In early 2013 Bonfire Labs began collaborating with writer Kevin Seal on a music business course. As the year wore on it felt right to start developing new musical projects together. This show grew out of that partnership.
Years before Seal was born, his cousins toured Texas and Arkansas as a family bluegrass band. With Mama Wanda on upright bass, and the kids playing fiddle, acoustic guitar, and other instruments, the family thrived on the regional circuit, honing their sound without needing national or international airplay. The regionalism and local flavor of that era have fascinated Seal ever since, as cable television and media consolidation have led us to a more homogenous national sound. Do the homegrown songs in Memphis, Milwaukee, and Tucson still have distinct flavors?
Seal has written about music for more than two decades, while living in Ohio, Indiana, Kent (England), New York, and California. Over that time, he has recorded and toured in Europe, Asia, and North America. Recently, Seal wrote a chapter for the Ashgate Publishing book, Frank Zappa and the And, and analyzed songs for Pandora internet radio.
As a nod to the late John Peel's insatiable appetite for new sounds, this show celebrates local music cultures. Following the credo of "eat locally, act locally, listen locally," the series promotes the idea of the musical Locavore: an active listener who seeks out creative work in his or her immediate surroundings. As fuel prices soar, the day of the nationally-touring, van-living independent musician is waning. The more sustainable option is to support local scenes and regional touring. What can help build this grassroots network of accessible talent, independent music venues, decentralized media outlets, and engaged, participating listeners? Let's dig in.
Oakland has a rich history of soul, funk, gospel, hip hop, punk, and metal. But recently, orchestral pop has been blooming all around Lake Merritt. What's going on in this city by the bay?
Artists featured in this episode:
Felsen, "Better Thoughts" and "Better Thoughts (2.0)"
Young Nudist, "Little Tiger"
The Clarences, "Speak Freedom Sunny Dome"
More in The Seal Sessions
More In The Seal Sessions