Kevin Gordon

Chad Cochran #1701

I first got to know Chad Cochran, known online as CowtownChad, through the defunct Twitter event, Couch By Couchwest. Cochran’s photographs and mixed media art featuring haunting landscapes and abandoned buildings held titles from songs by musicians featured on our show. Through the magic of social media, we became friends and hung out at AmericanaFest in Nashville one year, and then he came down to South Carolina to cover the Country Fried Rock 4th-ish Anniversary party, where Caleb Caudle played in our rural school house, a magical, slightly decrepit place that is made for singing.

At the urging of Lydia Loveless, Cochran has expanded his photography to include concert shots, with a specialty for stage images and raw portraits. In this podcast, we talk about many of the bands he has “shot” recently (Charles Bradley, Old 97s, John Moreland, etc.) and festivals from Nelsonville to High Water. I also put him on the spot about a “wish project” that I hope he accomplishes, with your help.

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.

SONG PREMIERE: Kevin Gordon “Shotgun Behind The Door”

Country Fried Rock alumnus, Kevin Gordon‘s, new album Long Gone Time officially lands in stores and online Friday, 4 September 2015, but we are thrilled to exclusively premiere a track off the album: “Shotgun Behind the Door.”

It’s no secret that we love Gordon’s songs, but his live shows are special events, especially when he brings his buddies to play in the band. Grab your tickets for the Nashville album release party ushering in Americana week, Monday, 9/14/15 at the City Winery Nashville. Tickets HERE. Special guest, Sarah Potenza, opens. Keep your eyes on our social media for another special update with Kevin Gordon soon.

Catch the conversation from 2012 here.
Buy Kevin Gordon’s music here.

Alumni Update: Hard Working Americans

Sort of an Alumni Association party for Country Fried Rock, combining the various talents of our alumni, Neal Casal (Chris Robinson Brotherhood), Kevn Kinney (Drivin N Cryin), and Kevin Gordon with the band assembled by Todd Snider and Dave Schools (Widespread Panic).

Buy their music here Hard Working Americans on Amazon or Hard Working Americans on iTunes.

Here’s how Hard Working Americans describe themselves:

What do you get when you take a batch of incredible songs, five veteran players who have never played together, with an arsenal of five musical minds working in unison to reinvent them? You get Hard Working Americans. Hard Working Americans is the self-titled debut from this new musicians’ collective, scheduled for a January 21 release on Melvin Records/Thirty Tigers. Genres meld seamlessly with the birth of this group, featuring artists from the Americana, singer/songwriter, experimental, jam and rock communities. Hard Working Americans is: Todd Snider (vox), Dave Schools of Widespread Panic (bass), Neal Casal of The Chris Robinson Brotherhood (guitars/vox), Chad Staehly of Great American Taxi (keys) and Duane Trucks of Col. Bruce Hampton’s school of music and Trucks family lineage (drums).

Hard Working Americans features 11 tracks written by a range of artists that include Randy Newman, Lucinda Williams, Kevin Gordon, Hayes Carll, Kevn Kinney (Drivin’ ‘N Cryin’), Gillian Welch & Dave Rawlings, Brian Henneman (The Bottle Rockets), Will Kimbrough, Tommy Womack, Kieran Kane, Chuck Mead (BR5-49), Don Herron and Frankie Miller (Elizabeth Cook). As the five band members came together, they had no idea what to expect. Snider, known more as a songwriter than interpreter of songs, would just start singing and clapping, which then set the creative ideas in motion with his new band mates. This was uncharted territory as the players had not worked together previously, but it became an uninhibited, creative and fruitful environment as their chemistry was almost instant, a very pleasant surprise. In the end, the group created fresh and uniquely original arrangements of great songs, led by Snider’s intrepid vocals and backed by a band of virtuosos. The songs were then sequenced in an order that tells a story of the everyday person, the blue-collar worker, the frustrated, the struggling, the Hard Working American.

Hard Working Americans was produced by Dave Schools and Todd Snider. Special guests include John Popper and John Keane. The album was recorded at Bob Weir’s TRI Studios is San Rafael, CA, mastered by Bob Ludwig and mixed by John Keane. Look for Hard Working Americans on tour in early 2014.

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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#1237 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.

Gordon has an advantage over many songwriters, in that he earned his Masters degree in Poetry while studying in Iowa–but the leverage is less in writing and more in his extensive reading and weekends on the road touring the upper Midwest with his friend Bo Ramsey after escaping The Compound.  Those miles tracing the routes of Chess Records’ legends helped Gordon hone his tour skills, refining how to perform as a solo act, make money on the road, and get his music to people.  Eventually, Gordon realized that music, and not poetry, was his muse, and he needed to relocated to a music town–East Nashville.

The music industry makes Nashville a natural place for many musicians, but it’s the music community of East Nashville where the real creativity happens.  Songwriters and players from many genres, particularly the Big Tent of roots music, live and work in this funky part of town.  With constant interaction with other creative minds, and neighbors who face similar work-life challenges, the vibe of East Nashville keeps writers like Gordon active and moving forward with his craft.  It’s not just “hit makers” here, but artists.

Songs in this radio show include:

  • Kevin Gordon Gloryland “Gloryland,” “Bus to Shreveport, “Don’t Stop Me This Time”
  • X Under The Big Black Sun “Under the Big Black Sun”
  • Marshall Crenshaw Definitive Pop (Mcup) “Cynical Girl” (Loose association on this selection–Garry Tallent, mentioned in the conversation, produced Crenshaw’s version of the Buddy Holly tune, “Crying, Waiting, Hoping,” on this same compilation, but with the discussion of Gordon’s teenager and a pop sound, rather than choose a Ron Sexsmith tune, the lyrics to this song appealed to me for some reason–a bit random, but a wayward branch on the musical family tree.)
  • Eddie Cochran Live & Dangerous “Milk Cow Blues”
  • Ray Charles Lonely Avenue Hits “What’d I Say, Parts 1 and 2”
  • Mike Farris Salvation in Lights “Streets of Galilee” (Joe McMahan plays guitar on this album, and I wanted to bring in the blues-rock fusion that Gordon perfects in a more secular form)
Buying songs with these links supports the musicians and this radio show.  Thank you.