14 Aug

In June we celebrated my birthday with a show at PKs, that venerable Carbondale showcase. It might’ve been my best birthday thing ever. For real. Lots of friends showed up to catch the show and/or be part of it. Fine players made it and cut loose. Drummer Charlie Morrill, bassist/flautist Dorothy McDaniel, Banjoist Lew Hendrix, Blues Man Tawl Paul, Queens of latin folk Colleen Springer-Lopez and Regina Zavala, rockers Rick Droit and Dr. Ted, and let us not forget The Misfit Pirate, Michael Eric, nor of course the incredible Kendall Bell and Eva Joy. Oh, hey, and Blossom The Clown. Good music and good vibes prevailed. Long will I remember. And Georgia De La Garza shot some great pictures. Here’re some of them.

Rick Droit made a fine poster for the show
Charlie Morrill, that bad man, drummed that night
My favorite banjo player, Lew Hendrix, started our set off with four songs. Man, was he on fire.

The Legendary Tawl Paul came up to finish our first set with some of the songs from his most recent album, That’s just How I Am

I played on that album, and wrote several songs for it. The whole thing’s streaming free at:

Kendall Bell and Eva Joy surprised me by coming by to sing Back up on “Down Home Cookin'”

Kendall and Eva Joy sang fantastic back-up on “Down Home Cookin'” for an album in the works of that title. The song’s streaming free already at And while you’re on the page, check out “Back to the Valley”. They sing beautiful back-up on that, too.

And then things ratcheted on up: Blossom The Clown (AKA Bethany Kerley) breezed into the bar bearing birthday gifts and generating smiles and laughter all over the place. Which set things up just fine for the next players, Colleen and and Regina, who had Miz D. and me up and dancing.

Kendall Bell, Eva Joy, and Blossom: 3 great smiles.
Colleen Springer-Lopez (L) and Regina Zavala played a hot acoustic set
Dorothy on flute, Dr. Ted on bass, Charlie on drums, Rick on guitar and vocals, me on guitar
Michael Eric, The Misfit Pirate, laid down mellow trop rock (on his uke).

The grand finale of the night, Dan Marsh doing “Dog and Cat” with us, escaped the camera, unfortunately. But check out his Dog and Cat album streaming free here:

Dog & Cat by Dan Marsh

20 Jul

I’m posting Dan Marsh’s album, Dog and Cat here, with his permission. I love the album and want people to be able to find it. Dan wrote the songs, and it’s him doing the singing and playing the rhythm guitar. The album was produced by Brad Belt, who’s also playing lead guitar and singing some of the harmony vocals.



Scan 5


Dog and Cat copyright 2010 Dan Marsh.


Dog and Cat

10 Jun

This is a video of my wife Dorothy and I playing “Dog and Cat,” a song written by our good buddy, Dan Marsh. We originally recorded this for #closedmicnight, a weekly project by Carbondale musicians, which is raising money for local charities and nonprofit groups. We love this song.




Scan 5

“Dog and Cat” appears on Dan Marsh’s album of the same title.


Here’s Dan’s version of the song from his album. (You may notice  a couple small changes  to the lyrics we made.)

Blues Blast Magazine review of Tawl Paul’s That’s Just How I Am

24 Apr

In its latest ( 4-23-20) issue, the well known e-zine Blues Blast  reviewed Tawl Paul’s album  That’s Just How I Am, which was released around the start of 2020. Here’s the review:


that's just how


CD: 12 Songs, 42 Minutes

Styles: Blues Covers, Traditional Electric and Acoustic Blues

Perhaps no other musical genre is more intertwined with longevity than the blues. Rock has long verged from the path Elvis Presley and the Beatles trod. Country sounds less and less like Jimmie Rodgers and more and more like Luke Bryan. Move over, Madonna: Billie Eilish is fast becoming the Queen of Pop. In the blues world, however, the Waters are still Muddy and BB still reigns as King. Masters and originators are venerated, emulated, and invoked at every turn. Even Chicagoland’s Tawl Paul, on his latest CD, tips his hat to such greats as Bobby Charles (“Walking to New Orleans”), Hambone Willie Newborn (“Rollin’ and Tumblin’”), Richard M. Jones (“Trouble in Mind”), and John Prine (“Hello in There). The vast majority of these covers work – six in total – but some, such as “Autumn Leaves,” are a tad chaotic. The ensemble of artists is top-notch, and even though Paul’s vocals show his age, he remains a contender. His original work, such as “Baldheaded Blues” and the title track, are remarkably catchy.

Growing up on Chicago’s South Side, Paul Frederick got hard by the blues and soul, falling in love with them. He grew up to serve with the Army in Vietnam, then came to Carbondale in the early 1970s to attend college. Soon afterward, he joined a band and discovered two things: He was born to sing, and Carbondale was his home. For fifty years, he’s sung the blues, making himself into one of the local scene’s most revered performers. He’s enriched Carbondale so much that in 2013, Mayor Joel Fritzler declared June 23rd Tawl Paul Day. On top of that, local bar PK’s now holds an annual Tawl Paul Weekend every June in his honor, with local music greats coming out and alumni returning in droves to pay homage.

Along with Tawl Paul (vocals) are Kent McDaniel on guitars, bass and finger snaps; drummers Kegan Doty, Chris Butler, and Alpha Stewart; Mike Arthur and Mel Goot on keyboards; Dorothy McDaniel on flute and bass; Chris McKinley and Kathy Livingston on harmony vocals; Lew Hendrix on banjo, and John Temmermen on sax.

“Baldheaded Blues” comes first out of Paul’s original material, a spot-on Chicago-style shuffle. “I’ve got these lines in my face, but I sure ain’t over that hill,” he tells a prospective lover with cheeky charm. Mel Goot’s piano keyboards are a hoot, as is Kent McDaniel’s guitar. “Big Jim” is a lot grittier and a little bit wittier, a ballad about another denizen of Chi-town’s South Side. The title track has an earworm refrain: “Hello, sir or ma’am. That’s just how I am.” Do people change? Maybe so or maybe not, but in the end one’s true character shines through.

When local blues icons like Mr. Frederick continue to proclaim their love for the music and the fans who make it all possible, it often has more impact on a community than a CD by a household-name artist. Let’s hope Tawl Paul keeps it up for years to come!

Reviewer Rainey Wetnight is a 40 year old female Blues fan. She brings the perspective of a younger blues fan to reviews. A child of 1980s music, she was strongly influenced by her father’s blues music collection.


April 23 issue



The Legacy of World War II

4 Dec
The week of December 7 is a week in which every Japanese-American has to face the legacy of history. I will admit, with much shame, that as a knucklehead adolescent I tended to make fun of Pearl Harbor Day, oftentimes threatening to go down to Cricket Hill and bomb the Eskimo totem pole. As I got older I started to realize that this was no joking matter, especially when I became a professional musician. One December 7 found me playing a cocktail reception at the military installation at O’Hare, in a room decorated with photos of the U.S.S. Arizona, and another December 7 found me playing a community theater performance out in Elgin; I was in the washroom, in a stall, and overheard two old guys at the urinals asking each other where they were “on that day”; one of them had been at Pearl. I stayed in the stall until they left. And I once dated a woman, a Southern belle, who warned me that her father was never to know about our relationship, because he had survived Pearl Harbor. People died, and people remember.

Of course, that cuts both ways. One of my best friends’ family has roots in Hiroshima, and I can only imagine what his feelings are every August 6.

Throughout most of my life I’ve been aware that there’s a disconnect between what we were taught in history classes at school and what my family related to me. Ever since I was little I knew that my whole family had spent most of World War II “in the camps,” and that the adult men in the family had also served in the United States Army overseas. It wasn’t until I became a hippie that the inherent weirdness of that started to sink in. And even at this late date in history I continue to run into friends who have no idea what “the camps” were, or about the history of the Nisei in World War II was.

I’ll try to be brief; in 1942 president Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order wdc-japanese-internment-announcement9066, which commanded all United States residents of Japanese ancestry to report to “relocation centers,” which were in essence concentration camps. The camps were located in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Idaho, Utah and Wyoming. By all accounts life in the camps was no picnic; I remember my mom and aunts talking about the sand blowing in through cracks in the walls and covering everything while they slept (snow, in the winter). You were only allowed to bring what you could physically carry, or lash to your vehicles, so almost everyone lost their homes, their farms, their businesses, their land, and most of their possessions unless they were lucky enough to have neighbors who’d watch over their interests (most did not; this resulted in what was essentially a land-grab by the Anglo Californians). And although many of the Japanese-Americans were understandably bitter and dispirited, the majority of them remained determined to prove that they were good American citizens. In this spirit thousands of young men volunteered to serve in the Army.


Go For Broke

Most of them were placed in two special units, the 442nd Combat Regiment and the 100th Battalion. Eventually the two units were consolidated, and included a Field Artillery battalion. The 442nd/100th served in the European theater; very few Japanese soldiers fought in the Pacific, although some served in intelligence positions, as interpreters. The 442nd/100th were the most-decorated units in the war, with

amongst the highest casualty rates as


Uncle Mark

well. My Uncle Mark was in the 442nd; my dad was not, although he did serve in Italy. I never got the story of why he didn’t go with the 442nd; he was younger than Mark, which might explain it (he was a company bugler). The 442nd’s motto was “Go For Broke,” which was also the title of a movie starring Van Johnson, about the unit. That movie is part of every Japanese-American of my age’s upbringing; I’ve probably seen it dozens of times, and most of my friends own copies of it, as do I.

The most famous legend of the 442nd’s history is the story of the Lost Battalion. Units of the 141st Regiment were cut off and surrounded by Germans in the Vosges mountains; suffering great casualties, the 442nd rescued them. The 442nd’s K Company suffered 386 casualties out of their 400 men.

So, I realize that I’m not responsible for Pearl Harbor, just as I realize you’re not responsible for Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But I feel justifiable pride in what the guys in the 442nd/100th accomplished, and I do wish that it was a better-known aspect of World War II history, as I also wish the Relocation Centers were too. And ever year on December 7 I’ll dwell on these thoughts.

Steve Hashimoto

This post appeared a couple years back in News From The Trenches, a weekly newsletter of commentary from the viewpoint of a working musician published by Chicago bassist Steve Hashimoto. If you’d like to start receiving it, just let him know by emailing him at



Steve Hashimoto



11 Aug

Here’s a vide of Dorothy McDaniel, Stick Gilbert, and me (Kent McDaniel) jamming live on WDBX 91.1. Carbondale. Rolling with some Jimmy Reed.


Hash’s Faves: Jefferson Airplane

5 Aug

I just happened to stumble upon a couple of videos on YouTube of the Airplane’s performance at Woodstock in 1969 which blew me away, and got me to thinking in a more critical way about the whole band, not just Casady, who I’ve said before is one of my all-time favorite bassists.


Signe Toly Anderson

The band’s history is pretty convoluted; formed in 1965 by singer Marty Balin and guitarist/vocalist Paul Kantner. Balin ran a seminal music club in San Francisco, the Matrix, and envisioned a house band for the club that would follow the lead of bands like the Byrds, melding folk music with rock and roll. Other members of what would become the Matrix’s house band included singer Signe Toly Anderson, acoustic bassist Bob Harvey, drummer Jerry Peloquin and guitarist Jorma Kaukonen, a friend of Kantner’s who had just moved to the Bay area from Washington D.C. It was Jorma who suggested the band’s name. Peloquin quit over his disapproval of the band’s drug use, to be replaced by drummer Skip Spence, who would later form the band Moby Grape. Harvey’s bass playing wasn’t fitting the band’s vision, so Kaukonen summoned his Washington friend Casady to move out west.

The band started to gain popularity, playing some significant gigs and attracting attention from record companies; they cut their first album, Jefferson Airplane Takes Off, in 1966. Anderson became pregnant and quit the band, to be replaced by Grace Slick,who was in a band called The Great Society who had opened for the Airplane at a gig, Spence also quit, to be replaced by Spencer Dryden; this, in my opinion, was the classic band lineup. The band would go through several different metamorphoses, eventually becoming the Jefferson Starship, and later simply the Starship, and many of those bands were very good, but in my opinion none of them had the magic of the classic band.

Spencer Dryden

Spencer Dryden

Watching the Woodstock performances clarified some things for me, but I’ve always loved the band, and have often thought about what made them so special. The first thing that struck me about the Woodstock performances was Dryden’s short drum solo that introduces the song “3/5ths Of A Mile In 10 Seconds; I thought, “He’s really an r&b player!” I’d previously thought of him as being part of the band’s jazzy contingent; the band always seemed to contain several separate and distinct (and oftentimes overlapping) stylistic “cliques” – Casady and Dryden were the jazzers, Kaukonen and Casady the blues guys, Kantner and Slick the folkies, and Balin was the r&b guy. Now I think that Dryden belonged in both the jazz and r&b camp. Analogous with the Beatles, whose greatness (in my opinion, of course) resulted from the combination of personalities and musical tastes, the Airplane stumbled upon a magical combination whose whole was greater than its parts. Another thing that struck me about the Woodstock videos was the entire band’s willingness to improvise; even though they were obliged to play their greatest hits, they tried to stretch them (the performance of “Somebody To Love is especially adventurous). Casady is ferocious here; listen to what he does with the relatively simple 3-chord song Volunteers”.


Paul Kantner

Kantner always seemed to be kind of the odd man out, musically, but I’m coming around to thinking that he was the glue that held the various factions and styles together. While his voice is an acquired taste, his vocal timbre and the harmonies that he sang were the perfect bridge between Balin’s soulful style and Slick’s near-operatic acrobatics. The Airplane’s 3-part harmonies were unique; most pop bands sing in more-or-less traditional “barbershop” harmony, but the Airplane’s harmonies tended to owe more to Gregorian chant and medieval music, and much of that came from Kantner; Balin sang harmonies that owed more to soul music by way of gospel, while Slick’s came out of folk music, which in turn sometimes originated in Irish and Scottish drone harmonies, enabling Kantner’s ideas to mesh better with Balin. As a rhythm guitar player, Kantner somehow manages to stay out of the way of Kaukonen and Casady, in much the same way the Bob Weir managed to stay out of Jerry Garcia and Phil Lesh’sway in the Grateful Dead. I wish Balin hadn’t played that damned tambourine so much; in the Woodstock videos pianist Nicky Hopkinsis an almost invisible special guest (the camera only shows him briefly), contributing beautiful little lines here and there, as he was wont to do as a star sideman of that era.


Jorma Kaukonen

I might mention here that the Airplane were also among the first rock musicians who I was aware of who loved to jam, and who didn’t consider their band a sacrosanct entity. Much like jazz players, they often welcomed other Bay area musicians onto the stage and into the recording studio, and I always eagerly scanned the liner notes of their albums to see who was guesting. The San Francisco musical community, which included the Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Crosby Stills and Nash, Janis Joplin, Santanaand other groups, as well as Los Angelenos the Byrds, was an incestuous one, in a mostly good way. One of my favorite albums is David Crosby’s _If I Could Only Remember My Name, which features a staggering number of players from all of those bands, and the first iteration of the Starship, a solo album by Kantner called Blows Against The Empire,_ also is a star-studded affair. Frank Zappa was also a sometime partner-in-crime.


Grace Slick

One cannot ignore or fail to mention the effect that Slick’s sex appeal had; after all, even in these PC times you have to acknowledge that rock and roll is largely about sex, and Slick was the fantasy of countless hippies. The legend is that the band, who were supposed to close out the Saturday night show, didn’t go on until early Sunday morning; in the delay, evidently, many drugs were consumed, and Slick looks especially tripped out, but somehow still gorgeous. I was also impressed by how into the music she was (perhaps a byproduct of the chemicals), but in a non-show-bizzy way. They were hippies, and I love that she (as well as Joplin and Joni Mitchell and Mama Cass) didn’t seem to have a stage “show,” didn’t seem to have little bits that they’d do at preordained parts of songs every time they performed that song. Every time I see video of the band performing, at some point the camera lingers lovingly on Slick, and I can never help but think, “Good God, she’s beautiful!” Sorry, mea culpa.

Doors The Matrix

The Doors performing at The Matrix

By the time of the Woodstock performance, though, the wheels were already starting to come off. The internal personal dynamics of the band were always a bit fraught, complicated, it must be said, by sex. Again, they were hippies, and they were supposed to believe in freedom in all things, but human nature will have its way, and Slick was involved in relationships with not only Casady and Kantner but also (allegedly) with Jim Morrison,as well as many others, no doubt. Balin had withdrawn from much of the group’s business and musical decisions, and Kaukonen and Casady had started their side project, Hot Tuna, in part because the Airplane was working less, and they simply wanted to play. Jorma’s charmingly forlorn songThird Week In Chelsea, on the album Bark,chronicles his frustration with the band situation and forecasts its eventual demise; to her eternal credit, Slick agreed to sing harmony on it. Kantner would actually quit the band at one point, and Balin started playing rhythm guitar. By the time of Bark, Dryden had been replaced by Joey Covington, who had been playing with Hot Tuna. Violinist Papa John Creach became an official member of the band. Balin was not on the album, having quit the band, so although there are parts of the record that I like, this was no longer, for me, the Airplane.

Kantner and Slick were now parents; I do like that they still had enough of a sense of humor to name their 1973 non-Airplane/Starship record Baron Von Tollbooth and the Chrome Nun; Kantner’s Teutonic temperament had always been one of the sources of contention within the band. The band officially ended in 1972, to eventually evolve into the various Starship iterations. They did some reunion gigs in 1989, and (I didn’t know this strange fact) both Kantner and Signe Anderson died on January 28, 2016. Dryden died in 2005.

The Starship continues, with Chicago-area singer Cathy Richardsonably filling Slick’s sandals. Hot Tuna continues to perform.

You can watch the Woodstock performances here:

Once you’re there, I think you’ll find several more videos from their Woodstock set.

This post is reprinted from News From The Trenches, a weekly newsletter of commentary from the viewpoint of a working musician published by Chicago bassist Steve Hashimoto. If you’d like to start receiving it, just let him know by emailing him at


Steve Hashimoto