Smitty: So how do you like it at Koch Records? Those are great guys over there, aren’t they?
SO: Oh yeah, Dave Wilkes, he’s the head of A&R, is just a sweetheart and he’s a music lover.
Smitty: Yeah, Dave’s totally cool and he has such a rich history of music and he knows how to make things happen.
SO: And that’s what I love. I mean, it’s great when the people you’re working with are actually music lovers, they’re not only business people, of course we all have to be business people, but at the same time, he’s passionate. And it’s great to have that. Dave Wilkes is that way, and he’s just a great guy. He’s been in this business for so many years, and he’s signed so many amazing artists, and Koch has such an amazing roster.
Smitty: Yes indeed!
SO: They’re expanding and that’s Dave. Dave Wilkes is signing a lot of amazing artists and it’s great to see that passion, you know? So whenever I talk to him, we’re always talking about music and it’s cool. You don’t get a chance to do that a lot of times with your label. A lot of it is business and stuff like that, but, you know, with Dave Wilkes, man, he’s just great. Everybody there has just been great.
Smitty: Yeah, it’s a wonderful bunch of people, I tell ya, and Dave is just, he’s so out in front and he’s just doing his thing and he’s got a wonderful appeal. I love talking to him. He’s a great guy, yeah.
SO: Oh yeah, oh yeah, I know, and you did an article with Dave and so you know.
Smitty: Oh Yeah. He’s a different A&R guy, and I love his approach to his position in this music business.
SO: I know.
Smitty: So now I want to talk about some of these musicians too. Man, you’ve got two of my favorite bass players in the world and that’s Gerald Veasley and Mel Brown.
SO: Oh, I can’t say enough about them. Well, first we’re doing a couple of shows of Triad this year which features Gerald Veasley and Michael Paulo, who’s an incredible sax player.
Smitty: Yes, he is.
SO: And it was funny; when I got Gerald to play on one of the songs (“Reach the Sky”), we were actually rehearsing Triad for the Catalina Jazz Festival and we rehearsed here at my house. We had all the guys here. It was Brian Simpson, Gerald Veasley, Michael (Paulo), and Christian (Poezach) was my drummer that played in the Catalina show. So they were all over here at the house and we rehearsed for a couple of days; while Gerald was here, I go “Gerald, I have a song for you to play on,” for the new album, so we recorded it here at my house with Gerald and it just came out great. And Mel Brown, oh my gosh, I mean……
Smitty: Is he a monster or what?
SO: He is mind blowing. I mean, he played to the songs so amazingly. I mean, enough said, just listen to his tracks. He’s on most of the album, actually.
Smitty: Yeah, I noticed.
SO: Yeah, Mel played on, gosh, he played on eight of the 11 songs, and what he brought to the table was just beyond belief. I mean, it just really made the tunes speak. I can’t say enough words about Mel Brown.
Smitty: Yeah. He adds such a unique oomph to a song.
SO: I know, I know. But just on “Good to Go”….. that’s the new single actually going to radio for the Radiant album, and what he played on that tune; and he added this like little reggae kind of vibe to it. All of a sudden it was like “Oh man, this is so cool.” I mean, just the new elements, and it’s nice too when you have a song and they get inspired…. the musicians, and they wanna add to the party, you know.
SO: And so they wanna bring this, you know, they wanna bring more chips and salsa, you know, more bites and stuff to the songs and that’s how Mel is.
Smitty: Yeah, he’s a great guy.
SO: Yeah, he is.
Smitty: And you’ve got Michael B.
SO: Michael Broening, yeah. Another amazing musician, you know, he’s been working with Marion (Meadows) on Marion’s last three records. And Marion’s done so well, in part I think because of Michael being aboard. We’re adding his sounds and his songwriting and all of his approach and actually Michael played on my first album, First View.
Smitty: I remember.
SO: So I’ve known Michael for many, many moons and it’s been a joy to watch him grow, you know, as a producer. So we spent a lot of time on this album and he did an amazing job. He mixed eight of the songs on the album. Not only mixed it, but he played all the keyboards, did a lot of programming, and so he was very, very involved with the sounds and putting together all the stuff on this new album.
Smitty: Yeah. It’s a great feel.
SO: Oh, thank you, yeah.
Smitty: And I didn’t want to forget Hans (Zermuehlen), man.
SO: Oh, the greatest. Hans the Greatest! (Both laughing) He’s been my touring keyboard player and he’s just such an amazing player and underrated, you know?
SO: He’s played with everybody from Air Supply to Eric Marienthal , I mean, The guy is just incredible.
Smitty: Yeah. Please say hello to Hans for me. “I’m sorry, Hans!” I can’t forget you man!
SO: Yes, I will. I definitely will.
Smitty: When you first developed the concept of Radiant, Were you reflecting back on some of your past projects and memories? Were you dwelling in the moment of what’s happening in your life, in the world? Talk about that title.
SO: Yeah, that word “radiant,” if you just say it, it’s something about it; it does something to you, to your body. It kinda resonates. “Radiant,” when you say that word it’s like, wow, it really resonates, I think, within the human soul. At least it does for me, when I hear that word “radiant,” whoa, you know, it’s like it’s a big sunset, or like a radiant sunset. What else can you say? It just….it speaks to you, and that’s what music does to me too. So I wanted to kinda involve not only the radiant sunset, but to have radiant music, radiant music that makes you feel good. And that’s kind of….was the concept of the whole album, so every song title has something to do with radiant. If you look down the list of songs, you know, “Tradewinds”, “Radiant Dreams”, “Shine,” they all have to do with some kind of…..“Reach the Sky”. They’re all uplifting kind of meanings.
Smitty: You did an excellent description on the back of the liner notes. It’s sort of a description of the record with the song titles included as part of the description. I thought that was pretty cool.