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PODCAST: Jen Hartswick Recounts Her Pinky Swear With Christian McBride, A Fateful Call From Trey

Following the most recent episode with Dirty Heads frontman Jared Watson, Live For Live Music Presents: Inside Out with Turner and Seth is back with a new episode centered around an extensive conversation with Trey Anastasio Band‘s fantastic vocalist/trumpet player Jennifer Hartswick. This new installation is the second offering from the interviews conducted by hosts Seth Weiner and Rob Turner during this year’s SweetWater 420 Festival.

After a brief discussion of the recent death of Chris Cornell and the controversial cancellation of Pemberton Music Festival, Rob and Seth dive dive into their conversation with Hartswick, who was at the festival performing a pair of headlining sets with TAB. We learn about  Jen’s recent work with jazz bass virtuoso Christian McBride, and how the two began their working relationship after discovering a connection during Nigel Hall‘s DJ Soul Sisters 7th Annual Birthday Jam “Good Foot: A James Brown Get Down” at Tipitina’s in New Orleans. As Hartswick excitedly divulges, “we just sorta vibed all night” despite being on opposite sides of the stage. At the end of the gig, in front of a sold-out crowd McBride said to Hartswick, “I want you to promise me something. I need you to ‘Pinky-Swear’ me that we will be friends forever.”

Next, Hartswick takes us inside Trey Anastasio’s storied “Barn” studio in Vermont, where she recorded with McBride and The Nth Power guitarist/vocalist Nick Cassarino. Jen even reveals the genesis of what may well be the most captivating piece of the project: “We had essentially wrapped the session and we were eating our last meal together,” she says, “and I…had this idea that I really wanted to do a duet with Christian, just voice and bass. We’re halfway through dinner and he’s sitting right across from me…and I kinda went, ’could you fulfill, like, a high school fantasy for me?’ and he got a weird look on his face, as he should have!”

Jen goes into her brass instrument roots, explaining how she got started with the tuba before making her way to the trumpet. She explains how having the opportunity to play with high caliber artists in a musically advanced rural Vermont high school would lead to her meeting Dave Grippo (of Phish’s Giant Country Horns) and then Trey Anastasio.

Hartswick also details an important turning point in her career–a fateful phone call she received from Trey Anastasio shortly after she decided to drop out of college: “I didn’t know what I was gonna do…I had packed up my stuff and I was ten minutes out of the driveway of school and Trey called and I hadn’t talked to him in a year and a half, probably…and he said ‘what are you doing?’” She goes on to comment on her role in the creation of some of the band’s most well-known material, as well as the various ways TAB picks their notable diverse covers today and how the veteran band has reclaimed its persistent work ethic.

We also get some interesting insight into her strikingly seamless Umphrey’s McGee collaborations (particularly their stunning cover of Sade‘s “No Ordinary Love” at last year’s “UMBowl” in at Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas). Says Hartswick, “As long as the person on the front lines knows the song well and can cue everybody else, that’s also one of the things you have to be good at…..they’re MONSTER musicians… anything is possible.”

The roughly hour-long interview traverses many other topics, including Hartswick’s various Phish sit-ins, and the wide array of odd offers she and TAB bandmate Natalie Cressman have each received to play in various projects. Turner even tells Hartswick a touching story about her own husband, bassist Chris Chew.

You can listen to the latest episode of Live For Live Music Presents: Inside Out with Turner and Seth below:

[Cover photo via Capacity Images]


Live For Live Music Presents: Inside Out with Turner and Seth Podcast is a music-oriented podcast which is slowly gaining new listeners thanks to the unique insight provided in the hosts commentary, and their carefully researched, thoughtfully and conversationally-delivered interviews.  Seth Weiner represents the industry side of the coin, while Rob Turner brings forth his journalist/fan perspective, the combination of which provides a unique angle on the ever-expanding world of music.


You can check out past episodes of Live For Live Music Presents: Inside Out with Turner and Seth podcast below:

Dirty Heads Frontman Jared Watson Talks Weed, Colors, Addiction, And More

Widespread Panic’s John “JoJo” Hermann Tells Studio Stories And More

Jason Crosby Talks Impromptu Performances With Prince And Bruce Springsteen

Col. Bruce Hampton Discusses Upcoming Star-Studded 70th Birthday Blowout

Los Lobos’ Steve Berlin Goes Back To His Roots

Big Gigantic’s Dominic Lalli And Jeremy Salken Discuss Their Careers In EDM

Benny Bloom & Tom Hamilton Get Us Excited For Fool’s Paradise

Al Schnier & Jim Loughlin Talk All Things moe.

Umphrey’s McGee Engineer Chris Mitchell Discusses How He Captures The Band’s Unique Sound

Chris Kuroda Talks Evolution From Early Phish To MSG

Brendan Bayliss Talks New Umphrey’s McGee Album, Career Highlights

Jefferson Waful Talks Umphrey’s, Collaborating With Chris Kuroda

UM’s Brendan Bayliss Talks Band Origins, Meeting Steve Miller & More

**For more episodes – head to their, SoundCloud, iTunes or Stitcher pages, and if you would like to comment on the show or suggest future topics and/or guests, email them at insideoutwtns@gmail.com.