The Great UnSung

Alison Pipitone

Alison Pipitone interviews working musicians about their art and what motivates them to continue on this difficult but incredibly rewarding path. Each episode features a working artist and a discussion about some of the pioneers in the industry who continue to inspire us.

All Episodes

Alison interviews opera singer Heidi Schneider about classical music in modern times and the continuing evolution of music. Ever the professional, Heidi remains congenial when Cake’s “Opera Singer” is foisted upon her. 

Jul 8

52 min 12 sec

Alison and Shannon Furtak misunderstand each other re. the research assignment. But don't worry, in true friend form, they navigate the terrain with a discussion about Saraswati and Lady Gaga. Other topics include creativity, family, and thriving during tough times.

May 20

52 min

Alison meets with bassist, guitarist, and producer Ben Clarke to talk about the balance between making a living and having a creative outlet - and how Ben has made that happen throughout his career. They also touch on a few deep, difficult topics that are best discussed under an umbrella of hope. 

May 13

1 hr 9 min

Alison sits down with longtime friend Brian Platter, the founder and talented shredder for melodic death metal band The Last Reign. They talk about the adaptations required for making music during a global pandemic, legendary guitarists, musical influences, and Brian’s other calling: Cosplaying the Joker.

May 6

48 min 56 sec

Alison talks with her longtime friend and fellow musician Pamela Ryder about her experiences performing and succeeding in major music-centric cities, including Austin and Nashville. The two also discuss Pamela’s passions, which include improv, yoga, and of course, music—which finds her even when she tries to leave it behind. 

Apr 29

1 hr 1 min

Alison interviews pianist and singer Ann Philippone. The two APs discuss being female artists in what has historically been a male-dominated industry, the great Nina Simone, the Civil Rights movement compared to today’s push for racial justice, and much more. www.annphilippone.comAnnie performs the song "Without You" on Localized:

Apr 19

48 min 35 sec

Alison spends some time with  Carole Walker, a singer, songwriter, guitarist, and producer from Cincinnati, Ohio. They discuss myriad topics including activism, lyrical inspiration, the joys of gardening, and how loved ones can give us strength even after they’re gone. Watch her video for "Burn (Falling Is Fun)" here:

Apr 15

1 hr 19 min

Alison interviews writer and hip-hop artist Chuckie Campbell about his childhood, his creative process, and his music, much of which centers around social justice. From being the first in his family to finish college to unexpectedly booming bar gigs in Idaho, Chuckie's experiences are both fascinating and enlightening.

Apr 9

58 min 18 sec

Alison talks to metal singer Ryan Skerrett about starting, quitting, and re-starting various forays into music. Ryan schools Alison on Nu Metal and Alison schools Ryan on how there are no quitters here.

Aug 2020

58 min 12 sec

In this episode, Alison speaks with RiShon Odel, the masterful bassist who has played with jazz stars and rock stars and gospel stars...He is a producer, writer, and arranger, and we were so happy to catch up with him on a recent evening. 

Jul 2020

50 min 5 sec

Alison Pipitone and Peter Burakowski discuss the Pan-American Expo of 1901, his songs based on that era, and the hero Jim Parker, whose name was almost erased from history. Peter also tells us about the time he was traveling for business and his wife called to tell him he was going to be the father of triplets. 

Jun 2020

1 hr 12 min

Alison Pipitone and Shannon Furtak discuss the fate of musicians during the Black Plague and the Spanish Flu, along with other equally lighthearted topics.

Jun 2020

1 hr 2 min

Alison interviews her brother-in-law/lead guitarist Graham Howes about pianos and guitars and motivation and family.

Apr 2020

46 min 27 sec

Alison interviews Matt Pszonak, a man who plays more instruments than there are consonants in his name. Matt talks about his upbringing and world travels, his influences, and the risks involved with a career in music. SUNY Music Industry Students give us a look at Reverend Gary Davis. 

Apr 2020

55 min 35 sec

Alison spends some time with Robbie Konikoff talking about - among other things - Devo, following your heart, and being open to change. Then SUNY Fredonia music industry students introduce us to the extraordinary Edie Lehmann Boddicker, who was born in Buffalo.

Apr 2020

40 min 7 sec

Alison and Marc W. Hunt talk about the bass and the studio and the Magic Kingdom. SUNY Fredonia Music Industry students introduce us to the pioneering record producer Lillian Shedd McMurry.

Apr 2020

44 min 35 sec

Alison and the wonderfully talented Liz Maltese discuss the fun and foibles of being a singer and songwriter. Our SUNY Music Industry students give us some background on the career of Ella Fitzgerald.

Apr 2020

56 min 4 sec

Alison talks to BFF Michael Skowronski about his younger years, all things music, and the late great Stan Szelest. 

Apr 2020

45 min 11 sec

In this final episode of Season One, we turn the mics around and the uber-talented Karen Taylor does the interviewing. Karen asks Alison about beginnings, struggles, and inspirations. The two singers also discuss the merits of performing original music and cover music.

Mar 2019

1 hr 6 min

This week Alison hands over the reins to Music Industry students at SUNY Fredonia. They talk about their love of music with all the passion you would expect from bright young people just starting their journeys. The students discuss the exciting, sometimes frustrating landscape of the music industry and their place in it.  

Feb 2019

52 min 24 sec

Alison interviews her good friend and bandmate Pat Shaughnessy, an accomplished and first rate drummer. They discuss day jobs, cover bands, and Bun E. Carlos. And…Pat absolutely kills a game of Mad Libs! 

Feb 2019

56 min 34 sec

Alison interviews Tom Stahl, an award-winning folk-rock musician, superb songwriter, and fellow Buffalo Music Hall of Fame inductee.  They talk about Tom’s long road to the stage and the effect a supportive partner has on the life of a working musician. Next they discuss their friend and mentor, Buffalo promoter and legend Michael Meldrum. 

Jan 2019

58 min 56 sec

Alison interviews the incredible George Scott of the George Scott Big Band and the historic Colored Musicians' Club in Buffalo, New York. They discuss the rich history of the CMC and the remarkable array of talent that has passed through its doors, including the Queen herself, Aretha Franklin. Alison and George discuss the history of musicians' unions in Buffalo and other major cities, as well as George's ancestral path to music.

Jan 2019

44 min 3 sec

This week, Alison interviews Robby Takac from the Goo Goo Dolls. Robby & John Rznezik formed their iconic punk/rock/pop band in 1985 and they’ve sustained an incredibly successful career ever since. Alison and Robby discuss a wide range of topics, including Robby’s important friendship with Buffalo legend Lance Diamond.

Jan 2019

49 min 36 sec

This week, Alison interviews ace guitar player Jamie Holka. They discuss the roles fate and sheer determination often play in the lives of working musicians. Jamie reflects on his work with Captain Beyond and as a solo artist, and then Alison and Jamie talk about the remarkable Rory Gallagher.

Dec 2018

1 hr 20 min

This week, Alison travels to South Pasadena, CA to interview the incomparable George Schwindt, former member of Celtic punk band Flogging Molly. In this interview George discusses his innovative drum style, his early choice to play Yamaha drums, the importance of education in a music career, and much more. 

Dec 2018

50 min 16 sec

Alison sits down with her brother Damon, who discusses his life as the founder of Los Angeles' only 80s/Irish/Dance/Rock band, Flogging Seagulls. Then Damon and Alison go back in time to remember their roots with their punk-ish, rock-ish  band The Monas.

Nov 2018

55 min 19 sec

Alison changes things up this week with award-winning singer-songwriter and fellow adjunct professor Maria Sebastian. The two musician/educators discuss Maria’s diverse music career and her poetry, then deep-dive into how contract and adjunct work has affected many sectors, including education. 

Nov 2018

44 min 11 sec

Alison interviews her sisters Gabrielle Pipitone Hangen  and Natalie Pipitone Howes about the effect music had on their tumultuous childhood. They discuss the rock and roll gene and why several Pipitone siblings were (and continue to be) inspired to pursue music. Alison and Natalie then discuss the tragic story of Buffalo-born songwriter and musician Jackson C. Frank. 

Oct 2018

42 min 42 sec

In this episode, Alison interviews Grace Stumberg, a talented singer-songwriter who is also a backup singer on tour with Joan Baez. Alison and Grace discuss self-care on the road as a working musician, how some songs are written, and the life and career of contemporary folk musician Joan Baez. 

Oct 2018

42 min 3 sec

Alison chats with award-winning jazz pianist Walter Kemp III about his career and his roots in gospel and classical music. Walter's father inspired him to follow a musical path. Alison and Walt discuss famed "master and guru of the Hammond B-3 organ" Dr. Lonnie Smith, who has performed and collaborated with the greatest names of the jazz, blues, and R&B. Learn more about Walter Kemp III: Learn more about Dr. Lonnie Smith:

Sep 2018

54 min 30 sec

Alison sits with multiple-instrument-master and entertainer Susan Rozler to discuss her forty-year career as a working musician and the balance between art and money in the performance industry. The featured artist is Grammy winner and folk singer/songwriter Elizabeth Cotten, who forged a unique path, the result of a fifty-year career gap.

Sep 2018

53 min 47 sec

Why did we decide to do this podcast? Find out here - and send us your comments and suggestions:

Aug 2018

16 min 23 sec

Alison chats with Kathryn Koch about her eclectic career as part of groups Redheaded Stepchild and Black Rock Zydeco. Koch’s bands forged their own way without the assistance of record labels—an incredible feat in the age before YouTube and social media. The featured musician is Sister Rosetta Tharpe, a pioneer of gospel music and often called the “Godmother of rock and roll.” Tharpe was inducted posthumously into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2017.

Aug 2018

1 hr 9 min

Alison sits down with Theresa Quinn, an accomplished piano player, bandleader, musical director, and attorney. Also a part of the group Girls Gone Mild, Theresa has been a working musician in many forms for more than 25 years. The women then discuss American pianist Ray Turner, who was an in-house pianist with Paramount Pictures from the ‘40s to the ‘70s .

Aug 2018

48 min 47 sec

Alison Pipitone and singer/violist Mary Ramsey discuss Mary’s career with 10,000 Maniacs, John & Mary, and Girls Gone Mild. The featured musician is Kim Kashkashian, accomplished and award-winning violist.

Aug 2018

58 min 27 sec

Alison talks with Tom Naples, noted folk singer and researcher. Tom explains the influence of historical time periods on folk music and song lyrics, as well as how this music reflects the resilience of everyday Americans. The featured musician is American singer and songwriter John Stewart, his contributions to folk music, and his early days with the Kingston Trio.

Aug 2018

1 hr 4 min