This spring, my friend Rick landed a radio show at upstart Nashville station WXNA, a community-minded project with some legit folks involved. (Read the full story here.)
The show is called Rick Pecoraro Talks to Himself, and each episode features music and conversation* on a set theme or topic. Rick was kind enough to ask me to be the show’s musical director, and I was kind enough to accept. The station went on air this week, and you can listen to Rick’s debut show here (and below). The topic is “Introductions.” Here’s my playlist:
The concept, as you might’ve guessed, is side 1, track 1s from debut albums. When Rick and I first discussed the concept, my mind started racing. I spent a subway ride tapping out a note with probably 100 promising artists** to investigate. It took me much, much longer to cull it down to 40 minutes of music, including some tough game-time decisions: No “Can’t Knock the Hustle” on account of Reasonable Doubt not being on Spotify; no “I Saw Her Standing There” on account of everyone already knowing that song; no “We Don’t Care” on account of swearing***. (The FCC won’t let me be, or let me be me…)
It was also illuminating and even inspiring to binge-listen to so many artists’ first cry. Here’s what I wrote to Rick after nearly finishing the damn thing:
Lots of themes and discoveries in making the mix. One is that some people started with a bang and just kept going (Madonna, the Eagles). One is that everyone's got to start somewhere, and sometimes your first effort doesn't show your real talent. (Run-DMC's "Hard Times," not included, might be one of the worst songs I've heard in a while.) Another is how many artists I had to exclude because they started with lots of EPs (Pavement) or singles (pretty much everyone pre-Beatles) or in weird versions of their eventual band (Fleetwood Mac, blues outfit!). But more than anything it seems like all these people were still just figuring it out, and it took awhile for them to find their full-on identity. Except for Talking Heads, who sounded amazing right out of the box.
And man, I love that AC/DC song.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy.
*-Between Rick Pecoraro and … himself.
**-There’s another mix to be made with the singers and bands who proved problematic. Take Neil Young. Is his first record really a debut, since he had already been writing and performing with Buffalo Springfield and CSN&Y? I made an executive decision that it was not.
***-I left it on the Spotify version of the playlist. Consider it a bonus track.