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The High Note


Shaun Smith brings you the latest in new music, concert reviews and music news as well as music-related information in the Philadelphia, New York and New Jersey region.

Shaun Smith brings you the latest in new music, concert reviews and music news as well as music-related information in the Philadelphia, New York and New Jersey region.


United States


Shaun Smith brings you the latest in new music, concert reviews and music news as well as music-related information in the Philadelphia, New York and New Jersey region.




Steve Dawson

Steve Dawson is one of my favorite singer-songwriters. I first discovered him through the album "Funeral Bonsai Wedding" and I fell in love with the song "Ezra Pound and the Deep Wood River." He currently teaches songwriting at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago. His latest solo album "At The Bottom Of A Canyon In The Branches Of A Tree" was released July 17 on Pravda Records. We discuss his journey in the music industry, his work with Stump The Host, Dolly Varden, Funeral Bonsai...


Episode 24 - Originaire

Ken Shiles and Cibon, two-thirds of the Atlantic City acoustic folk band Originaire join The High Note podcast for this episode, recorded Saturday, Jan. 25 at Ventnor Coffee. We chat about the band's debut EP "Off the Ship," set for release Feb. 21, 2020, their songwriting process including stories of overcoming addiction which is a central theme of the album, the South Jersey music scene and the Philadelphia Folk Festival. Originaire will play an EP release show 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28 at...


Episode 23 - Talisk

Talisk is a Scottish Celtic band consisting of three incredible musicians, Mohsen Amini on concertina, fiddle player Hayley Keenan and guitarist Graeme Armstrong. They have accumulated multiple accolades across the United Kingdom. We met for a chat Sunday, Aug. 18, 2019 at the 58th annual Philadelphia Folk Festival to talk about their music, the festival and Scotland, including our favorite football clubs. Talisk's second album, Beyond, was released October 2018 and the band is touring...


Episode 22 - Dave Gunning

Folk singer-songwriter Dave Gunning has a lot of passion. The pride of Pictou County is passionate about both his music and his hometown, particularly dedicating a decade to trying to clean up the Pictou County Pulp Mill, which is polluting the local beaches and waterways. We met after his "Wheel Decide" workshop Sunday, Aug. 18, 2019 at the 58th annual Philadelphia Folk Festival. We talked about playing upright bass on tour with Stompin' Tom Conners, our shared love of Stan Rogers, how the...


Episode 21 - Steve Poltz

Singer-songwriter Steve Poltz is one very talented and interesting fella. From Halifax, Nova Scotia to San Diego, California, Poltz has blazed his own path toward the American dream. He was the frontman for the indie-rock band The Rugburns and co-wrote “You Were Meant For Me” with Jewel. His latest album, "Shine On" is available now and he is constantly touring around the world. We met at the 58th annual Philadelphia Folk Festival before his set on the Martin Guitar Main Stage Saturday,...


Episode 20 - Bush, Live and Our Lady Peace Review With Justyna

Justyna and I review the Bush and Live with Our Lady Peace concert at the Etess Arena at Hard Rock Casino and Hotel in Atlantic City on the drive home. I 100 percent had a few New Belgium Voodoo Rangers, as you will hear, but this is a fun one. Gavin Rossdale ran past us and I'll drop the video on The High Note YouTube channel. Our Lady Peace stole the show, Live was loud! Watch the video from this podcast on The High Note YouTube channel. Subscribe to The High Note podcast anywhere you...


Episode 19 - Dean Randazzo

Dean Randazzo is a professional surfer, surfing instructor, surf shop owner, real estate agent and four-time cancer survivor. He is the first New Jersey competitor to qualify for the Association of Surfing Professionals World Championship Tour. In 2001, at the height of his career, he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He won the Garden State Grudge Match in 2002, and again in 2007. In 2004 Randazzo earned MVP at the X Games and won the Red Bull Icebreak. He is preparing to race a...


Episode 18 - Renée Wahl

Singer-songwriter Renée Wahl of Nashville, Tennessee joins me for this episode of The High Note podcast. We discuss her album "Cut to the Bone," released March 15, 2019 and our connections to Philadelphia and greater Pennsylvania. She's a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and went to school for physics before leading her current band Renée Wahl & The Sworn Secrets. Get "Cut to the Bone" at, Apple Music, Amazon, Google Play, Spotify, Tidal and anywhere you listen to music. Follow...


Episode 17 - Patsy

Patsy is a singer-songwriter based in Rockaway Beach, Queens, New York. He incorporates elements of The Great American Songbook, folk, rock 'n' roll and surf rock on his debut "The EP" released Friday, March 1 on Broad Channel Records. We talk about his roots in music and surfing, being a local in a beach town and "The Big Lebowski." In this episode, you will hear "Why Am I Waiting On You," from Paty's debut "The EP" which is available on Apple Music, Amazon, Google Play, Spotify and Tidal....


Episode 16 - Clive Carroll

Clive Carroll is a guitarist and composer who has toured across the world, including with John Renbourn and Tommy Emmanuel. Hailing from Chelmsford, Essex in England, Carroll graduated from Trinity College of Music in London. We discuss his composing process, alternate tunings and what he does to achieve the right sound and vibe in his music. In this episode, you will hear "The Adventures of Wilfred" from his most recent album "The Furthest Tree." In March 2019, he will be touring...


Episode 15 - The Barrett Brothers

I sit down with the Barrett Brothers - Kevin and Dave Barrett for this special episode of The High Note podcast. We talk about our love of vinyl, our favorite music and the best concerts we've seen - including some we've seen together. We also chat about Dave's documentary project, which includes interviewing people like Lewis Black and Howie Mandel. Follow Dave @daveyd78 and Kevin @htothepizzle on Twitter and Dave puts a lot of great music trivia on his Facebook page. You can see Dave's...


Episode 14 - Talkin' Bob Dylan With Mum

Hop in the car with me and my mum as we talk about Bob Dylan following his show Saturday, Nov. 17 at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City. Neither one of us are Dylanologists but we talk about his musical legacy and his various performances in New Jersey and Philadelphia including this most recent one - which we both agree was the best. Don't think twice - read my Dylan in Atlantic City review. Subscribe to The High Note podcast anywhere you subscribe to podcasts including iTunes,...


Episode 13 - Dweezil Zappa Review with Nick Valinote

My friend Nick Valinote and I review Dweezil Zappa's Choice Cuts tour show Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018 at Harrah’s Resort in Atlantic City. Fresh from the concert, we talk about Frank Zappa and how Dweezil is carrying the family torch in the form of the guitar that Jimi Hendrix set ablaze at the 1967 Monterey International Pop Festival. Excuse the background noise as we recorded while driving home from the concert. Read my review and see photos from the show at Subscribe to...


Episode 12 - Know Yourself Mashup

For this swapcast episode of The High Note with Shaun Smith, I welcome Dan Udale, a counselor and the host of the podcast "Know Yourself" based in the United Kingdom. We talk about how he met Gary Vaynerchuk, who connected us, and the impact music has on mental health. We both created playlists on Spotify that we talked about in this episode. Dan's playlist Shaun's playlist Subscribe to The High Note podcast anywhere you subscribe to podcasts including iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn and Google...


Episode 11 - David Myles at Philly Folk Fest

David Myles is a singer-songwriter who hails from Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada and was a featured performer at the 57th annual Philadelphia Folk Festival. We speak before his first performance Saturday, Aug. 17, 2018 in the hospitality tent on the Old Pool Farm in Upper Salford Township, Pennsylvania. His tenth studio recording, "Real Love," is available now and his upcoming album "Le grand départ" will be released Sept. 14. He is @mylesdavid on Twitter and @davidmyles on...


Episode 10 - Christopher Kent

Christopher Kent is a singer, songwriter and musician who has been writing and performing on stage since he was a teenager. He joins Shaun Smith on The High Note to talk about what he has learned during his long musical career, the creative process and he explains some of his most popular songs. His latest album is "Earthsongs." His book is called "Staying Off The Wheel Of Misfortune," which is available as an audiobook that he narrated. Learn more about Christopher Kent at...


Episode 9 - Lisa Schaffer

Lisa Schaffer, photographer, DJ and overall Philadelphia-based badass joins host Shaun Smith for this episode of The High Note. We talk about the magic of the Philadelphia Folk Festival, the journey of a working photographer, DJing, vinyl and music! Follow Lisa @LisaSchafferPhotography and @VinylChickie on Instagram and see her photos at Follow @HighNoteBlog anywhere you socialize online like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. See for album reviews and music...


Episode 8 - Kevin Barrett

Kevin Barrett, also known as H-Pizzle, aka Blue Blur joins Shaun for this episode of The High Note podcast. We reminisce about playing in a punk band in high school, how he began playing drums, how he started creating video game music and his latest projects including recreating the music of "Sonic the Hedgehog" - Blue Blur and for the video game "Beyond Humanity." We also talk about some of the concerts we saw together and our favorite video game music. Follow him on Twitter...


Episode 7 - _the_yearlong_revue

Alex and Elizabeth Sinari from _the_yearlong_revue_ join Shaun for this episode of The High Note podcast - recorded Saturday, April 21 at Ventnor Coffee. We go deep about the songwriting process and what it’s like to make music using more than 700 effects pedals. The opening song is “only hurts me longer” and the closing song is “the weight of the word,” both by _the_yearlong_revue_ and both are available on Bandcamp. Learn more about _the_yearlong_revue_ on Soundcloud, Instagram and...


Episode 6 - Ventnor Summer Concert Series preview

Shaun talks to the members of Boycot and The Mountain Waves about the Ventnor Summer Concert Series. Recorded Saturday, April 7 at Ventnor Coffee with Boycot founders Tyler Gehringer and Ellie Dotson, and CJ Sooy, Kevin Velazquez and Sergio Ripa of The Mountain Waves. To donate to the concert series, see Follow The High Note anywhere you subscribe to podcasts and follow @HighNoteBlog anywhere you socialize online. See for...