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.
The Pollies’ record almost did not happen. Songwriter, Jay Burgess, began recording some of the songs nearly 2 years ago, in what he now considers demo tapes, but the intent was not to make a record; it was merely a side-project from his previous band, Sons of Roswell. As it became apparent that Sons of Roswell were fading away, Burgess’ writing never ceased, and the demo recordings became more of a focus. Fellow musician friends from the Shoals area of Alabama (the “Quad Cities”) came and went with the project, leaving national acts to go solo again and others finding an international audience seemingly overnight for their other bands. Thus has been the whirlwind impacting what has ultimately become Where the Lies Begin, The Pollies’ debut record on This Is American Music record label.
Essentially, the album was recorded twice. Chris James (also formerly of Sons of Roswell), Daniel Stoddard (who also plays with Dylan LeBlanc), Matt Green (also with Belle Adair), Ben Tanner (also with the Alabama Shakes), and Reed Watson round out the current lineup for the Pollies, demonstrating the interwoven, mutually supportive music community of the Shoals. Mutual friends’ support for the demos and internet leaks of songs via YouTube ultimately led Burgess to bring focus to the Pollies project and make it a real band with a real focus on making a record. As it all came together, the visual presentation of the album helped define its title and ultimately, the theme: Where the Lies Begin.
Chris James had the idea for a bird’s nest and reverse side of an album cover with smashed eggs in a nest for a long time, but it was in discussing the songs on this record with Burgess that the complete concept revealed itself. In what others have described as “Southern Gothic rock and roll,” sometimes the adult realization that the stories your family tells about itself are not accurate. The deeper story that lies beneath is darker, more uncomfortable, and less simplistic than the tales we repeat trying to make them be true. A favorite uncle might also beat his wife. Your granddad might have spent his life abusing your grandmother. What happened behind closed doors does not go away by ignoring it. Such are the stories that lead to where these lies began.
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- The Pollies Where the Lies Begin “Good for Nothing,” “Something New,” “Little Birdie” (Direct from their label)
- Ramones “Commando”
- Doc Dailey “Picture Frames” from the upcoming release (International debut of this song!)
- Belle Adair “No Reply”
- Sons of Roswell “In the Moonlight” (not available on Amazon or iTunes)
- Alabama Shakes (from their original EP when they were still a four-piece called The Shakes, before Ben was regularly part of the touring band) “On Your Way”
- Jason Isbell “In a Razor Town” (chosen because the lyrics reference a female character with abuse in her past, as part of the conversation about truth revelaing itself in our personal stories)
- Centro-Matic “Twenty Four”
- Neutral Milk Hotel “Holland, 1945”