Saturday, January 5, 2013

Pheaturing Kendra McKinley

Hello, and welcome to the Phile, kids, referred to as the internet's entertainment cliff. This is the first entry of the year, starting the Phile's 7th.  Some people are concerned 2013 will be an unlucky year because of the number 13. As compared to those lucky years like 2012 and 2011.  Congress has approved some version of this fiscal cliff bill thing. Well, taxes are going up, and now, they're looking to make cuts just about everywhere. In fact, oil companies today had to lay off 15 senators. While working on a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff, members of Congress spent New Year’s Eve at the Capitol. Yeah, even the guy watching the "Twilight Zone" marathon with his parents was like, “Talk about a lame New Year’s.”  This has been a tough week for NFL coaches. Seven NFL head coaches got fired on Monday. That's a lot of job openings. That's the most job openings we've had in this country in the last four years. According to Forbes magazine, the Dallas Cowboys are the most valuable team in the NFL. They are worth $2 billion. So I guess that old adage, "winning isn't everything," is true.  Kim Kardashian is pregnant. I just hope the media doesn't make a big deal about it. I hope it doesn't get blown way out of proportion. That means Kim will be seeking publicity for two now. If it’s a girl, they’ll name it Kim, and if it’s a boy, they’ll name it Kanye.  I heard that Dunkin' Donuts is testing a new line of gluten-free pastries. So if you're looking to eat healthy, still no.  On Monday night, thieves broke into the Apple store in Paris and stole one million dollars worth of iPhones and iPads. That’s right... they took four iPhones and two iPads.  So, George Lucas go engaged. Typical woman, she made him sell off his Star Wars collection... Mellody Anderson, his fiance said she fell for George because of his intelligence, easy wit and jiggly swamp-neck. He first fell for her because they shared the same favorite Geonosian warlord... Poggle the Lesser. If you want to get the couple a gift, they are registered at Gary's House of Plaid. I thought their engagement photo was kinda odd though. Check it out.

Damn, she actually looks kinda hot. Way to go, George.  So, there's a new flavored lollypop out, that I am not crazy about.

Kids, did you see the new ad for Trojan condoms? I think it gets straight to the point.

I have to share this, a Phile reader sent me photo of a sign advertising a Foghat show.

I thought it was another fake Foghat show, but this time it turns out to be real.  Okay, so you all know I am a big Kelly Clarkson fan, right? I get some slack for it, but I don't care. I have a hall pass and that's all that counts. Anyway, one of my goals this year is to get Kelly on the Phile. It's a long shot, but I started a campaign and even have a poster. If you want to make your owen Kelly Clarkson Needs To Be On The Phile poster, send it to and I will post it here and on her Twitter page. So, Kelly, this is for you...

Fingers crossed, people. And now let's see who ate it...

Patti Page
Nov 8, 1927 - Jan 1, 2013
How much is that coffin in the window?

Well, last year on the Phile I invited a friend and Phile reader on once in awhile to rant whatever he wants to talk about, and he has become one of the most popular pheatures on the Phile. In fact, it was suggested he did the whole thing. That's not gonna happen... LOL. Anyway, I thought I'll start this year of right by having him back again. So please welcome singer, surfer, renaissance man and phriend of the Phile... Laird Jim.

Good morning, humans. Your mission today is simple.... Go out there and make somebody laugh. Stranger or friend, makes no difference. Chip off the old block... I take my 11 year old son, Michael to the dentist to have a stubborn baby tooth pulled. After taking a quick look, the dentist says, "We're gonna have to pull this one out... I'm just going to numb up the area then we'll get to work." He then proceeds to come towards my son's mouth with a rather large needle and says, "This may pinch just a bit." My son replies.... "It's gonna hurt you even more.... because if you come any closer to me with that needle, I'm gonna jam it into your right eye." The dentist looked at me in shock... I nodded and said, "Doc... Just put down the needle and yank the tooth." I've never felt so proud of him.

Your son is braver than I am, Laird. My son is braver than I am as well. Both kids would get along great. Alright, it's Wild Card week in the NFL, so it's time to talk football with my good friend Jeff.

Me: Jeff, happy new year! How's it going?

Jeff: Happy new year to you as well. Hopefully this year will find you a lot safer then 2012 did.

Me: No shit. LOL. So, before we start, did you see the new ad the NFL put out for Tony Romo's cologne?

Jeff: That is a very fitting Tony Romo ad. I can't wait to see it on Sportscenter. My favorite Tweets of the week involved Romo spiking his helmet to the ground, but Washington intercepted it before it touch the grass.

Me: Okay, let's talk about Wild Card Weekend. Did we talk about that last year? Explain what it is to my readers that might not know.

Jeff: Wild Card weekend is the first weekend of the playoffs where the teams ranked 3, 4, 5 and 6th in their conference play each other.

Me: So, what's the big NFL news this week? A lot of coaches were fired, right?

Jeff: It has been a big news week. Monday is known as Black Monday where Coaches and GM's get fired. On Monday six different head coaches were told they had to find new jobs, with the biggest names being Andy Reid of Philadelphia and Lovie Smith of Chicago. Reid was the longest tenured coach in the NFL starting in 1999. Lovie Smith had a winning record this season (10-6) but the Bears failed to make the playoffs. They started off 6-1 and struggled for the rest of the season. The other big news is Ray Lewis, middle linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens, announced that when the Ravens are eliminated from the Playoffs he will retire from the NFL. As a die hard Pittsburgh Steeler fan, I have to say this about Ray Lewis. He will be missed in the NFL. As mean and fierce as a competitor can be, he was a great player and he helped make the Steeler-Raven rivarlry one of the best in the NFL.

Me: Man, it would suck being a coach. Alright, so, how did we do in the final week of regular season? I get a point for the last Giants win. Yes, I do. LOL.

Jeff: We both went 2-1 in Week 17, with both our teams winning. So I maintain a 7 point lead!

Me: Wot?! Damn it! Arrrgghhhh! Okay, let's do this... I say Houston by three, Green Bay by five. How many should we pick? I say all games... Ravens by four and finally Seattle by 4. What do you say?

Jeff: If you want to pick all during the playoffs we can. That's fine by me. I say Houston will win by 7 points. Baltimore will win by three points. The Packers will win by a touchdown and the Redskins will by four points.

Me: Alright, I will see you back here next Wednesday for the picks, and on Tuesday for the 7th Anniversary entry. Good job, Jeff.

Jeff: Good luck and we will talk next week.

Today's pheatured guest and a kick off to the 7th year of the Phile is a talented singer songwriter from California whose new album "Chestnut Street" is availabloe on iTunes and Bandcamp. Please welcome to the Phile, the lovely and talented... Kendra McKinley.

Me: Hello, Kendra, welcome to the Phile at last. How are you?

Kendra: Hi, Jason. I'm very well, thank you.

Me: It's been awhile, but I discovered you and your music through a past Phile Alumni named Gabrielle Louise. How long have you known her?

Kendra: I met Gabby this last September. I was recruited to open for her progressive folk duo Inglish and Louise when they came through Santa Cruz. We were instant friends.

Me: She's from Colorado, but you're from California, right? How did you two meet?

Kendra: We met the day of the gig. A friend of mine who was acquainted with Erin Inglish suggested that we play a show together. We're all pretty stoked that we found each other.

Me: You two should write or record together, did you ever think about that, Kendra?

Kendra: Absolutely! In fact, we plan on doing so this year.

Me: So, what part of California are you from?

Kendra: I'm from Santa Cruz.

Me: Are you from a musical background?

Kendra: My family has always been active in the visual and performing arts and music was definitely a big part of our household. My older brother is a musical aficionado (currently playing in a San Francisco ban called Battlehooch) and was always filling our home with music. My dad plays piano and my mom has dabbled with a few instruments as well. I didn't start playing guitar until I was eleven, but had always been singing in choirs, plays, etc.

Me: I thought you still were in high school but you are not, right? You are a teacher yourself though. I am guessing you teach music... is that a fun thing to do?

Kendra: Haha, no I'm finished with high school. In fact, I just finished studying Music at UC Santa Cruz with an emphasis on classical guitar. As far as being a teacher, I began working at a local Waldorf-inspired preschool this past summer. I lead a music circle where I sing and play guitar with the kids. I absolutely love it and am consistently amazed by how the children respond to music. It's really inspiring.

Me: Do you teach in a school or private guitar lessons?

Kendra: I do not, but I've thought about it.

Me: I interviewed a number of jazz artists who teach, but not many in your music world. Kendra, how would you describe your music? It's very original.

Kendra: Hmmm. I've definitely avoided that question in the past... I'm honestly not quite sure how to categorize it. I usually just tell people that I finger pick and use alternate guitar tunings, sometimes likening it to Joni Mitchell, but I still don't feel that quite captures the sound. My musical influences are so varied... I like to think that the music I write is reflective of a number of different genres.

Me: Okay, let's talk about your new album "Chestnut Street". You wrote all the songs on the album, right?

Kendra: Yes, all the songs are original compositions. The lyrics, too, with the exception of "Canyon Canon" which was written by my dear friend Claire Williams.

Me: Is Chestnut Street a real place, Kendra?

Kendra: Yes. It is a street in Santa Cruz. I lived in a house on that very street during my 3rd year of college.

Me: There's a song on the album called "An Ode To John Hartford's 'In Tall Buildings'". Who is John Hartford? Is he a poet?

Kendra: John Hartford is an American bluegrass/country songwriter. He played a number of string instruments and had a killer golden baritone voice. I was introduced to his music in college and was instantly hooked. He wrote this wonderful tune called "In Tall Buildings" about a man who abandons the life he loves in the country for a corporate job. My song, "An Ode To John Hartford's 'In Tall Buildings'", was written when I was still in college studying music and feeling quite stifled by the classical music curriculum. The theme of abandoning what you love (in this case writing and performing my own music) and falling victim to some larger system was what inspired the title song.

Me: Who plays on the CD with you, Kendra?

Kendra: Jeff Wilson, another Santa Cruz musician, plays banjo on "An Ode To John Hartford's 'In Tall Buildings'". Other than that, it's just me solo on all of the other tracks.

Me: You play guitar on the album and looping pedal. I am gonna take a guess what that is... is something comedian Reggie Watts uses where you make a sound, record it, and play it back, making another sound over it, am I right?

Kendra: Exactly! In fact, Reggie Watts and I use the same Line 6 delay pedal. I adore the loops that he makes.

Me: How did you get into this technology, Kendra?

Kendra: About a year ago my older brother, A.J, suggested that I might enjoy experimenting with pedals and lent me a bunch of different kinds. I instantly fell for the looping pedal. Come to think of it, I don't think I even tried using the other pedals. Suddenly I had a device that allowed me to realize all of the vocal harmonies I'd had in my head... it was a dream come true! I received a Line 6 pedal of my own that Christmas and from that point on have been using it almost every day. Definitely my favorite toy.

Me: Apart from Watts, I have no idea who else uses it, do you?

Kendra: There is a killer "looper" named Julianna Barwick. She released an album called "The Magic Place" last year and it's filled with the most lovely atmospheric choral music. Other than that, I've met a handful of people that also are experimenting with vocal looping. It seems to be getting more and more popular.

Me: Kendra, who are your influences? And do you remember the first song you learned to play on guitar? Wasn't it a Grateful Dead song?

Kendra: The Beatles have and always will be number 1. Other than that, my biggest influences include Joni Mitchell, Brian Wilson, The Beach Boys, Joanna Newsom... the list could go on... And yes, the first song I learned how to play on guitar was "Ripple" by the Grateful Dead.

Me: What are some of your favorite bands, Kendra?

Kendra: Man... That's a big question. Rather than deciding on my absolute favorites, I will tell you what bands I'm loving this week: Antibalas, Tame Impala, Gretchen Parlato, Dorothy Ashby, and Foxtails Brigade.

Me: Apart from doing your own thing, you are also in a group called Farouche, am I right? What does Farouche mean? If I had to guess, I would say it's French for 'far out'.

Kendra: Farouche is French for wild and socially awkward.

Me: What kinda music does Farouche play, Kendra? Do they have an album out as well?

Kendra: Farouche is a gypsy swing combo. We play jazz standards in the style of Django Reinhardt. The instrumentation fluctuates according to who's available for gigs, but for the most part it's guitar, upright bass, violin, accordion, and myself on vocals. We don't have an album, unfortunately. We mostly just play private gigs. However, you can check out the website for more info:

Me: I have to ask you about the album cover. Is that a photo that was touched up, or a painting? It's very good... those eyes, man, they stare right at you.

Kendra: That, my friend, is a painting by my best friend, Emily Meehan. You can check out more of her art here:

Me: So, what's next for you? Are you planning on touring or your follow up already?

Kendra: My big plans for 2013 are to tour with Gabrielle Louise and her musical counterpart Erin Inglish. We're currently in the process of planning our tour... the first few months all throughout the US and then in Europe over the summer. More info to come soon. I'm really looking forward to collaborating with those two lovely ladies. I've already started writing music for our trio!

Me: Why don't you go ahead and plug your websites and everything?

Kendra: Certainly!,,  The album can be found on Spotify, iTunes, CDbaby, etc...

Me: Kendra, this year on the Phile I am trying something new. I have this card game thing called Tabletopics full of random questions, so you're are the first one to do this. Here goes...Which language would you like to speak fluently?

Kendra: I would love to learn Portuguese!

Me: Cool. Thanks for being here, I hope the wait was worth it, and I hope you'll come back real soon. All the best, and take care.

Kendra: Thanks, Jason! Be well.

Me: I'll do my best.

There, that does it for the first entry of 2013. It's gonna be a good year, I think. Thanks to my guests Laird Jim, Jeff Trelewicz and of course Kendra McKinley. The Phile will be back tomorrow with Kirl Waldrop, lead singer for the band Nine Times Blue. Then on Tuesday it's the 7th Anniversary Special. As always, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

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