Welcome to Cover to Cover with Matt Tarka!

Welcome to Cover to Cover, a podcast featuring musical conversations about an album or song which has changed and enhanced someone’s life.

I’m your host, songwriter Matt Tarka. 

We humans connect with the presence of music in our own unique way – as an artist, a concertgoer, through our headphones, or as something that simply lives in our everyday background.

During each conversation, we will discuss a single or an album with a special guest. Our guest will choose the single or album and reflect on what that piece of music means to them. We may focus on lyrics, a guitar tone, a piano solo, a state of mind.

Through these conversations, we hope you will discover some new music, rekindle your love for an old forgotten song, and share a good moment with us as we sonically explore a world from Cover to Cover.  

Episode 101: Jamie Aston – Phish/Hoist

Our guest today is south central Pennsylvania’s Jamie Aston, acclaimed bassist of Wes Hoke and the Bare Roots and the Joe Ulnick Band. Back in August of 2022, we had a lively conversation about Burlington, Vermont’s Phish and their fifth studio album released in 1994 titled Hoist. The mid 1990’s was a pivotal era for the band, which saw Jon (Henrietta), Trey (Big Red), Mike (Cactus) and Page (Chairman of the Boards) leap from the club circuit in the U.S. to large scale amphitheaters and beyond.

I think you’ll enjoy his tale of how he discovered the band, subsequent touring/taping and his love of the music, which has never waivered for nearly thirty years. Enjoy!


Episode 100: Salim Nourallah – Stephen Duffy/Duffy

Our guest today is a solo artist, producer, Palo Santo Music Group co-founder in Dallas, TX, and its indie music godfather. He is one Salim Nourallah. You may remember Salim as our guest in Episode 40 and our discussion about one of the most consequential records in our lifetime and beyond, The White Album.

As a solo artist, Nourallah has long mined the terrain between catchy and devastating. Rolling Stone called him “a singer-songwriter who can stop time.” As a producer and owner of Pleasantry Lane in Dallas, Nourallah has worked notably with the Old 97’s, Rhett Miller, the Deathray Davies, and the Damnwells. His work on either side of the sound booth has won an armful of Dallas Observer music awards and proven that some musicians actually do get better with age.

Our conversation today will focus on British singer/songwriter Stephen Duffy and his second solo offering from 1995 titled “Duffy” which was originally released on Indolent Records. Some may know Stephen Duffy as a founding member, vocalist and bassist of Duran Duran and later the front man for the folk rock outfit The Lilac Time. Please, enjoy episode #100!


Episode 99: Marco Castro – Thrice/Vheissu

Our guest today is one Marco Castro of the Chicagoland band known as The Castros. Born & raised in Costa Rica , embraced by the Midwest, Marco is also a Metroid & coffee enthusiast.

The Castros newest single that was released on December 31st, 2021 called “Sail Away” which they recorded and self-produced.

For our conversation today, Marco and I discussed in great detail Vheissu (pronounced “vee-sue”), the fourth studio album from the band known as Thrice. Vheissu was recorded at Studio Bearsville in Bearsville, NY and released on October 18, 2005. Enjoy the conversation!


Episode 98: Fine Lace – Allison Leah/We Can Still Sing

Our guest today is one Fine Lace. She is a 28 year old indie singer-songwriter from Idaho currently based in Seattle. In 2020 she released the first 2 songs off her upcoming EP centered on mental health (“Hold On” and “Amazing Mom (Infertility Song)”). Producing music got put on hold last year when in her own words gave birth to a “little miracle baby” but says she should be back in the studio sometime in 2022.

For our conversation today, she has chosen is “We Can Still Sing” by Nashville based singer-songwriter Allison Leah. We Can Still Sing is a song inspired by the hundreds of people singing from their balconies in 2020 during the current and ongoing global health pandemic due to COVID-19. Jonathan Frahm of the blog For Folks Sake writes, “A choral call to arms for love, kindness, and respect, the singer-songwriter has effectively woven a beautiful anthem for this precise moment in history.”

Enjoy the conversation!


Episode 97: Sarah Harralson – Brandy Clark/12 Stories

Our guest today is one Sarah Harralson from Nashville, by way of Knoxville, TN.  Sarah began writing songs when she was ten years old, her bluegrass musician grandfather being her biggest musical influence.

After her grandfather passed in 2011, Sarah decided she would move to Nashville in 2013 to pursue music at Belmont University. Upon the release of hearing her debut EP Finally Found, in 2014 Music Connection Magazine wrote “Sarah Harralson presents honest, bare-boned recordings that are authentic.” A year later after releasing Finally Found, she was discovered by Scotty Schultz, drummer of Shooter Jennings (Waylon Jennings’s son). Scotty opened up his publishing company, Raindrop Music LLC, in 2015 and after hearing Sarah’s original song “Watered Down Whiskey”, he knew he wanted to sign her right away. Scotty decided he would produce her first country EP, Watered Down Whiskey, of all original songs that Sarah has either written or co-written.

One of the tracks on the EP includes the song, “Radio Static” that was co-written with Johnny Garcia (lead guitar for Garth Brooks). Over time, Sarah began writing and working with Johnny, which evolved to the point where Sarah would sign her next publishing deal with Busy at Play Publishing (Johnny Garcia’s company) in February 2020. During 2020, she has released singles, “Put a Rock on This Rolling Stone”, “Get Lost in Some Rock ‘N Roll”, and holiday single, “Frosty”, since signing with Busy at Play Publishing. Her 2021 singles include, “The Chance”, “The America I Knew”, “Love on Lease (Reimagined)”, “Bottom of the Glass”, and a jazz version of “Silent Night”. Her new single, “Whiskey History” was released on January 14th of this year.

You can Sarah find her playing local shows in Nashville when she is not out of town. Her stage credibility includes opening for the likes of Aaron Tippin, Bucky Covington, and also included on festival rosters with Jason Aldean and Old Dominion as headliners. Besides performing, Sarah also produces music herself and decided to release a collaborative album, West of Me, with co-writer Christine Bauer in early 2019 that she self-produced. You can also hire her to write and record a song for you or your loved one through websites, Songfinch, SoundBetter, or Fiverr. In June 2021, she was invited to be a voting member of The Recording Academy as a vocalist and songwriter. She also plays at hospitals as a volunteer musician once a month for Musicians On Call. Sarah hopes that her music will help people in some way across the world. She is a big believer that music heals and aims to present her music in a way that is relatable for others and can heal any open wounds.

For our conversation today, we’ll be discussing country artist Brandy Clark and her debut record 12 Stories, which was recorded with produced Dave Brainard and released on October 22, 2013, through Slate Creek Records. Enjoy the conversation!


Episode 96: Finley Martin – The Tragically Hip/Road Apples

Our guest today is one Finley Martin. He enjoys every aspect of making music – from songwriting, to performing live, to engineering and production. He primarily plays bass and guitar, but he’s been known to add other instruments (keys, drums, field recordings) when he’s recording at home. Finley was born and raised in Prince Edward Island, Canada, but has been based in the DC area since 1998.

In addition to his solo work, he’s played with a number of area bands since then:

Gist – 1999 to present (post-punk)

The Chance – 2008 to 2010 (art rock)

RagnaPOP! – 2014 to present (pop punk)

Oppo – 2014 to present (indie rock)

GrooveJet – 2015 to present (Latin, jazz, funk, RnB)

These bands are representative of his broad musical tastes and interests. If you heard them in one night, you would journey through angular vs. melodic post-punk, art core, horn-heavy funk, latin jazz, uke-tinged pop punk and indie rock. Finley’s solo work fuses these influences with Americana and folk stylings, often drawing on the Celtic storytelling and kitchen parties from his childhood. He creates reflective songs—at times quiet, acoustic, melody-driven ballads, but equally often heavier, driving barn burners, making use of the loop pedal to develop multi-layered soundscapes. His songs often explore issues that reflect life in the 21st century such as social inequality, gun violence, climate degradation, and technological encroachment.

For our conversation today, we are going to be discussing The Tragically Hip’s second studio album titled Road Apples, which was released back on February 15, 1991. It was their first album to reach #1 in Canada, and the album has been certified Diamond as well. Incidentally, earlier this year. Road Apples is receiving some deluxe treatment, to celebrate its 30th Anniversary. Enjoy the conversation!


Episode 95: Kiana Corley – Corrine Bailey Rae/Self-Titled

Our guest today is a Pennsylvania pop/soul artist – one Kiana Corley. She’s been featured in Guitar Girl Magazine, WXPN’s The Key, Medium.com, the podcast Brian Funk and many other media outlets.

For our conversation today, we’re going to discuss the debut, self-titled studio album from English singer-songwriter Corinne Bailey Rae. released on February 24, 2006 on EMI Records.  Within the first few minutes, you will recognize you how much this record has had a profound impact on Kiana, and the way she lives her life as a creative person.

Enjoy the conversation!


Episode 94: Avi Walter – Frank Zappa/Apostrophe

Our guest today is Avi Walter, bassist for several DC bands including Albino Rhino, Bells & Huntersallthebestkids and is now the bassist for the group Friday Night Flicks, a project which began in April of 2020.

In addition to his passion for music, Avi has a degree in alternative medicine and physiology, so health and human performance are always top of mind.

For our conversation today, we’re going to discuss Frank Zappa and his self-produced 1974 record Apostrophe.  Apostrophe was recorded at Electric Lady Studios, New York City; Bolic Sound in Inglewood, California; Paramount Studios, Hollywood, California and was released on Diskreet Records. We delve deep into the mind of Frank Zappa and his prolific musical output during his lifetime.

Enjoy the conversation!


Episode 93: RJ Conrad – Dave Matthews – Tim Reynolds / Live at Luther College

Our guest today is one R.J. Conrad from the Harrisburg, PA band six-piece known as Rascal Revival. They recently released an EP titled Passing Time Around, which you should take the time to seek out and put the band on your radar.

For our conversation today, we’re going to discuss a collaboration between Dave Matthews from the Dave Matthews Band and multi-instrumentalist Tim Reynolds of TR3, and the profound impact this record had on our guest.

Of course, we are talking about Live at Luther College – a live album from Dave and Tim, which was recorded at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, on February 6, 1996,

The album features several previously unreleased or rare tracks, including “What Will Become of Me?”, which would later be used as the basis for the song “Pantala Naga Pampa” on the 1998 studio album Before These Crowded Streets. Six songs would appear on the studio album Crash, released later in 1996.

Enjoy the conversation!


Episode 92: Ron Babcock – The Breeders/Last Splash

Our guest today is one Ron Babcock.

Ron Babcock is a comedian and editor living in Los Angeles. His debut album THIS GUY. went to #1 on iTunes Comedy and #13 on Billboard Comedy. He’s appeared on Adam Devine’s House Party, Last Comic Standing and other cancelled shows. He’s edited for Netflix, Disney, HBO, Adult Swim and others – most recently, CAT BURGLAR, an interactive series which debuted on February 22nd, 2022 on Netflix. He’s also currently working on a project animating voicemails his mom leaves him.

Our conversation centers around a Dayton, Ohio alternative rock band known as The Breeders and their second studio album, Last Splash, which was released back on August 30, 1993 on 4AD/Elektra Records. Last Splash was recorded at Coast Recorders, North Hollywood, Brilliant Studios, San Francisco and Refraze Recording Studio, Dayton. Last Splash was produced by guitarist Kim Deal, along with Mark Freegard. Enjoy the conversation!