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#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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#1247 Humming House

Humming House reversed all the normal processes for their first album.  When songwriter Justin Wade Tam went into the studio for a one-off single recording with legendary producer Mitch Dane, Tam did not even have a band assembled.  As he gathered his friends and their friends to fill the instrumentation he wanted for his songs, his professional relationship with Dane and the players grew, and the opportunity to record an album seemed possible.  As the assembly of players readied for the process, a family emergency pulled Dane away unexpectedly and the pre-production was scrapped as they were gratefully handed over to colleague Vance Powell to record the album–a happy accident, for sure.

In the process of recording the album, the group of players revealed themselves to be a band.  Although they did not start out that way, by the time the album was finished, Humming House had forged a musical path together.  As they have taken the album on the road over the past year, they have matured as a group, yielding clearer musical voices for each of the players and a more collaborative approach to the new songs they have written.  Humming House is already tossing around ideas for their next album, which will highlight Kristen Rogers soulful vocals more like their live shows than their first record indicates.

Humming House plays regularly, keeping their performances lively and throwing in unexpected covers, like Whitney Houston, Bill Withers, and the Beastie Boys–even the Ghostbusters Theme for Halloween.  They have become a band and putting the cart before the horse did not send them down the wrong path.  They started with their dream team, and have lived up to it as they have grown.

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Thanks for helping these musicians keep making great albums! Buy their music here on Amazon our iTunes:

  • Humming House “Gypsy Django,” “Stop Me Still,” “Young Enough to Try”Humming House
  • Angel Snow “Lie Awake”Angel Snow
  • Andrew Combs “Worried Man” Andrew Combs
  • Beastie Boys “Intergalactic”Beastie Boys
  • The Dirt Daubers “Wake Up Sinners”The Dirt Daubers
  • Kristen Rogers “Don’t Let Me Win” (Could not find a link.)
  • The Raconteurs “The Switch and the Spur”The Raconteurs
  • Carolina Story “Carry Me Home” Carolina Story

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#1245 The Whispering Pines

The Whispering Pines find music that binds them together in thrift shops and flea markets, in the cardboard boxes of vinyl that spent decades in isolation and are once again coveted items.  Bands like Cowboy and The Allman Brothers seeped into their ears, meshing with California-influenced psychedelic folk rock bands to create a new generation of songwriters like Neal Casal, Jonathan Wilson, and The Whispering Pines.  The 1970’s bands permeate their influences and recording.

The Whispering Pines are not a “throw back” band, though, as their creative partners and good friends from the band Everest helped with ideas along the way, bringing the recordings from three different studios together into one cohesive album.  Their self-titled second record should be hear in its entirety, like most records of the 1970’s.  Its beauty is not in any one single, but in the songs together as a vibe and mood–West Coast easy, without getting too heady.

Their next record is already in the works, and given the growth of the band between these two releases, it should prove to be an even clearer reflection of The Whispering Pines and what they want from their records.  As they develop their live performances and take their show to new audiences outside Southern California, their sound will emerge as one with a gentle groove that attracts fans.

If you like what you hear in this radio show, please support the bands by buying their music here (Amazon or iTunes):

Country Fried Rock

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#1240 Greensky Bluegrass

“Sometimes, we’re the weird band in a bluegrass festival; sometimes, we’re the bluegrass band in a weird festival.” Either way, Greensky Bluegrass fans will pack their festivals, large and small, usually for the entire run of their shows. From their home base in Michigan, Greensky Bluegrass rapidly developed a devoted following and spread that dedication to their music across the country playing hundreds of shows per year for years on end. The hard work has paid off, as the band is readily mentioned in the same phrases as Yonder Mountain String Band and the Infamous Stringdusters–bluegrass-ish bands with more in common than just their feat of bringing the hippies into the bluegrass fold; the three bands also share a songwriting mentor in Benny Galloway.

For modern bluegrass players who did not grow up with an Appalachian music heritage, pickers are usually brought into the style in two major ways: either they played punk rock and found the traditional instrumentation appealing, or they were jamband fans, who followed the path from The Grateful Dead through Jerry Garcia to Old and in the Way to David Grisman, Tony Rice, and pretty soon, they were playing Flatt and Scruggs tunes. While the traditional and progressive bluegrass camps may not always agree about “bluegrass,” the latter methods have brought more young musicians under the tent. In about five minutes of listening, fans can easily tell which influences formed the band.

Anders Beck joined Greensky Bluegrass after an earlier run with the Wayword (sic) Sons.  As it became apparent that the Wayword Sons were not going to be a full-time touring band, Beck decided to examine the bands who were making music he liked who were also on the road constantly  and determine which ones could benefit from the addition of a dobro.  After a tour to test each other out, Beck became part of the band nearly five years ago.  Since then, his instrumentals and hooks have added to the main songwriting of Greensky’s mandolin player, Paul Hoffman (who, interestingly, writes songs on acoustic guitar).  To find out Beck’s connection to Metallica, though, you’ll have to listen to the radio show.

Songs in this week’s radio show:
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