When the Fretboard Journal started podcasting back in April of 2009, there weren’t many (if any) guitar-related podcasts. As the platform has taken off, there now at least a dozen podcasts for guitarists as well as innumerable podcasts about the craft of music and songwriting. There are now podcasts just about pedals, podcasts that dissect a single song and podcasts about just about every other rabbit hole in music that you can think of. With that in mind, for this month’s Five to Follow we’ll shed light on five podcasts that we think most FJ readers would enjoy. It’s not a definitive list by any means, but these are the ones we turn to on those long commutes.
Eric Daw is the repairman at Seattle’s Emerald City Guitars as well as the guy behind Pin-Up Custom Guitars. On his monthly podcast, he fields questions on guitar repair, modifications and guitar construction. From time-to-time, he also interviews industry cohorts such as acoustic repair guru Mark Tossman. Most of Eric’s clients seek him out for his electric guitar expertise but he tackles everyone’s questions and, best of all, when he doesn’t know something, he actually admits it. The result is a hype-free, informative and no-frills show where we always learn something new. We’ve been championing Eric’s monthly podcast since its inception and will continue to do so… it’s just a great listen.
2. Music Makers and Soul Shakers with Steve Dawson
In 2013, Juno-winning musician/producer Steve Dawson left Canada for Nashville. He’s opened a studio down there (the Henhouse) and, as a nice byproduct, he started the Music Makers podcast. Production quality is stellar on this one and Dawson is a natural host – seriously, this show could easily fit on NPR. Expect to hear intelligent, long-form interviews with some of our favorite musicians (and plenty of FJ subjects). To date, he’s done episodes on Bill Frisell, Bruce Cockburn, Joe Henry (over two hours long for Henry), Fats Kaplin, Duane Eddy, Danny Barnes and Marc Ribot. Always delightful.
3. 60 Cycle Hum: The Guitar Podcast!
The concept of 60 Cycle Hum is pretty unique: Two guys discussing guitar buying, selling and flipping, usually while consuming a few beers. They read ads from Craigslist and Reverb, they dissect them for their merits (or idiocy), gab about their current gear and gigs and more. As you’ve probably guessed, this isn’t a show about modern luthier-built instruments – Ryan and Steve focus on guitars, amps and effects for the working musicians on a tight budget. Granted, its loose format is an acquired taste, but they’ve built an incredible little community around their show and we’re always suckers for a good barn find story.
4. Thanks for Giving a Damn with Otis Gibbs
Nearly once a month, singer-songwriter Otis Gibbs releases a new episode of his podcast. Recorded in Gibbs’ Nashville living room, each show has a hyper-focused theme. Want Billy Bragg to tell you the story of Skiffle? There’s an episode just on that. Same goes if you want to hear what it was like to work for bluegrass legend Jimmy Martin. Gibbs has also done entire episodes on the Replacements in Memphis, the magic of Ralph Peer; stories on Jerry Reed and what it was like to work for Hank Williams, Jr. With each episode, we get to be a fly on the wall at Gibbs’ home, while he sits back and has friends regale him with stories and reflections. Candid, fascinating and always entertaining. A great podcast for long drives.
5. The Fretboard Journal Podcast
We can’t forget about own podcast, can we? Each week (yes, we’re now weekly), I interview artists, luthiers and collectors. No script, no formula, just great talks with the likes of Bill Frisell, Michael Gurian, Jim Olson, Julian Lage, Jason Kostal, Danny Barnes and others. We also use our podcast to share content from our Fretboard Summit talks and, on occasion, we even follow a guitar build. One of my favorite recent talks is one you probably wouldn’t click on: guitarist Tim Young. We had a fascinating and candid talk about what it means to be a working musician and how his career has evolved. Check it out.