Discover more from Abandoned Albums
Interview with The Nashville Voyager
Really nice interview with these folks!
Today we’d like to introduce you to Keith Higgons.
Hi Keith, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today.
Many moons ago, I heard a song called “In Another Land” while working as a carpenter’s apprentice in Dayton, Ohio. We were doing some interior remodeling at a doctor’s office, and when I heard that guitar intro, it grabbed hold of me… and has never let go. I eagerly anticipated the DJ coming back and telling me who it was, but I had to suffer through an archaic track by Deep Purple and whatever Sting was blathering about before I found out it was a band called Broken Homes.
After work, I immediately went to my local record store, and there it was, as luck would have it. Its dark blue cover with the four members’ names in big block letters made the album more reminiscent of a classic jazz album than a rock and roll record. I paid my seven or eight dollars and went home and dropped the needle on this debut album on MCA Records from a quartet of Los Angeles rock and rollers.
After a valiant effort with three albums for MCA, Broken Homes eventually threw in the towel.
Ironically, the people in and around the band would find tremendous success outside Broken Homes.
When compact discs overtook the music business, I was thankful I still had that black vinyl platter because I could never find that album on cd. Which makes sense – it was never released on cd.
I came home one day after work to find my new puppy, Duke, had chewed up the album cover and scratched the vinyl beyond repair; I was, in a word, angry. So, I resigned myself to just getting another copy. But it wasn’t available on cd, and I presumed I could order a vinyl copy, and I would soon learn that it was out of print.
It was the dawn of streaming, and even Napster and Limewire didn’t have this album; it would take ten years before I found the vinyl album again.
I’ve written about this album often, and one day I received an email from Don Harvey proclaiming to have played drums on the album as a studio musician. “Hogwash,” I thought…. until I verified that he had. We exchanged a few emails, and I finally asked him if he would be open to talking about it for a new podcast, and he said yes.
I did not have a podcast—only an idea, and with one guest booked, I now had to create one.
About a week before I recorded with Don, he asked if I would get Jimmy (Ashhurst, bass player) or Craig (Ross, guitar player). Both lead singer Mike Doman and drummer Craig Aaronson had passed away.
Naturally, I said I was going to try. I thought they wouldn’t respond. These guys were rock stars – Craig Ross has been playing and writing with Lenny Kravitz for over 30 years, and Jimmy Ashhurst has played with everyone from Izzy Stradlin to The Cult. But since I followed them on social media, I reached out.
Within five minutes, Craig said he’d love to chat about it. And while it would take a separate recording session with Jimmy, he was eager to talk about the album.
The Friday before I was set to record, I sent an e-mail to the album’s producer, Jeff Eyrich, and got an immediate reply saying he was in… but on vacation in Greece, so we had to coordinate schedules.
None of these guys had been in the same room since recording the record. It was cool to get them all together again… albeit it was a Zoom room, but still.
The conceit of the Abandoned Albums podcast is to showcase albums that may have been lost over time or records that have never been heard. The idea was built from this debut album by Broken Homes. To start this incredible journey by interviewing the band’s surviving members and creative team behind one of my all-time favorite albums seemed like a fortuitous beginning.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
As luck would have it, yes, it’s been mostly smooth. I have had some terrific co-hosts like writers Rob Janicke, S.W. Lauden, and John Borack. And currently riding shotgun is musician Geoff Calhoun, and those guys have helped overcome any hiccups.
The only struggle I have encountered is managing social media. And that’s just a Sisyphean task regardless of profession.
But as far as booking artists, almost every artist I have spoken with has been gracious with their time and stories.
The nature of the business is such that booking artists can prove to be a little challenging and might require a last-minute pivot on the calendar. While artists and their handlers have ghosted me, I’ve only had one artist schedule, which completely blew me off. The trick is to keep booking, so you’ve got a backlog.
The challenge I continue to face is that both artists and listeners often have a literal interpretation of Abandoned Albums. I’ve had artists get testy, saying: “THAT’S not an abandoned album.” And sometimes, they’re right, but the objective is to provide artists with a welcoming audience to talk about their career as a whole; and, much more importantly, to discuss the projects they’re working on now.
Perhaps if I had to do it over again, I would choose a different name… but then I wouldn’t have that killer logo.
Thanks – so, what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I suspect I am mostly known at this point for my podcast. But another love of mine is writing, and I have written extensively over the years. I have been able to marry the two by writing an accompanying article along with each podcast.
What sets me apart from others? Hmm, gosh, I don’t know how to answer that. I feel like my focus and tenacity certainly contribute, but not sure that sets me “apart.”
I am most proud of how listeners and artists have received my podcast. It’s great when someone I have interviewed takes the time to drop a note and compliment the episode. Truthfully, it’s great when anyone takes the time to drop a note to say they appreciate the work.
We’d love to hear about how you think about risk-taking.
Risk, at least as it relates to the podcast, is pretty minimal. I often ask artists to come on Abandoned Albums via an electronic channel, like their social media or website. On both sides, the risk is minimal.
I would never label myself a risk taker, but the very nature of creating something from nothing and putting it out there and open for criticism is risky. However, when I think of risk-taking, I often equate it with physical activity. There is some vulnerability in my specific endeavor, which could be considered risky to some. So, climbing Mount Everest is a bit riskier than creating something and having people judge it.