conversation

IDWTTY #2007

Read Cowtownchad’s (AKA Chad Cochran) photo essays about mental health, I Didn’t Want to Tell You –IDWTTY, as part of Country Fried Rock podcast miniseries, Rock N Roll Book Club.

Chad Cochran, known in the photography world as Cowtownchad, coaxes comfortable photos from uncomfortable subjects — both the people and the topics. As he transitioned from landscape photography and abandoned buildings to portraits, he immediately started a series to normalize the conversation around mental health by having musicians — and now others, as well — share their stories of how mental health has impacted their lives. From personal diagnoses to family dynamics, situational and lifelong challenges, the I Didn’t Want to Tell You series of photo essays launched first in the print edition of No Depression magazine (a music outlet coincidentally titled from the Carter Family song) and has expanded online and to further projects in development.

Listen, like, and subscribe to the podcast conversation with Chad Cochran, AKA Cowtown Chad.

The Muscle Shoals Legacy of FAME #2006

Read The Muscle Shoals Legacy of FAME by Blake Ells, part of the Country Fried Rock podcast miniseries, Rock N Roll Book Club.

Blake Ells loves music and Alabama. Ells ties together his passion for the music made in his home state with his journalistic storytelling. The resulting book brings the history of Aretha Franklin and the Rolling Stones to the modern music coming from the area known as “Muscle Shoals” to outsiders. From songwriters like Jason Isbell to barnstormers like Drive-By Truckers, Ells connects the present music scene to the past and delves into how this newer generation of songwriters moves forward.

Listen, like, and subscribe to the podcast conversation with Blake Ells.

My Heart Sings the Harmony: Twenty Years of Writing About Music #2005

Read My Heart Sings the Harmony: Twenty Years of Writing About Music by Jason Warburg, part of the Country Fried Rock podcast miniseries, Rock N Roll Book Club.

Jason Warburg’s knack for writing about music engages non-musicians in his analysis. He manages to write about prog rock without boring the reader and review albums thoughtfully without skewering them unnecessarily. As the editor of Daily Vault, Warburg’s prolific writing could be overwhelming and disorganized, but his collection of work assembled in this book allows the reader to enjoy quick bites or dig in to the full course.

Listen, like, and subscribe to the podcast conversation with Jason Warburg.

Everybody Loves Our Town: An Oral History of Grunge #2004

Read Everybody Loves Our Town: An Oral History of Grunge by Mark Yarm, part of the Country Fried Rock podcast miniseries, Rock N Roll Book Club.

Mark Yarm combines his love for grunge with his comfortable way of storytelling. While clearly a fan of the music, Yarm delves into the lesser-known behind the scenes jostling for prominence through self-destruction. Yarm weaves conversations with fellow musicians and venue staff into a tale that highlights just how unlikely this music was to upend rock.

Listen, like, and subscribe to the podcast conversation with Mark Yarm.

The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern #2002

Read The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern: A Complete History by David McPherson, part of the Country Fried Rock podcast miniseries, Rock N Roll Book Club.

David McPherson wanted to honor his favorite music venue in Toronto, Ontario to celebrate its 70th anniversary. Despite gentrification in the surrounding area, the legendary Horseshoe Tavern continues to spotlight roots music and emerging innovators. Sharing stories from those who were there for nights like a secret Rolling Stones show to The Police just before they were wildly famous, McPherson crafts a loving tribute to the people who make this Canadian gem shine.

Listen, like, and subscribe to the podcast conversation with David McPherson.

Caleb Caudle #1804

Caleb Caudle‘s new album, Crushed Coins, builds dreamy, ethereal landscapes. The newest Country Fried Rock podcast (below) features an in-depth conversation with Caudle about recording in Los Angeles and Nashville and expanding his sound. With familiar players from his previous albums, Caudle found new sounds by keeping the plan flexible. The pedal steel goes ambient rather than country, yet it’s clearly a Caleb Caudle record. Partnering with Cornelius Chapel Records and touring extensively in the US and Europe this year, catch Caleb Caudle live and check out Crushed Coins.

Caudle also happens to love the US National Parks, having visited many of them over his years of touring. Stop by his Instagram to see some of his recent visits. We discuss a few of them in this podcast, as well as his adventure on Cayamo 2018.

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.

Golden Eels #1605

Golden Eels popped onto my feed because of our mutual music preferences on Bandcamp. Their songwriter, Neil Golden, has played on records for several Athens, Georgia, bands, ranging from the Elephant 6 legends, Elf Power, to The Glands and #CFRalumni, Shonna Tucker & Eye Candy. Periscopes in the Air leans toward the psychedelic pop sounds of Golden’s earlier collaborations, yielding a completely DIY record that suits long commutes and pleasant workday distractions.

Buy Periscopes in the Air by Golden Eels here.

Podcast
Listen or download below or on SoundCloud.

Kevin Gordon #1604

Kevin Gordon‘s latest album, Long Gone Time, continues his thoughtful, critical examination of reconciling your love for family with deeply held incompatible beliefs. Country Fried Rock previously featured Gordon following his album, Gloryland. Gordon again recorded with his friend and frequent guitar player, Joe V. McMahan, and funded the album with a personal twist on crowdfunding, detailed in our conversation. We recorded this program in our AirBnB in East Nashville during AmericanaFest 2015.

Buy Kevin Gordon’s music here.

PODCAST
Listen or download the podcast below or on SoundCloud.

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
Stream or download below or on SoundCloud.

Randall Bramblett #1321

Randall Bramblett’s latest solo album, The Bright Spots, highlights his songwriting and the long-term musical collaboration with Davis Causey–going back before Bramblett’s time with the Allman Brothers, well before their collaboration with Chuck Leavell in Sea Level. Bramblett is known as much for his collaborations as he is for his own songwriting, working in multiple incarnations with overlapping musicians and bands. He’d be perfect for a musical Venn Diagram. To only know his playing with other bands, though, leaves a false sense of who Bramblett is as a musician. His solo records stretch across genres, ebbing and flowing–but always growing. None of his work is nostalgic. The Bright Spots is a great example of continued growth, always looking to cover new ground, not beat a path to a doorway that has already been entered.

Liner Notes

  • Randall Bramblett The Bright Spots
  • Bonnie Raitt Used To Rule The World Bramblett composed this tune and also toured with Raitt.
  • Gregg Allman with Cowboy (Tour & Recording). This tour brought together some Capricorn Records greats from Macon, Georgia, including songwriter Tommy Talton and Scott Boyer’s band, Cowboy, to work with Gregg Allman. This tune, in the middle of Allman’s set, includes Bramblett on organ and sax, Allman on organ, & Chuck Leavell on electric piano, among others. The CD was re-released by Polydor.  Time Will Take Us – Cowboy This set is surprisingly un-Allman Brothers Band sounding. If you’ve never heard it, you should get the album here The Gregg Allman Tour.
  • Sea Level Long Walk On A Short Pier

    from Allmusic.com: “…a bad*** Bramblett blues-rocker with hot guitar from Jimmy Nalls”

    Sea Level took its name from Chuck Leavell, and although it shared many members with different iterations of the Allman Brothers Band over time, the players had known each other in different pairings before their associations with ABB. Think of it more like lots of big fish swimming in a small pond.

  • Driftwood Wanderlust Davis Causey produced this little-known, fantastic record, and played quite a bit on it. If you did not follow this program in its early days, you may have missed our feature of Driftwood and Causey’s instrumental role in bringing that concept record to life. It’s a fabulous album that you really ought to buy.
  • Michael Rhodes played with The Notorious Cherry Bombs The Notorious Cherry Bombs, as well as zillions of other projects. You might remember them as one of Rodney Crowell’s bands, and their infamous tune, “It’s Hard To Kiss The Lips At Night That Chew Your A$$ Out All Day Long.” Yes, that’s a real song.

Video