Kevin Gordon’s album, Gloryland, explores the blues side of roots music, with lyrics that would make the Drive-By Truckers jealous. Gordon grew up in Monroe, Louisiana, and although he has been away for decades, the reality of life there and the people he knew bring grit to rural life without glorification. Glorylandis not about redemption or salvation, and definitely not about glossing over the seamy and sadistic side of life in the deep South.
Gordon has an advantage over many songwriters, in that he earned his Masters degree in Poetry while studying in Iowa–but the leverage is less in writing and more in his extensive reading and weekends on the road touring the upper Midwest with his friend Bo Ramsey after escaping The Compound. Those miles tracing the routes of Chess Records’ legends helped Gordon hone his tour skills, refining how to perform as a solo act, make money on the road, and get his music to people. Eventually, Gordon realized that music, and not poetry, was his muse, and he needed to relocated to a music town–East Nashville.
The music industry makes Nashville a natural place for many musicians, but it’s the music community of East Nashville where the real creativity happens. Songwriters and players from many genres, particularly the Big Tent of roots music, live and work in this funky part of town. With constant interaction with other creative minds, and neighbors who face similar work-life challenges, the vibe of East Nashville keeps writers like Gordon active and moving forward with his craft. It’s not just “hit makers” here, but artists.
Songs in this radio show include:
- Kevin Gordon Gloryland “Gloryland,” “Bus to Shreveport, “Don’t Stop Me This Time”
- X Under The Big Black Sun “Under the Big Black Sun”
- Marshall Crenshaw Definitive Pop (Mcup) “Cynical Girl” (Loose association on this selection–Garry Tallent, mentioned in the conversation, produced Crenshaw’s version of the Buddy Holly tune, “Crying, Waiting, Hoping,” on this same compilation, but with the discussion of Gordon’s teenager and a pop sound, rather than choose a Ron Sexsmith tune, the lyrics to this song appealed to me for some reason–a bit random, but a wayward branch on the musical family tree.)
- Eddie Cochran Live & Dangerous “Milk Cow Blues”
- Ray Charles Lonely Avenue Hits “What’d I Say, Parts 1 and 2”
- Mike Farris Salvation in Lights “Streets of Galilee” (Joe McMahan plays guitar on this album, and I wanted to bring in the blues-rock fusion that Gordon perfects in a more secular form)