radio show

#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

Download the Podcast

#1248 Michelle Malone

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.

When Malone decided to record her most recent album, Day 2, she called upon her long-time friend, Shawn Mullins, to produce. Mullins and Malone collaborated to include their friends in the project, including Gerry Hansen (as co-producer), Phil Skipper, Tom Ryan, Trish Land, Chuck Leavell, Marty Kearns, Glen Matullo, and Randall Bramblett. Pretty much everyone who has ever been in the Atlanta roots scene has played with one or more of these stellar musicians. Malone knew her songs and vision were in excellent hands, and sought out their ideas and guidance in the recording process.

Currently, Day 2 is available in limited release directly from Malone’s website. She has released music within the spectrum of independent to labels and back again, finding the “new normal” DIY allows the artist to retain creative control. Michelle Malone plays regularly, both solo and with her band. If you get a chance to see her, you should try to catch a show in each setting, as the songs adapt to the venue, and bring fresh sounds with each format–more Southern than bluesy this time around. Malone is a player and songwriter that should be as recognizable to roots music fans as Bonnie Raitt is to blues rock fans.

Please support the musicians by purchasing their music through these Amazon and iTunes links. A small portion of your purchase also supports this radio show, at no extra cost to you. Thank you.

  • Michelle Malone Day 2 currently only available for purchase via her website. National release expected mid-2013. Michelle Malone
  • Indigo Girls “I Don’t Wanna Know” selected from Strange Fire because it is co-written with Michelle. Indigo Girls
  • Shawn Mullins produced Malone’s current album. Shawn Mullins
  • Callaghan also on Cayamo 2013, as well as another album produced by Mullins. Callaghan
  • Drivin N Cryin “Honeysuckle Blue” from Mystery Road chosen because Malone’s vocals are distinctly essential in this song. Drivin' n' Cryin'
  • Sea Level chosen because of Chuck Leavell, the keyboard player most known for his stint in the early 1970’s with the Allman Brothers Band, who also played on Malone’s album.  Sea Level, from C. Leavell, was his mid-late 1970’s band that garnered Southern recognition, but not national attention. Sea Level
  • Linda Ronstadt was Malone’s gateway to the music of Little Feat, Hank Williams, The Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, Neil Young, and more. Linda Ronstadt
  • Little Feat quintessential Southern fusion band, defying genre and beloved to many. Little Feat

Podcast

#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

Podcast

#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


Country Fried Rock

Podcast

#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:
Thank you for buying the music from the bands in this week’s radio show. Your purchase shows your support for them and for this program. We appreciate you. Amazon links are in the phrase and iTunes links follow.

Podcast