Blues

James Hunter Six #1607

James Hunter was notably “discovered” by Van Morrison while performing in gritty pubs in England, but the songwriter and singer is more than a protege. The James Hunter Six perform across the world, primarily for blues audiences, although they have been embraced by Americana and rock clubs, as well. Their dynamic shows, fronted by the charismatic British-soul singer, highlight their rhythm and horn sections. The band often works up those parts separately before a whirlwind set of rehearsals when they are recording a new album, such as their latest on Dap Tone Records, Hold On.

Buy the James Hunter Six’s music on Amazon or iTunes.

Fantastic Negrito “Working Poor”


Long time followers of Country Fried Rock podcasts and social media know that I drive a lot (about 60,000 miles per year) and run a little to stay active. The music I enjoy expands beyond typical “country fried rock,” and Fantastic Negrito plays some blues that I dig. –Sloane Spencer

Grab Fantastic Negrito‘s new music here on Amazon or iTunes. The album, The Last Days of Oakland, will be out 3 June 2016.

Reed Turchi

Reed Turchi last appeared on Country Fried Rock with his self-titled band, Turchi. His solo release calls in several musician friends, and is even more influenced by his time with Ardent (where he recorded, as well) and Italian bluesman, Adriano Viterbini (who also plays on the album). Speaking in Shadows rocks, but Turchi recently recorded a special pared down version of a song, just for Country Fried Rock listeners. Enjoy “Pass Me Over” below.

Buy Reed Turchi’s album, Speaking in Shadows, on Amazon or iTunes.

Jeffrey Foucault #1603

Jeffrey Foucault’s (pronounced Folk-alt) latest album, Salt As Wolves, brings the #CFRalum (previously featured here) back to his rock and blues roots. The title references Shakespeare’s character, Iago, from Othello, but the songs reflect Foucault’s personal life more than any of his other albums. As he prepares for the European leg of his tour supporting the record, his long-time band slips into his groove without missing a beat.

Buy Jeffrey Foucault’s music here on Amazon.

Podcast
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Bones of JR Jones #1510

The Bones of JR Jones is mostly a one-man band, although JR sometimes plays with a variety of setups. His recent album, Dark Was The Yearling, was made possible by a happen-chance meeting at an empty gig. The Bones of JR Jones is getting ready to tour the South and MidWest through the spring, so catch a show when he’s in your town.

Buy Bones of JR Jones’ music here.

Podcast
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We welcome your feedback on the show. You can reach me on Facebook or @countryfriedrok.

Steve Earle #1504

Steve Earle channels his Texas Blues roots with his latest album, Terraplane — named for the noted song by Robert Johnson, but known to me in the well-circulated Canned Heat live tapes. Referencing everyone from Lightning Hopkins to Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, Earle interviews himself, but does not get caught up in his script. He deftly name drops his own stint in jail, averting some questions by glossing over them and moving on so quickly that the pace is disrupted when going back to pick up dropped threads of thought. Earle respects those with whom he works, highlighting Chris Masterson’s (previously featured here) role in developing this blues trail during sound checks.

Buy Terraplane here.

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Please subscribe to Country Fried Rock in iTunes or your favorite podcast app, and leave us a rating and a comment! That will help boost our search results and allow people to find the show more easily.

We welcome your feedback on the show. You can reach me on Facebook or @countryfriedrok.

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..

Robert J. Hunter

Download this free tune from Robert J. Hunter! I also like the traack, “Turning,” on the EP.

Buy Robert J. Hunter’s music here on Amazon.

From his bio:

Thriving on the cold winters and the melancholy breeze. Gruff but dulcet tones. Moving from island life in Guernsey to the big smoke of London, writing, performing and waiting for the dust to clear.

Snowfall, Whiskey, winter, blues, tea.
Record label: Spectra Records
“Rob has grown over the past year or so into a consummate performer, seemingly playing almost non-stop somewhere or other, and this had lead to him becoming the sort of person who, it seems, is incapable of putting on a bad show” – Tom Girard, BBC Introducing.

Samantha Martin #1326

Fresh off of a noted set at the Calgary Folk Festival, Samantha Martin reflects on life as an independent musician in Toronto, sharing many of the same challenges that DIY bands in the States experience.  From club gigs where attendees complain about the $5 door charge to trouble crossing the border, to searching out record shops while on tour to find a last taste of local flavor in the music, Samantha Martin and The Haggard are forging their way in the wild frontier. With a debut album that samples their breadth, nearly every fan of roots music will find one song to like on this “roots and roll” record.

Liner Notes

Video

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Michael & The Lonesome Playboys

We are thrilled to share the new album from Michael & The Lonesome Playboys, Bottle Cap Sky.

Buy this album HERE ON AMAZON or HERE ON ITUNES.

Michael and the Lonesome Playboys Keep Country Real–“Bottle Cap Sky” is a record for fans that want an alternative to a slick pop country sound

There’s an underground scene in every city and for Los Angeles, that scene is Americana/Roots music. Old and Young, there is no generation gap; everyone is pulled together by a common thread–good music and musicians that know how to play it.

One of these musicians is Michael Ubaldini of Michael and the Lonesome Playboys. Disillusioned with the pop slick sounds that mainstream country music has been churning out, Ubaldini has written an antiphon to this music called, “Bottle Cap Sky”. The 15-song record is rooted in the traditional sounds of honky tonk, rock n’ roll and blues, but with 21st Century lyrics and an attitude of early Dylan and Kerouac and the influences of Hank Williams and the Clash. (Joe Strummer was actually a fan of Ubaldini’s and would show up for his LA gigs when able.)

Dylan and Kerouac are heavy names to be throwing around, but backing up these lyrical claims is the fact that Ubaldini has written a book of poetry, “Lost American Nights: Lyrics and Poems” which is now in its 2nd edition. Along with strong lyrics, Michael and the Lonesome Playboys recorded “Bottle Cap Sky” live without auto-tuning or a lot of tracking, so what you hear are musicians that have mastered their instruments or, as Ubaldini likes to joke, “My records have no Botox.”

His band on the record includes two members of his live performance band, Rob King on bass and Gary Brandin on pedal steel and dobro. Michael plays lead guitar and acoustic and adds blues harmonica to the mix. Guest musicians include Candy Girard on fiddle (Jerry Garcia, Mason Williams) and Jeremy Long on piano. Jim Doyle (Charlie Terrell, Jesse Harris) is Ubaldini’s new live drummer, but on the record several guests keep the beat: Micky Wieland, Kip Dabbs, Jerry Angel and Mitch Ross.

The songs on “Bottle Cap Sky” were influenced by Ubaldini’s life, a few of them written from a hospital bed in 2010 where he was fighting for his life from endocarditis. (CNN did a news story on Ubaldini during this period about his recovery.) They are full of characters from what he calls his “circus style” of existence; outlaws, Texas oil tycoons, crooked lawmakers and false prophets. “Basically, my wild life and the road to its salvation.” explains Ubaldini.

“Walk Through Fire” is a kicking Memphis blues tune that is both soulful and has a groove. It’s about facing down death with a strong will to survive. “Moon Dog Mad” is a honky tonk Armageddon of a song where you find your toes conversely tapping to the lyrics, “there’s blood on the moon and things are looking real bad.” The gears shift for the ballad, “Lonesome When You’re Gone” and “Three Cheers for Heartache” is a melodic rock n’ roll song with a country feel and the lyrics saluting the outcasts of the world. “Rosewood Night” is a haunting country tune about betrayal, and yet hope holding out for a love’s return.

Whether it’s love, betrayal, sex, rebellion, sin or salvation, Michael Ubaldini’s got it covered. “The songs all men something to me,” he says, “I’m usually jacked up on caffeine in an all-night diner or cheap motel when I’m writing them. I try to be in the moment, so the story or sense of place is in the songs. Sometimes I wish I hadn’t gone through what I had to write a particular song, but if it helps someone out in their own dire situation and can give hope, well, that means a lot to me.”

Los Angeles and Nashville have been taking notice–recently Dwight Yoakam hand-picked the band to open for him on a Southern tour and they are in their 6th year of traveling to the famous Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, where they are annually asked to play. Ubaldini’s last record, “Last of the Honky Tonks” garnered rave reviews stateside and entered the Mojo Magazine charts at #6 and it topped the CMP charts in the UK.

When asked about his core fan base, Ubaldini says, “We tend to get a lot of hard-core Americana music fans and people I would call outcasts. And by outcasts I mean the current generation of country music listeners who are displaced. There are a lot of young people who are exploring traditional country music and also looking for something fresh.” He continues, “I have kids coming up to me all of the time and telling me they like my music. I feel proud when they say it made them look at the genre of honky tonk and roots music in a new light.”

In this culture of reality television where artists beg to be approved by a panel of judges, Ubaldini is a breath of fresh air. Citing Blake Shelton as an example, Ubaldini claims that country music has “devolved not evolved”. “People should pay attention to the call of the music and not kowtow to industry insiders,” he says. “Just Imagine if the Beatles let any suits convince them that guitars were on their way out, or if Dylan listened to the critics who told them he can’t sing. I just love to write and I love music–that’s what drives me–the drive to create. It’s what I do. I just go where the wind and the music take me.”

Michael and the Lonesome Playboys will celebrate the release of “Bottle Cap Sky” opening for David Allan Coe on August 10th at The Coach House in San Juan Capistrano, CA.

SteelDrivers #1320

How does a band survive when its founder leaves — and their lead vocalist moves on? The SteelDrivers demonstrate their resilience as a band with Hammer Down, their latest album with their current lineup. Bass player, Mike Fleming, shares his own musical path to bluegrass, shaped by The Beatles and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and the influences of the other band members that keep The SteelDrivers on the edges of their genre and bring in audiences who otherwise do not care for bluegrass — even attracting such notable fans as Adele.

LINER NOTES

VIDEO

PODCAST
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Bex Marshall #1311

Bex Marshall’s latest album, House of Mercy, reflects both the songs on this record, and the actual name of her home-recording studio-record label-life. She is a noted slide guitar player, who also loves the resonator (dobro) and banjo, and manages to bring in those sounds to a cohesive, roots rock record.  I am always interested when a British musician melds what we think of as American sounds into music that becomes its own, rather than being imitative.  Marshall’s songs and production combine for a rollicking  album, and her reflection on what led to it–heard in this week’s radio program–is worthwhile for anyone seeking a lifetime playing music, or fans who like it real.

Click HERE to listen and buy this record, or here to buy on iTunes.

Liner Notes

  • Bex Marshall House of Mercy House of Mercy is not just the title track and album, it’s also the name of the house where Bex and Barry live, their record label and recording studio, radio station and more.  Marshall lives a life of music.
  • I was not able to find a legal mp3 to purchase of Bex’s “Uncle David’s” band, The Marauders’ minor hit, “That’s What I Want.” I also was not able to confirm whether “Uncle David” is known as “Charlie Harper” of the UK Subs or not. If you have more information, please clarify! I think this is a video for the correct band. I did find a song on a garage rock compilation by a band of the same name, but I cannot confirm if it’s the same people or not. It’s a pretty cool tune, though, and a fantastic compilation. Storm in the Garage on Amazon
  • Brigitte de Meyer Rose Of Jericho on Amazon
  • Joan Armatrading Greatest Hits on Amazon One of the best British blues vocalists around. I used to listen to “Drop the Pilot” on WRAS Album 88 all the time.
  • Hayseed Dixie Nicotine and Alcohol on Amazon Hayseed Dixie are not just the beloved bluegrass covers of AC/DC tunes or tributes to hillbilly love, they are also noted players and the sons of Don Reno, of Reno and Smiley.
  • Stevie Ray Vaughn live The Essential Stevie Ray Vaughan And Double Trouble on Amazon doing “Superstition.”  A great example of amazing blues working well with other styles of music.
  • Israel Nash Gripka Barn Doors and Concrete Floors on Amazon

Podcast