Muscle Shoals

In Memory of Chris Porter: Shonna Tucker #1707

Shonna Tucker emerged from self-imposed music exile to play bass for Chris Porter‘s final album, Don’t Go Baby It’s Gonna Get Weird Without You. After she left the Drive-By Truckers, she formed a band and released a great album that we featured on a previous podcast. Later, she questioned whether she was meant to play music, and drove a tractor and fed pigs on a farm. Porter’s call to Tucker to play bass came at the perfect time and was just what she needed to jump back into music with both feet. Despite touring together with their former bands (DBT and Centro-Matic), Tucker and Will Johnson had never played together before as a rhythm section, which was a delightful treat for both. A few months after their whirlwind recording, Porter, John Calvin Abney, and Tucker hit the road for an acoustic solo tour, each playing their own songs. Since then, Tucker has joined Pegi Young’s band, The Survivors (along with legends Spooner Oldham, Phil Jones, and Kelvin Holly), and is also available for live and session work when not on the road with Young.

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.

AmericanaFest 2016

Decided to do a quick podcast update from my 3 favorites at AmericanaFest 2016. Lots more video to come, but here’s a taste of my favorite band that I did not previously know: Ladies Gun Club (Sally Jaye/Sarah Roberts). I also dug a #CFRalumni band that I had never seen play live and the band all my music friends most-suggested to me. Tons of great music all week!

Listen for a feature on Ladies Gun Club soon.

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
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Steelism #1425

The first time I saw Steelism play, I did not realize that they had their own band going; I was at The 5 Spot in East Nashville where they were just returning from a European run with Caitlin Rose. I knew they were sought-after players in mainstream pop country from various television awards shows, but when they stepped up to “play a few of their new tunes” as they said, I had no idea what was to come. Imagine hook-y pop rock with some psychedelic grooves and a danceable beat — on steel guitar. Since their EP, I have been awaiting their new album 615 to FAME.

The album has the magic touch of Country Fried Rock alumnus, Ben Tanner (Single Lock Records, Alabama Shakes) and was recorded partially in Nashville before Tanner came on board, and completed in Muscle Shoals at FAME Studios. Tanner mixed all of the record at his place, yielding a cohesive vibe and putting this record at the top of my instrumental rock list. I love instrumental pop rock. Vocals are polarizing, and for me, this is where instrumentals sometimes reign.

Support Steelism
Buy 615 to Fame and other Steelism music here on Amazon or Steelism on iTunes.

Download the free podcast at the bottom of this page or on iTunes.

Podcast

Shonna Tucker & Eye Candy: Video & Tour

Woohoo! Country Fried Rock alums, Shonna Tucker & Eye Candy, are launching a super tour. See if they’re heading your way (DC, VA, NY, NC, GA, WI, KY, TN, more!), and buy your tickets. I got to see them in a nice long set at Rhythm N Blooms in Knoxville this month and highly recommend going.

Shonna Tucker & Eye Candy also have a brand new video for y’all, too! Please share.

shonnascreengrab

Download our podcast with Shonna Tucker.
Buy Shonna Tucker & Eye Candy’s album, A Tell All, on Amazon or iTunes.

Shows
5/5/2014 Washington, D.C. @ Hill Country Live (Indoor Stage)
5/6/2014 Ashland, VA @ Ashland Coffee & Tea
5/8/2014 Washington, D.C. @ Hill Country’s Backyard BBQ at the National Building Museum
5/9/2014 NYC, NY @ Hill Country Live (Outdoor Stage)
5/10/2014 Brooklyn, NY @ Hill Country Live
5/13/2014 Raleigh, NC @The Pour House Music Hall
5/14/2014 Charlotte, NC @ The Double Door Inn
5/17/2014 Winterville, GA @ Marigold Festival
6/10/2014 Wisconsin Dells, WI @The Showboat Saloon
6/13/2014 Whitesburg, KY @ Summit City Lounge
6/14/2014 Maryville, TN @ The Shed at Smokey Harley Davidson

St. Paul & The Broken Bones #1406

St. Paul & The Broken Bones put on one of the best shows I have seen in the past year, in fact, I have seen them 4 times in the past year. Rolling together Sam Cooke with a Southern Pentecostal ex-preacher, a delightfully self-conscious horn section, and a kick-tailfeathers lead guitar (and just recently, an amazing keyboard player), and you have the essence of St. Paul & The Broken Bones. Lead singer Paul Janeway commands the stage, moves like he is possessed by Archie Bell, and leaves nothing behind. Their album, Half The City, rocks.

Radio
Click here for a great playlist of related music.

Buy Half The City from St. Paul & The Broken Bones here .

Podcast
Scroll to the bottom of this page to listen or download to the podcast, or just subscribe on iTunes, or find out app in the Google Play Store or iOS App Store.

Liner Notes
St. Paul & The Broken Bones
Radiohead
Jason Isbell & John Paul White
Verbena
Steelism
Browan Lollar
Patrick Sweany

Podcast

Pegasus Records

A short film about Pegasus Records in Florence, Alabama (Muscle Shoals area). Pegasus Records is an independent record store that is in its 30th year of business. They carry new and used CDs, LPs, & DVDs. Pegasus stocks all types of music from rock to rap, classical to jazz, blues to country. They specialize in finding out-of-print and hard to find music & movies and focus on emerging music from The Shoals.

Pegasus Records pegrecords.com
A Film by MadeInTheShoals madeintheshoals.com
Lead – Brady Gomillion
Brandon Loper – Director
Wes Wages – Assistant Director
Wade Woods – A Camera
Daniel Beard – B Camera
Corey Hannah – 1st AC A
Trae Green – 1st AC B
Alex Wittscheck – Audio
Seth Turner – Gaffer
Justin Argo – Grip
Kennedy Pope – Grip
Tate Hipps – Edit
Tera Wages – Photo
Justin Hall – Web
Bradley Dean – Graphics
Music:
Gnarly Charlies – Help Myself
Gnarly Charlies – Fever
Doc Dailey – She Has Her Moments

Grace & Tony

I met Grace & Tony in the lobby at AmericanaFest this year while hanging out with Baron Lane of TwangNation. We all ended up talking for a long time about their Honeymoon Tour, mutual friends, and doing your own thing and trying to make it work. It was nice to hang out with no agenda for anybody and just talk about totally normal life.

Buy Grace & Tony’s music HERE on Amazon or HERE on iTunes.

Alumni Update: Porter & The Pollies

Sloane Spencer — What’s happening with your new album?

Chris Porter (better known as Porter) — Well, that depends on which one. I’ve had a busy year! I just released the new Porter and The Pollies EP. Shortly after my move from Birmingham, Alabama, to Austin, Texas, I was in a funk of sorts, and while talking to my brother-in-arms Jay Burgess (of The Pollies), we decided to go honest with this idea of a Porter/Pollies collaboration. We had kicked the idea around green rooms for a while, and were interested to hear how I would sound fronting a full band, and how the Pollies would sound with my country ass on vocals. We decided that the session was just what we needed, for ourselves and our bands. I bought a big ass red guitar and drove down to The Shoals with a handful of tunes. When I arrived we soon all realized what a state of disrepair we were all in. 2012 had been bittersweet to say the least, and it was cathartic to be around my brothers again. Somewhere in there we cut some tracks. We opted to go as live as possible with the tracking and forgot to turn on the click track. The product is more amazing than I could have ever hoped for. It’s buzzy and fuzzy, and a little drunk and surly — covers all of the bases we wanted it to, and represents the week that we shared making it to a T. I’m so proud of it.

I am also heading into the studio in December to cut my first solo full length record. For that I am blessed to be able to work with Will Johnson (Centro-Matic/ South San Gabriel) as my producer, along with Chris Masterson (Steve Earle/Son Volt/ The Mastersons), Eleanor Whitmore (Steve Earle, The Mastersons, and everybody else that’s great), and my lovely girlfriend Bonnie Whitmore (who needs no introduction). There is an Indiegogo floating around there somewhere, but I won’t solicit funds through here. You will be hearing a lot more about that in the coming weeks. (NOTE: I added the link to his fundraiser anyway. SS)

SS — It’s been a couple of albums since we featured you on Country Fried Rock radio show. What’s changed with your music?

Porter — WOW! When we spoke, I was in a smelly van with the infamous Back Row Baptists! It’s been a while and The Baptists are all doing really well! I still front Some Dark Holler with Helen Gassenheimer (the most talented lady ever), and have criss-crossed the country a few times with that. Last fall Helen and I gave birth to a very special little record called Hollow Chest [Explicit]
which we released on This Is American Music. We are still focused on touring and recording, so after the solo full length, expect to hear more from Some Dark Holler.

SS — What’s working for you? Where do you see things heading?

Porter — I’m doing my best to make my new material the strongest it has ever been. My move to Austin has thrown me in with an amazing cast of songwriters who not only inspire me to write, but force me to write better than I ever have. The tunes that I have prepared for this solo full length, touch on themes that my previous work passed over. Don’t worry, there is still plenty of fire and brimstone, but there are also some understated sentiments present that y’all might not expect from the guy whose band was once referred to as “the drunk Civil Wars.”

Where do I see things heading? Around in circles. In a good way.

porter and the pollies cover
Buy the album on Bandcamp: https://somedarkholler.bandcamp.com/

Tracklist
1. Your Hometown
2. Fourth of July
3. Wood and Steel
4. Rest The Bones
5. When I Get Home
6. Blood on My Hands

Chris Porter – Guitar, Vox
Jay Burgess – Guitar, Vox, Producer
Chris James – Bass
Reed Watson – Drums
Daniel Stoddard – Steel, Keys, guitar, vox
Helen Gassenheimer – Fiddle, Vox on “Rest These Bones”

Recorded in Greenhill, Alabama
Produced by Jay Burgess
Mixed by TJ Mimbs and Jay Burgess
Mastered by TJ Mimbs at Easy Street Studios
Cover art by Jeff Moore – Green Olive Media

Belle Adair #1335

Continuing our series focused on new music coming from Muscle Shoals, Alabama, we talk with Matt Green of Belle Adair (and also of The Pollies). Belle Adair‘s new album, The Brave and The Blue, recently released on Single Lock Records, a small indie label collaboration among John Paul White (Civil Wars), Ben Tanner (Alabama Shakes), and Will Trapp.  Collaborations exist beyond the business side of music in this tight-knit music community.  We have been watching and waiting on Belle Adair since our feature of The Pollies, with whom most of the band also plays.  The logistics of such intermingling mean that scheduling can be a challenge, but it also keeps the songs and the playing fresh, as members toggle their attention from one band to the other — in addition to their other music projects.  As a listener, The Brave And The Blue falls squarely in the elusive “Southern indie” sound that is neither Americana nor Triple A, not quite pop and not fully rock.

Liner Notes


Download for free here or on iTunes.

Shonna Tucker & Eye Candy #1334

If you think you know Shonna Tucker from her years playing bass with Drive-By Truckers, then you are in for a surprise with her debut album of her songwriting with her new band, Eye Candy. The songs are sweet, fun, grooving, mellow, occasionally dark and reflective — a nice analogy for her last couple of years. Given the amazing band of John Neff (another former Trucker and player on nearly every record out of Athens in the last 15 years that I can recall), Bo Bedingfield, Clay Leverett, and Neil Golden, the record could easily move into heavier territory, but Tucker’s voice keeps it lighter and balances the monster playing. A Tell All has instant sing-alongs and lyrics that will make you laugh aloud, but also some deeper themes that are even a bit disturbing. If you are looking for a repeat of her previous band, you will not find it in this album; if you are looking for a solid hang out and have a mellow happy time, or weekend morning drive record — with a fantastic band and guest keys from Spooner Oldham — then you will be thrilled with A Tell All. Be sure to order the recipe poster, designed by our alum, Jack Logan, with Shonna Tucker’s recipes!

Liner Notes

Music Films: Special Deal From Amazon in October just for signing up for 30 days of Amazon Prime for free – watch over 40,000 movies

Podcast
Download the podcast for free here or subscribe on iTunes.