John Faye breaks bread with fellow working musicians and creatives in this Patreon-funded fly-on-the-wall podcast. New episodes each month on Patreon. Archived episodes available here, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts.

Talking At The Diner Podcast

"Talking At The Diner" Podcast Ep. 27 ft. Emily Drinker  

Over the past couple of years, Emily Drinker has released a full length album, played at Firefly and the Philadelphia Folk Festival, and opened for artists like Pat Benatar and JD Souther, and along with her band and housemates has brought the Philly music community together with a festival thrown in her backyard called CINNAMiN Fest

Her soulful folk pop goes down smooth whether she’s performing with her powerhouse band the Funky T or in a more intimate format incorporating live looping, Emily is an artist who has found a way to do what she does using every weapon in her considerable arsenal.

She is someone I personally consider a top-shelf vocalist and she has had some incredible and unusual experiences in her travels as a working musician. She's also happens to be so much of a regular at Bob's Diner in Roxborough that they know to save a corn muffin for her anytime she stops in.

I hope you enjoy my wonderful conversation with Emily at Bob's Diner.. where they offer a monumental eating experience! 😁

"Talking At The Diner" Podcast Ep. 26 ft. Brian Seymour  

I recently met up with my friend and fellow songwriter Brian Seymour at the Blue Jay Restaurant at 29th and Girard in north Philadelphia, where we encountered a charming, cash-only gem of a restaurant (tax evasion anyone?), run by a kindly Greek couple, who clearly have a deep history there. From the vintage booths, to the timeworn handwritten menu hung clothesline-style behind the counter, the Blue Jay was a veritable time capsule, as charming as your great aunt’s Hummel collection. Brian and I chatted about all kinds of topics - how times have changed since his days in the early 2000’s singer-songwriter scene, when he would regularly play in coveted venues up and down the east coast (Berlin Under A in New York, Club Passim in Boston), fly out to LA to do shows and rub elbows with artists like Grace Potter, and become a mainstay at long-gone Philly venues like the Tin Angel and the North Star Bar (both places I knew and loved as well). 

Now in the post-pandemic world of 2023, Brian has a brilliant new record called "American Courage" and has jumped back into the fray with a killer collection of songs and a different outlook on his methods and motivations for sharing his considerable gifts.

I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did!

"Talking At The Diner" Podcast Ep. 25 ft. Alexis Cunningham  

On Episode 25 of "Talking At The Diner," I ventured into the outer Philly burbs to Phoenixville, PA to meet up with singer songwriter Alexis Cunningham, a powerful and charismatic performer who has done some very cool things in her still-ascending career.

In 2022, she appeared on American Song Contest on NBC, where she performed her song “Working On A Miracle” and completed against some serious musical heavyweights like Jewel and Macy Gray. 

She’s also developed a long-lasting creative partnership with Eric Bazilian from Philly rock legends the Hooters and gauging by the last time I saw her perform, Alexis writing the best songs of her career. Trust me when I tell you she’s got songs.

I actually got an opportunity last year to sing back-ups on a stripped down version of "Working On A Miracle" with Alexis and Joey DiTullio during a show with David Uosikkinen's In The Pocket. Check it out HERE. 

I diner’d up with Alexis at the brilliantly named “YOUR MOM’S PLACE,” located at the far end of Phoenixville’s bustling downtown. I had a great time catching up with her and I hope you enjoy our conversation!

"Talking At The Diner" Podcast Ep. 24 ft. Ben O' Neill  

My guest on this episode of TatD is Philly guitarist and songwriter Ben O' Neill. One might accuse me of some form of nepotism having Ben as a guest on the pod because he happens to be married to my dear friend and IKE V1.0 bassist Joann Schmidt, but he's more than earned his bona fides in the music world. 😉

Not only is Ben a Philadelphia music vet from his bands the MLMs and the Mini Q's, he's also a music educator, who has taught guitar at University of the Arts for many years, and.. oh yeah.. he's the touring guitarist for some guy named John Legend. NBD.

He's actually been a touring musician for the better part of two decades, starting in the gospel world with Tye Tribbett and moving into neo-soul with artists like Musiq Soulchild and Jill Scott. He's also performed with Sting, Kanye West, Kid Cudi and many others.

More than any musician I know personally, Ben understands the touring musician's  life and the need for balance in that life, both on and off the road.

Check out Ben's stellar new solo EP Light Volume Two and enjoy this really fantastic conversation we shared at the Penrose Diner in south Philly!

"Talking At The Diner" Podcast: Ep. 23 - Blue Barnett (of Best Bear)  

Hey all! I am so excited to bring you this convo with Blue Barnett, who is the lead singer, primary songwriter, and driving force behind Philadelphia's Best Bear - a band whose 2022 debut album When had me singing along and practically sobbing in my car over dozens of listens last year.

I have known Blue as a friendly acquaintance over the past decade - they are yet another great singer / songwriter to have emerged from the South Jersey coffeehouse scene of the 2010's, but only now is Blue truly getting their taste of much deserved recognition, having landed airplay a much coveted live session on Philly radio station WXPN.

I got a chance to sit down with Blue at Geets Diner and Bar in Monroe Township, New Jersey and we chatted about songwriting, band dynamics, avoiding money pits, and how some of the best songs come from our biggest emotional letdowns. I truly enjoyed our conversation and I hope you do too!

Learn more about Best Bear at their website!
Check them out of Spotify!

"Talking At The Diner" Podcast: Ep. 22 - Jayson Verdibello  

Episode 22 of "Talking At The Diner" features a fellow musician, whom I first met in 2005 when he was an undergrad in Drexel University's Music Industry Program, where I had just started teaching that major's required course in songwriting. Jayson Verdibello was part of a stellar group of young music industry students who took that class and I’m lucky to say I’ve kept in touch with him and many of his contemporaries to this very day. Watching Jay progress as a musician, songwriter, and human has been a real privilege. I've worked with him at several stages in his career, from his time in the bands Craet to Venice Sunlight to goodnight/goodluck (which, for a time featured And Bocca, a previous guest on TatD, on lead vocals). Now his journey has brought him to small graves, and the personnel looks much the same as it has for quite a few years, as Jay and his band mates Eric Zrinsky, Ed Taylor, and Alex Brown (all four from gn/gl) continue to make music but with a brand new spirit. When I caught the band’s debut live show recently in Philly, it had simultaneous new band energy while the group still came  off like a well-oiled (if still feisty) rock and roll machine.

I met up with Jayson at one of our shared Philly haunts: South St. Diner. We were the only customers there for most of our conversation, which pointed the discussion in some very interesting directions. I hope you enjoy this spirited chat!


"Talking At The Diner" Podcast: Ep. 21 - Alyssa Garcia  

Alyssa Garcia and I met when she was a student and I was a songwriting professor at Drexel University in Philadelphia. Before she ever took my songwriting class, she was one of a handful of private-lesson students I taught each term in a dusty and desolate 4th floor practice room in the campus "Main Building".. the room had a piano and one working power outlet from the early 20th century. During that 10-week term, I got to see Alyssa's talent as a musician and songwriter close-up. One of the songs she wrote during that time became her course project, which we recorded together in GarageBand and it ended up on one of her EPs. You can check out "Apart" on Spotify HERE.

Even before she attended Drexel, Alyssa was already a seasoned musician with a lot of career accolades, including sync placements for her song “Loved Actually” which landed on several episodes of The Young and the Restless and in the Netflix original movie The Starling. In 2015, she won the Philadelphia Songwriters Project annual contest AND if I’m not mistaken, her 2018 Hometown Heroes Homey Award for Best Pop Song made her the youngest ever recipient of that award.

As a female Filipino-American musician, she has faced a number of challenges head on, taking inspiration from Grammy winning Filipino artists like Steve Lacey and Beabadoobee, and showcasing her talent on several instruments and in high profile settings, like Music Fest in Bethlehem, PA. Her stated credo that "Music Is The Cure" resonates loud and clear with her supports and with me!

I hope you enjoy this great conversation!

~JKF ❤

"Talking At The Diner" Podcast: Ep. 20 - Jamie Salvatore  

I am so excited about this episode with my friend Jamie Salvatore - the man who puts the "Jamie" in Jamie and the Guarded Heart. JatGH is honestly the type of band you can’t help but root for. Their name is fitting yet a little deceptive, because so many of Jamie’s anthemic songs wear their rock 'n' roll heart right on their sleeve for all to see. 

I appreciate Jamie doing this episode of the pod with me because when we got together at Andy's Diner & Pub in Conshohocken, PA (Conshy to the folks from the area), the band had just endured a heartbreaking gut punch. They had just sold out an upcoming theater show - weeks in advance, I might add - only to have the venue pull out of the event the following day, leaving several months of work, preparation, and promotion in a rubble pile, which - yes contained some valuable lessons - but also left the band wondering how to recover and ultimately bounce back. 

So much of what working musicians go through involves such tests of resilience in the face of these types of horror stories but not everyone is willing to talk about it so candidly, because we’re conditioned to think that we have to present our lives and careers as perpetually sunny-side-up all day, every day, and that is just not how it goes. So let's get real 

I hope you enjoy this great conversation!

~ JKF ❤


"Talking At The Diner" Podcast: Ep. 19 - Jason Miraglia  

I got a chance to sit down with my dear friend Jason Miraglia (the 'G' is silent, as you'll hear ;) at Olga's Diner in Marlton, NJ. When I first met Jay, he was the drummer in one of the most popular Philly bands of the 2000's - Fat City Reprise. He would later sit behind the kit in the last lineup of IKE and also play drums on all of records I did with John & Brittany. He currently still played with our pal Brett Talley in their cover band Bangarang and on Brett's prolific solo catalog.

Our convo at Olga's runs the gamut from some of my other, dare I say, more niche podcast ideas, to our embrace of awkwardness, to an overview of his journey as a musician. Lately, he been reconnecting with his former Fat City bandmates Mike Vivas and Nick Anastasi in a new project called Honey Butter (although, as you'll hear, Vivas has been coyly non-committal ;) I had an absolute blast talking with Jaybles and hope you enjoy listening in!!

"Talking At The Diner" Podcast: Ep. 18 - Melissa Menago  

Well, my friends, it was bound to happen. This is officially the first episode of this podcast where my guest got a flat tire on the way to the diner. Melissa Menago hit a gigantic pothole on Rt. 476, barely making it off the highway to the relative safety of a parking lot next to a hair salon. Luckily, Melissa was no worse for the wear after she Uber’d over to the Springfield Diner, in the heart of Delco. 

Melissa and I go way back. We met roughly 15 years ago when she was a music industry student at Drexel University and I was her song writing teacher. Even then, her songwriting and vocal talent was impressive - so much so, that when I left academia in 2020, the first person I thought of to recommend for the job was Melissa.. and guess who the current songwriting professor at Drexel University is! 

In the 2010s Melissa formed June Divided, a killer rock band that played all over the country on the Warped Tour, and had turned out to be an enduring collective of musicians that she still fronts today. 

Melissa is also a great solo artist, and she has a brand new record coming out in 2023 that leans more “sad girl” (as she puts it). It’s that more introspective sound that informs a very special holiday duet she wrote just a few weeks ago, called 
“I Never Liked The Holidays (Before I Met You)" 

All I know is.. I never met a parenthetical title I didn’t like, so I felt super-fortunate that Melissa thought of me to sing this song with her. Check it out on all streaming platforms now! 

In this conversation over mushroom omelettes and pancakes, we talk about our struggles as music "lifers" (both with Delaware roots and a vocal coach in common), who still sometimes have to answer the age-old question: 
You still doing the music thing? 

Which begs the question: Do we really have a choice? 

I hope you enjoy this wonderful conversation!