Twirl Radio #891 – Elaine McAfee Bender and Johnathan Pushkar

After ten years at a National Public Radio station in Chicago, Mike Lidskin returned to California in 1997 and created Twirl Radio, a weekly three hour radio program which features the finest independent music and artists from the rock era. Mike’s on a mission to not “just spin rock music, but to educate listeners about this vital art form.” Indeed, he doesn’t just announce the songs, but gives histories about some of the artists, the albums, and the songs themselves.

You can catch Twirl live each Saturday afternoon, from 3:00 to 6:00 PM PST on Sacramento’s Voice, KUBU 96.5 FM, and archived right here, as well as at If you haven’t headed into your Saturday night with an earful of Twirl, you’re doing it wrong!

Artist | Track | Album
Jonah’s Onelinedrawing | Better Than This | Sketchy EP#1
The Seven And Six | Strataplastic | EP#1
Don Hawkins | Acquisition | Stutter Step
Trip Wire | Bottle Rocket | Once & Always
Jane’s Addiction | Stop | Ritual De Lo Habitual
Skip Heller | I Hate You | That Was Then
Dionne Warwick | I Say A Little Prayer | The Very Best of Dionne Warwick

Elaine McAfee Bender interview
The Beatles | Things We Said Today | A Hard Day’s Night
Herman’s Hermits | Mrs. Brown | Single release
Laurie Biagini | The California Quake | A Go-Go Girl In A Modern World
David Bullock | Blue Ridge Mountains | In The Waking World
Train | Drops Of Jupiter | Drops Of Jupiter

The Armoires | Not A Good Man | Side Three
Sunshine Boys | Only A Million Miles | Blue Music
Anny Celsi | Empty Hangers | Kaleidoscope Heart: 12 Golden Hits
Three Minute Tease | Love Is Onion | Three Minute Tease
Spanic Boys | When You Fall | Torture
Blake Jones & The Trike Shop | Sun Up | The Underground Garden
Sundial Symphony | Merri Goes Round | Big Stir Singles: The Third Wave

Johnathan Pushkar interview
Johnathan Pushkar | We Could Be Together | Straighten Up
Johnathan Pushkar | Boyfriend | Straighten Up

Lannie Flowers | James Bond Theme | Songs, Bond Songs: The Music of 007
Librarians With Hickeys | Black Velvet Dress | Big Stir Singles: The Third Wave
Krista D | Penny For Your Thoughts | Look At Me I’m Krista D
The Rubinoos | Do You Remember | From Home
R. Stevie Moore | Back In Time | Afterlife
Smoking Popes | Before I’m Gone | Destination Failure
Poplord | Kill Me | The Fowl Tone Sampler

This week’s show features a couple of fun interviews. We start off with Fort Worth, Texas-based music historian/lyricist/dancer–I could go on and on with the slashes–she’s multitalented, and has done so much–Elaine McAfee Bender! She got her start in her teens, setting up one of the very first Beatles fan clubs in America, and doing live radio music reports in Dallas-Fort Worth, back in the 1960s. She’s met a lot of the legendary, now-classic rock artists back in their heyday. She’s written songs, poetry, reviews, and more. She was basically right there at ground zero of 1960s rock and roll! I’ve known her for several years, and have always enjoyed her amazing personal stories of those days–delivered with an infectious enthusiasm. I recently realized that I needed you to hear those stories too, so today’s the day. We’ll hear some old music that she loves, and some newer music that’s grabbed her attention.

Nashville-based Johnathan Pushkar may be chronologically young, but he is a musical “old soul”. Like Elaine, he’s a huge fan of the 1960s music, style, and attitude, and it comes through in his upbeat music and persona. Pretty quickly, he got signed by the legendary Jem Records label. His debut record, “Straighten Up”, shows influences from The Beatles through Weezer and more. It’s 10 tracks of upbeat power pop, compactly written and buoyantly performed. There’s 12 string Rickenbacker guitar all over this album, and it lulls, jangles, and crunches as needed, to serve the songs. Great vocal harmonies pull it all together. This is a fun listen for sure. My conversation with Johnathan was fun and inspired, and I’m looking forward to what comes next for him.


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