Search results for: chris porter

In Memory of Chris Porter: Shonna Tucker #1707

Shonna Tucker emerged from self-imposed music exile to play bass for Chris Porter‘s final album, Don’t Go Baby It’s Gonna Get Weird Without You. After she left the Drive-By Truckers, she formed a band and released a great album that we featured on a previous podcast. Later, she questioned whether she was meant to play music, and drove a tractor and fed pigs on a farm. Porter’s call to Tucker to play bass came at the perfect time and was just what she needed to jump back into music with both feet. Despite touring together with their former bands (DBT and Centro-Matic), Tucker and Will Johnson had never played together before as a rhythm section, which was a delightful treat for both. A few months after their whirlwind recording, Porter, John Calvin Abney, and Tucker hit the road for an acoustic solo tour, each playing their own songs. Since then, Tucker has joined Pegi Young’s band, The Survivors (along with legends Spooner Oldham, Phil Jones, and Kelvin Holly), and is also available for live and session work when not on the road with Young.

In Memory of Chris Porter: The Mastersons #1706

Friendships run deep when you are a musician. Friends with whom you can pick up right where you left off, after months on the road, become family. Chris Porter forged deep, fast friendships with people in every town he toured, but especially with his tight-knit chosen family of fellow “lifers.” Eleanor Whitmore and Chris Masterson of The Mastersons were family for Porter. The Masterson’s sound permeates his prior album, This Red Mountain. They dropped into the studio one night, just off the plane from tour, to add their sparkle to Don’t Go Baby, It’s Gonna Get Weird Without You. The Masterson’s latest release, Transient Lullaby, was completed but not yet released when he passed away unexpectedly. They dedicated the album to Porter, and often perform the song they co-wrote, “You Got the Last Laugh,” in his memory.

In Memory of Chris Porter: Will Johnson #1705

Will Johnson (Centro-Matic, South San Gabriel) produced Chris Porter‘s final album, Don’t Go Baby It’s Gonna Get Weird Without You, as well as his previous record, This Red Mountain. Johnson produced both albums. Britton Beisenherz engineered and mixed them at Ramble Creek Studio in Austin, Texas. The bands differed in each project, as did Porter’s vision for each album. On Don’t Go Baby, Porter pictured a rollicking rock record. He achieved that with multi-instrumentalist John Calvin Abney (solo, John Moreland), bassist Shonna Tucker (solo, Pegi Young and the Survivors, Drive-By Truckers), and convincing Will Johnson to play drums, yielding a fun rhythm section with Tucker.

In Memory of Chris Porter: Andrea Juarez #1704

Andrea Juarez never planned to release an album. The hair stylist and makeup artist made it happen to honor her fiance, Chris Porter, who passed away on tour October 2016, when their van was rear-ended on the interstate. Mitchell Vandenburg also was killed, and Adam Nurre miraculously survived the horrific wreck. Porter mostly finished tracking his album, Don’t Go Baby It’s Gonna Get Weird Without You.  He recorded it in marathon sessions with Will Johnson (Centro-Matic) , and Shonna Tucker (Pegi Young, Drive By Truckers), and John Calvin Abney (Solo, John Moreland). Bonnie Whitmore hosted a memorial concert to raise the rest of the funds to finish the record, which will be released on the anniversary.

In Memory of Chris Porter, Part 1

As most of y’all know, our friend, Chris Porter, passed away in a terrible car wreck while on tour (along with touring partner, Mitch Vandenburg, and survived by drummer, Adam Nurre). I’ve been going through my old hard drives to the early days of this show, when it was a daily feature on select country stations across the country, with a brief excerpt of my interview with one song from the band, called the “Daily Plate of Country Fried Rock.” Here’s the excerpt. I also found the full interview from around 2010, and I also have a long, un-aired interview with Porter — including video — from September 2015. I have offered that audio and video to the people who will hopefully be releasing his recently completed record, if they choose to use it.

Please support Porter’s surviving fiancee, Andrea Juarez, Adam Nurre Rehabilitation Fund, or the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians in his memory.

XO,
Sloane

***
Here was my original post following this old conversation:

Much like it never occurred to us that iced tea could be “out of season,” it never once crossed our minds that someone might not know what “Back Row Baptist” meant.  These Birmingham, Alabama musicians chuckle (politely, of course, to themselves) every time someone asks about the “Backroad Baptists” or where “Bagrow” is.  The Ole Miss Center for the Study of Southern Culture is the academic authority on phrases, food culture, religion, and history in the Deep South, so that’s where we turned for a definitive explanation:

I can’t immediately find an answer to who, if it’s possible to identify anyone, first started using the term. I think it’s theologically meaningful, because the Baptists have so much emphasis on going forward to the altar–you can’t have “back row” Episcopalians or even Presbyterians. It’s also important because unlike other groups that emphasize going forward and making a commitment or testimony, various pentecostal groups for example, Baptists have a reputation for conservatism, so staying in the back is a way of being in between the action at the front and staying out of it altogether.  (Source:  Ted Ownby, personal email, 22 June 2010)

The Back Row Baptists bring together political controversy and kickin’ country music much like Lynyrd Skynyrd did.  Throw into the mix multiple lead singers, including the amazing jazz-influenced Sarah Green, and you’ve got crank it up, party down country rock that you will love, even if it might make you think or tick you off.  It’s hard to narrow down their standard three-hour live show to one CD, but their first label-backed release allowed them the luxury of a horn section and a less rushed atmosphere.  They are influenced by the subversive lyrics and themes of Boston underground hip hop, the multi-instrumentation of The Band, and punk-ish Black Flag, which unveils itself in dark, uncomfortable themes within a rocking country sound.  As Chris Porter says, “A sign of a good Southern city is a great cemetery.”

The band is defined by their Southern history, including the unpleasant and seedy reality of racism, exclusivity in religion, and eternal judgment in life and death.  They embrace their cultural history while throwing their more progressive, open-minded, and inclusive beliefs right in the face of fans who might be blatantly ticked off by it.  The Back Row Baptists’ music shamelessly challenges the status quo from within the culture.  Porter writes and sings from a character’s point of view rather than personal experience, while his sweeter love songs are generally sung by Green.  Porter is greatly influenced by literature, and uses those themes as conceptual starting points for many of his songs, taking a turn of a phrase and making it Southern, throwing in a touch of a Cops episode, resulting in a statement on the death penalty.  Tactful writing can get a controversial political message across without ticking off your audience.

“Shit Got Dark” from Upcoming Posthumous Album, Porter & the Bluebonnet Rattlesnakes

Long-time pal and friend to everyone he ever met, Chris Porter‘s final album, Don’t Go Baby It’s Gonna Get Weird Without You from Porter & the Bluebonnet Rattlesnakes, will be released 10/20 on Cornelius Chapel Records. Porter recorded with fellow Country Fried Rock alumni and friends, Will Johnson (Centro-Matic), John Calvin Abney, Shonna Tucker (former Drive-By Truckers), Chris Masterson & Eleanor Whitmore (The Mastersons), and intended it to be released as a farewell to Austin, TX, to relocated to Nashville. His plans with his fiancee, Andrea Juarez, were cut short by his tragic death while on tour in October 2016, when their van was rear-ended on the interstate.

Keep your ears peeled for upcoming podcasts with several of Porter’s pals on how they worked to make sure his album reached the world, after he left this one. There will be two album release parties, in his hometowns.
Austin, TX 10/21 Stay Gold
Birmingham, AL 11/4 Syndicate Lounge

M. Lockwood Porter #1509

lockwoodcover
Max Porter performs as M. Lockwood Porter, in homage to his grandfather and to make it easier to find him on the Internet. Partly based on a childhood dream to leave Oklahoma and live in California, and partly pulled by his network of friends and musical colleagues, Porter claims both areas as home. His recent album, 27, honors Chris Bell of Big Star, and will be released in the UK and Europe late Spring 2015.

Buy M. Lockwood Porter’s music here.

Podcast
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Alumni Update: Porter & The Pollies

Sloane Spencer — What’s happening with your new album?

Chris Porter (better known as Porter) — Well, that depends on which one. I’ve had a busy year! I just released the new Porter and The Pollies EP. Shortly after my move from Birmingham, Alabama, to Austin, Texas, I was in a funk of sorts, and while talking to my brother-in-arms Jay Burgess (of The Pollies), we decided to go honest with this idea of a Porter/Pollies collaboration. We had kicked the idea around green rooms for a while, and were interested to hear how I would sound fronting a full band, and how the Pollies would sound with my country ass on vocals. We decided that the session was just what we needed, for ourselves and our bands. I bought a big ass red guitar and drove down to The Shoals with a handful of tunes. When I arrived we soon all realized what a state of disrepair we were all in. 2012 had been bittersweet to say the least, and it was cathartic to be around my brothers again. Somewhere in there we cut some tracks. We opted to go as live as possible with the tracking and forgot to turn on the click track. The product is more amazing than I could have ever hoped for. It’s buzzy and fuzzy, and a little drunk and surly — covers all of the bases we wanted it to, and represents the week that we shared making it to a T. I’m so proud of it.

I am also heading into the studio in December to cut my first solo full length record. For that I am blessed to be able to work with Will Johnson (Centro-Matic/ South San Gabriel) as my producer, along with Chris Masterson (Steve Earle/Son Volt/ The Mastersons), Eleanor Whitmore (Steve Earle, The Mastersons, and everybody else that’s great), and my lovely girlfriend Bonnie Whitmore (who needs no introduction). There is an Indiegogo floating around there somewhere, but I won’t solicit funds through here. You will be hearing a lot more about that in the coming weeks. (NOTE: I added the link to his fundraiser anyway. SS)

SS — It’s been a couple of albums since we featured you on Country Fried Rock radio show. What’s changed with your music?

Porter — WOW! When we spoke, I was in a smelly van with the infamous Back Row Baptists! It’s been a while and The Baptists are all doing really well! I still front Some Dark Holler with Helen Gassenheimer (the most talented lady ever), and have criss-crossed the country a few times with that. Last fall Helen and I gave birth to a very special little record called Hollow Chest [Explicit]
which we released on This Is American Music. We are still focused on touring and recording, so after the solo full length, expect to hear more from Some Dark Holler.

SS — What’s working for you? Where do you see things heading?

Porter — I’m doing my best to make my new material the strongest it has ever been. My move to Austin has thrown me in with an amazing cast of songwriters who not only inspire me to write, but force me to write better than I ever have. The tunes that I have prepared for this solo full length, touch on themes that my previous work passed over. Don’t worry, there is still plenty of fire and brimstone, but there are also some understated sentiments present that y’all might not expect from the guy whose band was once referred to as “the drunk Civil Wars.”

Where do I see things heading? Around in circles. In a good way.

porter and the pollies cover
Buy the album on Bandcamp: https://somedarkholler.bandcamp.com/

Tracklist
1. Your Hometown
2. Fourth of July
3. Wood and Steel
4. Rest The Bones
5. When I Get Home
6. Blood on My Hands

Chris Porter – Guitar, Vox
Jay Burgess – Guitar, Vox, Producer
Chris James – Bass
Reed Watson – Drums
Daniel Stoddard – Steel, Keys, guitar, vox
Helen Gassenheimer – Fiddle, Vox on “Rest These Bones”

Recorded in Greenhill, Alabama
Produced by Jay Burgess
Mixed by TJ Mimbs and Jay Burgess
Mastered by TJ Mimbs at Easy Street Studios
Cover art by Jeff Moore – Green Olive Media

John Calvin Abney Lets Us Hear Some of His Upcoming Album, Coyote

John Calvin Abney Announces New Album, Coyote

Frequent listeners to Country Fried Rock’s podcast know John Calvin Abney. The Oklahoma songwriter and multi-instrumentalist plays or records with many of our pals, including on Chris Porter‘s final album and extensive touring with John Moreland. Recently, he surprised us by posting studio photos with fellow-CFR frequent flyers, Shonna Tucker and Megan Palmer! We’re not sure how that guy had time to write, let alone record, a whole new album!

New song below

We’re lucky he did, though, because Coyote is a gem. Expanding his psychedelic pop sound and reflective songwriting, Abney’s new album shows his experience and deep talent. Enjoy this sneak peek, check out his catalog, and pre-order while you can still get your pink vinyl (or other formats)!

Click to listen!  Woohoo!

Best of 2017

This week a friend described 2017 as the “Hold my beer, y’all!” to a difficult 2016 for many folks.  Music, though, soothes souls.  In that regard, 2017 was stellar. Country Fried Rock’s Top 5 of 2017, in alphabetical order by songwriters’ first names:


Porter & the Bluebonnet Rattlesnakes (Chris Porter)
Don’t Go Baby It’s Gonna Get Weird Without You

Porter was a dear friend to many folks connected to Country Fried Rock.  We chatted with several of the musicians who helped make his final album.  Prior to recording DGBIGGWWY, Porter described the record as “We’re gonna get weird.”  They got loud and had fun.


Hiss Golden Messenger
Hallelujah Anyhow

MC Taylor’s latest album should be in everyone’s playlists.  Hiss Golden Messenger made a cohesive album to share that life is to be lived, no matter is going on around us. Hallelujah Anyhow is a light in the darkness.  Music saves.


John Moreland
Big Bad Luv

John Moreland has been a core songwriter for Country Fried Rock since before the first Couch by Couchwest.  His latest album is so much fun, and the king of sad bastard songs stays true to himself while making a heckuva upbeat, dance-able record.


Jon Latham
Lifers

There’s actually a “missing” Country Fried Rock podcast featuring Jon Latham that has a terrible hiss in the audio file, so we have not shared it yet.  We found an audio engineer who is working his magic, and we hope to share that conversation in January.  Better late than never. Lifers is now on vinyl, so jump on it while you can!


Lilly Hiatt
Trinity Lane

Lilly Hiatt’s latest record lands on many end-of-year lists, including ours.  Trinity Lane is pleasant on the first listen, but gets into your head by the third session.  Hiatt has grown as a performer, too.  We saw her in different configurations (solo, acoustic with band, rocking hard with her band) for several shows this year, and each one was better than the last.  Stop referring to her in her father’s shadow;  Hiatt stands on her own as a songwriter and performer.