honky tonk

The Paisley Fields “Brooklyn Rodeo”

The Paisley Fields are a Brooklyn country band, playing dance-able light honky-tonk songs with sweet lyrics and unexpected social commentary on urban life. James Wilson’s themes stay modern, while wrapping them in a fun, slightly retro sound. The Paisley Fields latest release, Oh These Urban Fences, is available now.

Cale Tyson #1506

Cale Tyson surprised us with news of his upcoming country soul debut album, recording this spring at FAME Studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. His two recent EPs took him to traditional country music, cementing his transition from Texas indie folk to Nashville. After straddling the bubble of Belmont and real-life working musicians, Tyson is ready to find his voice in the coming year.

Buy Cale Tyson’s music here.

Podcast
Also available on SoundCloud.

Please subscribe to Country Fried Rock in iTunes or your favorite podcast app, and leave us a rating and a comment! That will help boost our search results and allow people to find the show more easily.

We welcome your feedback on the show. You can reach me on Facebook or @countryfriedrok.

Michael & The Lonesome Playboys

We are thrilled to share the new album from Michael & The Lonesome Playboys, Bottle Cap Sky.

Buy this album HERE ON AMAZON or HERE ON ITUNES.

Michael and the Lonesome Playboys Keep Country Real–“Bottle Cap Sky” is a record for fans that want an alternative to a slick pop country sound

There’s an underground scene in every city and for Los Angeles, that scene is Americana/Roots music. Old and Young, there is no generation gap; everyone is pulled together by a common thread–good music and musicians that know how to play it.

One of these musicians is Michael Ubaldini of Michael and the Lonesome Playboys. Disillusioned with the pop slick sounds that mainstream country music has been churning out, Ubaldini has written an antiphon to this music called, “Bottle Cap Sky”. The 15-song record is rooted in the traditional sounds of honky tonk, rock n’ roll and blues, but with 21st Century lyrics and an attitude of early Dylan and Kerouac and the influences of Hank Williams and the Clash. (Joe Strummer was actually a fan of Ubaldini’s and would show up for his LA gigs when able.)

Dylan and Kerouac are heavy names to be throwing around, but backing up these lyrical claims is the fact that Ubaldini has written a book of poetry, “Lost American Nights: Lyrics and Poems” which is now in its 2nd edition. Along with strong lyrics, Michael and the Lonesome Playboys recorded “Bottle Cap Sky” live without auto-tuning or a lot of tracking, so what you hear are musicians that have mastered their instruments or, as Ubaldini likes to joke, “My records have no Botox.”

His band on the record includes two members of his live performance band, Rob King on bass and Gary Brandin on pedal steel and dobro. Michael plays lead guitar and acoustic and adds blues harmonica to the mix. Guest musicians include Candy Girard on fiddle (Jerry Garcia, Mason Williams) and Jeremy Long on piano. Jim Doyle (Charlie Terrell, Jesse Harris) is Ubaldini’s new live drummer, but on the record several guests keep the beat: Micky Wieland, Kip Dabbs, Jerry Angel and Mitch Ross.

The songs on “Bottle Cap Sky” were influenced by Ubaldini’s life, a few of them written from a hospital bed in 2010 where he was fighting for his life from endocarditis. (CNN did a news story on Ubaldini during this period about his recovery.) They are full of characters from what he calls his “circus style” of existence; outlaws, Texas oil tycoons, crooked lawmakers and false prophets. “Basically, my wild life and the road to its salvation.” explains Ubaldini.

“Walk Through Fire” is a kicking Memphis blues tune that is both soulful and has a groove. It’s about facing down death with a strong will to survive. “Moon Dog Mad” is a honky tonk Armageddon of a song where you find your toes conversely tapping to the lyrics, “there’s blood on the moon and things are looking real bad.” The gears shift for the ballad, “Lonesome When You’re Gone” and “Three Cheers for Heartache” is a melodic rock n’ roll song with a country feel and the lyrics saluting the outcasts of the world. “Rosewood Night” is a haunting country tune about betrayal, and yet hope holding out for a love’s return.

Whether it’s love, betrayal, sex, rebellion, sin or salvation, Michael Ubaldini’s got it covered. “The songs all men something to me,” he says, “I’m usually jacked up on caffeine in an all-night diner or cheap motel when I’m writing them. I try to be in the moment, so the story or sense of place is in the songs. Sometimes I wish I hadn’t gone through what I had to write a particular song, but if it helps someone out in their own dire situation and can give hope, well, that means a lot to me.”

Los Angeles and Nashville have been taking notice–recently Dwight Yoakam hand-picked the band to open for him on a Southern tour and they are in their 6th year of traveling to the famous Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, where they are annually asked to play. Ubaldini’s last record, “Last of the Honky Tonks” garnered rave reviews stateside and entered the Mojo Magazine charts at #6 and it topped the CMP charts in the UK.

When asked about his core fan base, Ubaldini says, “We tend to get a lot of hard-core Americana music fans and people I would call outcasts. And by outcasts I mean the current generation of country music listeners who are displaced. There are a lot of young people who are exploring traditional country music and also looking for something fresh.” He continues, “I have kids coming up to me all of the time and telling me they like my music. I feel proud when they say it made them look at the genre of honky tonk and roots music in a new light.”

In this culture of reality television where artists beg to be approved by a panel of judges, Ubaldini is a breath of fresh air. Citing Blake Shelton as an example, Ubaldini claims that country music has “devolved not evolved”. “People should pay attention to the call of the music and not kowtow to industry insiders,” he says. “Just Imagine if the Beatles let any suits convince them that guitars were on their way out, or if Dylan listened to the critics who told them he can’t sing. I just love to write and I love music–that’s what drives me–the drive to create. It’s what I do. I just go where the wind and the music take me.”

Michael and the Lonesome Playboys will celebrate the release of “Bottle Cap Sky” opening for David Allan Coe on August 10th at The Coach House in San Juan Capistrano, CA.

#1249 Mike Cullison

Mike Cullison writes country songs, the kind that pretty boys in rhinestone skinny jeans don’t sing. Cullison’s latest album, The Barstool Monologues, is the most brilliant country concept album in years: auditory theater, imagery via sound, and a premise that pulls it all together. Somewhat like Marty Stuart’s album, The Pilgrim, Cullison calls upon his network of friends to perform his songs (so, the lineup is not Cash, Jones, Harris, and Scruggs, but the idea is similar) and his role as the narrator, in this case, The Bartender, keeps the thread going.

As a songwriter, Cullison crafts his tunes with others’ voices in mind from the beginning, so listening to this album and hearing his own songs sung by others was not odd—it was by design. For listeners unfamiliar with songwriters’ concept albums, one could imagine this as a tribute album in which the writer is the collaborator and even instigator. The Barstool Monologues is a very sensuous collection (if you remember the grocery store grammar lesson in Animal House) appealing to the senses musically, and filling the stories with smoke and scenery. It is as if a short film is running for each song, which is very much intended.

For the CD release show, Cullision created the entire scene of the Roadhouse, with him as narrator and the players rolling in and out. As a premise, this could easily be picked up into a TV series, playing on the success of Nashville, but more purposely focused on the grittier side of music. The idea would play well on stage, too, or even in a genius viral video campaign for the right product. All of this supports the songs, which are exactly what a straight-up country song should be, no pretense.

Thanks for buying the music in this radio show! A small percentage of your purchase supports this program, at no additional cost to you. Amazon links are in the text and iTunes links are small buttons.

  • Mike CullisonMike Cullison
  • Mark Robinson: Produced this album and several of those of The Regulars. He also has a great record of his own, the autobiographical, Quit Your Job, Play Guitar. Quit Your Job - Play Guitar - Mark Robinson
  • Hank Williams: From Cullison’s early music influencesHank Williams
  • Dobie Gray: “Love Is on the Line” was co-written by Don Goodman (Cullison’s early mentor), Waylon Jennings, and Troy SealsDobie Gray
  • Brian Langlinais: One of The RegularsBrian Langlinais
  • Delbert McClinton: Cullison’s music has been described as a cross between McClinton and Hank WilliamsDelbert McClinton
  • John Mellencamp: “Crazy Ones” was co-written with Randy Handley, one of The RegularsJohn Mellencamp
  • Tommy Womack: Daniel Seymour is one of The Regulars, and frequently plays bass with Womack, including on his most recent albumTommy Womack
  • Jon Byrd: One of The RegularsJon Byrd


These battery operated warm white lights work like a charm on merch tables and you don’t have to worry about another extension cord. Help your fans find you!

Podcast