Tag Archives: Americana music

CloudwatcherUno Podcast S6 Ep 7 ~ Gary Hector

Photo: Abilgail Hadeed

Gary Hector should be on your music radar. He’s up for consideration for first round GRAMMY voting for his ‘National Trash‘ album under the category of Best Americana Album and Best American Roots Performance for his single ‘Today I Ride Alone‘. It’s an album that forges it’s own path between the worlds of Americana, country and western and calypso music.

Today I Ride Alone‘ by Gary Hector

The album was crowdfunded by Gary through support from the internet and worked with Martin ‘Mice ‘ Raymond in Trinidad then off to Kansas to producer Sean Bartholomew a long time friend and someone Gary trusts with his music . For that unmissable pedal steel sound Gary was introduced to John Heinrich with truly stunning vocals from Nikki Nelson.

Baby, This One’s For You‘ by Gary Hector

The end result is a truly unique album that showcases the best of Gary’s song writing and love for the underground rock scene. Gary’s trying something new for a country that music fans associate with reggae rather than bluegrass. Once Gary had written the songs for the album he took a leap of faith and trusted other musicians to bring his vision to life.

In this podcast we chat about how it’s a struggle for independent artists to bring their voices and unique takes on music and make it fresh for audiences. Over the past year Gary found himself listening to Gram Parsons and Emmy Lou Harris and soaked in all the vibes and became inspired to add his voice to the world of country music.

Click below to hear the podcast from CloudwatcherUno featuring Gary Hector. Also streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Podcast Addict or wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Artist Showcase with Fayen

Fayen are an acoustic duo from Trondheim in Norway who bring their previous experiences of playing bluegrass music and channelling that into the Nordicana genre of music coming from Norway. Nordicana is Americana music with a Scandinavian twist. They first met playing traditional bluegrass 11 years ago and then became a couple in 2007 and now developed into fully fledged duo who are making stellar signs for your ears. Their new EP ‘From Here On Out‘ was released on 25 June 2021.Luckily all the music was recorded before the pandemic and before their lovely boy was born. The duo where music teachers Namibia and then in 2015 they Wanted to become more involved on the music scene and and eventually they became Fayen.

The sound of the album was deliberately trying to capture an atmosphere that subconsciously you will feel that you are listening to a live experience or as close to one as humanly possible. With songs such as ‘Meander Love‘, ‘Dark Horse‘ and ‘Hummingbird‘. We also get to hear a live acoustic version of ‘Hummingbird‘ which is simply sensational and will make you totally fall in love with this band. Some of the songs on the album have taken over a decade in being crafted and being brought to an audience to be enjoyed with your eyes closed. So that you can fully appreciate a phenomenal audio experience.

With the birth of their second child in the fall of 2021, Fayen are looking at the logistics of taking their ever-growing family with them when they go touring and playing to audiences and fans alike in Norway.

Click below to hear the podcast from CloudwatcherUno featuring Fayen. Also streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Podcast Addict or wherever you listen to your podcasts.

CloudwatcherUno Podcast S5 Ep 4 ~ Bobby Dove

In 2016 Bobby Dove released ‘Thunderchild‘ a collection of country songs that explore being released from oppression or at least self oppression with country music stylings. One of the most phenomenal tracks is ‘Floor Licker‘ which deserves to be a in a car chase in a movie. Truly if they ever do Baby Driver 2 then this is the soundtrack for this movie. ‘Cowgirl Bob‘ is about a lawyer from Texas that Bobby met online and how fantasy fell apart when it met reality.

Get ready to start your engines with ‘Floor Licker‘ from the album ‘Thunderchild‘ by Bobby Dove

In February 2021 Bobby released ‘Hopeless Romantic‘ light years away from Thunderchild as Bobby’s experiences of travelling and touring across the country and playing in front of live audiences enriched her life experiences and her music focuses on unrequited love, being on the road, haunted hotels and hard-rocking pallbearers. The album was co-produced with Bazil Donovan (Blue Rodeo) and Tim Vesely (Rheostatics) at The Woodshed studio in Toronto. On Hopeless Romantic, Bobby collaborates with some of the finest in Canadian Country music including members of Blue Rodeo Jim Cuddy, Bazil Donovan and Jimmy Bowskill (The Sheepdogs, Blue Rodeo), and Burke Carroll (Kathleen Edwards).

Haunted Hotel‘ from the album ‘Hopeless Romantic‘ by Bobby Dove

The album itself was recorded with Bobby’s long-term band members from Toronto and was recorded pre-covid timesBut wasn’t ready to be released in the height of the pandemic getaway tracks still to be mastered. Bobby released the album herself without the help of a label as a digital release but other formats will come out in due course. Along with merchandise that supports this music.

Bobby Dove is a gifted artist, and a brilliant new light on the songwriting scene…  A time traveler, Bobby’s songs meld genres with the touch of a master. I am a fan.” Mary Gauthier

Bobby is currently hunkering down in western Manitoba, supporting the launch of  Hopeless Romantic as well as developing The Bobby Dove Show, a virtual variety show, featuring Bobby’s new songs, and interviews with renowned roots/Country singer-songwriters from across Canada. Sponsored by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Bobby Dove Show will be shared on Bobby’s social-media as well as on bobbydove.com.

The Bobby Dove Show

Click below to hear the podcast from CloudwatcherUno featuring Bobby Dove. Also streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Podcast Addict or wherever you listen to your podcasts.

CloudwatcherUno Podcast S5 Ep 2 ~ Baxter Elkins

Jordan Hook and Joey Berglund two uber cool busking musicians who became friends in 2019 and teamed up to be the supergroup Baxter Elkins. Hailing from Los Angeles the duo bring sunshine and extraordinary banjo, fiddle, guitar and saxophone playing with harmonies and vocals that many other musicians would kill for. Just watch their Gems on VHS submission ‘Judas‘ to understand what I’m talking about.

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Making music that seems unmarketable to regular country music labels is the way that makes Baxter Elkins truly stand out from all the usual music that comes out of the Nashville music factory. Their album ‘Hard Times and Hootenany’s‘ which was released in November 2020Is an absolute delight they breathe life back into traditional music with a slick sense of humour running through it. One of the absolute classics is ‘15 years of bliss and a quick death what else can a man dream of?‘.

Baxter Elkins also submitted their entry to the NPR Tiny Desk Contest and if it wasn’t for the teeniest tiniest confusion about time zones I’m sure that they would have won the contest.

One of the bands absolute classics is ‘Werewolves‘ a song that he wrote for Halloween for a radio show I chose the collaborative efforts that Joey and Jordan bring to Baxter Elkins. Growing up Jordan was influenced by Townes Van Sant and Willie Nelson and this explains how a surfer became hooked into country music and Joey explains how in a city of 10 million people country music still has a place in Los Angeles. Is this eclectic mix of traditional and new that both artists bring to their philosophy of music.

Jordan and Joey from Baxter Elkins from the podcast. Photo: CloudwatcherUno

The boys begin touring on Sunday 13th June 2021 at Lake Tahoe and continue across Nevada, Wyoming Pagosa Springs and Utah. For full details of venues and dates go check out their website or their Instagram page. Seriously what are you waiting for check out the music and if you can see them live!

Click below to hear the podcast from CloudwatcherUno featuring Baxter Elkins. Also streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Podcast Addict or wherever you listen to your podcasts.

CloudwatcherUno Podcast S5 Ep 1 ~ Lauren Housley

Lauren Housley is a true ‘Girl From The North‘ growing up in Rotherham and then moving to Newcastle and Manchester. Her musical journey began with releasing ‘The Beauty of This Life‘ and the tracks ‘Sweet Surrender‘ and ‘Ghost Town Blues‘. From there Lauren played at Blues Fest at the o2 and Nashville’s American Fest. Lauren then followed this up in quick succession with many gigs to build her reputation as a phenomenal troubadour. Then in April 2021 Lauren released ‘Girl From The North‘ an album that showcases her extraordinary range as country/americana singer, songwriter and lyricist.

This Ain’t The Life‘ by Lauren Housley

In this podcast Lauren sits down with host CloudwatcherUno over a glass of wine to talk about how much her life has changed since those dreams of being a musician as a young girl in Rotherham. Two pivotal moments in her life has to be getting married to her friend and fellow musician Thomas Dibb in their one bedroom flat/recording studio and then the birth of their son Noah. Lockdown actually produced some extraordinary changes in Lauren’s life.

Lauren Housley ~ Girl From The North

My favourite tracks from are ‘Whats Troubling You Child?’ which I first heard on Bob Harris’s Country Show on Radio 2, ‘This Ain’t The Life‘ and ‘Stay Awake To Dream‘. The new album was produced with the help of Mark Lewis who previously worked on Lauren’s previous singles. So many female artists have inspired Lauren by proving that you can have a family life but also carry on with the life of a touring musician.

Falling in love with Newcastle when Lauren was auditioning to get into university and a really strong feeling that this was the place she wanted to spend the next three years of her life and then met her best friend and then her future husband Tom also moved there to study music (they had met in college). Then spent the next five years gifting and learning the craft of songwriting. Lauren was inspired by the jazz, blues and roots music and then felt the need to grow and needing a change moved to Manchester.

What’s Troubling You Child?‘ by Lauren Housley

The studio has now moved from Rotheram to the Yellow Arch Studios in Sheffield. During the lockdown Lauren and Tom performed ‘Tuesday Night Live‘ from their kitchen a unique live-streaming experience for fans and share their music and songs from the album. One of Lauren’s favourite moments as a musician is to hear the songs in her head and bring them to life and share with the world. For the future Lauren will be playing at festivals across the country and promoting the album when touring the country in November/December 2021.

Lauren Housley ~ Killer songwriter and musician

Click below to hear the podcast from CloudwatcherUno featuring Lauren Housley. Also streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Podcast Addict or wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Artist Showcase with Coleman Williams (IV And His Strange Band)

Coleman Williams has country-western music bubbling away in his DNA while also bringing the energy and excitement of punk rock sensibilities to his music, his lyrics and ethos of his strange band.

‘Son Of Sin’ by Coleman Williams – IV And His Strange Band

“Music to me is like a way to communicate to anyone and anything even if you can’t understand each other. Music is the Universal language”.

CloudwatcherUno and Coleman talk about how every living thing responds to the frequency of music and if you just search on the Internet you’ll see cows loving music, the subtleties and complexities of the English language and literature. And how the written word is his true love and how he combines that with music. Using his music to express his views on love to other people.

Doc Watson’s music can transport Coleman through the power of musical time travel to his childhood running around barefoot and fishing with his friends. Music especially live music whether it be in a basement or a concert it is one of the best things that the young Coleman enjoyed and it is that joy that he tries to bring to his music. About a month ago Coleman got to experience some live music at a La Honda Records event with the Local Honeys, Vincent Neil Emerson and Riddy Arman.

‘Inbred’ by Coleman Williams

Coleman’s music almost always has two versions this stripped down version and the band version and this is how he sees himself as a country artist who is willing to experiment and branch out. An artist is an artist and it is unfair to pigeonhole artists into categories dreamt up by marketing teams of big monolithic music labels. Artists shouldn’t have to apologise for trying to branch out into rock or metal or punk when audiences only see them as country music artists.

Coleman knows that he will have made it as an artist when he gets to play with artists that he loves, respects and idolises and then can collaborate with those singers and songwriters to produce music that is unique thrilling and experimental that delights audiences around the world. Being respected by his peers and the music scene now he will know that he has made it in this world of music.

Coleman loves his father and deeply respects his grandfather and especially his great-grandfather and wants to be an artist in his own right who is related to all the amazing musicians in his family but is known for the music he wants to produce and showcase to the world. If you haven’t realised by now Coleman’s great-grandfather is Hank Williams, his grandfather is Hank Williams Jr and his father is Hank III.

Coleman’s song ‘Son of Sin‘ It is his calling card to the music world that he is his own artist and not just a relation to one of the greatest country western legacies that still resonate today in 2021. Coleman’s forthcoming album and music will be a country record with elements of other music genre’s.

Coleman talks about how Hank Williams is still not a member of the Opry. Hank Williams has been synonymous with the country music institution. Williams remains a former member of the Opry. It’s a mistake that has continued to be made for the last 60 years. There are many organisations that pay reverence to the name of this classic country-western artist but show a lack of respect by their lack of action or monetisation of the Williams name.

More and more in this age, tradition and respect mean nothing and the all mighty dollar and disneyfication of what was supposed to be music in all it’s rich and varied history has been left behind. Coleman talks about this and how music is no longer the main reason for tourists to come to Nashville. Born and bred in the city, Coleman has seen with his own eyes all the changes generally for the worse that has taken over the city that he loves.

Coleman’s mission as he sees it is to help country and western music grow through the influences of other genres so that it doesn’t wither and die and country music needs to grow and change. Artists like Coleman are leading a renaissance in what it means to be a country and western artist in 2021.

Coleman is looking forward to performing with his strange band in the summer and autumn and perform in front of fans scratch that actual fans instead of just online shows. Long may Coleman and his band continue to make music that excites and brings joy to fans across the world.

Coleman Williams (IV Son of III) from the Podcast. Photo: CloudwatcherUno

Click below to hear the podcast from CloudwatcherUno featuring Coleman Williams. Also streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Podcast Addict or wherever you listen to your podcasts.

CloudwatcherUno Podcast S4 Ep 9 ~ Nick Shoulders

Nick Shoulders is the whistling, yodelling, guitar picking, mouth organ playing and bird calling superstar of the Ozark mountains. It was a privilege and a joy to spend time with my hero and get to talk about all the joys and happiness that is music as broad to not only me but to legions of fans across the world. Nick takes the sounds of yesteryear and melds them with the heavier rhythm of todays music.

‘Snakes and Waterfalls’ by Nick Shoulders

A saving grace for Nick in these Covid times has been connecting through the screen and connecting through the ones and zeros of the digital world. Playing country music has allowed Nick to connect with history in a real tangible way and a tradition of music which is larger than any musician and play ‘Grandpa Music’ and take what’s compelling about the music and make it his own. The lines between what is Folk Music and Country Music get blurred and the artifical barriers created by marketing teams of the music industry quickly dissolve into nothingness when you hear such songs as ‘Snakes and Waterfalls‘, ‘Black Star‘, ‘Rather Low‘, ‘Bound and Determined‘, and ‘Turn On The Dark‘.

‘Rather Low’ by Nick Shoulders for Western AF

Learning to warble from one set of grandparents, having a fiddle passed down to him from his other grandfather and having the wide open spaces to practice his vocal skills and fiddle playing has turned the young Nick Shoulders into a virtuoso instrumentalist. Moving to New Orleans Nick cut his album ‘Lonely Like Me with Mashed Potato Records and got his buddies to play the instrumental parts and the result is magnificent. One of the outstanding tracks on that album is a old Elvis Presley song ‘Black Star‘ a song that was a favourite of David Bowie and soon was a favourite of Nick’s as well.

‘Black Star’ by Nick Shoulders

In New Orleans Nick was a drummer for hire and played with Sabine McCalla and his metamorphosis to singer songwriter was complete with his album ‘Okay, Crowdad.’ The artwork for all the albums is doe by Nick himself as he is a painter and illustrator and these talents are further showcased in his new album ‘Home On The Rage‘. The blonde Mardi Gras haircut has now become synonymous with Nick’s musical persona as has his collaboration with fellow Ozarkian and family member in a distant way Willi Carlisle. Gems on VHS, Western AF and others have catapulted Nick into the public consciousness with their ‘Vidjas’ (Videos) that capture the essence of this musical genius.

‘Bound and Determined’ by Nick Shoulders for Gems On VHS

For our audio pleasure Nick Sings acoustically his warm up song ‘Irene Goodnight‘. Take a moment and just listen to a little slice of heaven.For the future Nick will be travelling and paying shows across the states and even across the Atlantic to England in the autumn.

Nick Shoulders from the podcast. Photo: CloudwatcherUno

Click below to hear the podcast from CloudwatcherUno featuring Nick Shoulders. Also streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Podcast Addict or wherever you listen to your podcasts.

CloudwatcherUno Podcast S4 Ep6 ~ Sabine McCalla

Sabine McCalla has a voice that is the lovechild of Nina Simone and Etta James. Yes, that would be impossible but if you could, then ladies and gentlemen, Sabine is the artist who is that golden child. Growing up in New Jersey, Olympia, Washington, Asheville, North Carolina but her heart was crying out to live in a place that has no winter and this is where we find her on the CloudwatcherUno podcast at home in New Orleans. We talk about the back story about her video ” Baby, Please Don’t Go” with WesternAF which was filmed with friends Casey Jane Reece-Kaigler, Sam Doores and Gina Marie Leslie during the Folk Alliance convention, its how I was introduced to her beautiful voice.

Sabine McCalla an artist from a bygone age.
Baby, Please Don’t Go by Sabine McCalla

Sabine’s 2018 EP ‘Folk‘ is full of the first couple of songs that she wrote out of her journals, memories of her first days of New Orleans and is her tales of her heartbreak. New Orleans just started to influence Sabine spiritually, mentally and musically.

Rosalie #9 is Sabine McCalla’s love letter to a lost love.

We talk about the influence of her sister Leyla McCalla but also how the tone of her music is more inspired by the Appalachian mountains, americana and artists like Janis Joplin and The Beatles, Whitney Houston, Nina Simone, Mowtown, The Supremes and even Rod Stewart. Sabine has played at the Newport Folk Festival and Brooklyn Americana Music Festival.

Sabine McCalla in her natural element singing in front of an audience.

Music has been the saviour for Sabine and singing on her covered porch has made it possible to record music at a safe social distance. For the future Sabine has a lot of ideas for collaborations with other artists but will focus on recording her own music. I can’t wait to hear the next chapter in Sabine’s musical journey.

Sabine McCalla from the podcast. Photo: CloudwatcherUno

Click below to hear the podcast from CloudwatcherUno featuring Sabine McCalla. Also streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Podcast Addict and wherever you listen to your podcasts.

CloudwatcherUno Podcast S4 Ep5 ~ Brandon Padier

Brandon Padier sits down with host CloudwatcherUno as they talk about the inspiration behind his albums ‘Brothers Of The Flood‘(2020), ‘Rock and Roll Heart of Gold‘ (2019) and ‘To God Be The Glory‘ (2018) such songs as ‘Once Again (I’m Alone)‘ ‘The Hardest Thing‘ and ‘To God Be The Glory‘ his musical history of being in the band ‘Adopted Kids‘, and how being the guitar player led to him becoming a singer. His musical influences such as The Beatles, Jason Isbell, Neil Young, Tom Petty, The Band and The Grateful Dead are evident in the songs that he has released.

Brandon Padier ~ Stunning vocals combined with a spiritual soul makes for an original artist.
‘The Hardest Thing’ by Brandon Padier

For a self confessed introverted personality Brandon comes to life when talking all things music, art and culture. Taking that first step into song writing was only natural after having written the songs themselves. we talk about how music is a universal language and his love of playing instruments such as the piano and trombone and especially those that challenge him especially the fiddle and the sitar.

Looking forward to the new album from Brandon Padier.
‘To God Be The Glory’ by Brandon Padier

Brandon is working on his new album and is being influenced by The Byrds, Wings era McCartney. The songs for this album are akin to tackling life in these pandemic times and universal concepts of isolation. The magic will be turning these simple concepts but turning them into something incredibly profound.

‘Everything Falls Apart’ by Brandon Padier
Brandon Padier from the podcast. Photo: CloudwatcherUno

Click below to hear the podcast from CloudwatcherUno featuring Brandon Padier. Also streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Podcast Addict and wherever you listen to your podcasts. 

CloudwatcherUno Podcast S4 Ep1 ~ Darling West

Darling West are the cosmic folk duo hailing from the land of Norway who have released Spelleman-winning (Norwegian Grammy) album ‘Vinyl and a Heartache’ and such hits as ‘Rolling On’, ‘Traveller’ and ‘The Sweetest Tune’. Host CloudwatcherUno sits down with artists Mari and Tor Egil Kreken to talk about their music, gorgeous lyrics and phenomenal harmonies and melodies. In the podcast Darling West perform live acoustic versions of ‘Rolling On’ and ‘Loneliness’ and there’s also the album version of ‘The Sweetest Tune’ that starts the show.

Mari and Tor Egil Kreken are Darling West.

Darling West started life as folk trio with very dramatic thoughts on how they would be a band and ended up more into cosmic folk territory with electric guitars, drums and the banjo. Tor plays claw hammer style banjo like his Appalachian heroes of the US. Darling West’s sound started out as an interest in old fiddle tune time songs with mountain folk vibe similar to the music from the film ‘O Brother Where Art Thou?’ It was a jumping off point for the band to start their exploration of building and writing their songs.

‘O Brother Where Art Thou’ (2000) Directed by Joel & Ethan Coen

The last EP ‘Interpretations’ explores their love of pop tunes through a country landscape. The music on the EP brings them joy and that translates to the listener when they hear the tracks ‘Don’t Start Now’, ‘Pamela’ and ‘Bulletproof’. It’s a way of expanding their audience’s expectations of the band. It was a challenge to find the tenderness within the original lyrics and the almost harsh production style and reimagine with a much softer gentler interpretation.

‘Bulletproof’ from the Darling West’s Interpretations EP _ Video from their Friday Sessions series

Darling West also bring their sound to life by showcasing their music through their Friday Sessions cover videos available on YouTube and Instagram. They bring the joy of their music by collaborating with fellow artists such as Hayde Bluegrass Orchestra. The ‘Friday Sessions’ started out as a response to the duo experiencing the lockdown in Norway and not being able to go out but still wanting to connect with their fans and audience. It’s a lot of work learning a new song every week and then record it flawlessly as a live video to such a high professional standard. Don’t expect the sessions to continue forever though as the duo need to work on releasing their own original music.

‘Gold Dust Woman’ performed by Darling West featuring Hayde Bluegrass Orchestra

One of my favourite songs from the album ‘We’ll Never Know Unless We Try’ is ‘Home’ written by Tor Egil with Mari in their family’s cabin and was a song that just came out so easily and encapsulates the cosmic folk catalogue of Darling West. You can feel the influence of Gillian Welch in the lyrics and it sounds like poetry put to music.

The duo have adapted as well as they can to having to put touring to one side and have now been able to focus on the Friday Sessions, their songcraft and building a nice home for themselves to create an atmosphere conducive to blossoming their creativity. Without the pressure of trying to make a Darling West record has enabled them to explore different genres, sounds and musicality.

Darling West showcasing the best that Nordicana music has to offer to the listening world.

Growing up Tor Egil started off wanting to play football but that obsession was overtaken by learning to play the guitar while listening to his older brothers record collection. In junior high school reading about musicians playing their instruments and touring with their bands, Tor Egil knew this was going to be his life. When Mari and Tor met 15 years ago, Mari didn’t even play an instrument. Mari always enjoyed singing and her father always sang as a way to relax. There was always country music on the radio. After 7 years together Mari also wanted to become a part of the musical community in a real way and bought her first mandolin. It took a lot of practice before Mari felt that she had the sound she wanted from her instrument and could call herself a musician. It was all worth it as the duo have released four albums showing their incredible virtuosity, skill and range in producing stellar music.

Lockdown has brought Darling West the time they need to craft their songs and focus on their sound.

Mari and Tor Egil don’t right formulaic music or middle of the road tunes for them there is no formula that they stick to. They want to keep their music as alive as possible and act as a homage to the Norwegian mountains. Speaking metaphorically if they found themselves in lifeboat having to recue their songs then they would save ‘Darling West’, ‘Vinyl and a Heartache’, ‘Someone Like You’, ‘Rolling On’, and River.

Mari and Tor Egil from the podcast. Photo: CloudwatcherUno

Darling West are at the forefront of the Nordicana music scene and bringing their own twist to the traditional Americana/ Appalachian music that’s been produced and being released. Their music is full of guitar, banjo and pedal steel which envelops the listener transporting them to a mythical country and western world. Going forward the duo want to focus more on their own song writing and they have more time to really record the songs they want in the style and production that showcases their music the best. A new album will arrive and when it does you know it’s going to be fantastic.

Darling West partners in music, life and storytelling.

Click below to hear the podcast from CloudwatcherUno featuring Darling West. Also streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Podcast Addict and wherever you listen to your podcasts.