When it comes to singing and writing timeless songs, Will Downing does it like no other. His undeniably successful career has spanned decades; he knows how to keep his fans satisfied and wanting more. Will’s 24th album “The Song Garden” is set for release on January 29th. What began as a couple of song releases during the pandemic blossomed into an album. The singles were received and applauded around the world, and fans will absolutely relish “The Secret Garden.” The first single from the album is titled “Stand Up.” Not only does it speak to the current atmosphere in our country, but it inspires and reminds us to stay strong. The album is a combination of all things we know and love about Downing. As you’ll hear in our interview, we are both anticipating the return of live music. Enjoy my interview with Will.
Terri Lyne Carrington granted the wishes of her fans around the world. On August 7th, 2015, she released the follow-up to the GRAMMY award winner for Best Jazz Vocal Album “The Mosaic Project,” “THE MOSAIC PROJECT: LOVE AND SOUL.” The stellar all-female ensemble consists of extraordinary vocalists and astounding musicians. Adding intrigue by his own request is the undeniable voice of Billy Dee Williams, garnishing the project with spoken word. “THE MOSAIC PROJECT: LOVE AND SOUL” is Terri’s expression of the language between men and women. In creating so, she also added a voice message from her dear friend, the late George Duke. The list of exceptional artists featured include: Natalie Cole, Oleta Adams, Lizz Wright, Chaka Khan, Chante Moore, Valerie Simpson, Nancy Wilson, Paula Cole, Jaguar Wright, Ledisi, Lalah Hathaway, Rachel Z, Patrice Rushen, keyboardist Geri Allen, saxophonist Tia Fuller, trumpeter Ingrid Jensen, and bassists Linda Oh and Meshell Ndegoecello. To say that is a lot of powerful talent on one project is an understatement. Terri as drummer, composer, producer, and singer created a project that was reflective of her love of R&B and Jazz. The twelve song album consists of six covers and six originals. She paid homage to great classics and singers of all time such as Frank Sinatra, Bill Withers, Ashford and Simpson, Patrice Rushen, and Duke Ellington. I asked her what she couldn’t do after learning that she also plays guitar, bass, and keyboards on some of the songs.
I am in awe of her talent. Listen, and you will be too:
As festival season and summer come to an end for 2015, I am taking in the best of the last. I always look forward to Labor Day weekend in High Point, NC where I attend the John Coltrane Blues and Jazz Festival. It is held at the beautiful Oak Hollow Park by the lake. Great music, legendary artists, and a spectacular sunset comprise the essence of this festival. This year, the festival was a two-day event. Opening day was an extra special treat for attendees; the Coltrane Youth Orchestra opened the festival, followed by The Bold Soul Revival, featuring singers Lauryn Mitchell, Annika Chambers, and Annie Mack. Then, the first of three legendary masters graced the stage: Earl Klugh. He was followed by Marcus Miller, and ending the night was David Sanborn. It wouldn’t have been a show if Miller hadn’t joined Sanborn on stage for a couple of songs. At the end of day one, my musical palette had been satisfied. The final day was opened by the Coltrane All-Stars, followed by Poncho Sanchez. Rounding out the final evening was Snarky Puppy, joined by Eric Gales and headliner, Lalah Hathaway. Another successful year for The John Coltrane Blues and Jazz Festival, benefiting music and local youth.
Joe Lindsay is a soulful songwriter whose smooth sounds are evident every time you hear him play. Whether on his debut CD “I Wanna Groove”, or on stage with artists such as Stephanie Mills, or Brian Simpson. His music speaks to your emotions, and will always make you feel good. I sat down with Joe and had a conversation about his career.
PBN Joe, tell me when music became your calling.
JOE During my early teenage years when I was inspired by my next door neighbor who would sit outside on his porch and play the bass really loud, Bootsy style. He even had the Bootsy glasses. The funny part of the story is that I actually wanted to play bass guitar, but my parent’s bought the wrong one for Christmas. So it’s their fault I play guitar today.
PBN Did you play in High School?
JOE Yes, I started off playing the saxophone and was first chair every year. In 10th grade I switched to tuba. I switched to tuba because I like to play around a lot. So during band camp, the tuba’s would spot the 50 yard line, and didn’t have to do too much. It also leads back to the whole bass thing. I like being part of the low end.
PBN You attended Berklee College of Music in Boston. While there, what were some of the most valuable lessons you learned about music and about yourself?
JOE To be honest, it was a very excellent school. They give you so much information that it doesn’t really click until after you leave. I learned about theory and the music business. Learning is a lifelong journey. I was there with Lalah Hathaway, Delfayo Marsalis, and Roy Hargrove. So it was great being surrounded by music all the time.
PBN What drives you to continuously evolve?
JOE The love of music and keeping up with what’s going on.
PBN What would you say you like the most between songwriting, performing, recording, collaborating, and managing your own career?
JOE Songwriting of course because of the creative part of it. Performing because you want people to feel what you’re doing. If they’re grooving, you’re grooving.
PBN Who are some of the legends in the industry that have inspired you?
JOE On the songwritng side, Curtis Mayfield, and Miles Davis who’s my all time favorite. On the guitar side, my all time favorite guitar player is Hiram Bullock. I love his style and his diversity. He plays and has fun at the same time.
PBN You write your own original music, you co-write, and you collaborate live.
Do you enjoy one of those more so than the others?
JOE I can’t say I like one more than the other. They all tie in together.
PBN When collaborating and co-writing, you’ve worked across different genres of music and artists.
PBN Do you know who you want to collaborate with when you’re writing?
JOE I know who’s sound I want, and I know who can give me that sound, so I call them up.
PBN Who are some of those artists?
JOE Kenneth Leonard, Rischard Jenkins, John Dillard, Marcus Anderson, Adrian Crutchfield, and Calvin Richardson
PBN You are known as a soulful artist, and you create music that is heartfelt and feels good.
How do you connect the soul and the heart together to create the music?
JOE It’s all feeling. Play from the heart and hope the people you’re playing for feel it. I come from the whole blues background. I love that stuff.
PBN When recording your CD “I wanna Groove”, did you draw from personal experiences?
JOE Maybe some. It’s kinda different when you’re doing instrumental music with no lyrics. But the ballads like track 7 “Your Eyes”, that’s for the ladies. That’s a good mood changing song in a good way.
PBN I’m looking forward to interviewing the many talented artists from North Carolina. Having said that, you are the first one, but on your CD you collaborated with some of the other’s.
PBN How was it collaborating with your fellow friends and musicians?
JOE It’s fun to work with your peers on one another’s projects.
PBN Finally, tell me what it feels like to have your debut album be as successful and well received as it has been.
JOE It feels great. It means a lot of my hard work is paying off. It’s doing what I need it to do. I’m planning on doing another smooth jazz CD. First, I have to continue performing and introducing “I WANNA GROOVE.”
PBN How can fans keep up with what you’re doing and where you will be performing?