Woody Radio DJ Mike Show #149 9/19/2020: Interviews with Speed The Plough and Anton Barbeau

On this show, it was my distinct pleasure to have guests whom I’ve had on my old Twirl Radio shows in the past. In both cases, this was their first time joining me on Woody Radio.

In the first hour, I caught up with John and Toni Baumgartner, the principals behind venerable New Jersey outfit Speed The Plough. This is a low key, rockin’ band who’ve been making waves since the 1980s, in the musically fertile ground of New Jersey. Their story, starting as The Trypes, and morphing into Speed The Plough, has been occasionally intertwined with Bar/None Records legends The Feelies, but they’ve forged their own path.

Their sound and feel is home grown–friends and multiple generations of family making music together–by and for each other. It’s an honor to be invited into their world to enjoy their music. They reside at the three way intersection of rock, folk, and classical–and occasional bits of world music find their way in as well.

They’ve released several albums over the years, but as the world started locking down and quarantining, playing gigs and even rehearsals abruptly stopped. Remember–New York and New Jersey were the earliest areas in the US to be hard hit by the COVID pandemic. But their creativity kept going. John and Toni decided to release a new song each month, inviting different musicians to participate–some from down the street, others from as far away as Lebanon. The song release project is called “Before & After Silence”, and it kicked off in August with two tracks released, then a new one this month called “Beautiful Place”. Ultimately, they will have released 10 or more songs, taking us well into 2021, and hopefully, to the point where it becomes safe to go out and see people and hear live music again. You’ll want to get these three lovely songs, and the ones that follow. Learn more about Speed The Plough at http://www.speedtheplough.com/.

Anton Barbeau has been a regular guest on my shows for the past decade, and I’ve known of his music for about 20 years. Originally from right here in Sacramento, it sometimes doesn’t seem to me that he lives in Berlin. I see him or talk to him a few times a year, and go to some of his shows here in Sacramento, when he’s back here visiting. But he has lived abroad for about 15 years, and has made a name for himself in music circles far and wide.

As you may know, Greta Gerwig, a Sacramento native, wrote and directed the movie “Lady Bird” a few years ago, which was a “coming of age” picture for a young lady. It was well-received in the world at large, but really made a huge splash in our small city/big town of Sacramento. If you live here and saw the movie, you spent half of it proudly pointing out familiar locations in the city. So Anton was sitting in Europe, watching this, noting that he could relate to the basic premise of growing up in Sacramento, being artistic, and eventually leaving.

So a kernel of an idea became Manbird–both a song, and then a second version of that song, and then a sprawling, autobiograhical double album. In our chat, I found out that he’s always had a strong love for birds, and that’s reflected in many of the song titles and wordplay. But a lot of the album is quite literal. It’s two strong discs (or two strong vinyl platters, if you choose that format) of material. Really good songs, no filler. This ups his game. Every bit as good as the music is the artwork package created by Julia VBH–photos from all aspects of his life, lyrics, and some really artful set design.

The music is great, and as you might expect with Anton Barbeau–has its delightfully quirky moments. But it’s melodic, and everything truly fits into place. It might be his most appropriate album ever. Appropriate to this time and place, and appropriate as a “stand back and catch your breath, and try to figure out how he got here” record. It’s personal, and that makes it all the better. You’ll want this one. http://manbird.antonbarbeau.com/

Artist | Title | Album
Translator | Everywhere That I’m Not | Translation
Alpha Cat | Mona Lisa In A Comic Book | Thatched Roof Glass House
Victor Sotelo | Hey Paul! | Homeland Insecurities
Lost Leaders | People Like Us | Promises Promises
The re-Used Electrics | One Track Mind | For Johnny EP
Sue Leonard | Bye Baby | Leonardville
Felsen | Temporary Diamonds On Display | Breaking Up With Loneliness
The Corner Laughers | Sisters of the Pollen | Temescal Telegraph

Interview with John and Toni Baumgartner of Speed the Plough
Speed the Plough | Just Because You Can | Single release
Speed the Plough | Rush Hour (Inadvertent Meditation for a Friend) | Single release
Speed the Plough | Beautiful Place | Single release

Uncle Tupelo | Outdone (1989 Demo) | 89/93 An Anthology
DC Cardwell | Lies Are All You Speak | Crystal Set
Handcuffs | Resurrection | Electroluv
Chandler Travis Philharmonic | Stay Like That | Let’s Have A Pancake!
Harvey Danger | Carlotta Valdez | Where Have All The Merrymakers Gone?
Happy Together | Tawny Thiele | The Fowl Tone Sampler
Brian Cullman | Sleep It Off | Winter Clothes
Heiskell | The Chubby Guy Song | Clip-On Nose Ring
The Welcome Matt | Apathy | More Empire Days
Lisa Mychols & SUPER 8 | Honey Bee | LISA MYCHOLS & SUPER 8
Jackson Browne | Rock Me On The Water | Saturate Before Using

Anton Barbeau interview
Anton Barbeau | Manbird | Manbird Disk 1
Anton Barbeau | Across The Drama Pond | Manbird Disk 1
Anton Barbeau | Featherweight | Manbird Disk 1

LEONTY / Rose Reiter | Inside | Single release
Fishbone | Party at Ground Zero | Fishbone
Lannie Flowers | What Did I Know | March To Home
Sunshine Boys | In Between Time | Work and Love
Rachel Taylor Brown | Up You | Run Tiny Human
Bellygunner | Medicine | Machine Gun Built For Two
Blake Jones | The Last Song Of Summer | The Homebound Tapes
Amoeba Teen | Like A Hit To The Head | Medium Wave
Bill Lloyd | I’ll Take It From Here | Don’t Kill The Messenger
Marshall Holland | Don’t Do It | Paper Airplane
Sex 66 | Numb | Grew Up Down

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