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Wong Notes

Music Podcasts

Hi, my name is Cory Wong. This is my podcast. I'm going to talk to your favorite artists as they discuss their personal tricks of the trade, never-before-heard stories, and the proper response when Sinatra wants to peep your master tapes.

Location:

United States

Description:

Hi, my name is Cory Wong. This is my podcast. I'm going to talk to your favorite artists as they discuss their personal tricks of the trade, never-before-heard stories, and the proper response when Sinatra wants to peep your master tapes.

Language:

English


Episodes
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Marcus King and the Medicine of Music

4/3/2024
Marcus King has already been through the wringer, but he’s on the come-up. His hotly anticipated third LP, Mood Swings, drops this Friday, April 5, and on this episode of Wong Notes, the earnest, honest 28-year old South Carolinian goes deep on his career with Cory Wong. The two shredders open by swapping notes on how touring has changed post-pandemic. Costs are way up, but they’re managing to make it work. King reveals to Wong that on his upcoming tour, he’s wrangled a few sizeable, must-have creature comforts into the trailers—tune in to find out what King brings on the road. King walks us through his custom amp and cabinet setups, detailing why he prefers 10" speakers to 12", how he became friends with Orange Amplifiers founder Cliff Cooper, and the family history that led to his signature Gibson Marcus King 1962 ES-345, complete with sideways vibrola. He and Wong get down to the nitty-gritty, too. Marcus talks about pressure to conform to certain genre communities, his struggles with self-medicating, and how sometimes, music feels like the only medicine we’ve got on hand. Get 30% off your first year of DistroKid by going here: http://distrokid.com/vip/corywong Visit Marcus King: https://www.marcuskingofficial.com/ Hit us up: wongnotes@premierguitar.com Visit Cory: https://www.corywongmusic.com Visit Premier Guitar: http://premierguitar.com Twitter: https://twitter.com/wongnotespod IG: https://www.instagram.com/wongnotespod Produced by Jason Shadrick and Cory Wong Additional Editing by Shawn Persinger Presented by DistroKid

Duration:00:49:15

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Respect, Psychedelics, and the Future of Bluegrass With Billy Strings

2/7/2024
The ascendant roots shredder shares intimate details from his musical upbringing and gets philosophical on the past and future of bluegrass. Millennial folk philosopher Billy Strings joins this episode of Wong Notes. The Grammy-winning acoustic picker is an open book—nothing is off limits with Billy, from recounting his days selling magic mushrooms in exchange for passing grades in math class, to an emotional drunk-driving revelation that might have saved his life. Now, Strings can recount war stories of playing with his heroes in the bluegrass scene, and learning important lessons from the greats about respect while onstage. Strings is at the intersection of the old and the new, often stuck between the traditionalists and the new era of American folk music. He says he doesn’t belong to one or the other; his music is more of “a goulash of all the things put together.” Speaking of which, Billy and Cory connect for a brilliant mashup of Cory’s funk stylings and Billy’s bluegrass flatpicking, proving that music really can be a universal language. Get 30% off your first year of DistroKid by going here: http://distrokid.com/vip/corywong Visit Billy Strings: http://billystrings.com Hit us up: wongnotes@premierguitar.com Visit Cory: https://www.corywongmusic.com Visit Premier Guitar: http://premierguitar.com Twitter: https://twitter.com/wongnotespod IG: https://www.instagram.com/wongnotespod Produced by Jason Shadrick and Cory Wong Additional Editing by Shawn Persinger Presented by DistroKid

Duration:00:50:03

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Joe Dart Talks Bass Philosophy and the Benefits of High Action

1/24/2024
This time on Wong Notes, Cory is joined by his Vulfpeck and Fearless Flyers copilot Joe Dart. Wong doesn’t waste any time, diving in by asking Dart, by now renowned as a modern bass wizard with flawless fundamentals, how he developed he signature “voice” on the bass. As Dart explains, it came from listening to players who had their own distinct “voice,” who sound like “they’re singing a part within the song,” he says. These “philosophers of the low-end,” like Flea, imprinted the value of total intention and feeling in every note, as if any single one could be your last. Dart throws it back to his first bass—a Samick—and remembers how it’s ridiculously high action was like weight training for the rest of his career. He still likes his strings suspended up higher than most, which allows his “brute force” slapping. Wong and Dart trade notes on practice regimes, and Dart offers advice for young players: Learn your scales, sure, but most importantly, “play with as many different people as you can.” Plus, Dart breaks down his differing approaches to instrumental and vocal tracks. Later on, the bandmates ponder the mental trap of the social media comparison game, and wonder at how algorithms impact which music rises to the top of the heap. What does Dart hope to remembered for? With any luck, he’ll have works as iconic as his grandfather’s, Israel Baker, whose violin playing you’ll recognize not just from collabs with Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald, but some of the most famous film scores and TV show theme songs. Listen to the full episode here: https://bit.ly/WongNotes Get 30% off your first year of DistroKid by going here: http://distrokid.com/vip/corywong Visit Joe Dart: Hit us up: wongnotes@premierguitar.com Visit Cory: https://www.corywongmusic.com Visit Premier Guitar: http://premierguitar.com Twitter: https://twitter.com/wongnotespod IG:

Duration:01:03:05

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The Rich Musical World of Louis Cato

1/11/2024
Multi-instrumentalist Louis Cato has had a lot on his plate since taking over as bandleader for Jon Batiste on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert in late 2022, but has been enjoying every minute of it. "I feel like I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be, with exactly the people I'm supposed to be there with," he tells Cory on this episode of Wong Notes. Of course, given his role there is a fulltime gig, the release of his second solo album, Reflections, last August was kind of a big deal. Its music was largely inspired by things Cato was forced to confront when the pandemic hit, including "self-analysis, putting on the mask, the egotistical parts of attraction and love songs, and things of that nature," he shares. Early on in the conversation, Louis answers Cory's question about how his approach to chord voicings is so different from the norm. A lot of it comes from his childhood influence of Ron Kenoly's praise and worship music, featuring Abe Laboriel Sr. on bass. His first guitar was from a yard sale and had just four strings, and his experience learning Laboriel's bass lines on it still informs how he approaches voice leading on the guitar today. There was also his mother, the pianist, from whom he absorbed into his guitar methods the piano style of playing octaves in the left hand and triads in the right. After Louis shares about what makes his creativity tick as a multi-instrumentalist, he and Cory get into the meat of the biggest mistakes a guitar player can make. A lot of it, for Cato, has to do a lack of dynamics and inflection, or playing 10 notes where you should just play two, he says. Towards the end of the ep, Louis hops on a drumset in the room to illustrate how drummers can also create a "jerky" beat if they don't stick with just straight or just swingin'. Listen to the full ep to get a deep dive into the mind of the Late Show bandleader. Visit Louis Cato: https://louiscato.com/ Get 30% off your first year of DistroKid by going here: http://distrokid.com/vip/corywong Hit us up: wongnotes@premierguitar.com Visit Cory: https://www.corywongmusic.com Visit Premier Guitar: http://premierguitar.com Twitter:

Duration:00:52:54

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Aaron Sterling’s Pedalboard Approach to the Drums

12/6/2023
Session drum ace Aaron Sterling might have fusion roots, but his bread-and-butter work lives at the top of the charts, where’s he’s featured on tracks by artists such as John Mayer, Taylor Swift, Harry Styles, and Lana Del Rey. He tells Cory what brought him to Los Angeles, why he’s “meant to be in the studio” instead of the stage, and he shares the surreal story of playing with EVH in a florist’s parking lot for Tracy Morgan. Sterling defines his approach to recording in his studio as a “pedalboard approach” and explains: Stick around for the drummer’s opinion of the Beatles’ “Now and Then” and learn why he prefers large cymbals. Get 30% off your first year of DistroKid by going here: http://distrokid.com/vip/corywong Visit Aaron Sterling: https://aaronsterling.com/ Hit us up: wongnotes@premierguitar.com Visit Cory: https://www.corywongmusic.com Visit Premier Guitar: http://premierguitar.com Twitter: https://twitter.com/wongnotespod IG:

Duration:01:03:36

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How Bruce Lee Inspired Margaret Glaspy’s New Record

11/22/2023
Cory Wong sits down with indie-rock bandleader Margaret Glaspy for an in-depth dialogue on artistry, celebrity, and the wisdom of Bruce Lee. Glaspy shares how she cut her latest record, Echo The Diamond, live off the floor, with most of the “homework” happening beforehand and studio performances happening in-the-moment. “It really felt like air blew through the studio and then the record was made,” she says. “What you’re hearing is mostly what happening.” The songs are like photographs of a particular moment, rather than an essential, unchanging thing; Glaspy says she values the “dying art” of taking risks in music. Glaspy runs down how she and husband Julian Lage work on each other’s projects, and highlights one of their key criteria in assessing performances: are you your best guitar player right now? “Would you hire yourself or fire yourself?” poses Glaspy. The conversation turns to Glaspy’s rig on the record—she played through a Magic Amps rendition of a black-panel Fender Princeton, plus a Fender Champ combo—before revealing that these days, she’s bypassing her tuner pedal and letting the audience hear the process between songs. “Let’s not hide what’s needed to make this actually go,” she laughs.Wong and Glaspy swap notes on Bruce Lee’s winning combo of talent and work ethic (and how one of his quotes inspired Glaspy’s record) before finishing with a fascinating philosophical dissection of artistry, pop culture, and celebrity. “The business of celebrity intertwines them in a way that’s hard to escape,” says Glaspy, who sees a clash between surface-level fantasy and bone-deep darkness in pop culture. Tune in to the episode to learn all the gems from Echo The Diamond. Listen to the full episode here: https://bit.ly/WongNotes Get 30% off your first year of DistroKid by going here: http://distrokid.com/vip/corywong Visit Margaret Glaspy: https://margaretglaspy.com/ Hit us up: wongnotes@premierguitar.com Visit Cory: https://www.corywongmusic.com Visit Premier Guitar: http://premierguitar.com Twitter:

Duration:00:53:23

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Charlie Hunter: Graduating Busking Boot Camp

11/9/2023
"I don't consider myself a jazz musician," says guitarist Charlie Hunter on this episode of Wong Notes—essentially refuting how he's known in the music world. "I am maybe jazz adjacent." Most listeners probably wouldn't agree, but if nothing else, Hunter is experimental. He's known for playing a guitar that's strung with both bass and electric guitar strings, that has two pickups—one for bass and one for guitar—and two input jacks, which go to separate amps for the respective sounds. As the conversation unfolds, Charlie shares with Cory about the importance of interdependence, especially in jamming. "All I want to do is be a part of an extension of [the drummer's] beat," he explains. "Everything has to take a backseat to that." He compares the level of resources he had with young musicians today—back then, for better or for worse, all he had was a metronome and the discipline exemplified by the older musicians he played with. Something else that shapes modern musical culture, he says, is globalization: Having access to every genre and the music of every guitar player can make it harder for people learning to pick a specialty. Charlie goes on to share about how he got his stripes largely from his time performing as a street musician in Europe. "I would not trade those three, four years of being a street musician for anything," he says, describing the experience as a kind of boot camp. His first lessons were in playing 12 hours a day on an unfamiliar instrument at the time—acoustic bass—on the streets of Zurich. Towards the end of the interview, Charlie and Cory reflect together on the values of bonding with your musical community in person, something that's more of a challenge with the rise of internet culture. However, Charlie has lately been using Instagram as a vehicle to share the music of Blind Blake, someone who he thinks is "literally better than any of us [on guitar]." Listen to the full episode here: https://bit.ly/WongNotes Get 30% off your first year of DistroKid by going here: http://distrokid.com/vip/corywong Visit Charlie Hunter: http://charliehunter.com Hit us up: wongnotes@premierguitar.com Visit Cory: https://www.corywongmusic.com Visit Premier Guitar:

Duration:00:52:28

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Bruno Major’s Relatively Lo-Fi Soul

10/25/2023
Cory’s cast is off and he’s here to tell you to “go get hip” to Bruno Major! The soulful, jazzy British singer-songwriter shares why he prefers to record in his bedroom than a studio to create his “relatively lo-fi” music. “It’s far more important to be transmitting a privacy than an audio quality,” Major says. But he’s quick to point out that you can get good audio quality recording at home and discloses his gear of choice—shoutout to the Shure SM7B. Together, they discuss the state of record labels and streaming in 2023—“if you’re making good music,” Major says, “it’ll find a home”—working with other artists—“I think what I bring to the table is probably harmonic knowledge and an ability with words…. I can’t really do it on cue”—and mental health. On his journey from his early days as a shred-head—“I just wanted to play really fast all the time”—into classical and jazz playing, and eventually to becoming a singer and songwriter, Major elaborates: “If you look at something like Grant Green. Grant Green is basically playing glorified blues licks over a jazz aesthetic. He’s doing very simple stuff but it’s still incredible jazz guitar because he has his own thing. He has his own voice. And crucially, he has incredible time. I kind of found my voice as a guitar player through the medium of songwriting in a strange way. Because my guitar playing on my songs is what makes my guitar playing.” Listen to the full episode here: https://bit.ly/WongNotes Get 30% off your first year of DistroKid by going here: http://distrokid.com/vip/corywong Visit Bruno Major: https://www.brunomajor.com/ Hit us up: wongnotes@premierguitar.com Visit Cory: https://www.corywongmusic.com Visit Premier Guitar: http://premierguitar.com Twitter: https://twitter.com/wongnotespod IG:

Duration:00:46:41

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Daniel Donato Gets Cosmic

10/11/2023
"When you switch the gear of what you're operating on from the memorized information to the gear of intuitive, faithful response, it's a whole different frequency that's emitted from the hands and from the soul," country shredder Daniel Donato expresses on this episode of Wong Notes. He's talking about what makes for powerful improvisation, and if you know anything about the guitarist, you know this insight around the topic is coming from someone who's a master on their instrument. Throughout his conversation with Cory, Donato shares his uniquely intellectual philosophies about music, explaining what it means to exploit versus explore creatively, how lessons in faith and trust of his bandmates came to supersede his knowledge around music, and how "listening and alignment" of one vision is most important when jamming with others. He also sheds light on his experiences working with producers Robben Ford and Vance Powell, and the different collaborative dynamics he had with both. Following an emphatic statement from Cory that he has always, always been loyal to Dave Matthews Band, and a comment from Daniel on how a drummer really is at the core of a successful jam, Daniel elaborates: "The song is a vehicle for a spirit." He says Carter Beauford's performance on "Ants Marching" on DMB's first live album, Remember Two Things, which features an extended 2 and 4 pattern in the intro, perfectly serves the song. "I need players that are very spiritually and emotionally vulnerable," says Donato, "and willing to do things that are abstract and left-field that wouldn't be intuitive." Clearly an admirer of Cory's work, Daniel has some questions for him towards the end of the interview. Then, Cory quizzes Daniel on gear that he finds essential. His response? Whatever feels like the right pick to you, Mogami cables, and, if money isn't an object, a Fender black-panel. Tune in for the full Donato experience. Listen to the full episode here: https://bit.ly/WongNotes Get 30% off your first year of DistroKid by going here: http://distrokid.com/vip/corywong Visit Daniel Donato: https://danieldonato.com/ Hit us up: wongnotes@premierguitar.com Visit Cory: https://www.corywongmusic.com Visit Premier Guitar:

Duration:01:08:26

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Wolfgang Van Halen: Sing the Solo

9/27/2023
Wolfgang Van Halen joins Cory for the season 7 premiere of Wong Notes! Chatting before the release of Mammoth II, the duo discuss guitar trios, 5150 studios, cloning, touring with Metallica, plus: Who’s that playing wah on the record? What’s WVH’s rig? And much more. On his new record, WVH has lots to share. When it comes to writing and recording rhythm tracks, he’s says, “It’s all groove.” Later, he adds, “I’ve always championed myself as more of a rhythm player than anything.” And on what’s next for EVH gear, he promises that there’s much more in store. But the most profound thoughts come when the pair go deep on music. WVH shares his soloing philosophy, which he learned from his father: “Something I follow … when I write guitar solos that my dad taught me … is you can shred all you want, but if you can’t sing the solo, then it’s usually not working. There’s always a moment … that you can do the wankery of a shreddy solo, but it’s important to be able to hum the melody, you know? That usually, with the way that I write solos … is really deliberate in the way that I write … I’m a pretty poor off-the-cuff soloist, I like to really plan things out and have it be this nice piece. It kind of forms up with a melody, then it crescendos, then by the end it wraps up with … maybe a tapping section or a shreddy sort of passage. Basically, the main thing is you should be able to hum it. The melody should be in your head.” Get 30% off your first year of DistroKid by going here: http://distrokid.com/vip/corywong Visit Wolfgang Van Halen: https://mammothwvh.com/ Hit us up: wongnotes@premierguitar.com Visit Cory: https://www.corywongmusic.com Visit Premier Guitar: http://premierguitar.com Twitter: https://twitter.com/wongnotespod IG:

Duration:01:03:06

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Eric Krasno: Funk Chameleon

5/10/2023
Soulive, Lettuce, Tedeschi Trucks, and most recently, Stanton Moore and Branford Marsalis—that's a short list of some of the acts Eric Krasno plays and has played with throughout his career. From one funk guitarist to another, Cory sits down with Eric to talk what it means to play the right amount of notes when jamming, what it takes for Eric to absorb and learn so many different genres, and the impact the jam band community has on its musicians. Thanks for listening to this season of Wong Notes, and be sure to catch the next! Get 30% off your first year of DistroKid by going here: http://distrokid.com/vip/corywong Visit Eric Krasno: https://www.erickrasno.com/ Hit us up: wongnotes@premierguitar.com Visit Cory: https://www.corywongmusic.com Visit Premier Guitar: http://premierguitar.com Twitter: https://twitter.com/wongnotespod IG: https://www.instagram.com/wongnotespod Produced by Jason Shadrick and Cory Wong Additional Editing by Shawn Persinger Presented by DistroKid

Duration:01:05:40

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Jason Isbell's Desert Island Gear

5/3/2023
"If you keep your head and your ass in the same place, that'll happen on its own," says Jason Isbell on how he gets the most out of his live performances. On the heels of a new HBO documentary, he and Cory sit down for a deep discussion, talking creating genuine art that can also turn into hits, Muscle Shoals, and the intersection between "guitarist" and "songwriter"—as well as "for life" gear choices. Get 30% off your first year of DistroKid by going here: http://distrokid.com/vip/corywong Visit Jason Isbell: http://jasonisbell.com Hit us up: wongnotes@premierguitar.com Visit Cory: https://www.corywongmusic.com Visit Premier Guitar: http://premierguitar.com Twitter: https://twitter.com/wongnotespod IG: https://www.instagram.com/wongnotespod Produced by Jason Shadrick and Cory Wong Additional Editing by Shawn Persinger Presented by DistroKid

Duration:01:02:10

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Nuno Bettencourt is Out for Blood

4/28/2023
The Extreme guitarist shares his pedal philosophy—including how a visit from EVH inspired him to use a phaser on the new record—and talks about ripping with Rihanna at the Super Bowl and more. Get 30% off your first year of DistroKid by going here: http://distrokid.com/vip/corywong Visit Nuno Bettencourt: https://extreme-band.com/ Hit us up: wongnotes@premierguitar.com Visit Cory: https://www.corywongmusic.com Visit Premier Guitar: http://premierguitar.com Twitter: https://twitter.com/wongnotespod IG: https://www.instagram.com/wongnotespod Produced by Jason Shadrick and Cory Wong Additional Editing by Shawn Persinger Presented by DistroKid

Duration:01:14:32

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Mike Gordon on the Magic of the Jam

4/19/2023
The Phish bassist chats about everything from how to EQ a picked electric bass tone to drummers, the importance of a good shirt, his recipe for a good gig, and why he hates jam bands. Get 30% off your first year of DistroKid by going here: http://distrokid.com/vip/corywong Visit Mike Gordon: https://mike-gordon.com/ Hit us up: wongnotes@premierguitar.com Visit Cory: https://www.corywongmusic.com Visit Premier Guitar: http://premierguitar.com Twitter: https://twitter.com/wongnotespod IG: https://www.instagram.com/wongnotespod Produced by Jason Shadrick and Cory Wong Additional Editing by Shawn Persinger Presented by DistroKid

Duration:01:18:32

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Theo Katzman: The Songwriter Behind the Guitarist

2/9/2023
Cory sits down with his bandmate-brother, multi-instrumentalist Theo Katzman, to discuss the virtues of musical self-acceptance, the infectious charisma of Trey Anastasio, and how Theo has made a career out of being a jack of all trades. Get 30% off your first year of DistroKid by going here: http://distrokid.com/vip/corywong Visit Theo Katzman: http://theokatzman.com Hit us up: wongnotes@premierguitar.com Visit Cory: https://www.corywongmusic.com Visit Premier Guitar: http://premierguitar.com Twitter: https://twitter.com/wongnotespod IG: https://www.instagram.com/wongnotespod Produced by Jason Shadrick and Cory Wong Additional Editing by Shawn Persinger Presented by DistroKid

Duration:01:58:28

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Mateus Asato on Thinking Beyond the Guitar

1/12/2023
Mateus Asato shares on his experiences playing with pop stars, what it means to be of service to a song, and how taking a break from social media—which was where he built his fan base of 1.2 million—was crucial to his mental health. Get 30% off your first year of DistroKid by going here: http://distrokid.com/vip/corywong Visit Mateus Asato: https://www.instagram.com/mateusasato/ Hit us up: wongnotes@premierguitar.com Visit Cory: https://www.corywongmusic.com Visit Premier Guitar: http://premierguitar.com Twitter: https://twitter.com/wongnotespod IG: https://www.instagram.com/wongnotespod Produced by Jason Shadrick and Cory Wong Additional Editing by Shawn Persinger Presented by DistroKid

Duration:01:05:49

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Paul Gilbert’s Shred School Is in Session

12/29/2022
The professor is in. He dives deep into EVH’s moves, talks about why he prefers high action, and goes “full rant mode” into technical tips. Get 30% off your first year of DistroKid by going here: http://distrokid.com/vip/corywong Visit Paul Gilbert: http://paulgilbert.com Hit us up: wongnotes@premierguitar.com Visit Cory: https://www.corywongmusic.com Visit Premier Guitar: http://premierguitar.com Twitter: https://twitter.com/wongnotespod IG: https://www.instagram.com/wongnotespod Produced by Jason Shadrick and Cory Wong Additional Editing by Shawn Persinger Presented by DistroKid

Duration:01:12:02

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How Does Nir Felder Get His Tone?

12/15/2022
This week’s ep is just a couple of Strat dudes talkin’ gear. The guys get deep on everything from their favorite guitars to pedals and some speaker chat, and the busy New York guitarist and professor talks about improv and the up-and-coming crop of jazz cats. Get 30% off your first year of DistroKid by going here: http://distrokid.com/vip/corywong Visit Nir Felder: https://www.nirfelder.com/ Hit us up: wongnotes@premierguitar.com Visit Cory: https://www.corywongmusic.com Visit Premier Guitar: http://premierguitar.com Twitter: https://twitter.com/wongnotespod IG: https://www.instagram.com/wongnotespod Produced by Jason Shadrick and Cory Wong Additional Editing by Shawn Persinger Presented by DistroKid

Duration:01:12:00

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KT Tunstall and the Mystery of Songwriting

11/30/2022
The Scottish singer-songwriter talks about discovering looping, the perfect pedalboard, and gets deep about the mystery of songwriting and coping with hearing loss. Get 30% off your first year of DistroKid by going here: http://distrokid.com/vip/corywong Visit KT Tunstall: https://www.kttunstall.com/ Hit us up: wongnotes@premierguitar.com Visit Cory: https://www.corywongmusic.com Visit Premier Guitar: http://premierguitar.com Twitter: https://twitter.com/wongnotespod IG: https://www.instagram.com/wongnotespod Produced by Jason Shadrick and Cory Wong Additional Editing by Shawn Persinger Presented by DistroKid

Duration:01:06:16

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"Captain" Kirk Douglas: From "Wheels on the Bus" to the Tonight Show

11/10/2022
Roots guitarist “Captain” Kirk Douglas talks about his background as a pre-school teacher, the role of the guitar in hip-hop, and gives the definitive take on his Prince story. Get 30% off your first year of DistroKid by going here: http://distrokid.com/vip/corywong Visit Kirk Douglas: https://hundredwattheart.com/ Hit us up: wongnotes@premierguitar.com Visit Cory: https://www.corywongmusic.com Visit Premier Guitar: http://premierguitar.com Twitter: https://twitter.com/wongnotespod IG: https://www.instagram.com/wongnotespod Produced by Jason Shadrick and Cory Wong Additional Editing by Shawn Persinger Presented by DistroKid

Duration:01:13:32