Podcasts

Country Fried Rock features new podcasts regularly. Episodes include a conversation with a roots musician.

Judy Blank #1907

Dutch Americana songwriter Judy Blank records in Nashville. Blank tours in Europe because of the prohibitive cost of US work visas for musicians. American audiences will have to live off videos and her album, Morning Sun, to enjoy her take on nuanced songwriting.

European Americana Songwriter

While hip hop prevails among younger audiences in the Netherlands, Blank found her audience with an older, but dedicated demographic. US songwriters often find their first superfans in Dutch audiences, which is as much the “exotic import” factor as anything. The novelty is less for Judy Blank as a homegrown Dutch Americana musician, so her songs and performances must stand out.

Stream Judy Blank’s latest release, Morning Sun, here.

Cafe Rooster Records #1906

Sally Jaye runs Cafe Rooster Records. The songwriter, musician, and creative entrepreneur crafts her own art. Through her independent music label, she elevates that of others, too. Jaye’s ear for art pushes boundaries. She refuses to stagnate creatively, nor allow others to wallow in complacency, either.

The Minks Light and Sweet album cover

The Minks just released their debut LP on Cafe Rooster, Light and Sweet. The label anticipates the 2020 release of Brian Wright and the Sneakups‘ new record. Their rollicking AmericanaFest performances teased audiences with a fantastic rock album to come. Ladies Gun Club is also writing and recording. The future for Cafe Rooster Records — and Sally Jaye — is going to get weird, y’all.

Cafe Rooster Records has also released Jon Latham‘s album, Lifers. Latham raised the roof raising at AmericanaFest. His upcoming music will make Bruce Springsteen jealous.

Paisley Fields #1905

Paisley Fields honed their traditional country tunes in the queer country community they created in Brooklyn. Soon after, the bands took their show on the road, with a honky-tonk road trip of queer country artists. In 2019, AmericanaFest featured these groups in the 2nd annual queer roots party.

Taking a creative sabbatical to Nashville for the year, Paisley immersed himself in the queer country songwriting community of Music City. Connecting his Brooklyn peers with those in Tennessee elevated their collaborations, often contributing to one another’s songs and recordings. Stay tuned for Paisley Fields new album next year!

The Minks #1904

Nikki Barber of the Minks fuses arty psychedelic vibes with rock and roll. The Minks debut album, Light and Sweet, just launched on Cafe Rooster Records. Barber’s songs reflect growing up, well after coming of age.

Originally from the urban Northeast, Barber landed in Nashville following her other creative endeavor, fashion design. Music quickly took over, garnering most of her focus. She has not strayed from her fashion roots, though; Barber designs and makes her stage clothing and that of many other Nashville performers, and also sews custom alterations for select clientele.

Beth Bombara #1903

Midwestern roots rocker, Beth Bombara, recently released Evergreen. After regular touring, Bombara headed to the Rocky Mountains to clear her head. The mountain air let her reset mentally, and when she returned to St. Louis, Bombara wrote the songs for her new album.

Bombara and her band honed their communication through a solid tour schedule. When they headed into the studio to record live, they knew the songs and each other like family. Bombara chose a familiar studio and engineer, which allowed the band to focus on delivering their best performances for the live tracking.

Stream Evergreen by Beth Bombara in your favorite apps. Better yet, buy some merch and keep the band on the road.

I Didn’t Want to Tell You by Cowtownchad #1902

Chad Cochran, the photographer known as Cowtownchad, created his I Didn’t Want to Tell You, Normalizing the Conversation About Mental Health project nearly 5 years ago. With a fully crafted concept, Cowtownchad refined his approach, and recently debuted the first part of this series via the coincidentally-titled No Depression roots music magazine. (The magazine title comes from a Carter Family song and references an Uncle Tupelo album.)

Sharing How Mental Health Impacts Our Lives

Musicians discuss how the mental health challenges of those they love, their families of origin, and their own struggles impact their lives. From addiction to depression, eating disorders to anxiety, musicians share their stories, hoping their candor helps others. Normalizing the conversation around mental health allows people to find ways to keep going.

What’s next for I Didn’t Want to Tell You?

The I Didn’t Want to Tell You project continues to grow. With future pieces in the series, a book, and possibly a documentary in the works, Cowtownchad intends to help others by expanding the reach of this concept. Ultimately, the goal is to help people find help and find community.

Some resources available in the US, many geared toward the music community.

Crisis Support

  • Suicide Prevention Hotline 800-273-8255 for 24/7 trained volunteers to TALK on the phone
  • SuicidePreventionLifeline.org 24/7 online CHAT with trained volunteers
  • Crisis Text Line TEXT “Home” to 741741 and a trained volunteer will text with you. The Crisis Text Line offers help for a variety of concerns, including suicide prevention, anxiety, depression, emotional abuse, bullying, self harm, loneliness, and eating disorders

Comprehensive Resources

  • Nuci’s Space, Athens, GA Reducing suicide by removing the barriers to care for musicians in the Athens, GA area. This comprehensive outreach includes health and dental screenings, recovery groups, affordable practice space, gear rental, and a recording studio. Nuci’s Space is the official charity of Country Fried Rock.
  • MusiCares The charitable arm of the Recording Academy Grammy Foundation. Provides a safety net of critical assistance for music people in times of need.
  • Sweet Relief Musicians Fund Provides financial assistance to all types of career musicians who are struggling to make ends meet while facing illness, disability, or age-related problems.
  • Music Health Alliance A Nashville-based musicians assistance organization. Heal the Music by providing access to healthcare through services that PROTECT, DIRECT & CONNECT music professionals with medical and financial solutions.
  • HAAM (Health Alliance for Austin Musicians) An Austin, TX-based musicians assistance organization. HAAM provides access to affordable healthcare for Austin’s low-income working musicians, with a focus on prevention and wellness.
  • Sims Foundation An Austin, TX-based organization that provides mental health and substance use recovery services for musicians, music industry professionals, and their families to support the well-being of the Austin music community.
  • Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) Alcoholics Anonymous is an international fellowship of people who have had a drinking problem. It is nonprofessional, self-supporting, multiracial, apolitical, and available almost everywhere. There are no age or education requirements. Membership is open to anyone who wants to do something about their drinking problem.
  • Al-Anon A mutual support program for people whose lives have been affected by someone else’s drinking

Fox Theatre Revival #1901

What could get us out of semi-retirement more than a member of R.E.M. playing our favorite venue? Nothing! Grab your tickets to the Fox Theatre Revival, hosted by Kevn Kinney of Drivin N Cryin. The show happens Friday 9/13/19 at the fabulous Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia.

Drive-By Truckers, Michelle Malone, and Dodd Ferrelle and the Councilmen featuring Bill Berry of R.E.M. join special guests to raise money for the historic Fox Theatre Institute. The Fox Theatre Institute funds historic preservation at venues across the Southeast, including the Winterville (GA) Auditorium and spaces in Abbeville, Cheraw, and Dillon, South Carolina. They recently started a hurricane recovery fund for historic performing arts places.

Enjoy our quick conversation with Country Fried Rock alum, Dodd Ferrelle, about the Institute and the event!

PlayPlay

Don Gallardo #1805

Don Gallardo‘s latest album, Still Here,

shares his signature sound with fresh vocal phrasing and deep instrumentation.  The lush, beautiful album leans more folk-country or indie folk than the current “take” on Americana music.  Subtle background vocals and harmony complement Gallardo’s voice.  Notable contributors include Erin Rae and Luella.  Gallardo shares raw, honest insight into independent music making.  He reveals the situation that nearly ended the album mid-recording.  While many people gloss over and pretend “everything’s fine,” he clarifies what life is like and how projects derail in a candid conversation.

Country Fried Rock featured Gallardo in our inaugural season

as a radio program.  Sadly, that audio disappeared.  He generously contributed to our charity compilation for musician suicide prevention.  Vol. 1 and 2 continue to raise funds for Nuci’s Space, providing direct services to the music community of Athens, GA.  After a decade in Nashville, Don Gallardo’s connections within the songwriters community led him to collaborate with several friends on Still Here.

Robby Hecht, Mando Saenz, Carey Ott, Doug Williams, David Borne’, Luke Amelang, Jesse Cole, and Tim Easton co-wrote songs for Gallardo’s latest record.

These connections with peers whom Gallardo admires allowed him to learn from their special nuances in both writing and performing, as he elaborates in this conversation in the podcast.  In the studio, Gallardo also included friends and legends, Dylan Alldredge, Joe Andrews (now with Old Crow Medicine Show), Richard Bailey (banjo, played on hundreds of records, including Steeldrivers, Jim Lauderdale, and the Picking On series), Kyle Everson (dobro, who also played on Gallardo’s album Sweetheart Radio Revolution), Hillel Frankel (sax, who also happens to be a noted attorney in Nashville), Jim Hoke (clarinet, played on almost every record you own), Neilsen Hubbard (mixing, percussion, Mary Gauthier, Amy Speace, Garrison Starr, Amelia White), Micah Hulscher (Margo Price), Clint Maine (also in #CFRalumni Allen Thompson‘s band, Brent Mason (guitar on nearly every country hit since George Jones), Bryan Owings (percussion on nearly every Americana hit ever), David Pinkston (nearly every Southern rock record of Sea Level, Cowboy, and Marshall Tucker Band), Dave Roe (Sturgill Simpson, Gretchen Peters, Dwight Yoakam), Andrew Squire (drums in several Nashville bands, including #CFRalumni Andrew Leahey), Travis Stock (of Don’s band), Whit Wright (formerly American Aquarium).

Caleb Caudle #1804

Caleb Caudle‘s new album, Crushed Coins, builds dreamy, ethereal landscapes. The newest Country Fried Rock podcast (below) features an in-depth conversation with Caudle about recording in Los Angeles and Nashville and expanding his sound. With familiar players from his previous albums, Caudle found new sounds by keeping the plan flexible. The pedal steel goes ambient rather than country, yet it’s clearly a Caleb Caudle record. Partnering with Cornelius Chapel Records and touring extensively in the US and Europe this year, catch Caleb Caudle live and check out Crushed Coins.

Caudle also happens to love the US National Parks, having visited many of them over his years of touring. Stop by his Instagram to see some of his recent visits. We discuss a few of them in this podcast, as well as his adventure on Cayamo 2018.

JD Wilkes #1803

Debut Studio Solo Album from JD Wilkes of Legendary Shack Shakers

JD Wilkes, the vibrant front man of the Legendary Shack Shakers and the Dirt Daubers, releases his debut studio solo album, Fire DreamBruce Watson of Fat Possum Records produced, calling upon his Mississippi hill country cadre of stellar players, including fellow Country Fried Rock alum, Jimbo Mathus (also of Squirrel Nut Zippers), Matt Patton (Drive-By Truckers), and Dr. Sick.  Fire Dream whirls like a sideshow fire dancer, with a circus feel, and a touch of Threepenny OperaYou are not completely sure if this is a beautifully crafted satire or intensely serious.  The songs in Fire Dream find influences from gypsy music and klezmer as much as old time.

Hillbilly gypsy, klezmer, and solo tour with band

Wilkes’ upcoming tour begins as a duo with his long-time bass player.  On several dates, Wilkes opens for musician and performance artists, Unknown Hinson.  By March, the JD Wilkes band tour starts. Members of the Shack Shakers will back Wilkes, but not as a Legendary Shack Shakers tour.  This is a solo album, with a live band that knows how to keep up with Wilkes’ antics.  Additionally, they are playing acoustic and often around a single mic for much of the show — definitely a departure from a LSS show!

Tom Thumb joins the band

Finally, the fifth member of the band joins JD Wilkes — a Tom Thumb piano.  Wilkes bought his Chinoiserie 64 key piano on EBay.  The 100-year old instrument tinkles from the side stage.  These smaller pianos (versus the standard 88 key instrument) often resided in restaurants and speakeasys because they were easier to move around.  Sometimes, traveling salesmen used them as demonstration pieces.  Wilkes discusses their use in Tin Pan Alley songwriting in the last century.

Tim Nielsen of Drivin N Cryin #1802

Atlanta’s Home Town Band

Tim Nielsen co-founded Drivin N Cryin with Kevn Kinney in Atlanta in 1985. Drivin N Cryin were hometown heroes before their debut album, Scarred But Smarter, was even released, as R.E.M. had already “made it huge” for a Georgia band by then. Whisper Tames the Lion was their major label release on Island Records, who also re-released SBS. By the time Mystery Road came out, Drivin N Cryin were on the road to major rock band stardom. Catch the almost-rise, and not-exactly fall in the fan-film by Eric von Haessler, with special guests like Jason Isbell and Darius Rucker.

Vinyl Album Re-issue of Mystery Road

In October 2017, the archives imprint of Island Records remastered and re-released Mystery Road, in a gatefold vinyl double album. The re-issue includes several of the Peter Buck demos for that session, previously only available under the counter from local record stores and tape traders. Even the scrapped title track finally makes this version of Mystery Road. Buck and Kinney have been long-time close friends, and Buck was supposed to produce Mystery Road. Due to R.E.M. band obligations and the album-cycle expectations of DNC’s label, the project ended up with a different team behind the board. It’s a treat to finally, officially hear some of these demos!

DNC Officially Welcomes Laur Joamets & Announces New Album Produced by Aaron Lee Tasjan

Country Fried Rock’s family tree continues to pollinate. In our original Kevn Kinney interview (here and second conversation here), he mentioned one of his favorite emerging songwriters, Aaron Lee Tasjan, who has since been featured twice on this podcast. Tasjan will produce the next Drivin N Cryin album, and has already shared some pre-production sneak peeks.

Mystery Road reissue 2017 album art

Banditos #1801

Banditos Visionland, Bloodshot Records

Banditos grew as a band through relentless touring of nearly 250 shows per year.  When not on the road, they lived together in a house in Birmingham, Alabama, and later relocated to Nashville.  Their second album, Visionland, is named for a defunct theme park in rural Alabama.  The namesake fell apart due to political corruption and greed, which Banditos see recurring in our national political landscape.  Producer Israel Nash (and Ted Young) kept a calm, creative vibe during their recording. Keeping cool can be challenging with a band of three songwriters and a fully egalitarian structure.

Relocating

Recently, founding member Steve Pierce returned to Alabama, and the band honed their songwriting methods by trying new ways of communicating.  Pierce emailed song ideas from Sweden at the end of the year, and when they gathered again for two weeks, the band worked together on those songs and ideas.  These foundations of their third album show Banditos’ growth as songwriters and performers.

Recording

Banditos hit the road again this winter, continuing their hectic touring, and looking ahead to where they will record their next album.