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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.

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
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

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.

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
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!

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.

Bloodkin 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.

Click HERE for the Top 20.

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

Sloane Spencer’s Picks From 2013

Each year, Country Fried Rock does a special radio program of our listeners’ favorite programs, determined largely by the number of podcast downloads and a weird math formula involving website traffic for online listening via our audio stream — basically, which programs y’all listened to the most. We’ll air that special double episode the last 2 weeks of this year. It’s packed full of fantastic music, so look for that right around the corner. cfr best of 2013 icon

Each year, I hem and haw and hesitate to make my own list, because I like every single band I feature. If I don’t like it, I don’t feature it. Heck, there’s a ton of music I love that I can’t feature! I’m just one person making this magic happen. 😀

So, I caved. Here’s my list, but like a mama, I love you all. I just love a few of y’all a little more than I love the others. Go ahead and buy these albums. You’ll pat yourself on the back for being so fabulous.
pretty dang fabulous of 2013

Friends Supporting Suicide Prevention

Thank you to MoonRunners for their coverage.

I’m sure everybody reading this can think of several musicians who have taken their own lives. It’s a long list that includes a few of my personal favorite artists such as Phil Ochs, Gary Stewart and Del Shannon. As much as I would love to have those guys around making music, their families and friends would be happy just to have them around.

Now the great podcast and radio show Country Fried Rock has teamed up with the non-profit organization Nuci’s Space to help prevent similar cases and you can help in their effort. For just $5, you can download a 20-track compilation of great country, folk, and Americana artists. Every penny will go directly to Nuci’s Space, a non-profit health and music resource center based in Athens, GA, whose goal is to prevent suicide by providing obstacle-free treatment for musicians suffering from depression and similar disorders, as well as assisting in the emotional physical and professional well-being of musicians.

The goal for the compilation is to pay for 100 mental health counseling appointments for musicians.

The compilation includes brand new, exclusive tracks from Drivin N Cryin, Chickasaw Mud Puppies, Centro-Matic, Shonna Tucker & Eye Candy, Hillbilly Frankenstein, Belle Adair, Chris Porter & the Pollies, Norma Rae, Rebecca Morning, Matt Hudgins, Adam Klein & Nutria, Old Smokey, The Burning Angels, Doc Dailey & Magnolia Devil, Jack Logan & Scott Baxendale, as well as tracks from American Aquarium, The District Attorneys, The Blue Dogs, Mary Jane Daniels, and Michelle Malone.

Please help a great cause.

To purchase the compilation, vist

For more information on Nuci’s Space, visit

Country Fried Rock Vol. 2 For Nuci’s Space


CONTACT:  Sloane Spencer, Country Fried Rock, 843-229-4593
or Sue Havlish,, 812-327-5494
Country Fried Rock to Release Charity Album
“For Nuci’s Space, Vol. 2” on September 24
Proceeds to Help Prevent Musician Suicides

[FLORENCE, SC – August 6, 2013]  Sloane Spencer, producer and host of the nationally syndicated radio program Country Fried Rock, has announced September 24 as the release date of the second volume of “For Nuci’s Space,” an ongoing album project to help prevent musician suicide.

All proceeds from the album sales will be donated to Nuci’s Space, a Georgia-based program designed to help prevent musician suicide by removing barriers to mental health care, providing substance abuse services and primary care, and working with other existing providers and networks to help musicians. The organization was started in memory of Nuci Phillips, a talented musician and promising student who, at the age of 22, killed himself after a long battle with major depression. More at
Volume 1, released in 2012, featured contributions from sixteen of the most exciting under-the-radar artists on the American roots music scene, including the original BloodKin song “Henry Parsons Died” made world famous by Widespread Panic. That album had over 2,000 downloads in one year and was featured in national and international media reports.
At press time, confirmed acts for Volume 2 included Grammy nominee Michelle Malone, Robert Earl Reed, The District Attorneys, American Aquarium, Mark Cunningham, Humming House, and Grammy nominee Shonna Tucker & Eye Candy (former Drive-by-Trucker). The updated lineup will be posted at
“When I would hear about yet another musician taking their own life, I knew there must be something more that I could do than just post ‘Tragic’ on Facebook. I’m from Georgia, and the music that originated in Athens and Atlanta formed my musical foundation, so when I discovered Nuci’s Space, I realized that an album compilation project to benefit them would allow me to give back to the music community. It would also share great music with my listeners in a way that would also let them support this important organization.”
The photograph by Louise Dargan Thompson that graces the cover of Volume 2 is of a Namibian elephant. When asked why she used that as the cover illustration, Spencer said, “I chose a closeup of the elephant to highlight that we often see something and cannot quite identify it right way, much like depression in a friend—or even ourselves. Musician suicide, and its corollary, inadequate mental health care for musicians, is the elephant in the room. We need to face up to it and work hard to keep musicians–and their music–alive.”
Advance orders for Country Fried Rock’s “For Nuci’s Space, Volume 2, are being taken now via this link on the show’s website. The first 100 pre-orders will receive a free download of Volume 1 of Country Fried Rock’s “For Nuci’s Space.”
For Immediate Support: Please contact for online chat support or call toll-free 800-273-8255.
About Country Fried Rock:  Sloane Spencer takes listeners on a one-hour, weekly radio road trip that features some of the most exciting off-the-radar artists talking about, and playing, the music that moves them. Since its origins in 2010 as a music blog, then later as an Internet radio station, and now as a syndicated weekly radio program, Country Fried Rock has quickly risen to influential status among music fans, radio listeners, and musicians themselves. In addition to hosting the show, Sloane Spencer frequently contributes to No Depression, CMT Edge, The Bluegrass Situation, South Sounds Review, and the South Carolina Music Guide. Country Fried Rock, which recently celebrated its 200th episode, recently began a syndication expansion drive and has already added a number of new stations to their team.
Pre-Order Volume 2 of Country Fried Rock’s “For Nuci’s Space” here and receive a free download of Volume 1.

Adam Klein & The Wild Fires #1314

Adam Klein & The Wild Fires latest album, Sky Blue DeVille, travels further down the rock road for the songwriter, as each record meanders more in that direction. Klein’s music ranges well beyond his native Athens, Georgia, though–in fact, his last record was written and recorded in Mali.  The former Peace Corps volunteer has returned to Mali several times to maintain his friendships and connection to the nation, and the album from his last trip there, Dugu Wolo–just before the tensions with Islamist extremists escalated to the devastating level they have–will see wider release when the accompanying documentary is released.  Sky Blue DeVille is a full-fledged rock record.  In true Athens fashion, Klein has called upon friends in music over the years to contribute their talents to his projects, ranging from Randall Bramblett to David Blackmon to John Neff–keeping the Athens music circles intersecting.

Buy Sky Blue DeVille HERE on Amazon and HERE on iTunes.

Liner Notes

  • Adam Klein & The Wild Fires “Sky Blue DeVille,” “Goodnight Nobody,” “Where Our Love Is” Sky Blue DeVille
  • You should definitely check out Adam Klein’s previous album from Mali, that was only in limited release, Dugu Wolo.  I absolutely love this album.
  • Randall Bramblett “Roll” His new album, Bright Spots, will be released on May 14, 2014. Here is the CD pre-order for Bright Spots or here for Bright Spots on vinyl Bright Spots.
  • Drivin N Cryin “Scarred But Smarter” One of the best rock songs ever written. Scarred But Smarter
  • Kenney Blackmon String Band “Yew Piney” The Singing Tree Blackmon is most known for his fiddle contributions for Jerry Reed, Widespread Panic, and R.E.M. The KBSB album is really interesting–his wife, Noel Blackmon, culled lost songs from field recording sheet music and books, several of which are believed to be the first modern recordings of these songs (explanation adapted from album notes). They are dynamic live. After breaking his neck in a freak frisbee accident, it’s pretty incredible to see him jam.
  • Deer Tick “Main Street” available on AutoRip Vinyl here Divine Providence. (AutoRip means you get an automatic mp3 album download and the vinyl is shipped to you right away.) Deer Tick is headlining the Twilight Americana Festival in Athens this month.


Eye Candy: Leaked Track

Don’t know Eye Candy yet? Shonna Tucker‘s & John Neff’s (formerly of Drive-By Truckers) new amazing band in Athens, GA!

Another leaked track! Woohoo!

New video 7/2013!