alumni

Patrick Sweany

Country Fried Rock featured Patrick Sweany a couple of albums ago, and the East Nashville-based blues rocker has just gotten better over time. Here’s a quick update from Sweany and another fun new video from him.

Patrick Sweany

1. When I first saw you play live at The Basement during Americana Fest a few years ago, your stage presence and songs blew me away. I think we had a zillion retweets that night! What’s been happening with your touring since we last talked — a couple of albums ago?

Well, a lot of things. It seems as though most of the momentum we have been experiencing has been readily apparent in the last 12 months. Doing some opening slots in the US for Tedeschi Trucks Band (nicest people in the biz, everyone in that band is a cool human being) and a lot of the attention that my song “Them Shoes” has received via Internet radio has exposed a larger amount of people who are now interested in seeing us live. It’s nice to see an audience excited to see the show, rather than us having to win them over from zero. Which means we have to be better when we come around. I’ve added a member to the band, Zach Setchfield, on guitar to play the new material and it really augments the live show. Having a really consistent touring line up in Dillon Napier on drums and Jason Harris on bass. Really driven, focused musicians and really cool guys, so the van hang has been great too. Most recently we just completed four weeks overseas and a bunch of dates in the mid south and mid west, prior to the European dates.

2. I didn’t realize how funny you are, too, until I saw the “Working For You” video. How did that idea roll around with your latest album?

I’ve always adhered to the David Lee Roth school of musical cinema. The album is pretty heavy, subject matter wise, and trying to do something dark for my first video seemed a bit much. I’ve always admired funny people. The original idea was to be an Al Bundy-esque shoe salesman and showcase some awkward and ridiculous social interactions, but we lost the location I had in mind. Door to door vacuum cleaner salesman seemed to have a suitable amount of interaction to carry the desired amount of random social awkwardness. While talking to my neighbor and fellow East Nashville BB Gun Club ( #ENBBGC ) co-founder Terry Rickards, he hipped me to his experiences as a Kirby salesman. That was definitely some food for thought. We worked with Dave Shamban, Marty Linville and Craig Hill, whose work on The Altered Statesman’s “Bait” I really admired. I couldn’t be more pleased how it turned out.

3. Where are you headed on tour? Any new places or venues? Old favorites? Anybody coming along or are you joining up with anyone else (openers, etc.)?

The current run is full of both new territory and some familiar stomping grounds, and nearly all of it headlining dates, and all of it the first time with the new band . The Canadian dates, including Montreal Jazz Fest are a big jump for us, playing NYC is always a thrill as well. Really great audiences for us there.

We also hit the old stomping grounds in Ohio for several dates across the state, which is always awesome. Just really amazing to play to hometown crowd when you’ve been away, that’s always the best.

Check out another fun video here.

Buy Patrick Sweany’s music here on iTunes and here on Amazon mp3 and physical music..

New Country Rehab

Country Fried Rock alumni, New Country Rehab, are offering their latest EP for free download!

Buy their music here on Amazon or here on iTunes.

Artists you love. Music they love. Get Rdio Free

Nu-Blu

In our first full season, we featured a bluegrass band from North Carolina, Nu-Blu.

Here’s a new video from their recent homegrown series for y’all!

Buy Nu-Blu’s music h or here on iTunes.

Belle Adair

Country Fried Rock alumni, Belle Adair, of Alabama have made their mark at SXSW, stopped in for another CXCW (Couch By CouchWest), and filmed a couple videos recently.

Check out our conversation with them here.

Buy Belle Adair’s music here on Amazon or here on iTunes.

 

 

Jimbo Mathus: Dark Night

Jimbo Mathus was one of our top programs a couple years ago. (You can download that great podcast here). Since then, Mathus has released another full-length album with our fellow Country Fried Rock alum, Eric “Roscoe” Ambel, called Dark Night of The Soul. In additional “it’s a small world” coincidences, a songwriter fan of this show, Robert Earl Reed “RER”, also happened to be one of Mathus’ close friends and collaborators. Reed was incredibly supportive of our projects for musicians’ mental health care (which you can donate to here). I “met” Reed through an online festival called Couch By Couchwest, which happens to be coming up in March. (If you are a musician, you should submit a video PDQ here.) When Reed passed away suddenly this past year, the first person I thought of was Mathus and their close friendship, music videos together, and co-writing. When I asked Mathus to update us, I offered to omit the questions about Reed, but Mathus’ heartfelt answers make this record even better.

Buy Dark Night of The Soul here on Amazon.

Sloane Spencer: Since we first talked between Blue Light and White Buffalo, you and Roscoe have worked together quite a bit in different roles. How has that relationship changed as you work with new material?

Jimbo Mathus: I have really been influenced by Roscoe’s guitar philosophy over the past few years. It’s very simple yet strangely poetic and tough at the same time. On “Dark Night” he was on the floor with us as a member of the band. So, combined with Matt Pierce and myself on guitars, many songs have three guitars all blending harmoniously with the organ, bass, drums and piano. It creates a heavy, full sound.

SS: I don’t think you’ve ever made the same album twice. What’s different about Dark Night of the Soul?

JM: Dark Night has some pretty challenging lyrical themes on it. I was influenced by the news stories of 2013, which seemed to be one mass shooting or national disaster after another. Some of the themes are drug addiction, rampant capitalism, and massive geological and seismic upheaval on planet Earth. Other themes include learning from past mistakes and the simple, profound beauty of true love.

SS: You were close friends with a musician whom I was in the process of setting up an interview when he suddenly passed away this year — Robert Earl Reed. I know y’all made some videos together, and he was a prolific, self-critical, perfectionist songwriter (based on my email conversations with him over a few years). Would you like to share anything about RER?

JM: RER and I blazed a bright arc in our brief time together. I produced his first collection of songs and mentored him on his singing and guitar playing. He, in turn, inspired me with his songs, songwriting and aesthetic. Two songs on “Dark Night” were co-written by him–“Tallahatchie” and “White Angel.” We started Repent Films together and created five music videos. He was just a person that I will never be able to replace; a true like-minded artist and Renaissance man. We just instinctively understood one another. I miss him all the time.

Julie Lee

Way back in 2010 when Country Fried Rock was still an online radio station, we talked with Julie Lee. She has since released a couple of other albums, highlighting her gorgeous voice and vastly different musical interests.

Buy Julie Lee’s music here on Amazon.

Julie Lee‘s eight album, Till and Mule, came out in November 2013.

Till and Mule as described by Julie Lee:
“Several of these songs came to me in an unusual way. The title track came after digging in the dirt in my garden and then driving through the Midwest while on tour. Each song has a sense of place, a landscape.

Artistically, what is different about this record is that it was recorded over a year ago, with the initial intention of releasing a double album. I had used some of my 2012 Kickstarter support for the initial recording and mixing, but decided to sit on T & M while Julie Lee & The Baby-Daddies had its moment to shine. This afforded us the gift of a musical rest … to ‘step back from the painting.’ It allowed us the chance to look at each song individually with the perspective only time and distance can give. The people I asked to be on the record; to pick up a paintbrush, to add something to the canvas were artists and musicians that I trust implicitly! Aaron Roche, Nathan Phillips, Dan Burns, Jason Goforth, are dear and gifted friends.

Aaron encouraged me to record at Gray Matters in Nashville with engineer Mike Odmark. We began by picking up our ‘paint and brushes’ to outline the songs with a myriad of musical instruments. Dan Burns (drums and percussion) then joined in to add the perfect foundation and texture to the record. Jason Goforth (pedal steel, lap steel, and harp), who had been playing these songs with me on tour, added the initial wash of color on the canvas. Nathan Phillips then took the canvas home and gently painted with his one-of-a-kind vintage upright piano. We did an initial mixing of the basic tracks in 2012 and then ‘let it rest.’

While remixing in early 2013, we sent the canvas to Aaron to compose and record string arrangements on two of the tracks, and suddenly, it was finished. Mike Odmark’s refined mixing skills framed with Alex McCullough’s yes-mastering genius created a record which is…well…one of my personal favorites.

My sincere hope is that this music provides personal space for the listener–to step back from their own painting.”

Alumni Update: Matt Woods

Matt Woods was one of our first season’s featured songwriters, and he continues to be one of the best writers who has not reached national name-recognition, but should.  We checked in with Matt for a quick update about his new album.

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

Matt Woods:  Well, this week we are mixing the tracks for the full length album, (yet to be titled). As always, we started the process with way more tunes than needed for a complete record, so we are also trying to determine which tracks will be included. Since I plan to release this new one on vinyl, we are trying to keep the album at 45 minutes or less, so song selection is key. I have recently released a 7″ single of the song “Deadman’s Blues” which will certainly be on the full length when it releases this coming spring. The A side is the album version of the song and the B side holds an acoustic version as well as my version of Kristofferson’s “Help Me Make It Trough The Night.” Barring any unforeseen circumstances the release of the full album is scheduled for March of 2014.

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

MW:  Well, actually, this is my first release since 2011’s The Matt Woods Manifesto. I spent a very long time in support of that one as it was an introduction to my music for most listeners and a defining album for me, marking a departure from the work I had been doing in bands over the years. I have taken the time to expand my touring and now cover nearly all of the country with my live shows, making the rounds a few times a year and staying on the highway 8-9 months out of the year. With the new album, we have been approaching it with a more concise idea of sound and content, honing a piece that is meant to be consumed at once, all songs together in their specific order. If I had anything to note as far as what has changed between the two albums, it would be that the new one is probably more deliberate. I still had several players I admire contribute to the recording, including members of Fifth on the Floor and The Black Lillies, but fewer players over all than made an appearance on the
Manifesto.

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

MW:  Touring is working! I am quite at home on the road. I find that I write more, clearly play constantly, and have been able to reach a much broader audience. It’s like building a family out there and every night is another family reunion of sorts! The support and generosity has been overwhelming. I am cautious to speculate about the future, but I think it is safe to say I plan to keep my foot on the pedal and try to turn as many folks on to what I have to say and the music I make as possible. I have recently confirmed several festival dates for 2014, including Moonrunners Music Festival in Chicago and Muddy Roots Music Festival in Cookeville, TN, and as we slide into winter I am hard at work planning the release and as much touring as I can book. If things go well, I hope to make it to Alaska in the spring and, who knows, maybe cross an ocean sometime soon!

matt woods dead mans blues
Click image to purchase on iTunes.
Purchase Dead Man’s Blues on vinyl at http://therealmattwoods.com/store

Scott Low: Premiere From CFR Alum

From his album, The Stories I Shouldn’t Tell, Scott Low presents the music video “Stuck in the Country”.

Filmed and edited by Jay Braver (www.JayBraver.com), the video was filmed at the Historic Village at Hurricane Shoals State Park in Maysville, Georgia.

The Stories I Shouldn’t Tell includes 14 tracks recorded over the last two years, available on Amazon and iTunes.

Bio:

Scott Low currently leads the band Efren, as well as penning his own southern folk songs. He has been writing and playing songs a long time and has dabbled in many genres: punk, jazz, bluegrass, rock, blues, folk, Americana, country, not in that order. Playing hundreds of stages and rooms, the song has lead the way.

Chasing the melody and pushing thru stories and odd analogies, after bouts of lead guitar ego bubbles, Scott decided to start singing and reconnecting with the American song, verse, chorus repeat, maybe a bridge. Writing about our lives, the ones we love and especially the ones we don’t. Scott Low sings songs of loss, love, drinking, and rumors of peace. Scott Low comes from Athens, GA; which is the home of intense creativity and true American art and music. Scott has returned to writing and singing. He lives to play the guitar and listen to Townes, Dylan, Ben Nichols, Hank, Cash, Tweedy and Willie. Divorce and children mixed with dirt roads, friends and Georgia hills are all blended in to create his sound… A couple hundred shows, four albums, and intimate views on many songs, a solo stage has called Scott to tell these stories. In just under two and a half years the stories and harmonies from the quartet of albums pushed our ability and perspective. While Efren will never die, Scott Low has a separate agenda, a dark road that must be traversed alone.

Now wrapping up a full length solo album of folk southern Americana songs, Scott pushes ahead. Love has been found, but scars don’t heal too easy in the back country. The humidity of the South radiates tell intriguing tales (probably more than just the humidity).

“As the main man in Athens, Ga.-based Americana band Efren, Low currently stands out as one of the Peach State’s potentially great up-and-coming songwriters.”
– T. Ballard Lesemann, Charleston City Paper (Jun 27, 2012)

Town Mountain Wins at IBMA (CFR Alumni)

Town Mountain & Lead Vocalist Robert Greer
Win Two IBMA Momentum Awards

Performance, Vocalist (Momentum Awards):  Robert Greer
Performance, Band (Momentum Awards):  Town Mountain

Listen to our radio show with Town Mountain HERE.
Download the podcast HERE.

From their press release:
ASHEVILLE, NC– Congratulations to Town Mountain and their lead vocalist Robert Greer on winning 2013 IBMA Momentum Awards. Robert Greer takes home the Momentum Award for “Vocalist of the Year” and Town Mountain takes the honor for “Band of the Year.” The awards cap off a year of fantastic growth for the band which began with the release of their sophomore Pinecastle album, Leave the Bottle.

Based in Asheville, NC, Town Mountain is Robert Greer on vocals and guitar, Jesse Langlais on banjo and vocals, Phil Barker on mandolin and vocals, Bobby Britt on fiddle, and Jake Hopping on upright bass.

One listen to their instantly memorable songs, and it’s plain to see why Grammy-winner Mike Bub would align with the group to produce Leave the Bottle as well as Steady Operator [2011]. Leave the Bottle effortlessly covers a wide array of styles in the string band spectrum featuring the stellar in-house songwriting that has become the band’s trademark. There’s the barroom swagger and honky tonk edge of tracks like “Up the Ladder” and the title track “Leave the Bottle”, the Jimmy Martin style bounce and confidence of “Lawdog” and “Lookin’ in the Mirror”, the Irish flavor of Bobby Britt’s “Four Miles”, and the laid back John Hartford style groove of “Greenbud on the Flower” among others. But no matter the style, the band’s delivery gives every tune a true and honest feel. The album went on to be listed as #6 Best Bluegrass Album of 2012 by Pop Matters, and WNCW listeners voted it #19 in the Top 100 albums of 2012. They will be working on a new album in the winter of 2014. Stay tuned to their website for more details.

“I’m not sure what the definition of bluegrass would be in words alone, but if that definition was set to music, it would probably sound something like Town Mountain’s Leave the Bottle… I could go on,” says Bluegrass Today’s David Morris, “There are no duds, and no filler songs on this project. But you get the point. This, my friends, is how bluegrass is supposed to sound.”

More information as well as their complete tour schedule and updates from the road are available at at TownMountain.net and facebook.com/TownMountain.

The Momentum Awards focus on artists and business people who are in the early years of their careers in bluegrass music. Five artists will receive performance awards, while three industry awards will go to key contributors in the bluegrass business. The Momentum Awards are not to be confused with the long-standing IBMA Awards, which are the gold standard for peer-recognized excellence in bluegrass music. The Momentum Awards will acknowledge something undeniable about bluegrass music—that many of its most dynamic artists and entrepreneurs are young or relatively new to the genre, and there are perhaps more artists playing bluegrass or bluegrass-related music than at any time in decades. IBMA looks forward to recognizing the best of them.

IBMA Momentum Awards are intended to encourage professionalism in bluegrass music among every generation. For more info, please visit the IBMA website at www.ibma.org.

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Patrick Sweany

Check out this brand new track from our alum, Patrick Sweany!

Hear our radio show HERE or download the podcast HERE.

Buy Patrick Sweany’s music HERE on Amazon or HERE on iTunes.

The Brothers Comatose

Woohoo! Congrats to our alumni, The Brothers Comatose, on their new video.

Check out our radio show with them HERE.
Buy their music HERE on Amazon or HERE on iTunes.

American Aquarium: Free Music


Grab this free sampler from our alumni, American Aquarium.

Listen to their interview here.