folk

Monkeygrass Jug Band


Recorded by Bronson Tew with his mobile Record-o-van at the home of Eli Truett in Winterville, GA.

Mixed by Bronson Tew and Matt Patton at Dial Back Sound, Water Valley, MS.

Cover art by J.C. Teague.

Gospel Plow, Little Maggie, Don’t Ease Me In and Cold Rain and Snow – traditional, arranged by the Monkeygrass Jug Band.

Loretta, Whiskey in the Moonlight, Ramblin Hearted Blues by B. McCoy

Saratoga, Hammer and the Anvil, Odell’s Down Cards by D. Auber

copyright 2013 BMI
credits
released 09 December 2012
Don Auber – guitar, vocal
Brandon Nelson McCoy – mandolin, vocal
Patrick Morales – banjo
Adam Poulin – fiddle
Bronson Tew – upright bass

Sam Doores #1309

Sam Doores collaborates in recording and performing, making creative and practical decisions that allow his songs to reach as many audiences as possible. Whether Doores is playing solo, with his band, in a duo setting with a stompbox, or as part of Hurray for the Riff Raff, the versatile musician and songwriter is adding more to his professional toolbox. Doores’ influences range from Hank Williams and Woody Guthrie, to knowledge by necessity with a weekly four-hour gig just off Bourbon Street in New Orleans–fusing the music of Allen Toussaint, old R&B, swamp pop, and traditional country with Irish barroom tunes. Such a diverse setlist allowed him to develop his own skills and sounds as he crafted and improved his own songwriting.

Liner Notes

Podcast

Chicago Farmer #1307

Chicago Farmer plays Mid-Western folk music celebrating the work ethic and community support of the small towns dotting the flatlands. As the musical persona of Cody Diekhoff, his roots in a tiny town form a strong foundation for the art he continues to create as he has moved back and forth across Illinois, to Chicago and back, repeatedly–moving 12 times in 10 years! “Backenforth” consequently, is the mythical town that holds together the songs in his current record, Backenforth, IL. He was not escaping his small town early on, as much as he was being launched into the wider world with all 25 of the residents behind him.

Relocating inspires Chicago Farmer to write, hence his frequent moving as he developed his songwriting and performing. After a decade as a folk musician playing the upper Mid-West circuit, his new album is the one that he hopes will bring his songs to wider audiences. With lyrics that play well to a barroom singalong, yet have a depth of reflection on the regular life of hard-working people that can easily be overlooked, Chicago Farmer’s music focuses on accessible folk songs.

With influences ranging from Hank Williams to Great American Taxi, Chicago Farmer has logged thousands of miles and hours honing his songs. For Backenforth, IL, he gathered his Hired Hands band, and recorded in affordable sessions, one or two songs at a time, then he would hit the road to earn some money, return and record another song or two, and repeat until the album was finished. For the first decade as a musician, Chicago Farmer was a full DIY solo venture, but he has recently added both management and a booking agent, freeing him up to play and write. One of the biggest advantages to finding management for him, was knowing that someone else with knowledge of the business always “has his back.”

Free song download here.

Liner Notes

Podcast

Old Man Luedecke #1305

Old Man Luedecke may be new to US audiences, but the Canadian folk songwriter is well-known and lauded north of the border.  As his photo indicates, he is not old, but the music that captures his interest and influences his writing is old.  Luedecke references traditional music from the Smithsonian Folkways series, like the Red Clay Ramblers, but sounds more like a folked-out Paul Simon to me.  (Interestingly, Simon is never referenced, but I cannot get the vocal comparison out of my ears with this record.)

Despite obscure literary references, Tender is the Night, is solidly present.  Although F. Scott Fitzgerald or even Jackson Browne may come to mind, Luedecke has never read that book nor has he heard to catchy tune of the same name–although his mandolin player sings it to him often.  (Luedecke says he is referencing Melville’s Billy Budd who is referencing Keats and a reflection on Thomas Payne’s “Rights of Man.”)  Despite the heavy influences, the music is simple and accessible–producer, Tim O’Brien, gently decorated Luedecke’s songs.

While much more folk-y than most of the music we cover, the connection to the history of folk music and a modern reflection of it, tie  these songs to the rest of the catalog.  Luedecke’s use of humor and the absurd, Biblical topics and modern life, demonstrate how traditional lyrical subjects continue to engage listeners.

Liner Notes

Podcast

Country Fried Rock Best of 2012

Click to page 3 to listen to the Best of 2012.

Click the titles to purchase on iTunes.  Click the album covers to purchase on Amazon.

25 The Shovel vs. The Howling Bones – Lincoln Durham

Lincoln Durham started playing violin at age 4 via the Suzuki Method of instruction. By 8, he was hiding on stage facing the wall playing fiddle with the Osceola Opry–a loose association of players who met monthly in an old wooden schoolhouse to cover Hank Williams and Bill Monroe songs for the gathered farmers and country folk. Durham picked up the guitar in his early 20′s, which captivated his interest more than the fiddle ever had. Wandering through a period of singer-songwriter expression, Lincoln still felt pulled by something different in music, but had not been able to define it for himself, let alone have it clearly expressed in music. CONTINUE

24 Michelle Malone: Day 2

This album is currently only available directly from Michelle Malone HERE.
Michelle Malone was part of the Atlanta music scene that evolved from the Indigo Girls’ success, enjoying national attention for the music of Shawn Mullins, Tinsley Ellis, and Drivin N Cryin, with her band at the time, Drag the River. The confluence of blues-tinged Southern music at the time made for an exciting music scene, that was later replaced by the still-dominant hiphop scene. Atlanta is a weird place filled with temporary residents who are not from the area, but it is also a collection of neighborhoods with their own identities and people who are part of the arts culture and give different places their distinct vibes. It is from the latter community that Michelle Malone emerges, not as an ingenue, but as the definition of the Atlanta rock sound–Southern, blues-touched, guitar-driven, but still about the song. CONTINUE

23 Sweat Like the Old Days – Holy Ghost Tent Revival

Holy Ghost Tent Revival took their lowest point in the last five years and used it as a reason to find a new sound and revive their music. It’s not any easier to pigeonhole their work than it was before the departure of their bass player and harmony vocalist, but their music is definitely easier to dance to now than it was before. Despite having almost nothing in common with bluegrass music, they are often lumped in there with old time bands–great for a festival lineup, but inaccurate in categorization. Think of the Avett Brothers with a horn section, and you are much closer to the sound of Holy Ghost Tent Revival. CONTINUE

22 Two Step Silhouette – The Corduroy Road

The Corduroy Road‘s fans sounded alarm bells when the band left their life on the road for a long hiatus, but after nearly an eight-month break, the core of the band emerged with some new players in the lineup, refreshed and ready for the next phase of the band. The Corduroy Road musically balances between Americana and bluegrass in the dance-able area we refer to as “upbeat string band.” Their songs make you move, and you might even miss the weight of some of their lyrics, such as a hunter stumbling upon a meth lab in the woods where the meth-farmer and sheriff are in cahoots. Southern Gothic lyrics to outsiders, perhaps, but just another day in the country to some of us enmeshed in baffling small-town alliances. CONTINUE

21 Death of a Decade – Ha Ha Tonka

Ha Ha Tonka records flow thematically, bound together by a premise or idea, but not so tightly as to be concept albums. Initially, the themes were obvious, like Buckle in the Bible Belt, moving towards historical, as evidenced in the album artwork for Novel Songs of the Nouveau South, but for their recent record, Death of a Decade, the idea that emerged from which these songs began surprised me: Michael Jackson’s death. As Brett Anderson explains, every decade their seems to be some iconic political or entertainment figure who passes away, somehow creating endpoints for their times by their death. Jackson was a controversial figure in life, but even his greatest detractors accede that he was one of the greatest entertainers of our era. With Michael Jackson’s passing, it was the death of a decade. CONTINUE

20 Come Home to Me – The Famous

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. CONTINUE

19 Waiting All Night – Derek Hoke

Derek Hoke left rock and roll in the dust years ago, finding a new sound, which he dubbed “Quietbilly,” a gentle, sweet rockabilly, now twinged with some Southern blues. His previous album, Goodbye Rock and Roll, clearly cemented Hoke’s distinguishable sound, but his recent release, Waiting All Night, explores a wider variety of rhythm, while still being a Derek Hoke record. Producer and childhood friend, Dexter Green (of Sea Lab Sound), partnered with Hoke on the project, taking their time to call upon friends to play on songs between their own touring schedules. The list of guests reads like a Who’s Who of East Nashville and legendary sidemen, and reflects on Derek’s ability to make his peers feel at ease. CONTINUE

18 Bird In The Tangle – Brett Detar

When Brett Detar ended his band, The Juliana Theory, he was not sure he would ever play music again. Seeking a change, he became the customer service department and chief stain remover for his wife’s vintage clothing shop. Detar fully escaped music, trying to evade his self-doubt about his ability to write songs or be an artist at all. During these years, every scrap of paper of a lyric or theme crammed into a box, waiting for Detar to make them into music. CONTINUE

17 Slowburner – The District Attorneys

The District Attorneys live across north Georgia, ranging from Atlanta to Athens, managing to bridge the musical divide of these very different cities–one that is much wider than the lanes of I-85.  With two homemade EP’s (which you can download for free from the band) and their first full-length record on This Is American Music, The District Attorneys have already refined their sound, bringing bare bones indie-pop together with twangy Georgia roots, as if they are the new representatives of Southern jangle pop.  Slowburner solidly places this band in with the list of best debut albums in roots music this year.  (So, I am biased. I love this record.) CONTINUE

16 Gloryland – Kevin Gordon

Kevin Gordon’s album, Gloryland, explores the blues side of roots music, with lyrics that would make the Drive-By Truckers jealous.  Gordon grew up in Monroe, Louisiana, and although he has been away for decades, the reality of life there and the people he knew bring grit to rural life without glorification.  Glorylandis not about redemption or salvation, and definitely not about glossing over the seamy and sadistic side of life in the deep South. CONTINUE

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Henry Wagons #1303

Henry Wagons must have watched a few too many Las Vegas television specials growing up. How else would the Australian songwriter developed a fascination with the showmanship of Tom Jones and Elvis? Add to the mix (literally) Wagons’ obsession with vintage reverb sounds like the songs of Lee Hazelwood and Nancy Sinatra, and you end up with a record full of noir duets that is both retro and ethereal–without becoming too trippy.

Henry Wagons’ band, Wagons, reached Australian success, and roots music first-adopters may have heard either Wagons’ tune “Willie Nelson” or “I Blew It.” His album of duets with a variety of beautiful voices, Expecting Company, is his first with a wide-scale American release. Sonicly, this record maintains the over-the-top vibe of much of his songwriting, but the contrast with gorgeous singing from Jenn Grant, Sophia Brous, and Alison Mosshart (among others) brings this record to a new plane.

Wagons’ theatrics on stage and expansive recordings mirror his personality, as well. He is quite entertaining to interview, regaling tales of his cooking skills, his vision for music videos (some of which are extremely conceptual), and his love for ELO, the Electric Light Orchestra. While some people might tell these tales on themselves for the amusement alone, Wagons manages to share his genuine passion for these over-the-top antics, reflecting his love for them, not sarcasm, snark, nor superiority. Henry Wagons repeatedly mentions how thankful and grateful he is for the success he has had, in spite of his drive to fulfill his “egomaniacal vision.” Just another self-deprecating line from Wagons himself!

Liner Notes

Video

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Podcast

Ronnie Fauss #1302

Ronnie Fauss is not ready to give up his regular life for music just yet, but the Texas songwriter continues to release new material frequently. After several self-released EP’s, Normaltown Records (an imprint of New West Records) made it possible for Fauss to record his debut full-length album, I Am The Man You Know I’m Not.  The cryptic title belies the straightforward folk songs, and the excellent players brought in for the recording expand the sound without overwhelming its simplicity.

Fauss’s singing voice is gravelly and reminiscent of punk rock crooners, so I was surprised by his soft-spoken voice on the telephone.  He is a deliberate person, answering questions carefully and completely.  He is not winging it.  This measured, precise approach to our conversation reflects his method of getting his music out to listeners; he looks at what can be reasonably accomplished, how to make it fun, and plans specifically to achieve his modest goals.

For I Am the Man You Know I’m Not, Fauss brought some other layers to his project, including both PR and radio promotions partners.  These teammates helped bring his music to the attention of key radio programmers, bloggers, and music writers who might not otherwise have known of his music.  With the sheer volume of recorded music today, most media outlets–even small “new media” portals–rely on their trusted gatekeepers to help them filter the content.  For Fauss, this expansion team from his former all-DIY plan made a huge difference in the attention his album garnered.

Liner Notes

  • Ronnie Fauss I Am The Man You Know I’m Not  “I Don’t See You,” “Pistols in the Air,” “The Last” I Am the Man You Know I'm Not - Ronnie Fauss
  • Slobberbone Straight Outta Boone County “Dark As A Dungeon” Straight Outta Boone County - Various Artists
  • Lilly Hiatt Let Down “Championship Fighter” Let Down - Lilly Hiatt And The Dropped Ponies
  • Gram Parsons The Complete Reprise Sessions  “Sin City” The Complete Reprise Sessions - Gram Parsons
  • Todd Snider East Nashville Skyline “Nashville” Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables - Todd Snider
  • The Wayward Sons “Gaslight
  • Guy Clark Old No. 1 “Rita Ballou” Old No. 1 - Guy Clark
  • Willie Nelson Heroes “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me” (with Snoop Dogg and Kris Kristofferson) Heroes - Willie Nelson

Podcast

Whitehorse #1301

Melissa McClelland and Luke Doucet joined creatively to form Whitehorse, after many years of successful, separate music careers in Canada.   Their first release together sounded like alternating their individual sounds, but their new album, The Fate of the World Depends on This Kiss, creates a new sound that is neither his nor hers, but theirs.  With this record, Whitehorse decided to expand into the States.  Leaving their comfort zone of Canada and their established careers proved challenging–not just in building new audiences, but also in the realistic logistics of constant touring and creating their sound with limited personnel.

Making music work right now requires more than just being “all in” with the art; it also necessitates the leanest live interpretation of a band’s music possible, without compromising the ethos.  Financially, many songwriters have opted for stripped down touring with the lofty goal of just breaking even while on the road.  Whitehorse holed up in a cottage on a lake and crafted a live performance with just the two of them–yet still nearly replicating the layered sounds of their studio album.

By seamlessly integrating technology–particularly a brilliant use of a looping pedal–and alternative gear like an old-fashioned telephone receiver as a microphone, Whitehorse crafted a dynamic and fascinating live show full of instrumentation and sound.  Their set is not a note-for-note replication of their album, but a creative extension of the vibe of their songwriting.  The performance mesmerizes audiences.  Whitehorse is poised to dominate late-night television, and engage fans in a variety of genres.  Our prediction?  By the end of 2013, the duo will dominate critics’ picks lists and people who see them live will win over their own friends to being fans of Whitehorse.  The Fate of the World Depends on this Kiss is sleek, but Whitehorse’s show is spell-binding.

Liner Notes

  • Whitehorse The Fate of the World Depends on This KissWhitehorse  I was familiar with both Melissa McClelland and Luke Doucet’s prior work, then I had the honor of emceeing their showcase at the Americana Music Festival 2012 at the High Watt, Nashville.  Their set was mesmerizing.  Of all the 2012 AMA showcases, this was one of the best.  If you get the chance, you really must see them live.
  • k.d. lang Absolute Torch and Twang “Big, Big Love” Absolute Torch and Twang - k.d. lang
  • Sarah McLachlan Rarities “Blackbird” She has a beautiful voice, and I just really like this Beatles tune. Rarities, B-Sides and Other Stuff, Vol. 2 - Sarah McLachlan
  • Sloan One Chord to Another “Good in Everyone” (the bevy of drummers on Whitehorse’s album) A Sides Win: Singles 1992-2005 - Sloan
  • The Weakerthans Reconstruction Site (more from the bevy of drummers) Reconstruction Site - The Weakerthans
  • Lee DorseyFreedom For The Funk “Wonder Woman”  The title of Whitehorse’s album comes from a vintage Wonder Woman comic, but I have always loved Dorsey’s soul and funk, and this fits lyrically more than the campy TV theme.  Besides, in case you did not grow up knowing his music, this album is a great place to start. Soul Mine - The Greatest Hits & More 1960-1978 - Lee Dorsey
  • Trampled By Turtles Stars And Satellites  “Midnight on the Interstate”  Chosen because TBT was also on the Festy bill in 2012, but also because of the discussion about life on the road and avoiding the cliche of road songs, while still acknowledging that is one’s actual life.  Stars and Satellites - Trampled By Turtles

Podcast

#1251 Bloodkin

Bloodkin’s 25th anniversary box set, One Long Hustle, is everything a retrospective should be, yet it is completely new, too. The booklet of the band’s history reminisced and revealed by Daniel Hutchens, the collection of previously unreleased tracks, and the stories they tell are as much about Athens, Georgia’s musical spiderweb as they are of the band itself. Despite collaboration with legends like Moe Tucker and Sterling Morrison of the Velvet Underground and Southern stalwarts like Gov’t Mule, Bloodkin might be the band that was always there for every amazing show– that you have never heard of before…but you have probably heard their music.

Friends and conspirators with the guys in Widespread Panic from the beginning, many of Hutchens’ and Eric Carter’s songs gained notoriety when played by the jam band, like “Can’t Get High,” “True to My Nature,” and “Henry Parsons Died.”  One Long Hustle is like being transported to the nights you might have missed at their famed High Hat residency “way back when.”  Bloodkin’s songs sound like them, but definitely do not sound the same.  They travel through their different sounds in a natural flow, bringing their own history, the sounds of their friends who play on various tracks, and their latest muse with them.

What appeals most about One Long Hustle is the breadth of the recordings:  living room tapes on a 4-track Tascam, cleaned up in the studio by David Barbe, but wisely not sanitized into a shiny version apart from the original, studio outtakes from a variety of formal and informal sessions throughout the Southeast,and alternate takes that did not make an album playlist for one reason or another.  Bloodkin’s 25th anniversary is not just about history; it’s also about where they are headed.  They recorded a few new tunes for the release, too.  Listening to all 88 songs carries me through the 25 years of Georgia music that formed me, too, from the Athens, Georgia Inside Out days (which was around or just before when Hutchens and Carter arrived from West Virginia) to the current success of The Whigs or Drive-By Truckers.

Author’s Note:  Bloodkin generously donated “Henry Parsons Died” for a worldwide debut for Country Fried Rock’s Compilation Vol. 1 to Benefit Nuci’s Space in Athens, GA, available for free download here.  Please consider a generous donation to Nuci’s Space in return for the download.  They prevent musician suicide by removing barriers to mental health care and a lot more. 100% of the money in the compilation’s “tip jar” goes directly to Nuci’s. I personally covered all the expenses of the album. SS

Liner Notes

  • Bloodkin You should buy the One Long Hustle box set from the band just for the amazing liner notes.  The music is, of course, worth every penny.  Bloodkin
  • Widespread Panic Hugely supportive of Bloodkin’s music, recording and playing several tunes from Hutchens and Carter over the last 25 years. Widespread Panic
  • Vic Chesnutt Athens’ songwriter (anti-)hero, who passed away a few years ago. At least 2 documentaries  about him are floating around. Vic Chesnutt
  • The Rolling Stones Some Girls (Deluxe Version)Some Girls (Deluxe Edition) - The Rolling Stones
  • Bob Dylan Street-LegalStreet-Legal - Bob Dylan
  • Brute (Originally, a collaboration between Vic Chesnutt and some of the members of Widespread Panic.  On the second album, I believe the whole band joined Chesnutt.  WP still plays “Blight,” and other Chesnutt songs, like “Aunt Avis,” regularly.)  Nine High A PalletNine High a Pallet - Brute
  • Sugar: Copper Blue (Deluxe Remaster) Engineer and producer to the stars, songwriter, singer, player, leader of the Quick Hooks, David Barbe also played bass in Sugar.  Bob Mould (formerly of Husker Du) still plays these songs regularly. Sugar
  • The Heap: Deluxe The Heap horns. So fabulous that they are going to be the bed music for the 2013 Country Fried Rock radio shows.Deluxe - The HEAP
  • Betsy Franck Franck was featured in 2011 on Country Fried Rock. She is a fixture of Athens’ current music scene, singing on hundreds of bands’ albums, in addition to her own music. This Far - Betsy Franck
  • Taxi Driver (Two-Disc Collector’s Edition), the Robert de Niro movie, from which the character Travis Bickle’s line forms the title for this box set. Taxi Driver

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Podcast

#1250 Gretchen Peters

When Gretchen Peters decided to write about her private upheaval of the last few years, she chose to record these songs herself.  Calling on a small circle of close friends, including her new husband–but longtime bandmate–Barry Walsh, Peters crafted a dark but cathartic album.  For listeners familiar with her previous albums, Peters’ voice explores the lower end of her register, hinting at the difference in this theme and what is to come in Hello Cruel World.

Most Americana fans know Rodney Crowell for his songwriting and performing, but to Peters and Walsh, he was also their marriage officiant, with a certificate straight off the Internet.  Despite their familiarity with each other, Peters was a bit intimidated to work with Crowell on this record, and especially on the song that turned into their duet.  Even noted songwriters like Peters can have professional idols and a little bit of fangirl-dom, too!

Country Fried Rock probably would not have been tapped into Peters’ album if she had not stopped by  Couch By CouchWest 2012, a virtual music festival held each March.  In this event, songwriters send exclusive videos of themselves performing from a couch–or elevator, sofabed, recliner–and music fans all over Twitter join in.  This year, #CXCW went crazy when noted writers Ray Wylie Hubbard and Gretchen Peters, respectively, sent in videos.  Thanks to a fun time on the Internet, we rediscovered a writer we may have overlooked.

Liner Notes:  Gretchen Peters has extensive liner notes for Hello Cruel World on her website.
Gretchen Peters Hello Cruel World [Explicit] Gretchen Peters
Kim Richey Wreck Your WheelsWreck Your Wheels - Kim Richey
Daddy (Will Kimbrough and Tommy Womack) For A Second Time Kim Richey
Mickey Newbury An American Trilogy Mickey Newbury
Bob Dylan and The Band The Basement Tapes The Basement Tapes - Bob Dylan & The Band

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Joey Kneiser (Glossary) Solo EP

Listen to Joey Kneiser of Glossary’s brand new solo EP, Moonlight for the Graveyard of the Heart. Share with your friends!

Joey Kneiser of Glossary EP Moonlight for the Graveyard Heart

Brand New EP from Glossary's Joey Kneiser

Check out our intense conversation with Joey Kneiser here.