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Wong Notes

English, Music, 7 seasons, 82 episodes, 3 days 10 hours 38 minutes
About
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.
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Respect, Psychedelics, and the Future of Bluegrass With Billy Strings

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 a
07/02/202450 minutes 3 seconds
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Joe Dart Talks Bass Philosophy and the Benefits of High Action

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 pe
24/01/20241 hour 3 minutes 5 seconds
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The Rich Musical World of Louis Cato

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, f
11/01/202452 minutes 54 seconds
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Aaron Sterling’s Pedalboard Approach to the Drums

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:“When guitar players started getting more pedals, in the old days, and then they started getting a pedalboard. And then there’s the rack. This was this evolution where you guys started controlling more and more of your sound and it was less waiting for a mixer to do interesting things later. And you were just like, ‘Here’s the sound.’ You have your own plugin, you have all this stuff that you’re doing to control your sound so that there’s less
06/12/20231 hour 3 minutes 36 seconds
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How Bruce Lee Inspired Margaret Glaspy’s New Record

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 renditi
22/11/202353 minutes 23 seconds
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Charlie Hunter: Graduating Busking Boot Camp

"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,
09/11/202352 minutes 28 seconds
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Bruno Major’s Relatively Lo-Fi Soul

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 someth
25/10/202346 minutes 41 seconds
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Daniel Donato Gets Cosmic

"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.
11/10/20231 hour 8 minutes 26 seconds
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Wolfgang Van Halen: Sing the Solo

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
27/09/20231 hour 3 minutes 6 seconds