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The WDVX Blue Plate Special – 5/7 – Rees Shad / Louise Goffin

May 7 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

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Louise Goffin is a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. Born in Brooklyn, New York, Louise grew up bound by the DNA of great songwriting. She first appeared singing on records as a young girl, when she performed back-up vocals on Cheech and Chong’s Basketball Jones, and on Carole King’s soundtrack for Maurice Sendak’s classic animated children’s movie, Really Rosie. Snagging record contracts over the years with Elektra-Asylum, Warner Bros. and Dreamworks, Louise’s debut album Kid Blue came out when she was 19. She prides herself on a balanced work/home life, yet remains prolific, having gone on to release nine more albums on both majors and her own independent Majority of One label. She also co-wrote and produced an album for Carole King that earned King a Grammy nomination in 2011.

Much respected by fellow artists and peers in the industry, she has been asked to bring her multi-instrumental skills to other projects. In the mid ‘90s, she toured as a guitarist and background vocalist in Tears for Fears, and appeared in a video playing banjo with Roxy Music frontman Bryan Ferry. Even more famously, she sang alongside her iconic mother on the theme song for the wildly popular TV drama Gilmore Girls. At the start of her career, she was the youngest artist to appear on the soundtrack of the Cameron Crowe high school cult classic, Fast Times At Ridgemont High, with her original and infectious “Uptown Boys”.

And 2022 has Goffin appearing as a featured artist on the 50th Anniversary Tribute to Todd Rundgren’s Something/Anything? album. Her energetic, Motown-infused spin on Rundgren’s 1972 AM radio hit “I Saw the Light” pays tribute to the pop classic that opened his 1972 double album. Louise was called by co-producer Fernando Perdomo (Echo In The Canyon) to give the song a new spin. Darian Sahanaja (Brian Wilson), Marcella Detroit (Shakespeare’s Sister, Eric Clapton), Kaitlin Wolfberg (Calico, The Monkees) and Scot Sax (Lucinda Williams, Tim McGraw) helped turn “I Saw the Light” into a feel-good stomper. The song is mixed by five-time Grammy-winning engineer Dave Way (Fiona Apple, Macy Gray, Shakira).

Her latest albums, All These Hellos and Two Different Movies, feature Van Dyke Parks with a classic Hollywood movie arrangement of the Goffin/Harvey penned “Chinatown”, and Goffin’s lyric and music composition, “Oh My God”. The two albums boast duets with Chris Difford from Squeeze, Rufus Wainwright, and oft-collaborator Billy Harvey.

Her recordings appear in film and television. Watching The Sky Turn Blue plays out the credits on the quirky indie film Carrie Pilby. Her self-penned Archives appears in the Gilmore Girls Netflix reboot. She covers a classic Christmas song in Bad Santa 2, and can be heard in an episode of Girlfriends’ Guide To Divorce.

Louise’s songwriting has been praised by Doobie Brothers singer-songwriter Michael McDonald (NY Times interview 2009) and her songs have been recorded by artists of varying genres. Some of the artists performing her songs are her mother, Carole King, Vanessa Amorosi, Shawn Colvin, Nicole Atkins, Terry Reid, Amy Holland, Paul Thorn, and Sara Douga.

In 2016, Louise opened for Carole King’s first-ever live performance of the entire Tapestry album, along with Don Henley, for an historic British Summer Time show in Hyde Park, to a 65,000-full venue.

Louise is a storyteller who loves talking to legendary songwriters, musicians, and producers, giving listeners access to the behind-the-scenes artistic process with her podcast, Song Chronicles which she produces and hosts.

Goffin also dedicates time in her role as Founder and Creative Director of the Goffin-King Foundation, a not-for-profit entity dedicated to empowering songwriters and preserving the legacy of her legendary songwriting parents, Gerry Goffin and Carole King, providing songwriting retreats irrespective of ethnicity, income or age, as well as providing educational opportunities for middle and high schools lacking in arts funding to advance student’s self-expression as songwriters, performers, and musicians.

When Rees Shad began his musical journey three decades ago with the 1994 debut release, Anderson, Ohio, critics called him a “wordsmith to watch.”

It’s a reputation the remarkably prolific and eclectic singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and storyteller has proudly cultivated. Shad now boasts some 30 albums, each of which reflect an unyielding combination of emotion and expression that has become the hallmark of Shad’s catalog.

With every successive outing, he has been committed to raising the bar, and his latest release The Galahad Blues signals a significant uptick as it may well be his most ambitious effort yet. As Shad explains in the liner notes, the songs were spawned from a musical he has been crafting for several years.

“That’s how I often work, assigning myself compositional parameters and writing pieces of music that must work within those creative restraints,” he reflects. “This might be story songs in keeping with a particular writer’s style (Anderson, Ohio and on parts of Half A World Away) or songs responding to a particular production style (Truth’s Twilight), or songs that collectively describe a larger narrative arc (The Riggley Road Stories, and The Watcher).

“This approach provides me with a particular directive as I sit down to compose that is very much like a design assignment,” he continues. “It sidesteps the what-do-I-write-about-today quagmire that so often happens when one sits down each morning to compose.”

In the case of his latest offering, the process worked brilliantly, resulting in an album that reimagines the Knights of the Round Table recast as gangsters, King Arthur’s Camelot as a 1940s Chicago nightclub, and rather than focusing on gallantry and chivalry, Shad explores the potential of finding honor among thieves.

“The project has involved me wordsmithing on a whole different level as I researched and adapted the hipster language of the 1930s and 1940s to my music and lyrics,” Shad explains. “As of late, the two have been strongly influenced by the American Songbook writers I grew up listening to, like Cole Porter, Hoagie Carmichael, and the Gershwins.”

That influence is obvious throughout, particularly in the expressive tones, dramatic arrangements, and especially in the riveting melodies that are threaded throughout the album. The production is cinematic, and for good reason. Shad’s love of film was nurtured by his parents who encouraged his appreciation of the drama and dynamic of filmmaking with particular attention to the art of story-telling overall, which he has always endeavored to incorporate into his work.

Consequently, there is a storyline to be found within The Galahad Blues that makes this part concept album, part fantasy, and, most of all, a fascinating collection embroidered with richly detailed micro dramas.

Rees and his band The Conversations (Bobby Kay, Jeff Link, & Carlos Valdez) do the primary heavy lifting in the performances here, but guests appearances by Tony Aiello (Joe Jackson, Southside Johnny) on reeds, Larry Campbell on violin (Bob Dylan, Sheryl Crow, Paul Simon) Ira Coleman on Upright Bass (Tony Williams, Herbie Hancock, Sting), and Tom Major on drums (Bo Diddley, Pousette Dart), round out the production.

Rees’ last album, 6 Strings and a Story, released this past October 2023, looked back on selected songs from his prolific career, all revisited in solo, stripped down acoustic settings. American Songwriter hailed it as “a superb sampling of the skill and savvy that have been a hallmark of Shad’s career from the very beginning.”

“Ultimately, It’s all about the storytelling for me,” Shad says. “I believe the listening process should be interactive. I’m hoping to help lay the crumbs that people inevitably will want to follow… all the while striving to light up my listeners’ imaginations.”


May 7
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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301 S. Gay Street
Knoxville, TN 37902 United States
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