Austin

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.

“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

The Mastersons #1427

The Mastersons’ second album, Good Luck Charm, shares Eleanor Whitmore and Chris Masterson’s depth of connection both personally and after hundreds of shows together. Whether playing as a duo or band, they communicate musically in a way that brings the audience in, never crossing over into uncomfortable intimacy or leaving out the listener. Whitmore and Masterson are each stellar multi-instrument players, with years of backing incredible songwriters and bands, including their on-going gig as part of Steve Earle’s touring band. Combining their gifts, though, at first was more give and take, as on Birds Fly South (their debut together). Good Luck Charm demonstrates their comfortable interplay and loops in some of their friends for co-writes, including Country Fried Rock alumni Aaron Lee Tasjan and Steve Poltz, and many other notable pals of theirs.

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Buy The Mastersons’ 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

Shinyribs (Kevin Russell) #1322

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

Shinyribs on the Moore, OK Tornadoes
The night of the harrowing Oklahoma tornadoes, Shinyribs came face to face with the destruction:

We were traveling on our way home that day from St. Louis at the end of a tour. Being aware of the severe weather threat in the region we checked radar before leaving and saw nothing. By the time we got on the other side of Tulsa things changed rapidly. Suddenly there was a line of Severe storms pulsing across central Oklahoma right where we were headed. We were able to get local TV coverage on our phone just as the Moore twister was touching down. And in utter disbelief we watched and listened to the surreal play by play of that horrific event. We were able to stop in northern OKC to get our wits about us and figure out what to do. We thought we might could get behind the storms by taking I-44 toward Wichita Falls. But, the bridge over the Canadian River was damaged and traffic was at a stand still. The best strategy for us at that point became to get a hotel and hunker down for the night. Watching the local news coverage of the ongoing rescue was sobering and sad. Driving through the debris field down I-35 was even worse the next day. We were fortunate and grateful to be able to drive the rest of the way back to our homes. But knowing many had lost their homes and loved ones in that storm made us, like many, want to do something to help . Over the next few days I pondered on this experience and kept up with the latest news. Without warning one afternoon a song surprised me as I sat at the piano. Had it been a mediocre song I might have just taken what good I could from it and moved on. I often write this way for myself to process the griefs and stresses of life. But, this song turned out to be a significant tune that I felt had value. And therefore it could be helpful on some level to the effort to help those most in need. I sent it to my friends (Oklahoma natives) Cody and Shannon Canada to get their opinions about guiding this song toward its most beneficial place. And now things are progressing towards this goal of recording it and making it available to the public as a means of raising much needed funds. Just trying to do our part and make it as meaningful as possible. – Kevin Russell

Catch the latest solo record, Gulf Coast Museum, from the front man for The Gourds, Kevin Russell AKA Shinyribs HERE.

Liner Notes
Shinyribs Gulf Coast Museum
The Gourds
Lincoln Durham
Neil Young & Crazy Horse (live)
Paul Simon
No Show Ponies
Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes
Band of Heathens (live)

Video
From my favorite online festival, CXCW AKA Couch By Couch West:

Download or listen to the podcast here.

Eddie Spaghetti


Leaked track from Eddie Spaghetti’s (of the Supersuckers) upcoming solo album, The Value of Nothing, on Bloodshot Records.

Buy the music for Eddie Spaghetti here on Amazon or Supersuckers here on Amazon. It’s right here Eddie Spaghetti on iTunes or Supersuckers on iTunes.

From the media release:
Eddie Spaghetti, front man for those Seattle-based pleasure barons of arena garage punk The Supersuckers, kicks out his first solo album of all originals. You might find that songwriting distinction surprising—given his lifetime traveling to two-bit hotels and dumpy backstages in order to spend a couple glorious hours on stage throwing devil’s horns and country-damaged metal to the adoring masses—but it’s the truth. The Value of Nothing distills everything he’s learned in his career-long, over-the-top and tongue-in-cheek adoration of all things rock and roll into a genre-scoffing dose of snarling country rock, full of pop hooks and wiseguy humor delivered with a brain, a heart, & a beer.

Recorded in Eddie’s surrogate hometown of Austin, TX, he employed the assistance of a genuine Texas badass, one Mr. Jesse Dayton (collaborator with such country legends as Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, and, um, Rob Zombie), in the hopes of making a more authentic country record. Well, ol’ JD thought that working with Eddie was his opportunity to get his RAWK on, so The Value of Nothing ended up a hybrid: a ragtop-down road trip soundtrack; an album embracing the guilty and not-so-guilty pleasures of classic rock, hooky-as-hell Texas roadhouse, and the alwayslurking- on-the-corner-barstool dirty joking of classic Supersuckerism.

The Value of Nothing gallops out of the gate with the Southwestern-inflected title track, all wide-lens spaced-out cowpunk, Eddie’s gravel road vocals both urgent and laid back cool. “Empty” follows with classic rock power chords filtered through the haze hanging over his buddy Willie Nelson’s ranch. The ragged, lazy charm of “Waste of Time” is a paean to kickin’ back, the theme song to those days where it’s almost too much goddamn effort to get off the couch and get a beer, all sung with a crooked smile and topped with some wicked fried slide guitar. With the lighter-sparking final track, “When I Go, I’m Gone,” we hear a surprisingly subdued Eddie, a man confident in the power of his hooks.

It wouldn’t be an Eddie Spaghetti record, though, without some full-on wise-assery. “Fuckin’ with My Head” channels ‘77 era UK punk with its jittery energy and feels-so-good-to-shout-along chorus. And then there’s that Chuck Berry-gone-metal guitar solo by Jesse D… The swinging conjunto throwdown of “People Are Shit” tells it like we all know it is, but Eddie’s got the stones to come right out and say it.

Eddie’s last solo album, Sundowner (Bloodshot 2011), featured covers from the likes of C&W stalwarts like Dave Dudley and Johnny Cash right next to punk rock snots like the Dwarves and the Lee Harvey Oswald Band. The Value of Nothing continues Eddie’s disinterest in tedious genre orthodoxies. From punk rock’s energy, metal’s showmanship, and country’s storytelling intimacy, Eddie finds unexpected commonalities.

#1230 Bonnie Whitmore

Bonnie Whitmore played in her family’s band as a child, joined the Brent Mitchell Band when she was only fifteen, and released her first solo record by twenty-two. Whitmore’s dual roles as sought-after bass player and independent songwriter Read More