Nakedly Examined Music is a podcast about making music: Why do we do it? Why do we do it the way we do it? Mark Linsenmayer interviews songwriters and composers famous and otherwise about specific recordings, which are presented in full on the podcast.

NEM#160: John McCutcheon Learns the Lessons of Folk

John has released 45 albums since 1975 of original folk, traditional folk, children’s music (garnering six Grammy nominations for those), and instrumentals: He is fluent on guitar, banjo, violin, dulcimer, and more.

His songs very often tell stories, and we discuss several of those: “Atonement” from Bucket List (2021), “Soup” from Wintersongs (1995), and “Water from Another Time” from Gonna Rise Again (1987). We end by listening to “The Night John Prine Died” from Cabin Fever: Songs from Quarantine (2020). Intro: “Christmas in the Trenches” from Winter Solstice (1984). For more, see folkmusic.com.

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NEM#159: Steve Bartek (Oingo Boingo) Is a Writer, Not Just an Arranger

Steve is best known as guitarist/arranger for Oingo Boingo through their eight albums from 1981-1995 and for following its leader Danny Elfman into a life creating movie soundtracks. However, his activity as composer goes all the way back to the late ’60s.

We discuss “Tango” by jackiO from their self-titled album (2019), “The Wake” and “Checking Out/Streets of Managu” from his soundtracks to Guilty as Charged (1991) and The Art of Travel (2008), and “Rainy Day Mushroom Pillow” by Strawberry Alarm Clock from Incense and Peppermints (1967). Outro: “Nothing to Feel” by Fejj from Alive (1979) Intro: the title track to Dead Man’s Party by Oingo Boingo (1985).

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NEM#158: Dar Williams: Songs as Thought Processes

Dar has released 11 albums on labels since 1993 of highly literate, introspective folk-pop songs. We discuss “Berkeley” (and listen to “Today and Everyday”) from I’ll Meet You Here (2021), “Empty Plane” from Emerald (2015), and ” Are You Out There” from End of the Summer (1997). Intro: “As Cool As I Am” from Mortal City (1996). For info see darwilliams.com.

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NEM#157: DEVO’s Gerald V. Casale: Guises of Social Critique

Jerry is DEVO’s co-frontman and chief philosopher. They’ve released nine albums since 1978. His solo career has been sporadic, with a release as Jihad Jerry & the Evildoers in 2006 and a few singles. We discuss his new song and videoI’m Gonna Pay U Back,” and one of those Jihad Jerry tracks (that album now reissued to include the new track) “The Owl,” and the 1979-recorded Devo track “Fountain of Filth” (released on Hardcore Devo Vol. 2). We conclude by listening to his 2016 single “It’s All Devo.” Intro: “Whip It” by Devo from Freedom of Choice (1980). For more see geraldvcasale.com.

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NEM#156: Emma-Jean Thackray’s Modern Mix of Jazz, R&B, and More

Emma-Jean is a trumpeter, singer, multi-instrumentalist, and techie who runs her own label. She’s had five releases since 2016. We discuss “Say Something” (and listen at the end to “Spectre”  from Yellow (2021), “Open – Remix feat. Blu” (a 2020 single), and “Um” from Um Yang (2020). Intro: “Baro Bop” from Walrus (2016). For more see emmajeanthackray.com.

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NEM#155: Melvin Gibbs Protests w/ Bass, Jazz Composition, Production, Sound Design

Melvin has played bass on over 200 albums since 1980 in the worlds of jazz, rock, and hip-hop, and has numerous songwriting credits, playing with Defunkt, Arto Lindsay, Henry Rollins, Bernie Worrell, Vernon Reid, etc.

We discuss his solo tune featuring Kokayi “Get Some” from 4+1 Equals 5 for May 25 (2021), the title track from The Terror End Of Beauty (2018) by his trio Harriet Tubman, and “Howard Beach Memoirs” by Power Tools (with Bill Frisell and Ronald Shannon Jackson) from Strange Meeting (1987). We end by listening to “Canto por Odudua” by Melvin Gibbs’ Elevated Entity from Ancients Speak (2009) Intro: “Melvin’s Tune” from Defunkt (1980). More at music.melvin-gibbs.com.

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NEM#154: Chris Connelly (ex-Revolting Cocks/Ministry): From Apocalyptic Industrials to Poets in Love

Chris started in the Scottish electronic band Finitribe in the early ’80s and then moved to Chicago in 1988, doing stints in Revolting Cocks, Ministry, Pigface, et al, before embarking on a 23-album solo career.

We discuss “A Phantom Marriage” from The Birthday Poems (2021) feat. Monica Queen, the title track from Bloodhounds (2018), “De Testimony” by Finitribe from Let the Tribe Grow (1986), plus we listen to “God Gets Religion” by Cocksure from Operation C.O.C.K.S.U.R.E. (2020). Intro: “Stowaway” from Whiplash Boychild (1991). For more see chrisconnelly.com and thebirthdaypoems.com.

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NEM#153: Steve Kilbey (The Church) Reveals the Secrets to Being Prolific

Steve has written over 1000 songs across 17 Church albums starting in 1980, 13 solo albums and numerous collaborations. His style is theatrical and psychedelic, and his lyrics aim for “maximum ambiguity.”

We discuss “Love Song Yet to Be Named” from The Hall of Counterfeits (2021) and some tunes by The Church: “Another Century” from man woman life death infinity (2017) and “Is this Where You Live?” from Of Skins and Heart (1981). Intro: “Under the Milky Way” from Starfish (1988). We conclude with the title track from Steve’s solo album Sydney Rococo (2018). More at thechurchband.net and thetimebeing.com.

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NEM#152: Glen Phillips (Toad the Wet Sprocket) Builds His Capacity

Glen led smooth alt rock legends Toad the Wet Sprocket from ’88 to ’97 through six albums, has released 7 often folky solo albums (and 3 more Toad albums since their reunion) since then plus various side projects.

We discuss “Old Habits Die Hard” by Toad (a 2020 single), “Leaving Oldtown” from Swallowed by the New (2016), and “One Wind Blows” from Toad’s Bread and Circus (1988). We end with the title track from the 2021 Toad album Starting Now. Intro: “All I Want” from fear (1991). For more see glenphillips.com and toadthewetsprocket.com.

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NEM#151: Cathal Coughlan (Fatima Mansions, Microdisney): Pyschogeographic Tales

Cathal started in Ireland in 1980 with Microdisney, and after five albums with then broke that up to form Fatima Mansions in 1988. After seven albums with them, he started a solo career and has now after a decade-long hiatus (during which he released a few collaborations) has come back with his sixth solo release Song of Co-Acklan. We discuss “Unrealtime” and (in closing) hear the title track from that album, plus “Denial Of The Right To Dream” from The Sky’s Awful Blue (2002) and “Valley of the Dead Cars” by The Fatima Mansions from Against Nature (1989). Intro/outro: “Town to Town” by Microdisney from Crooked Mile (1987). For more, see cathalcoughlan.com.

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NEM#150: Josh Caterer (Smoking Popes): Punk + 40s Melodies (+ Occasional Jesus)

Josh released three albums and some EPs in the 90s with his brothers as the Chicago-area punk band Smoking Popes, then became a Christian and released an album and a half as Duvall, then reformed the Smoking Popes to release three more albums since 2008. He’s also released some religious material as a solo artist, and his new album is composed of live covers of classic songs and reworkings of his own material.

We discuss “Need You Around,” originally from Born to Quit (1995) and re-arranged for The Hideout Sessions (2021). We then turn to the Popes’ “Amanda My Love” from Into the Agony (2018) and Duvall’s “Taking Me Home” from Volume & Density (2003), and we conclude with another new recording, “My Funny Valentine” (Rodgers/Hart). Intro: “Megan” from Destination Failure (1997). More at smokingpopesmusic.com.

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NEM#149: Rod Abernethy’s Return to Acoustic (from Video Game Soundtracks)

Rod released his first album “Solo” in 1975, played in some bands, but after losing on Star Search, turned to soundtrack work, emerging only in 2018 with three straight albums of acoustic singer-songwriter and instrumental material.

We discuss “My Father Was a Quiet Man” (and listen to “Whiskey & Pie”) from Normal Isn’t Normal Anymore (2021), “How to Forget” from The Man I’m Supposed to Be (2018), and “Working the Mill” and “Battle in Laketown” from The Hobbit Official Soundtrack (2003). Intro: “Driving to Dan’s” from Rage Original Game Soundtrack (2011). For more, see rodabernethy.com.

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NEM#148: David Cross (ex-King Crimson): Electric Violin Dinosaur Battles

David played in perhaps the most revered line-up of King Crimson at the end of its original run from ’72-’74. He released his first “solo” album (as Low Flying Aircraft) in ’87, then eight more under his own name plus several collaborations.

We discuss “Predator” by Cross and Jackson from Another Day (2018), “The Pool” by The David Cross Band from Sign of the Crow (2016), and “Awful Love” from Closer than Skin (2005). We conclude with the title track from Crossover by David Cross and Peter Banks (2020). Intro: “Exiles” by King Crimson from Larks’ Tongues in Aspic (1973). For more, see davidcrossband.com.

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NEM#147: Steve Almaas: From Punk to the Rodeo

Steve was in one of Minneapolis’ first big punk bands, The Suicide Commandos, but after one album in 1977, he soon left for New York City and eventually hit it relatively big with two records on IRS as Beat Rodeo, with a solo career continuing the country-rock style beginning in 1992 through nine albums.

We discuss “The Way I Treated You” (and listen to “Goodbye Nicolina,” featuring The Jayhawks’ Gary Louris) from Everywhere You’ve Been (2021), “Try Again” by The Suicide Commandos from their reunion album Time Bomb (2017), and the title track from Steve’s first solo record East River Blues (1992). Intro: “Just Friends” from Staying Out Late w/ the Beat Rodeo (1984). 

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NEM#146: Nels Cline Writes Jazz Fusion (And Plays Guitar for Wilco)

Though best known as lead guitarist for Wilco since 2004, Nels has recorded 30+ instrumental albums, often as band leader. We discuss “Headdress” by The Nels Cline Singers from Share the Wealth (2020), “The Nomad’s Home” from Coward (2009), and “Fives & Sixes” from his first solo release, Angelica (1987). We conclude by listening to “Imperfect Ten” by The Nels Cline 4 from From Currents, Constellations (2018). Intro: “You Are My Face” by Wilco from Sky Blue Sky (2007), co-written with Jeff Tweedy. More at nelscline.com.

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NEM#145: Jay Gonzalez: Concise but Colorful

Jay is best known as sideman for Drive-By Truckers since 2008 but has written songs for Athens bands like The Possibilities and Nutria since the 90s and has three solo releases.

We discuss the title track (and listen at the end to “I Wanna Hold You”) from Back to the Hive (2021), “&#%&#!” and “Shenorock Lane” from The Bitter Suite (2015), and “Turning Me On” from Mess of Happiness (2012). Intro: “Tough to Let Go” by Drive-By Truckers from The New OK (2020). For more see jaygonzalez.com.

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NEM#144: Dennis Davison (The Jigsaw Seen): How Much Is Enough?

Dennis fronted the Baltimore punk band Ebenezer and The Bludgeons in the late 70s, and after some transitional projects moved to L.A. where his ’60s-ish guitar pop band The Jigsaw Seen released nine albums from 1989-2015.

We discuss “Museum Piece” (and listen to “Shadow on a Tall Tree” at the end) from his debut solo album, The Book Of Strongman (2020); “Idiots with Guitars” from Old Man Reverb (2014); and the title track from My Name Is Tom (1991). Intro: “Jim Is the Devil” (a 1989 single). For more, visit dennisdavisonmusic.com.

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NEM#143: In Search of Eric Dover (Imperial Drag, Slash’s Snakepit, etc.)

After joining Jellyfish in 1993 just before its demise, Eric’s big break came when he was asked to sing for Slash’s Snakepit. He then returned to Roger Manning from Jellyfish for an album as Imperial Drag, worked as sideman (e.g. for Alice Cooper) and studio guy and had two releases as Sextus. He’s now back with Roger in The Lickerish Quartet, which released two EPs.

We discuss “The Dream That Took Me Over” by The Lickerish Quartet from Threesome, Vol. 2 (2021), “Wishing You Well” by Sextus from Stranger Than Fiction (2008), and “Boy or a Girl” from Imperial Drag (1996). End song: “What Do You Want from Me?” from The Eyes of Alice Cooper (2003). Intro: “Beggars & Hangers-On” by Slash’s Snakepit from It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere (1995). More at thelickerishquartet.com.

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NEM#142: Rebecca Rego: This Is Your Life!

Folky, soul-singing Rebecca has had six releases since 2007. We discuss “Mama” from her solo EP, Songs for Cleaning Women, Pt. 1 (2020), “No One Knows Me” by Rebecca Rego and the Trainmen from Speaking of Witches (2019), “Gave Me” by rego off of From the Royal Arcade (2009), and “Cruel” from Lay These Weapons Down (2016). Intro: “Call My Mother” from Tolono (2014). See rebeccaregoandthetrainmen.com.

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NEM#141: Robert Forster (The Go-Betweens) Looks Back Novelistically

Robert co-fronted the Australian-born post-punk band The Go-Betweens through nine albums in the ’80s and ’00s with Grant McLennan before the latter’s death in 2006 and has also released seven solo albums.

We discuss “No Fame” from Inferno (2019), “Here Comes a City” by The Go-Betweens from Oceans Apart (2005), and “On My Block” by The Go-Betweens from Before Hollywood (1983). We conclude by listening to “Let Me Imagine You” from Songs to Play (2015). Intro: “Clouds” by The Go-Betweens from 16 Lovers Lane (1988).

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