Q&A with Elmore Magazine co-founder, Suzanne Cadgene - with the motto, “Saving American Music,” covers a wide variety of genres

"The impact is incalculable. Blues and rock cultures have not only influenced culture and social relations, but the music has memorialized it, documented it for history."

Suzanne Cadgène: Saving American Music

Elmore magazine is an American music publication founded in 2005 by Suzanne Cadgène and Arnie Goodman. With the motto, “Saving American Music,” Elmore covers a wide variety of genres, including roots, rhythm and blues, jazz, rock 'n' roll, country, folk and Americana. Elmore's name was inspired by bluesman Elmore James, although Cadgène also explained, “Elmore James was certainly a factor, but Elmore is a funky, American, down-home name. I don't know any ‘Sir Elmores.’”

Elmore runs interviews and in-depth features concerning American music, breaking music news, extensive reviews of new releases, re-issues, music-related films, books and a wide array of live music shows and festivals across the country, as well as giveaways and contests. In 2012, Elmore was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame. Elmore’s Reviews section, updated daily, features pieces on both new and reissued albums and live shows, as well as music-related films and books. Elmore also maintains a calendar of upcoming live show picks and festival previews this includes basic information regarding the dates and the lineups, as well as the best places for food, drink and more.

Interview by Michael Limnios       Suzanne Cadgène / Photo © by Laura Carbone

How has the Blues and Rock Counterculture influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

Music has always been described as "powerful," and that's certainly true when we're talking about the emotions it can evoke--laughter and tears and everything in between--but I think one aspect of music's power has been overlooked, and that is the power of repetition. We can all listen to the phrases "I have a dream" or "Fourscore and twenty years ago" a zillion times, but shortly after, we tune out. What are the next two or three sentences, folks? Huh? But we listen to "Ohio" or "Blowin' In the Wind" or "What's Going On" over and over, all the way through, and we sing along. Speeches and theory will influence us, but songs and their messages help mold who we are.

Personally, I soaked up the many "don't trust the man" messages I heard growing up, so now I still play Devil's Advocate on a regular basis, and for 30 years have had a sign on my desk that says "QUESTION AUTHORITY."

What characterizes "Elmore Magazine" in comparison to other publications? What is the hardest part as a publisher?

The hardest part of being a publisher is saying "No." No to publicists, no to our writers and photographers, no to performers. Elmore is in the fortunate position to help people meet their personal goals, but that doesn't mean we always should.

"The highlight of the last 15 years has been friendships with wonderful people. From my Elmore partner, Arnie Goodman, to the writers and photographers who submit their wonderful works, to the performers who give so much joy, I've been privileged to make both lasting and short-term memorable relationships." (Photo: Elmore Magazine's covers, Dr. John & Ritchie Havens)

What do you miss most nowadays from the music of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

I miss some of the performers, of course, but I don't think things are as dire as we imagine. My father, a Big Band fan, used to tell me "my" music wasn't very good, and there were few people of talent. I think he forgot about all the stupid stuff from "his" era, and only played the Benny Goodman, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong goodies. At any given moment, there's good and bad, it's just that the bad gets forgotten, so when you're comparing the highlights of yesterday to everything today, yesterday music's almost always going to win. I hate the formulaic songwriting that some artists seem to succeed with today, but there's always been drivel, and hopefully today's drivel will get buried.

I do have a fear that, more and more, artists will become successful based on their antics, not their music.

If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?

That artists would get a fair shake and earn a living in keeping with their deserved popularity, i.e., their talent, not the size of their jewelry or butt or off-stage antics.

What is the impact of the Blues and Rock culture on the racial, political and socio-cultural implications?

That answer is a book. The impact is incalculable. Blues and rock cultures have not only influenced culture and social relations, but the music has memorialized it, documented it for history.

"The hardest part of being a publisher is saying "No." No to publicists, no to our writers and photographers, no to performers. Elmore is in the fortunate position to help people meet their personal goals, but that doesn't mean we always should." Photo: Elmore Magazine's cover, Bob Dylan)

Which meetings have been the most important experiences for you? What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?

The highlight of the last 15 years has been friendships with wonderful people. From my Elmore partner, Arnie Goodman, to the writers and photographers who submit their wonderful works, to the performers who give so much joy, I've been privileged to make both lasting and short-term memorable relationships.

The best advice anyone ever gave me was: "Think."

Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really want to go for a whole day?

I'd like to go forward 200 or 300 years, to see what's going on. If I went further, I don't think I'd recognize anything--after all, Kitty Hawk was just over 100 years ago, the Web was invented in 1982 and the first cellular network debuted a little over 20 years ago, but today most of us couldn't function without all three, and things are moving even faster now. So maybe 100 or 200 years in the future.

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