Pollies

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

#1241 The Pollies

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.

Thank you for purchasing the songs in this radio show! Your purchase supports the musicians and this program. We appreciate you.

  • The Pollies Where the Lies Begin “Good for Nothing,” “Something New,” “Little Birdie” (Direct from their labelWhere the Lies Begin - The Pollies
  • Ramones “Commando” Ramones
  • Doc Dailey “Picture Frames” from the upcoming release (International debut of this song!) Doc Dailey & Magnolia Devil
  • Belle Adair “No Reply” Belle Adair
  • Sons of Roswell “In the Moonlight” (not available on Amazon or iTunes)
  • Alabama Shakes (from their original EP when they were still a four-piece called The Shakes, before Ben was regularly part of the touring band) “On Your Way” Alabama Shakes
  • Jason Isbell “In a Razor Town” (chosen because the lyrics reference a female character with abuse in her past, as part of the conversation about truth revelaing itself in our personal stories) Jason Isbell
  • Centro-Matic “Twenty Four” Centro-Matic
  • Neutral Milk Hotel “Holland, 1945” Neutral Milk Hotel


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