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