Episode 111: Matt Ross-Spang

In a relatively short amount of time, Matt Ross-Spang has grown from Sun Studio tour guide to one of the most sought-after producers and engineers in music. Having moonlighted behind the boards at Sun after business hours while juggling high-school, Matt helped bring the historic studio back to its analog roots and eventually stepped out on his own at the behest of Grammy-winner and Nashville studio staple Dave Cobb. This led to Matt engineering releases for John Prine, Jason Isbell, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Amanda Shires and Josh Ritter, as well as helming records for Margo Price, Lucero and Iron & Wine's latest collaboration with Calexico. Recently, Amazon even plucked him to produce, curate and debut a unique digital audio series featuring Al Green's first new recording in nearly a decade. To sum it up best, NPR describes Ross-Spang as "a music history geek with a brilliant ear for blending studio precision with spontaneity," while Rolling Stone touts him as "one of the most trusted arbiters of the Memphis sound."

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James Laczkowski
Episode 110: Gotta Groove Records

For close to a decade, Cleveland's Gotta Groove Records has earned its reputation as "the artist's preferred pressing plant." By having their quality assurance team play every 25th LP or 7" that comes off their presses, they're known for going the extra mile and implementing some of the highest standards in the industry, whether manufacturing limited 100-copy runs or thousands upon thousands for worldwide distribution. On the cusp of their 10th anniversary, Gotta Groove sales and marketing VP Matt Earley chats about where they've been, where they're going and how the vinyl business can stay vibrant and innovative.

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James Laczkowski
Episode 109: Susan Nadler & Evelyn Shriver (Shady Ladies of Music City)

Since the late 1970's, both Evelyn Shriver and Susan Nadler have worked with an impressive list of country music's biggest names. Armed with their shared PR experience, the duo headed up Asylum Records as the first women to ever helm a major country music label and flipped Nashville's Music Row on its ear, building longtime partnerships with Willie Nelson, Tammy Wynette, George Jones, Emmylou Harris, Lorrie Morgan, Randy Travis and more. Their countless years of experience, legendary debauchery and hilarious stories of life behind-the-scenes and on the road are now part of a new podcast courtesy of Momument Records called Shady Ladies Of Music City, which encourages listeners to submit their own country music rumors for discussion on the program, to find out if they're tall tales or legendarily confirmed stories. Today, Susan and Evelyn sit down to discuss the homogenized state of mainstream country radio, Pittsburgh's National Record Mart (the first music store chain ever in the United States), the industry's reaction to the launch of the compact disc, their childhood memories of 45RPM singles, and how to get rid of gold records.

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James Laczkowski
Episode 108: Mike Doughty of Soul Coughing

Over three proper full-lengths and nearly a decade of touring, NYC quartet Soul Coughing merged spoken word, jazz, hip-hop and various avant-garde subgenres into a sound completely their own, notching a few 90's college radio and alt-rock hits in the process. This year, vocalist/guitarist Mike Doughty is on the road celebrating the 25th anniversary of their critically-acclaimed debut LP Ruby Vroom, performing a "real-time remix" of the record from start to finish with a new backing band. On today's show, Mike heralds Led Zeppelin IV, Miles Davis' hand-painted cassette collection, Memphis' Goner Records and the countless master tapes or unearthed treasures lost to the 2008 Universal Studios fire in Hollywood. He also discusses leading a creative writing class for prison inmates, and their inquiries as to how musicians get paid for songs they've listened to in jail.

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James Laczkowski
Episode 107: Jeff Babko (Jimmy Kimmel Live!)

As an in-demand session musician, keyboardist/pianist Jeff Babko has built a diverse career, both on record and on the road. Aside from his own original music, he's recorded or toured with the likes of Neil Young, Smokey Robinson, James Taylor, Sheryl Crow and Frank Ocean, while working on scores and soundtracks for films and TV, including Garden State, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Superbad, The Good Place, Arrested Development and the upcoming mega-sequels Frozen 2 and Toy Story 4. This year also finds Jeff -- a member of the Jimmy Kimmel Live! house band -- releasing a new album on vinyl ("El Musico," available via CDBaby) as well as touring with the radio variety program Live From Here. On today's show, Jeff recounts buying several Oingo Boingo releases for a complete stranger, his favorite record stores to visit while touring, why the songs on "El Musico" were not originally intended to be shared, and how eating mediocre pizza changed his musical DNA.

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James Laczkowski
Episode 106: Billy Fields of Warner Music Group

Vinyl Emergency may not have existed without inspiration from Billy Fields. Within the record industry, he's known as the resident vinyl expert for Warner-Elektra-Atlantic, the artist and label services arm of Warner Music Group, overseeing all aspects of vinyl production, including marketing, sales forecasts and strategy. For record lovers on Twitter, Billy is a required presence, keeping the world updated with weekly vinyl sales numbers and trends, while being a vocal advocate for quality vinyl, no matter who's releasing it. Recorded in Nashville during this year's Music Biz conference, Billy dives into the cyclical nature of music retail, his college days working at Tower Records, how Bandcamp and Qrates are working with unsigned artists to create custom limited pressings, and why his team strives to keep the price of albums down, while still giving musicians and fans what they want.

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James Laczkowski
Episode 105: Matt Belknap (A SpecialThing Records / Never Not Funny)

Since launching in 2007, the Los Angeles-based comedy label ASpecialThing has churned out laughs on 7, 10 and 12" formats, putting influential voices such as Patton Oswalt, Cameron Esposito, Karen Kilgariff, Jonah Ray and Kyle Kinane to vinyl. Today, on top of his early love for hip-hop, how he swayed his parents to buy him a Muppet Show album and what it's like to get a Grammy, AST co-founder Matt Belknap takes us through the in's and out's of putting stand-up sets to wax. Plus, as producer of the groundbreaking podcast Never Not Funny, Matt will co-host Pardcast-A-Thon -- a 12-hour, live-streaming telethon version of NNF -- on Saturday, May 4th. Proceeds benefit children's cleft palate charity Smile Train, for whom Matt and the gang have raised over $1 million during their past nine fundraisers

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James Laczkowski
Episode 104: Dane Erbach from Table-Turned

As popularity rises for vinyl subscription services, Table-Turned continues to stand out as an option for those looking to take a deep dive into specific genres of their choosing. On this episode, co-founder Dane Erbach provides some history on the company, as well as how his local record store is becoming a prime spot for punk rock in the suburbs, how Table-Turned is humanizing music, what vinyl his 7 and 4-year-old sons have been into lately and much more. Visit table-turned.com for subscription info, as well as jetsam-flotsam.com for music on Dane's own label.

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James Laczkowski