cfr alumni

Tim Nielsen of Drivin N Cryin #1802

Atlanta’s Home Town Band

Tim Nielsen co-founded Drivin N Cryin with Kevn Kinney in Atlanta in 1985. Drivin N Cryin were hometown heroes before their debut album, Scarred But Smarter, was even released, as R.E.M. had already “made it huge” for a Georgia band by then. Whisper Tames the Lion was their major label release on Island Records, who also re-released SBS. By the time Mystery Road came out, Drivin N Cryin were on the road to major rock band stardom. Catch the almost-rise, and not-exactly fall in the fan-film by Eric von Haessler, with special guests like Jason Isbell and Darius Rucker.

Vinyl Album Re-issue of Mystery Road

In October 2017, the archives imprint of Island Records remastered and re-released Mystery Road, in a gatefold vinyl double album. The re-issue includes several of the Peter Buck demos for that session, previously only available under the counter from local record stores and tape traders. Even the scrapped title track finally makes this version of Mystery Road. Buck and Kinney have been long-time close friends, and Buck was supposed to produce Mystery Road. Due to R.E.M. band obligations and the album-cycle expectations of DNC’s label, the project ended up with a different team behind the board. It’s a treat to finally, officially hear some of these demos!

DNC Officially Welcomes Laur Joamets & Announces New Album Produced by Aaron Lee Tasjan

Country Fried Rock’s family tree continues to pollinate. In our original Kevn Kinney interview (here and second conversation here), he mentioned one of his favorite emerging songwriters, Aaron Lee Tasjan, who has since been featured twice on this podcast. Tasjan will produce the next Drivin N Cryin album, and has already shared some pre-production sneak peeks.

Mystery Road reissue 2017 album art

Best of 2017

This week a friend described 2017 as the “Hold my beer, y’all!” to a difficult 2016 for many folks.  Music, though, soothes souls.  In that regard, 2017 was stellar. Country Fried Rock’s Top 5 of 2017, in alphabetical order by songwriters’ first names:

Porter & the Bluebonnet Rattlesnakes (Chris Porter)
Don’t Go Baby It’s Gonna Get Weird Without You

Porter was a dear friend to many folks connected to Country Fried Rock.  We chatted with several of the musicians who helped make his final album.  Prior to recording DGBIGGWWY, Porter described the record as “We’re gonna get weird.”  They got loud and had fun.

Hiss Golden Messenger
Hallelujah Anyhow

MC Taylor’s latest album should be in everyone’s playlists.  Hiss Golden Messenger made a cohesive album to share that life is to be lived, no matter is going on around us. Hallelujah Anyhow is a light in the darkness.  Music saves.

John Moreland
Big Bad Luv

John Moreland has been a core songwriter for Country Fried Rock since before the first Couch by Couchwest.  His latest album is so much fun, and the king of sad bastard songs stays true to himself while making a heckuva upbeat, dance-able record.

Jon Latham

There’s actually a “missing” Country Fried Rock podcast featuring Jon Latham that has a terrible hiss in the audio file, so we have not shared it yet.  We found an audio engineer who is working his magic, and we hope to share that conversation in January.  Better late than never. Lifers is now on vinyl, so jump on it while you can!

Lilly Hiatt
Trinity Lane

Lilly Hiatt’s latest record lands on many end-of-year lists, including ours.  Trinity Lane is pleasant on the first listen, but gets into your head by the third session.  Hiatt has grown as a performer, too.  We saw her in different configurations (solo, acoustic with band, rocking hard with her band) for several shows this year, and each one was better than the last.  Stop referring to her in her father’s shadow;  Hiatt stands on her own as a songwriter and performer.

“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

Lincoln Durham “Creeper”

Country Fried Rock featured Lincoln Durham several years ago, and he’s only gotten better. Here’s “Creeper” off his latest album, Revelations of a Mind Unraveling, available on Amazon and iTunes.

Caleb Caudle #1602

Caleb Caudle’s upcoming album, Carolina Ghost, is his first that’s been fully created since he got sober. The Country Fried Rock alum was previously featured on this program following Paint Another Layer on My Heart. He shares tips on releasing a record successfully, choosing songs to record, and the benefits of recording in a legendary studio close to home. After extensive touring both solo and with a band, Caudle feels like he’s starting to get it right.

Buy music here on Amazon. Carolina Ghost to be released in 26 February 2016.

Stream or download this podcast below or on SoundCloud.

Runaway Dorothy

Another of our first season featured bands, Runaway Dorothy, have continued to make fun music. They’ve put up a sampler of free tunes here on Noisetrade that you should check out.

Here’s the widget to make the free download easier:

Buy Runaway Dorothy’s music here on Amazon.

6 String Drag

Country Fried Rock alumni, Kenny Roby and Rob Keller, are back together as 6 String Drag, the most under-rated roots rock band from the mid-1990s. After some intriguing reunion shows rounding out 2013, the rumors of a new album turned out to be true. The bones are recorded, and now the glitter needs to be added — rock & roll needs horns, y’all, as Roby says.


Help them fund the last bits of the album by buying some excellent merch here (including High Hat goods!) or an extremely limited edition 3-color hand-screened poster from rock & roll artist, Skillet Gilmore of Crawlspace Press.


Brett Detar

Our alum, Brett Detar, has a new video to accompany his new hometown, Nashville! You can still download his latest album for free on his site.

Buy Brett Detar’s music here on Amazon.

From Detar’s email:

Here’s my new music video for “Tried To Hate The Angels” directed by my dear friend – the talented Michael Graham. It’s a bittersweet semi-formal farewell to my home in Los Angeles. Feel free to share if you like what you see!

Our radio program from 2012 is here.
Previous update here.

Screen Door Porch

One of our earliest features was a great duo/band based in Wyoming with Carolina roots, Screen Door Porch. They’ve got a nifty new video and are on the road regularly, so keep your eyes peeled for them! Sometimes the play full band, sometimes as a duo, but either set-up is great.

Buy Screen Door Porch’s music here on Amazon.


Nocona is made up of Country Fried Rock alumni from the remnants of Paladino. You may remember the amazing early days of Widespread Panic discussion in that program, although the bands do not resemble each other.  Nocona tours California regularly and played Bonnaroo in 2013.  Keep your ears open for their lively shows and music at a great Grand Ole Austin party at SXSW 2014.

Buy their music here on Amazon.

From their bio:

Chris Isom – Lead Vocals, Lead Guitar
Adrienne Isom – Guitar, Vocals
Annie Rothschild – Upright Bass, Vocals
Justin Smith – Drums

Before they came together in 2012 as NOCONA, husband-and-wife team, Chris and Adrienne Isom, along with charismatic southern-native, Annie Rothschild, were 3/4’s of the LA based Roots-Folk-Punk band Paladino, who ended their time together playing the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee. Longtime friend and accomplished drummer, Justin Smith (Old Californio, The Seeds) joined Chris, Adrienne and Annie as NOCONA, now an energetic Americana-Rock group that delivers free spirited, up-tempo tunes and infectious hooks that are brimming with heartfelt emotion and honesty, penned by songwriter Chris Isom.

NOCONA returned to Bonnaroo in 2013 after touring much of the year. The band landed a song on the hit T.V show Bones and received critical reviews after playing Fillmore West and SF’s Independent opening up for Broke Down in Bakersfield. NOCONA has already begun recording their next full length release.

A music veteran, Chris spent time playing in NYC Anti-Folk/Art-Punk bands Mooney Suzuki and The Adam Green Band which adds to NOCONA’S diverse sound, incorporating punk and underground into their Country-Rock . The name NOCONA, is a nod to Chris’ Texas roots. “Nocona is the area in Texas where my Mom’s family originally lived; it comes from the Comanche word for Wanderers or Travelers.” Chris’ mom, even has ties to music history, once playing the role of tutor to Joe B. Mauldin ofBuddy Holly and The Crickets.

The influence of 1950’s artists like Buddy Holly are clearly heard on NOCONA’S debut album and they remind listeners that it was that marriage between early American rock ‘n’ roll along with a youthful, rebellious and socially conscious mindset that brought about the whole punk movement of the late 1970s. NOCONA who do well in evolving that sound and spirit, take things one step further by drawing on psychedelic bands like the 13th Floor Elevators and Love, along with the California twang of Buck Owens and Gram Parsons, crossed with the Outlaw Country of Johnny Cash. The mix of these varied musical tastes, comes together to bring a distinct style that takes risks and delivers a sound unlike any other artists today.

“This is the first music I’ve written that’s free from a lot of the artistic hang ups that have stifled my writing in the past,” says Chris. “I’ve let go and just accepted the process, and sometimes that means exploring melodies and lyrics that used to be too personal for me to share with anyone. Other times, it means just shutting up and rocking the fuck out,” says Chris.

Over the past year, NOCONA has been hard at work and recently finished their first full-length album, which was recorded at Kevin Jarvis’s Sonic Boom Room studio in Venice, California. Their first single, “Brimstone,” is one of the mellower tracks on the album, but has a steady movement that features driving acoustic blues riffs and harmonica along with an engaging boy/girl sung verse that is filled with honesty as the dialogue candidly tells the story of Chris and Adrienne’s marriage.

Adding to the eclectic sound on NOCONA, is the work of renowned pedal steel guitarist, Greg Leisz (Emmylou Harris, Beck, Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton), a friend of Annie’s. “When I played the material for him, he was excited and I was overjoyed that he was willing to share his genius,” she says.

NOCONA is a collection of songs that will appeal to any taste. Ranging from Whites Of Your Eyes, an evocative panoramic track reminiscent of the higher energy moments of Calexico or Canadian alt country pioneers, The Sadies, but with a strong nod to the same western and surf influences. Train Song, a contemplative chilling track echoing some of the English folk melodic sensibility of a Bert Janch but with a contemporary hard alt-americana rock feel. Hated, a devil may care pop song recalling some of the best pop sensibilities of CCR but with a contemporary Nashville West twist. My Oh My, a modern plains cowboy road song rave-up with several unexpected turns. Brimstone, the first single and homage to the great tradition, where the crossroads between Americana blues, country, folk and pop, intersect.

A Very Glossary Christmas 2013

Merry Christmas from your favorite band’s favorite band, Glossary!

The Country Fried Rock alumni had one of our most popular podcasts of 2012.

Jimbo Mathus

Country Fried Rock alum, Jimbo Mathus, writes, records, produces, or performs constantly. His latest video, “Tennessee Walker Mare” from Jimbo Mathus & The Tri-State Coalition’s 2013 album, White Buffalo, shares his visual aesthetic, as well.

Catch our fantastic conversation from 2012 HERE.

Buy Jimbo Mathus’s music HERE on Amazon or HERE on iTunes.