UCR INTERVIEW: Lara Hope of Lara Hope & the Ark-Tones

Lara Hope
Photo Credit: Franco Vogt

Lara Hope & the Ark-Tones are a Rockabilly band from Kingston, New York. “Ask anyone who’s caught them live and you’ll hear the same thing: It’s simply impossible to see Lara Hope & the Ark-Tones perform and not have a great time. A smile on the lips, a swivel in the hips, and an earful of snappy tunes are the inevitable takeaways from any Ark-Tones appearance. The band’s singular blend of rock ‘n’ roll, country, blues, surf, Western swing, rockabilly, folk, pop, and jazzy rhythm & blues gets feet a-moving and hands a-clapping no matter the audience. By the end of the night, if they weren’t already, those lucky
concertgoers are rabid fans.”

We had the opportunity to chat with Lara recently. We talked about her extensive career, what she’s been up to during the pandemic, and the new album Here to Tell the Tale.

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UCR INTERVIEW: Matt Easton of The Jenny Thing

The Jenny Thing

“The Jenny Thing came together on the Berkeley campus of the University of California in 1991 when singer/guitarist Matt Easton met guitarist Shyam Rao. Matt and drummer Mike Phillips had grown up together, and both had been friends with bass player Ehren Becker since junior high.”

The Jenny Thing released three albums throughout the ’90s and received extensive airplay on college radio. They toured primarily in the west and performed at colleges and clubs like The Roxy and The Troubador in Los Angeles.

The band has reunited and have just released their first album since 1999. American Canyon is available wherever you purchase or stream music.

I had the opportunity to visit with Matt Easton, vocalist/ guitarist/ songwriter of The Jenny Thing. He shared stories of his first concert, best performing experience, and how American Canyon came about. It was a real pleasure to talk with him. Enjoy!

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UCR INTERVIEW: James DiGirolamo

James DiGirolamo

Nashville-based singer-songwriter James DiGirolamo has extensive experience as a
session musician and touring sideman. As a keyboard player, he’s worked with Mindy
Smith, Holly Williams, Peter Bradley Adams, Alice Peacock, Robby Hecht, Fognode,
The Bittersweets, Judson Spence, and many others. DiGirolamo’s latest solo work
draws on a wide array of influences including Paul Simon, The Beatles, Joni Mitchell,
Elliott Smith, Kate Bush, Stevie Wonder, Elvis Costello, Harry Nilsson, Thomas Dolby,
Steven Sondheim, XTC, Steely Dan, Ben Folds, Ron Sexsmith, and to no small degree
many friends and peers from his time in Nashville, such as Sarah Siskind.

James DiGirolamo has just released an EP of original songs. I had the opportunity to talk to James about Paper Boats, his music career, and much much more. Enjoy!

Interviewed by Kevin Rolfe

UCR:  Where am I talking to you from right now? 

James DiGirolamo:  I’m just outside of Nashville. 

UCR:  Oh, nice, and is that where you’re from originally, or did you move there for music?

James DiGirolamo: I came here in ’87 to go to college at Belmont. I studied music there. I’m originally from outside of Philadelphia.  I’ve lived here in Nashville the longest. I did the requisite New York City sojourn after college, and then I came back five years later, not necessarily with my tail between my legs. But that’s a hard place to struggle.

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UCR INTERVIEW: Christopher Shayne

Utah Concert Review: Christopher Shayne

Arizona Southern Rocker, Christopher Shayne recently released his highly anticipated debut EP, Ten High. As I’m sure you can imagine, Christopher is anxious to get the band together and hit the road to share his music. In the meantime, we were able to catch up with him to discuss the EP, what it’s like being a southern rocker in Arizona, and how he discovered his voice. I really enjoyed this Utah Concert Review interview with Christopher Shayne. Hope you enjoy our conversation!

Kevin Rolfe (Interviewer)

UCR: So where am I speaking to you from today? Tonight?

Christopher: We are in my home studio because I’m not allowed to go anywhere else.

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UCR INTERVIEW: Nina Herzog

Nina Herzog Photo Credit: Jay Gilbert

Nina Herzog is a singer/songwriter from Los Angeles California. Nina first stepped into the spotlight as the speaking and singing voice of Odette, The Swan Princess, in Sony Animation’s “The Swan Princess” series. She has also done an extensive amount of session and voice over work along with various performances with symphonies around the country including the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington D.C.

Nina will be releasing her EP Together Away on March 12. She has just recently released her version of the Elvis Presley Classic, “Can’t Help Falling in Love” in February. I had the opportunity to chat with Nina about making her own music after performing and recording other people’s songs for so long. Enjoy!

Kevin Rolfe

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UCR INTERVIEW: Tim Smith of The Lickerish Quartet

The Lickerish Quartet

THE LICKERISH QUARTETex-Jellyfish members Roger Joseph Manning Jr.
(Beck, Air, Cheap Trick, Imperial Drag), Tim Smith (Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, The Finn Brothers, Sheryl Crow, Umajets) and Eric Dover (Imperial Drag, Slash’s Snakepit, Alice Cooper, Sextus)—is standing by their promise to their fans to release more new music before the end of 2020. They’re excited to announce their highly anticipated THREESOME VOL. 2 EP, which was released on January 8, 2021, via Stranger Danger Records and Tapes. The first single and video, “Snollygoster Goon,” can be seen now on the band’s official YouTube page and streamed on Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon.

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UCR Interview- Party Nails

Interview By: Kevin Rolfe

Los Angeles based artist Party Nails’ debut album, Past Lives and Paychecks was released in 2018.  Her most recent single entitled ‘I Go To You’ is a stunning and intimate love song, featuring relatable honest lyricism, raw acoustic guitar and layered soft vocals which ride gently atop the organic instrumentation. Her previous single ‘So Broke’ features the singer’s distinct sound of glittery synth-pop and went viral on Spotify.  

We caught up with Party Nails when she was here in Utah supporting Eve 6 on their 20th anniversary tour.  She had some wonderful insight on someone who is getting their opportunity to do what they love. Enjoy!

Utah Concert Review: So are you originally from Los Angeles?

Party Nails: I’m from New York. Like 40 minutes south of Albany. So not too far north but definitely really rural and small.

Utah Concert Review: Did music bring you to L.A.?

Party Nails: Yeah. I lived in New York City for like four years before I moved to L.A.  I just had this thought that I should probably move to L.A. so I did. But that’s the short version of the story.

Utah Concert Review: So what happened where you started to feel like things were happening for you with music?  

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