Listen to Joey Kneiser of Glossary’s brand new solo EP, Moonlight for the Graveyard of the Heart. Share with your friends!
Check out our intense conversation with Joey Kneiser here.
The Whispering Pines find music that binds them together in thrift shops and flea markets, in the cardboard boxes of vinyl that spent decades in isolation and are once again coveted items. Bands like Cowboy and The Allman Brothers seeped into their ears, meshing with California-influenced psychedelic folk rock bands to create a new generation of songwriters like Neal Casal, Jonathan Wilson, and The Whispering Pines. The 1970’s bands permeate their influences and recording.
The Whispering Pines are not a “throw back” band, though, as their creative partners and good friends from the band Everest helped with ideas along the way, bringing the recordings from three different studios together into one cohesive album. Their self-titled second record should be hear in its entirety, like most records of the 1970’s. Its beauty is not in any one single, but in the songs together as a vibe and mood–West Coast easy, without getting too heady.
Their next record is already in the works, and given the growth of the band between these two releases, it should prove to be an even clearer reflection of The Whispering Pines and what they want from their records. As they develop their live performances and take their show to new audiences outside Southern California, their sound will emerge as one with a gentle groove that attracts fans.
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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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“Sometimes, we’re the weird band in a bluegrass festival; sometimes, we’re the bluegrass band in a weird festival.” Either way, Greensky Bluegrass fans will pack their festivals, large and small, usually for the entire run of their shows. From their home base in Michigan, Greensky Bluegrass rapidly developed a devoted following and spread that dedication to their music across the country playing hundreds of shows per year for years on end. The hard work has paid off, as the band is readily mentioned in the same phrases as Yonder Mountain String Band and the Infamous Stringdusters–bluegrass-ish bands with more in common than just their feat of bringing the hippies into the bluegrass fold; the three bands also share a songwriting mentor in Benny Galloway.
For modern bluegrass players who did not grow up with an Appalachian music heritage, pickers are usually brought into the style in two major ways: either they played punk rock and found the traditional instrumentation appealing, or they were jamband fans, who followed the path from The Grateful Dead through Jerry Garcia to Old and in the Way to David Grisman, Tony Rice, and pretty soon, they were playing Flatt and Scruggs tunes. While the traditional and progressive bluegrass camps may not always agree about “bluegrass,” the latter methods have brought more young musicians under the tent. In about five minutes of listening, fans can easily tell which influences formed the band.
Anders Beck joined Greensky Bluegrass after an earlier run with the Wayword (sic) Sons. As it became apparent that the Wayword Sons were not going to be a full-time touring band, Beck decided to examine the bands who were making music he liked who were also on the road constantly and determine which ones could benefit from the addition of a dobro. After a tour to test each other out, Beck became part of the band nearly five years ago. Since then, his instrumentals and hooks have added to the main songwriting of Greensky’s mandolin player, Paul Hoffman (who, interestingly, writes songs on acoustic guitar). To find out Beck’s connection to Metallica, though, you’ll have to listen to the radio show.
Songs in this week’s radio show:
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The Famous bring together a punk influence with traditional country, yielding music that seems to emerge only from California. I always imagine skateboarders who listen to country, not for the irony, but for the cool-factor. In the case of The Famous, though, their music is as much a product of the craft brewing scene as anything else. From brew pubs to brew fests–even a song in homage to their favorite beer–The Famous have found a well-heeled, selective audience for their music in the greater San Francisco Bay region.
The Famous’s live performance, though, is as carefully mastered as the beers their fans enjoy. The Famous’s “Experience” combines the group dynamics of evangelism with the imagery and actions of a revival, with their music as the centerpiece, not religion. While not as irreverent as Reverend Horton Heat, one can easily see why The Famous are a logical opening act for them.
Lyricist Laurence Scott views himself as the musical weak link in the band, but his role as showman keeps him in the forefront. Working closely with Victor Barclay who writes the basis of their music, the two flesh out each song and develop them further with the rest of the band. From their debut Light, Sweet Crude to their current record, Come Home to Me, The Famous have defined themselves to their selective fans. Their upcoming release will be their first to take on a national scope, just at the right time.
Songs in Episode 1209 Include:
Tara Nevins waited over a decade to release her second solo record, Wood and Stone. In the interim, Nevins traveled relentlessly with Donna the Buffalo, but her musical interest began as a child in the school orchestra, encouraged by her music and dance-loving parents. She often tells the tale of “sneaking” to play “Turkey in the Straw” during the downtime of orchestra class, but Nevins’ Read More
The Nouveaux Honkies‘ record, Where Do I Go?, bounces and swings through its playlist, careening from a bop to a blues groove. Of the times I have seen the band play, the record resembles their performance, with the crowd bopping and dancing along. Songwriter Tim O’Donnell laments their past inconsistency with their live shows, Read More
Shurman first appeared on our radar when mentioned on Country Fried Rock by two Austin, Texas bands in 2011: Stonehoney and The Mother Truckers. When musicians recommend other musicians, we pay attention. Through the magic of the Americana Music Festival, front-man Aaron Beavers and I met through mutual friends at a casual event in Church Street Park benefiting Second Harvest Food Bank. We talked for a while and he mentioned that he was releasing three new records in the next year or so, including a Christmas album recorded in the height of Austin’s hottest summer in recent memory.
Despite no similarities whatsoever to Rush, Shurman’s next release, Inspiration, lands on February 21, 2012 (2.21.12…2112…insert music geek laughter here). Shurman’s new record label, Teletone Records, has given the guys the freedom to record what they want on their own schedule. Country Fried Rock is thrilled to be the first media outlet to bring three brand-new songs to you from the Austin rockers’ upcoming record, Inspiration. “Back to Texas” is an homage to Aaron’s grandmother, Jane Beavers, “Midnight Apt. 9 Blues” is a song Mike Therieau wrote that the band enjoys playing and highlights Mike’s vocals, and the title track “Inspiration.”
Although Beavers is a native Texan (and we follow the Third Coast Music’s definition of “Texan”, of “from there or got there as fast as they could”), he lived in many places, including long stints near Atlanta, Hawaii, and Los Angeles. He is definitely a Texan because he thinks barbecue is made from beef, not pork, and does not include a vinegar preparation! Beavers is at home in many places, and with many other musicians. He is one of those guys that other players and music people gravitate towards, like his buddies Rich Mahan, John Popper, and Shilah Morrow of Sin City Social Club. After a nice run with Popper’s Duskray Troubadors, John returned the favor to play some awesome harmonica on one of the hotter-than-Hades sessions for the Christmas tunes Shurman just released.
Songs in Episode 1202 include:
Dawes’ most recent record, Nothing Is Wrong, launched the folk rockers from niche-favorites to headliners of sold out shows. At the beginning of the summer when it was released, fans and music bloggers latched onto their album as they had their performances, spreading the word about Dawes in ways the guys could only dream. Now preparing for a European and Australian tour, Dawes may surpass some of the bands they were supporting as openers just last year.
For a band who defines themselves with their analog recordings and vintage tube gear, they really fleshed out their vibe by bringing live sound guru, Wes Delk, on board for the fall stretch of their tour. Jonathan Wilson‘s production and studio keep the Los Angeles band channeling Laurel Canyon and Echo Park’s music history; they are very aware of what has come before them, yet humble about their role in the developing roots rock music scene.
While their music may not be overtly political, the guys are certainly influenced by the inclusion of social justice in lyrics, particularly in older R&B and folk music. For those who know Dawes, they were not surprised to see them perform with Jackson Browne as part of an “Occupy Wall Street” protest in Manhattan in December 2011. Goldsmith takes his songwriting craft seriously, and immerses himself in great writing, such as Browne’s.
Songs in Episode 1201 include:
Joe Pug spent three years and countless dollars studying to be a playwright, only to discover that he really likes to read. While college may not have been the correct format for his writing, he brings a lot of theatre theory to his songwriting. Pug humbly describes his room for growth with arrangements in his songwriting. He uses some of the same concepts from writing farces when developing his lyrics; the stock characters from commedia dell’arte allow a playwright to use familiar characters and create stories around them, likewise, Joe Pug uses familiar melodies and subjects to craft his own songs. He considers himself more of a lyricist than a songwriter at this point, letting the songs speak for themselves in creating meaning for a listener.
Early on, Joe Pug recognized that social media, especially YouTube can be incredibly effective for independent musicians. He encouraged taping at his shows and let fans post the audio and video. Pug matched this grassroots method with his own free promotions: sending a home-burned CD with 2 or 3 of his songs on it to any fan who sent their address and asked for one–for free. By controlling the free distribution of his music (to the extent that anyone can control that), Joe developed a loyal fan base who became his “street team” in ways that other entities now copy. By the time Lightning Rod records came on board for his last album, Pug was able to allow this controlled, free distribution of a limited number of songs to continue.
For a guy who references Steinbeck (hence Springsteen’s “Ghost of Tom Joad” tune), Nabokov, and Chekhov in conversation, Joe Pug’s favorite type of venue may surprise you: dive bars. Pug affectionately refers to those dingy, local rock clubs because of their crowds that probably don’t expect to hear a heady songwriter, yet give him their attention and find his music appealing by the end of the evening anyway. A lot has changed for Joe over the last year; after hundreds of gigs, he is finally getting the recognition for his music that leads to performing arts centers and halls with padded seats and clean floors. What remains for Pug, though, is the intensity of his performance and gratitude for the road he ultimately chose.
Songs in Episode 1151 include: