Birmingham

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.

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

Fire Mountain #1416

Fire Mountain’s latest album, All Dies Down, is three years in the making, but for a band that has no intention of leaving their day gigs, this works just fine. Don’t let their intentional “weekend warrior” status mislead you, though: this is an excellent album and their live shows equally worthy.  After hearing the debut EP from St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Brown sought out who recorded that collection of songs, and tracked down Les Nuby in Birmingham.  Right in the midst of our web of intertwined bands and friends, Fire Mountain’s album brings them to the forefront of Alabama’s musical rolling tide. In our conversation, we find out mutual bands we love, how shish kebob skewers made this album possible, and the venue that Fire Mountain loves to play.

Buy Fire Mountain’s All Dies Down on Amazon or Fire Mountain on iTunes.

Video
firemtnyoutubegrab

Podcast
Subscribe for free on iTunes, or download our free iOS or Android apps. If you like this show, please consider a lovely app rating.

St. Paul & The Broken Bones #1406

St. Paul & The Broken Bones put on one of the best shows I have seen in the past year, in fact, I have seen them 4 times in the past year. Rolling together Sam Cooke with a Southern Pentecostal ex-preacher, a delightfully self-conscious horn section, and a kick-tailfeathers lead guitar (and just recently, an amazing keyboard player), and you have the essence of St. Paul & The Broken Bones. Lead singer Paul Janeway commands the stage, moves like he is possessed by Archie Bell, and leaves nothing behind. Their album, Half The City, rocks.

Radio
Click here for a great playlist of related music.

Buy Half The City from St. Paul & The Broken Bones here .

Podcast
Scroll to the bottom of this page to listen or download to the podcast, or just subscribe on iTunes, or find out app in the Google Play Store or iOS App Store.

Liner Notes
St. Paul & The Broken Bones
Radiohead
Jason Isbell & John Paul White
Verbena
Steelism
Browan Lollar
Patrick Sweany

Podcast

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

St. Paul & The Broken Bones

This band is amazing. I love these guys.

Browan Lollar #1319

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.

Buy For the Givers and the Takers here or Browan Lollar on iTunes.

Liner Notes
The Pollies Where the Lies Begin
St. Paul & The Broken Bones Free EP
Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit Jason Isbell And The 400 Unit (Deluxe)
Big Star #1 Record/Radio City
The Bear Overseas Then Under
Doc Dailey & Magnolia Devil Victims, Enemies & Old Friends The song in this radio show is from their previous album, but they have a new one, too: Catch the Presidents
Pine Hill Haints Ghost Dance
Etta James Tell Mama The Complete Muscle Shoals Sessions

Browan Lollar For The Givers & The Takers I don’t do track by tracks reviews, but I’ll give my impressions of some of these songs because I really like them.
“Freight Train Heart” reminds me of the Replacements a little bit. You know I love them times eleventy zillion.
“Cars” I don’t think they know each other, but this song reminds me of The District Attorneys.
“Hotel Bars and Ringing Ears” Mellow interlude.
“One In Every Color” Intro builds like something familiar? What is it? This song has the lyrics for the title, “For the givers and the takers,” a phrase used regularly by my best friend. This is a dark tune…
“30 Nails” A delicate duet about divorce, that has a shift midway and the instrumentation really spreads the mood. I’m struck by the comments made by BJ Barham of American Aquarium on one of their songs about Bill Corbin’s divorce, “This is a song about divorce and how much it sucks.”


Here’s a gallery of some of Browan’s album cover art:

Contact Browan Lollar for cover art work through Twitter @BrowanLollar

Teen Getaway

Free track from the upcoming record by Birmingham, Alabama rock band, Teen Getaway.

Available soon!