Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Watch: Ry Cooder Appears on PBS's "Tavis Smiley"; Talks with PRI's "Smiley & West" About "Election Special"Ry Cooder, whose latest album, Election Special, is a wake-up call as the 2012 US Presidential race is in full swing, was the guest on the Tavis Smiley show on PBS on Monday—fittingly, Labor Day—to discuss the new album, the specific stories behind some of its tracks, and the broader political and social climate that compelled him to create it. Watch the episode below.
"Some things you can’t so easily translate into song form," Cooder tells Smiley of the project, "but I feel that it’s an opportunity to make a point by showing an atmosphere or showing a character that can give you another point of view on things."
In the interview, Smiley references a recent New York Times article about the project, an interview between Cooder and Times writer James C. McKinley Jr., which you can read at nytimes.com.
Cooder and Smiley continue the conversation about Election Special on the weekly PRI radio show Smiley & West. On that program, Cooder explains to Smiley and his co-host, Dr. Cornel West, how listening to an earlier segment on their show from late last year inspired him to write one of the tracks on the album, "Kool-Aid." Listen to the song and the complete conversation at smileyandwest.com.
On Election Special, which he produced, Ry Cooder plays mandolin, guitar, and bass and wrote all of the songs, co-writing one with his son, Joachim Cooder, who plays drums on the record. Mojo gives it four stars, saying: "Ry has proved equal to the crying need of the times." The Guardian gives the album four stars as well, calling it "an entertaining, thoughtful and bravely original set." Rolling Stone, in its four-star review, exclaims: "A guitar great takes a shot at political satire and hits the mark."
To pick up a copy of Election Special, head to the Nonesuch Store, where, for a limited time, CD and vinyl orders include an exclusive campaign-style button and bumper sticker.
Watch Ry Cooder on Tavis Smiley here: