TVD Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth, Episode 48: Van Dyke Parks

It’s not hyperbole to say that musician, songwriter, arranger and record producer Van Dyke Parks is a legendary or mythical creature in pop music folklore. Sure, you know how Brian Wilson recruited him to join his creative process on what was to be The Beach Boys’ penultimate masterpiece, Smile. But there’s so much more to his career: aside from his critically acclaimed solo albums, Parks has historically been involved in a number of notable musical projects, always searching to shed light on music and stories that are astutely sui generis.

During quarantine, Parks orchestrated four songs for Verónica Valerio, a singer, songwriter and harpist born in Veracruz, Mexico. The EP is titled, “Only in America, Solo En America.” While the lyrics are in Spanish, the mood and emotion of the project is evident no matter what language one speaks. Don’t forget to take a moment to study the album’s cover art: it was created by Klaus Voorman, The Beatles’ chum who created the ever-enduring album art for Revolver.

So, let VDP and me keep you company as we engage in a conversation that goes wherever it pleases. We discuss his connection with Valerio’s music and subject matter, calling Klaus Voorman on his cell phone, how this project compares to his work with Brian Wilson and so much more. You’ll find Van Dyke Parks affable, nimble-witted, and urbane; join me as I try to keep up!

Evan Toth is a songwriter, professional musician, educator, radio host, avid record collector, and hi-fi aficionado. Toth hosts and produces The Evan Toth Show and TVD Radar on WFDU, 89.1 FM. Follow him at the usual social media places and visit his website.

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