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St. Paul & The Broken Bones #1406

St. Paul & The Broken Bones put on one of the best shows I have seen in the past year, in fact, I have seen them 4 times in the past year. Rolling together Sam Cooke with a Southern Pentecostal ex-preacher, a delightfully self-conscious horn section, and a kick-tailfeathers lead guitar (and just recently, an amazing keyboard player), and you have the essence of St. Paul & The Broken Bones. Lead singer Paul Janeway commands the stage, moves like he is possessed by Archie Bell, and leaves nothing behind. Their album, Half The City, rocks.

Radio
Click here for a great playlist of related music.

Buy Half The City from St. Paul & The Broken Bones here .

Podcast
Scroll to the bottom of this page to listen or download to the podcast, or just subscribe on iTunes, or find out app in the Google Play Store or iOS App Store.

Liner Notes
St. Paul & The Broken Bones
Radiohead
Jason Isbell & John Paul White
Verbena
Steelism
Browan Lollar
Patrick Sweany

Podcast

St. Paul & The Broken Bones

This band is amazing. I love these guys.

Best Of 2014

Country Fried Rock’s listeners vote with their visits for our “Best of” lists. Combining podcast downloads with website traffic and run through a factor of the time since the program’s debut, the magic math machine yields our Top 13 of 2014!

13. Dex Romweber Duo
12. Corb Lund
11. Devil Makes 3
10. Dom Flemons
9. Amy Ray
8. John Howie, Jr. NOTE: The song posted here is from a prior record because Everything Except Goodbye was not on Rdio.
7. Jacob Furr
6. Parker Millsap
5. Caleb Caudle
4. Scott Miller
3. John Moreland
2. Fire Mountain
1. St. Paul & The Broken Bones

Thank you so much for listening to our podcasts and supporting all of the musicians on Country Fried Rock.

Jacob Furr #1424

Jacob Furr has been on our radar for a couple years, due to the surprisingly small world of Texas songwriters and Country Fried Rock alumni. Larry Hooper played Couch By Couch West and mentioned Furr, and then through our recent alumni, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, we were also connected via conversations about coffee. How does all of this relate to Furr’s new album, Trails & Traces? As Jacob profoundly says in our conversation, “We don’t live in a vacuum. None of us are doing this alone.”

Listen to this emotional conversation about songwriting and the memory of his young wife, Christina, who passed away after a terrible illness. Somehow, this is a hopeful, joy-filled chat about a person I only knew through my love of coffee and her blog, Cup Of Texas, and the melancholy songwriter who loved her. #CupOfMornings

The free PODCAST is at the bottom of this page.
It’s much longer than most, so give it time to download.
The radio program, heard on select radio stations, features a shorter version of this conversation.

Support Jacob Furr HERE on Amazon or Jacob Furr on iTunes by buying his music.

Video
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Podcast

Fire Mountain #1416

Fire Mountain’s latest album, All Dies Down, is three years in the making, but for a band that has no intention of leaving their day gigs, this works just fine. Don’t let their intentional “weekend warrior” status mislead you, though: this is an excellent album and their live shows equally worthy.  After hearing the debut EP from St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Brown sought out who recorded that collection of songs, and tracked down Les Nuby in Birmingham.  Right in the midst of our web of intertwined bands and friends, Fire Mountain’s album brings them to the forefront of Alabama’s musical rolling tide. In our conversation, we find out mutual bands we love, how shish kebob skewers made this album possible, and the venue that Fire Mountain loves to play.

Buy Fire Mountain’s All Dies Down on Amazon or Fire Mountain on iTunes.

Video
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Podcast
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Hangout Music Festival 2014

Another fantastic festival recap from Blake Ells!
***
It’s been said that the Hangout Music Festival in Gulf Shores, Alabama is easier because there isn’t much overlap with bands. While that’s already a misleading characterization, it was especially apparent this weekend as two of the bands that my Country Fried Rock eye was on were playing at the same time on Sunday evening: Birmingham’s St. Paul and the Broken Bones and The Avett Brothers.

That was a difficult decision, but I began the hour at the BMI Stage for St. Paul and the Broken Bones, CFR alums and fast-rising stars, as I was eager to see the band which I have seen numerous times own a festival setting. The band took the stage at 6:15 p.m. on Sunday, sans Paul Janeway, to an instrumental opener, recalling classic soul acts of the past. The frontman followed after, fully suited, while the rest of the band opted to leave the jackets at home for the beach gig. Photo By Blake Ells “In case you don’t know who we are, we’re St. Paul and the Broken Bones from Birmingham, Alabama,” said Janeway as the band’s set continued. To see a massive crowd applaud as the sun set on the festival’s last day was chill inducing for someone that has watched their ascent as closely as I have. Photo By Blake Ells The band plowed through many of the tracks from February’s debut record, “Half the City,” including the eponymous track, “Broken Bones and Pocket Change” and the lead track “I’m Torn Up.” It worked, and the band is grasping for the next stage in their career gracefully as they grow. It’s been a long time since they played in their home state, and they’ll continue a long tour before they announce another homecoming date.

I attempted to see some of The Avett Brothers, but it was difficult. The band has expanded much beyond their original trio-feel, and it no longer feels the same. It’s tricky, because they are in an area of success where they’re popular enough to continue selling more tickets, but they haven’t yet grown into those venues, much like Friday night’s headliner, The Black Keys.

The Black Keys did a secret show at Rogue Tavern in Birmingham in April of 2010. It was just before the release of Brothers, and just before a rarely rivaled ascent to stardom.

The Black Keys were fine, but like The Avett Brothers, I’m not sure they have grown into an arena act or a festival headliner. They would have been better served in the slot before the headliner on the Chevrolet Stage. Their 90 minute set didn’t feature much interaction from Dan Auerbach, other than his insistence that fans should “buy the new record so we can beat Michael Jackson on Billboard.”

The set relied heavily on new material from Turn Blue, released on Tuesday. While the band, now a quartet, opened with “Howlin’ For You” and “Next Girl,” it quickly departed from extreme familiarity, only grazing its early catalog, and relying heavily on El Camino. 

SETLIST: Howlin’ For You – Next Girl – Run Right Back – Same Ol’ Thing – Dead and Gone – Gold on the Ceiling – It’s Up to Your Now – Bullet in the Brain – Strange Times – Money Maker – Ten Cent Pistol – Gotta Get Away – She’s Long Gone – Tighten Up – Fever – Lonely Boy – ENCORE – Turn Blue – Nova Baby – Little Black Submarines – I Got Mine

The 90 minute set didn’t take many creative liberties. It was a collection of three and a half minute songs played as they were recorded. It was fine, I’m just not convinced The Black Keys are ready to headline a major festival.

But Hangout did something creative this year – during The Black Keys, it had Sound Tribe Sector 9 playing, and during The Killers, it had Pretty Lights playing. It was a move that thinned out the crowds for the two rock headliners making mobility much easier. I didn’t noticed how effective it was until Outkast took the Hangout Stage on Sunday, unopposed, and that crowd had returned to the main stage. It made enjoying the first two bands easier.

Amos Lee had a really special performance on the Hangout Stage at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. He littered his set with covers, including one incredible transition from Queen’s “Fat Bottomed Girls” into Beyonce’s “Single Ladies,” both backed by a Mobile gospel choir. He also included his own “Keep it Loose, Keep it Tight” and “Windows are Rolled Down.”

Modest Mouse and CFR alums Dawes also offered incredible sets. I didn’t get to see the entirety of what Modest Mouse had to offer at Shaky Knees, and I was really pleased with their set at Hangout. It was hit laden, including some of the more notable tracks from Good News for People Who Love Bad News, like “Ocean Breathes Salty” and “Float On,” both terrific soundtracks to the beach setting.

Dawes kicked off their 3:45 p.m. Friday set on the Hangout Stage with “Most People,” and showed an incredible amount of growth from the same young band that played the same festival in its own youth.

There’s a “Little Bit of Everything” at Hangout. There’s an entire stage essentially devoted to the EDM crowd, a stage which I only saw when one act canceled and Flaming Lips side project Space Face came on as a replacement early in the afternoon on Saturday. There’s the smaller stages like BMI and the Red Bull Sound Select Stage which offer an outlet to emerging talents like Wild Cub and Wild Belle. And there are the two main stages which offered everything from Outkast to NEEDTOBREATHE over the festival’s three days. It’s the music festival inside of a beach vacation, and for that, it will remain one of the most unique in America.

I was fortunate enough to run into several new and old Country Fried Rock fans! I’ll be back out and about for Bonnaroo – if I missed you this time, please say hello!

Best of 2013, Part 2

The Top 10 — Numbers 10 through 1

Every year, we share our Fan Favorites, chosen by the programs that listeners downloaded and streamed the most. I’m always amazed how they clearly line up into the Top 20 Shows. Counting down from 20th to the #1 radio show that y’all loved, here goes! Click HERE for the Top 20.

As always, if you like the band, buy their music. It’s the best way to support them.

Podcasts
Download the free podcast at the very bottom of this page or on iTunes.
Many of the songs from our Top 20 list are in the Special Edition podcasts.

10.
Mary Gauthier
Mary Gauthier played open mics, songwriters’ stages, clubs, and theatres, but never recorded a live record before. The Louisiana native describes herself as a Southern folksinger, which led to “brand confusion” when she was still based in Boston. Despite accolades from the industry, cuts by contemporary country stars, and the respect of other songwriters, she did not face the ultimate “game on” of creating a live album. When Gauthier finally decided that it was time to record live, she went to a musicians and artists retreat in Texas with a world-class recording environment and made Live at Blue Rock.

9.
Shinyribs
Normally, I write a blurb about how great the latest record from our featured artist is, in hopes that you will listen and like their songs, too. This week, however, I am reprinting Kevin Russell’s post after driving through the aftermath of the Oklahoma tornadoes. — SS

8.
Howlin’ Brothers
I met The Howlin’ Brothers in the parking lot at the Family Wash in East Nashville during Americana Music Festival in 2012. I had seen them a couple of times at the Station Inn, and mistakenly thought they were from North Carolina. As we chatted in the parking lot, Ian Craft told me that they had just finished recording a new album that would be released in the Spring of 2013. Happily for The Howlin’ Brothers, their new album, Howl, had some additional support as the band was signed to Brendan Benson’s label, Readymade Records. With Benson’s direction in the studio and his support for their vision with their music, The Howlin’ Brothers have expanded the sounds they bring to their old time music, but have not strayed from who they are. The band still plays Layla’s Bluegrass Inn and the Station Inn regularly, but they are now able to be on the road more and are a treat to see perform live. When you see them, ask them to dance.

7.
Sarah Gayle Meech
Sarah Gayle Meech looks like a nouveaux rockabilly woman, but her music is straight up traditional country. Her debut album, One Good Thing, shares Meech’s original tunes with an amazing backing band and stellar studio musicians. Just try not to dance while you listen. Don’t let the A-list players distract you, though, because Meech’s live show brings the energy that fills the gap in instrumentation changes from recorded versus live.

6.
Rachel Brooke
Rachel Brooke‘s visual aesthetic reflects her musical vision. The songwriter from Michigan views her projects conceptually, from the presentation to the sound. A faded photograph in a diner led to the theme for her most recent release, A Killer’s Dream. While stretching across the country spectrum, Brooke’s songwriting is generally dark, bubbling up from her more challenging emotions and processed through her lyrics. Her bubbly giggle and friendly demeanor belie the noir within her songs.

5.
Ben TannerBen Tanner might not be a readily recognizable name, but he is the “honorary member” or recording partner of nearly every band from Alabama that we have featured on Country Fried Rock: The Pollies, Belle Adair (coming soon), Doc Dailey & Magnolia Devil, St. Paul & the Broken Bones (coming soon), and TheBear, John Paul White (of The Civil Wars), Alabama Shakes, Dylan LeBlanc, Jason Isbell, the Live From The Shoals series, and even Country Fried Rock Vol. 2 For Nuci’s Space — Preventing Musician Suicide. Together with John Paul White and Will Trapp, Tanner formed Single Lock Records recently, launching with three Alabama bands: TheBear (whose songs from Overseas Then Under we have featured on this radio show), Belle Adair , and St. Paul & The Broken Bones (also the current band of Browan Lollar, who we featured here after he left Jason Isbell’s band, the 400 Unit). It’s a small world in Southern indie music.

4.
Shonna Tucker & Eye Candy
If you think you know Shonna Tucker from her years playing bass with Drive-By Truckers, then you are in for a surprise with her debut album of her songwriting with her new band, Eye Candy. The songs are sweet, fun, grooving, mellow, occasionally dark and reflective — a nice analogy for her last couple of years. Given the amazing band of John Neff (another former Trucker and player on nearly every record out of Athens in the last 15 years that I can recall), Bo Bedingfield, Clay Leverett, and Neil Golden, the record could easily move into heavier territory, but Tucker’s voice keeps it lighter and balances the monster playing. A Tell All has instant sing-alongs and lyrics that will make you laugh aloud, but also some deeper themes that are even a bit disturbing. If you are looking for a repeat of her previous band, you will not find it in this album; if you are looking for a solid hang out and have a mellow happy time, or weekend morning drive record — with a fantastic band and guest keys from Spooner Oldham — then you will be thrilled with A Tell All. Be sure to order the recipe poster, designed by our alum, Jack Logan, with Shonna Tucker’s recipes!

3.
The Del-Lords
Eric “Roscoe” Ambel of The Del-Lords keeps his music creativity flowing by immersing himself in multiple roles–producer, sideman, and songwriter. By giving himself the opportunity to shape other people’s music, display his guitar craft, and write songs for himself and his band, Ambel has always been more than “that guy who formed The Blackhearts.” With a brand new record after 20 years, The Del-Lords fell back together on the urging of a Spanish promoter, and decided they needed fresh material for the planned European gigs. One thing led to another, and we now have The Elvis Club.

2.
Bloodkin
https://countryfriedrock.org//1251-bloodkin/#.UqI_INJDuSo Bloodkin’s 25th anniversary box set, One Long Hustle, is everything a retrospective should be, yet it is completely new, too. The booklet of the band’s history reminisced and revealed by Daniel Hutchens, the collection of previously unreleased tracks, and the stories they tell are as much about Athens, Georgia’s musical spiderweb as they are of the band itself. Despite collaboration with legends like Moe Tucker and Sterling Morrison of the Velvet Underground and Southern stalwarts like Gov’t Mule, Bloodkin might be the band that was always there for every amazing show– that you have never heard of before…but you have probably heard their music.

1.
Browan Lollar (solo EP following his departure from the 400 Unit and before he joined St. Paul & The Broken Bones)
Browan Lollar released For The Givers And The Takers, an EP of his songs backed by someone from each of the hottest bands in Alabama right now in the studio, then promptly joined St. Paul & The Broken Bones on-the-spot one week later. In the craziness that ensued with joining that fantastic band, Lollar’s EP may not have gotten the attention it should. As an artist, Lollar is more than a go-to guitar slinger, he also is a visual artist with many notable album covers in his portfolio. He prefers a complicated scratch-etch with colored India ink method that yields intense designs that lend themselves to graphic replication, and creatively, this allows him to distill the music he hears on an album into a visual thought that adds to the story. Although you may know him more for playing with some other bands, Browan Lollar’s EP demonstrates that he has a lot to offer of his own music as well.

Click HERE for the Top 20.

Podcast
The music in the podcast is included by special written permission of the bands.

Belle Adair #1335

Continuing our series focused on new music coming from Muscle Shoals, Alabama, we talk with Matt Green of Belle Adair (and also of The Pollies). Belle Adair‘s new album, The Brave and The Blue, recently released on Single Lock Records, a small indie label collaboration among John Paul White (Civil Wars), Ben Tanner (Alabama Shakes), and Will Trapp.  Collaborations exist beyond the business side of music in this tight-knit music community.  We have been watching and waiting on Belle Adair since our feature of The Pollies, with whom most of the band also plays.  The logistics of such intermingling mean that scheduling can be a challenge, but it also keeps the songs and the playing fresh, as members toggle their attention from one band to the other — in addition to their other music projects.  As a listener, The Brave And The Blue falls squarely in the elusive “Southern indie” sound that is neither Americana nor Triple A, not quite pop and not fully rock.

Liner Notes


Download for free here or on iTunes.

Americana Review Covers Americana Music Association Conference 2013 (Guest Post)

Our friends at Americana Review (Canada) have a great blog and did some excellent summaries of this year’s AMA conference. With their permission, we are sharing it for you here!

Follow Americana Review on Twitter!

Day 1 Roundup – AMA Festival, Nashville, TN
The annual Americana Music Association Festival and Conference is in full swing with the first official night now complete. The festival kicked off with annual awards show at the Ryman which, as always, featured incredible and unique performances that one can only see at this awards show. It’s the only place you’ll find a finale that includes Jim Lauderdale, Joy Williams of the Civil Wars, Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell, Roseanne Cash, Dr. John, Richard Thompson, Billy Bragg, Shovels and Rope, Tift Merritt, Dr. John and as wonderful a house band as you’ll ever gather with Buddy Miller at the lead performing “Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight”, an old hit on separate occasions for Emmylou and the Oak Ridge Boys. What was especially great about this particular performance was hearing Rodney Crowell and Roseanne Cash perform a few lines together, something that rarely happens these days. Steven Stills just tore it up with a performance of the iconic Buffalo Springfield tune “For What It’s Worth.” The Milk Carton Kids made an astounding case as to why they could easily have been presented with the Emerging Artist award, an honour that was bestowed upon Shovels and Rope. Two very different styles of music between the two duos, both excellent acts and all tremendous artists.

Speaking of duos, they were front and center during the awards show with the Association giving much love to Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell, awarding them with the Duo/Group of the Year award and Album of the Year for “Old Yellow Moon.” In addition to Emerging Artist, Shovels and Rope also picked up the award for Song of the Year for their performance of “Birmingham.” The AMA Awards are truly the most unique award show presentations in the industry today. I always find it a treat to attend this show. For those who could not attend, Austin City Limits will be featuring a special broadcast of the music portions of the show at a later date (I suspect in November), and AXS TV in the United States has carried the show live for the past two years. Be on the lookout for a replay. Click here for a great rundown of the rest of the award proceedings.

It doesn’t happen that often, but on occasion, a plan can go astray. My plan last night was to cover the Lone Bellow and JD McPherson’s portion of the showcase. However, to their deserved credit, the Mercy Lounge was at capacity when I arrived at the venue so I was not able to get in. Fortunately, the Mercy Lounge, High Watt and Cannery Ballroom are all connected, so I ventured to the High Watt where I soon discovered how gifted and amazing Drew Holcomb and The Neighbours are. Performing a set largely comprised of material off their latest release “Good Light”, Drew and the Neighbours delivered a powerful set that ranged from the autobiographical (“Tennessee”) to the haunting (“A Place To Lay My Head”), from the romantic (“The Wine We Drink” — which is a powerful, beautiful song) to the inspirational (“Good Light”), all delivered with complete heart and soul. This group has a real diverse sound to it. They can transition from a straight up, heartland rock and roll sound as heard on “Good Light” to a slightly Celtic delivery on “A Place to Lay My Head.” A group of excellent musicians who are creating music that speaks to them, look for Drew and the Neighbours in your area as they hit the road soon. Judging by the reaction of the crowd at the High Watt, their music speaks to the people as well.

The final act I caught was based on a recommendation from my friend Nelson of WDVX radio in Knoxville, TN. St. Paul and the Broken Bones opened up for Jason Isbell in Knoxville earlier this year and apparently blew apart the stage they were so good. From Birmingham, AL, this group of young men have quite the future ahead of them. Reaching in to the soul, jazz and blues portion of Americana, St. Paul and the Broken Bones could have taken people to church last night, as there were moments you thought you were in a tent revival. The powerful, soulful and strong vocal delivery of St. Paul, paired with the outstanding musicianship of the Broken Bones created the most unique act I have seen in my 3 years attending this conference and festival. A real highlight of the show was a cover of the Aretha Franklin classic “Respect.” Young, professional and talented, St. Paul and the Broken Bones are going places. They are ones to watch, indeed.

And to think this was only the first night …

Day 2 Roundup, AMA Week, Nashville, TN
The best music in the world continued to play in Nashville on Thursday night at the annual AMA festival with arguably one of the strongest nightly lineups in festival history. Stellar lineups were presented at all of the festival venues with artists ranging from the North Mississippi All Stars, and Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale at the Cannery, to outstanding newcomers John Fullbright and Nikki Bluhm and the Gramblers at the Mercy Lounge. 3rd and Lindsley presented a night of Americana pioneers, and that’s focus of this write up today.

Rosanne Cash has long been a supporter of outstanding Americana music, even before such a format was recognized. Her musical heritage is beyond reproach, having grown up under the influence of her famous father and stepmother, Johnny and June Carter Cash, as well as the Carter Family. Creating and releasing thoughtful and insightful albums have been the standard for Roseanne Cash for her entire career, which now spans more than 30 years. Her performance at 3rd and Lindsley last evening served as a preview for the next chapter in her storied career. The River and the Thread will be released in January of 2014, an album of original material following the release of the outstanding cover album The List. The album should speak to many of us. Its core subject is returning to ones roots, that home base that they may have left behind a long time ago. It could be for varying reasons … work, restlessness, escape. However, when returning to that home base after an extended period, that person feels the connection to themselves, that feeling where you know that you are the person you are because of those roots. It reveals a new appreciation for where you came from. It’s an important theme of the album for Cash, who mentioned she has been living in New York City for long time, and the preparation for this album brought her back to her southern family heritage. Some great material on this album with key tracks being “What’s The Temperature Darlin’?”, a great lifelong love story; “Tell Heaven”, an all-inclusive religious song about believing in a higher power and faith; and “When the Master Calls the Role”, a beautiful, lyrically stunning Civil War song written by Cash, husband John Leventhal and ex-husband Rodney Crowell.

British folk legend Billy Bragg has been leaving quite the impression on Nashville and the Americana faithful, reminding everyone of why he’s been so successful for so many years. Touring in support of his first album in 5 years, “Tooth and Nail,” Bragg’s set included many selections from that album, as well as a couple of stellar cover songs. “Handyman Blues” is a great tongue-in-cheek track from “Tooth and Nail” about the life, times and indeed, perils of loving a songwriter. “Swallow My Pride” is a beautifully written song of reconciliation, penance and healing a relationship with ones other half. “Chasing Rainbows” is a straight up country song loaded with pedal steel, featuring strong lyrics with that always wry, British sense of humour. A very poignant moment in Bragg’s set saw the return of Roseanne Cash to the stage, where they performed the Johnny Cash standard “I Still Miss Someone.” Their vocals melding together beautifully, a true highlight of the show performing the song to a hushed crowd.

Fellow British folk-icon Richard Thompson was on stage next, making a return appearance to the Americana Music Festival stage. Similar to his on-stage predecessors, Thompson performed tracks from his latest release “Electric.” A song many can relate to was the performance of “Saving The Good Stuff For You”, a beautifully written song about growing up to be a better man. It’s an adult song, for adults. The performance of “Salford Sunday”, a whimsical song about love lost was beautifully performed. However, it was the performance of “Vincent Black Lightning 1952” that left the 3rd and Lindsley crowd spellbound. Quite frankly, the guitar work on this song is like nothing I have ever seen. The entire performance was incredible, but this particular piece was astounding. Some people have called Richard Thompson a guitar god, and the description could not be more accurate.

And now, on and out to Day 3 …

Day 3 Roundup, AMA Week, Nashville TN
Another exciting night of Americana music has come to pass in Music City. As usual, an incredible litany of talent was showcased all over town, with the most active venue being the Mercy Lounge/High Watt/Cannery Row complex.

It was a night to try and catch acts in all three venues contained in this building, and the music did not disappoint. The tough decision was where to stay. It seemed the only logical conclusion was to roam around a little bit. Downstairs in the Cannery, New West Records was celebrating the 15th Anniversary of the much-celebrated record label with performances from their entire roster. I came in at the time Buddy Miller was onstage and delivering a scorching set that included guest performances with Rodney Crowell for two songs (including the classic “Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight”) and the McCrary Sisters. Some of the many, many great things about seeing Buddy Miller live is seeing how much he loves playing and experimenting with music, creating new sounds, and just watching how much he loves being on stage and performing. Every time I see his name advertised anywhere, I always do my best to check out his show. It’s always worth the time, and you will always be entertained.

Next up was Delbert McClinton and Glen Clark, two old friends from Texas that recorded an album together 42 years ago and reunited to release an album this year called “Blind, Crippled and Crazy.” McClinton is a legend in the music business, carving his legacy with crafting a hard, country-blues sound. Performing tunes that were largely from their album. Delbert and Glen put the scald on the Cannery, belting out some hard core blues such as “Been Around a Long Time” and the tongue-in-cheek “Peace in the Valley.” The set closed off with a return appearance by the McCrary Sisters, additional back-up vocals on “Givin’ It Up For Your Love”, one of Delbert’s all time best.

The final performance of the night, at least for me, was the extended set delivered by The Bottle Rockets. Where Delbert and Glen put the scald on down in the Cannery, The Bottle Rockets burned the place down with arguably the best set I’ve attended at the Americana Music Festival. The energy that was in the room was nothing short of amazing, with band and audience feeding off each other in ways that are not often replicated. Performing crowd favorites such as the guitar heavy “Radar Gun” and “The Long Way”, from the Lean Forward album, to sing-alongs like “Welfare Music” and “$1,000 Car,” the raucous crowd got the encore they were looking for with a three song finale that included “Countin’ On You” and “Take Me To The Night.”

With much respect to the other performers that were to follow The Bottle Rockets, I left the venue after their performance. There was no need to see anyone else, it wouldn’t be fair. The Bottle Rockets were on a rare level that no one was going to exceed last night. Having said that, I do want to give special mention to Judah and the Lion, a group of young musicians whom I understand have just graduated from Belmont University in Nashville. I caught a couple of their songs earlier in the evening. They are an outstanding group of young musicians who are well on their way to having a solid career. Do keep an eye on these young musicians, I know I will be.

Days 4 and 5 Round Up, Americana Music Fest, Nashville TN
The final 2 days of the Americana Music Festival have come and gone, with the festival wrapping up in glorious fashion. Saturday can be a tough go for the performers at this festival, but only because the attendees have been so inundated with so much music, information and late nights over the previous four days, not because the performers aren’t giving it their all. It’s with this in mind, that I thank all of the performers on Saturday night for their contributions. You did yourselves and the Americana movement proud.

Levi Lowrey is an up and coming star in this genre. A multi-talented singer-songwriter out of Georgia, he finds his recording home on Zac Brown’s label, Southern Ground Recordings, Lowrey performed a solid set at the legendary 3rd and Lindsley in Nashville. Backed by a stellar band, one of the great highlights of his show was the performance of “Colder Weather”, a 2012 hit for the Zac Brown Band that was co-written by Lowrey. Lowrey’s version of “Colder Weather” contains a mysterious alternate verse that is not contained in the Brown recording, yet it is arguably the most poignant verse in the song. Levi Lowrey is on the road, and will be back in Nashville on September 27 and 28 for Zac Brown’s Southern Ground Music and Food Festival. He and his band are well worth your time and money, you will be duly entertained at their show.
The final act of Saturday night’s festivities at 3rd and Lindsley was an act I had been hoping to see for some time. Mike Farris caught my attention with a performance on Music City Roots with his incredible showmanship, powerful vocal delivery, and positive message in all of his songs. Backed by a large band that included horns, keys and background singers, Farris injected new life in to the club at a late hour when most attendees were fading. Having returned from Spain not long before his performance on Saturday night, Farris gave everyone the last little bit he had left in the tank and the crowd responded by doing the same. A real treat was hearing Farris’ version of the Mary Gautier classic “Mercy Now,” which is sure to be a classic when released. With a positive message in all of his songs, especially with his rendition of “This Little Light of Mine”, Farris sent the attendees of the final showcase night home feeling good, positive and waiting until next year.

However, this was not the end of the Americana music festival. A surprise addition to the festival saw the weekly Nashville Sunday Night’s show, presented a living legend in Americana music with Lucinda Williams concluding her tour at 3rd and Lindsley. This performance, captured via live broadcast on Lightning 100 in town, was a presentation of her debut album which was released 25 years ago. Sounding as strong as she’s ever sounded, Lucinda performed an incredible set that re-visited such classics as “Change The Lock”, “Passionate Kisses” and “The Night’s Too Long”, the latter two which became major hits for Mary-Chapin Carpenter and Patty Loveless respectively. Recognizing the significance of the occasion, Jim Lauderdale raced back from the Rhythm and Roots festival in Bristol, TN for a guest appearance with Lucinda.
And so wrapped up another Americana Music Festival in Nashville, Tennessee. It’s a festival like this that really cements the reputation of Nashville as Music City U.S.A. An outstanding lineup was featured and all involved in the organization of this event deserves all the credit in the world. It surely must have been a monumental task. The only challenge that remains is how to top, or at least equal, the quality of performances for next year.

Ben Tanner of Alabama Shakes & Single Lock Records #1331

Ben Tanner might not be a readily recognizable name, but he is the “honorary member” or recording partner of nearly every band from Alabama that we have featured on Country Fried Rock: The Pollies, Belle Adair (coming soon), Doc Dailey & Magnolia Devil, St. Paul & the Broken Bones (coming soon), and TheBear, John Paul White (of The Civil Wars), Alabama Shakes, Dylan LeBlanc, Jason Isbell, the Live From The Shoals series, and even Country Fried Rock Vol. 2 For Nuci’s Space — Preventing Musician Suicide. Together with John Paul White and Will Trapp, Tanner formed Single Lock Records recently, launching with three Alabama bands: TheBear (whose songs from Overseas Then Under we have featured on this radio show), Belle Adair , and St. Paul & The Broken Bones (also the current band of Browan Lollar, who we featured here after he left Jason Isbell’s band, the 400 Unit). It’s a small world in Southern indie music.

Tanner and Corey Hannah have an incredible video series called “Live From The Shoals,” too.  Tanner was not on the original recordings by Alabama Shakes, but he frequently sat in live with his friends, and when their popularity expanded exponentially, they wanted to replicate the keys on their recordings in their dynamic live shows, and Tanner came along for the ride, eventually touring relentlessly with the band and becoming an official member.  In their short breaks between tours, Tanner still records the music he loves from his friends’ bands, and supports the music they are making through Single Lock Records.  By his own admission, Tanner does not sleep much, and is a bit of a workaholic.  What really makes Tanner special, though, is his commitment to great music coming from his home region and using his own success to bring their albums to a broader audience.  He’s one of the good guys.

Liner Notes
Ben Tanner is involved in a lot of music projects. These are just a few he is directly and indirectly connected with, for this week’s playlist.


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