roots rock

Beth Bombara #1903

Midwestern roots rocker, Beth Bombara, recently released Evergreen. After regular touring, Bombara headed to the Rocky Mountains to clear her head. The mountain air let her reset mentally, and when she returned to St. Louis, Bombara wrote the songs for her new album.

Bombara and her band honed their communication through a solid tour schedule. When they headed into the studio to record live, they knew the songs and each other like family. Bombara chose a familiar studio and engineer, which allowed the band to focus on delivering their best performances for the live tracking.

Stream Evergreen by Beth Bombara in your favorite apps. Better yet, buy some merch and keep the band on the road.

Allen Thompson: Encore From 2011

Some of y’all have been with us since our early days in 2010, as a food blog with a side of music and travel, to a music blog with a side of travel and food, to an online streaming radio station, to a weekly radio program, and then dropping all the side-projects to just focus on the weekly radio show. Well, somewhere along the way, we amassed over 200 interviews, only some of which have been available in our archives for the last year or so. Many of these conversations hold up well, and the bands have only gotten better, which is how we decided to bring you our conversation from early 2011 with Allen Thompson, following his acoustic solo record, 26 Years. Since then, the Allen Thompson Band released a fantastic full band album called Salvation In The Ground that needs to be in your collection. I still listen to both records weekly, which is saying something, considering how much new music I listen to, as well.

Please excuse my exuberance and goofiness. I had not quite figured out how to express my enthusiasm without stepping on people’s words at the time. I think I know why my friends describe me as “delightfully dorky” when I listen to programs like this… –Sloane Spencer (Host)

Radio Show
Listen to the entire radio program right here.

Buy the music from this radio show:

Samantha Martin #1326

Fresh off of a noted set at the Calgary Folk Festival, Samantha Martin reflects on life as an independent musician in Toronto, sharing many of the same challenges that DIY bands in the States experience.  From club gigs where attendees complain about the $5 door charge to trouble crossing the border, to searching out record shops while on tour to find a last taste of local flavor in the music, Samantha Martin and The Haggard are forging their way in the wild frontier. With a debut album that samples their breadth, nearly every fan of roots music will find one song to like on this “roots and roll” record.

Liner Notes

Video

Podcast
Available directly right here, or subscribe on iTunes and get each new program whenever you log in.  Available for Android, Apple, and Desktop.

Tea Leaf Green #1325

Tea Leaf Green considered renaming themselves after their original membership changed, when their bass player and founding member, Ben Chambers, abruptly left the band. Six years and two albums after that realignment, Tea Leaf Green have redefined themselves, continuing to create their own sound honoring the song and lightening their sound. In The Wake is not sparse, by any stretch, but rather than full instrumentation every moment for each song, their is a more careful addition of sounds, guided by producer, Jeremy Black. In The Wake includes more additional sounds than just the members of the band, yielding a lush, clearly “studio” album, rather than a “live,” jamming vibe.  Shaking up their previous recording methods forged an entirely different process and product with this album; it was the first time they recorded separately in the studio and did not road-test songs prior to recording. Their CD release party was the first time they played all of the songs live–giving a new kind of energy to this noted, vibrant (jam) band.

Liner Notes

  • Tea Leaf Green In The Wake
  • Animal Liberation Orchestra (ALO) — Sounds Like This [+digital booklet]  Their friends from the San Francisco scene.
  • Lissy Trullie  Producer Jeremy Black played drums on much of this album.
  • Jacob Fred Jazz Oddyssey Walking With Giants  Reed Mathis’s previous band.
  • Rebirth Brass Band Do Whatcha Wanna  have a residency at the Maple Leaf Bar in New Orleans right now.
  • Whitey Morgan Sucking the 70’s: Back in the Saddle Again. You probably need Volume 1, too: Sucking the 70’s — not to be confused with the Stones album of nearly the same name, Sucking in the Seventies  This is a “loose association” connection; I discovered that Josh Clark worked on a song for this compilation and sang on a track, but my Google fu was not adequate to determine which track, so I chose one that most clearly shows the intent of this compilation–take songs from the 70s and make them your own, which Whitey Morgan clearly did on this one.

Video

Cold Satellite #1324

Jeffrey Foucault rocked Lisa Olstein‘s poetry in their second album as Cold Satellite, Cavalcade. Calling it “their” album is misleading, in a way, though, since Olstein delivers her poetry to Foucault and then he turns them into lyrics and creates the music based on a “feel” he gets from the first line. Like asking a painter what her painting means, the answer might be, “I don’t know.” Similarly, Foucault and Olstein cull entirely different meanings from their composite work, including a funny take on a song written about pregnancy! To hear Foucault describe their process from poetry to song, you begin to understand the appeal of his Cold Satellite project from a creative perspective–not just because the album rocks.

Sloane Spencer Interviews Jeffrey Foucault of Cold Satellite

Liner Notes

  • Cold Satellite Cavalcade The “composite” album of Lisa Olstein’s poetry and Jeffrey Foucault’s music.
  • Jeffrey Foucault  Most of Foucault’s solo work is acoustic songwriter music.
  • Lisa Olstein’s Poetry
  • Redbird  One of Foucault’s previous collaborative projects, in which he joined with other noted songwriters, Kris Delmhorst and Peter Mulvey, to cover songs written by everyone from Greg Brown to R.E.M. to Tom Waits.
  • Riding The Range Songs of Townes Van Zandt  This tribute album was a great excuse to include one of Foucault covering TVZ.
  • Fishing Music II Ben Winship and David Thompson  There are 2 albums in this series, “a collection of folk, blues, & swing” according to the tag line.  Both are a fun collection of variations on a theme, with volume 2 including Foucault’s tune, Mayfly–this time performed by Winship and Thompson.  It is also available on Foucault’s own recordings.
  • The National Trouble Will Find Me  Another recent album to come from the noted Clubhouse recording studio in Rhinebeck, NY.
  • Hayward Williams A noted songwriter in his own right, Williams is also part of the Cold Satellite band.

Video

Bex Marshall #1311

Bex Marshall’s latest album, House of Mercy, reflects both the songs on this record, and the actual name of her home-recording studio-record label-life. She is a noted slide guitar player, who also loves the resonator (dobro) and banjo, and manages to bring in those sounds to a cohesive, roots rock record.  I am always interested when a British musician melds what we think of as American sounds into music that becomes its own, rather than being imitative.  Marshall’s songs and production combine for a rollicking  album, and her reflection on what led to it–heard in this week’s radio program–is worthwhile for anyone seeking a lifetime playing music, or fans who like it real.

Click HERE to listen and buy this record, or here to buy on iTunes.

Liner Notes

  • Bex Marshall House of Mercy House of Mercy is not just the title track and album, it’s also the name of the house where Bex and Barry live, their record label and recording studio, radio station and more.  Marshall lives a life of music.
  • I was not able to find a legal mp3 to purchase of Bex’s “Uncle David’s” band, The Marauders’ minor hit, “That’s What I Want.” I also was not able to confirm whether “Uncle David” is known as “Charlie Harper” of the UK Subs or not. If you have more information, please clarify! I think this is a video for the correct band. I did find a song on a garage rock compilation by a band of the same name, but I cannot confirm if it’s the same people or not. It’s a pretty cool tune, though, and a fantastic compilation. Storm in the Garage on Amazon
  • Brigitte de Meyer Rose Of Jericho on Amazon
  • Joan Armatrading Greatest Hits on Amazon One of the best British blues vocalists around. I used to listen to “Drop the Pilot” on WRAS Album 88 all the time.
  • Hayseed Dixie Nicotine and Alcohol on Amazon Hayseed Dixie are not just the beloved bluegrass covers of AC/DC tunes or tributes to hillbilly love, they are also noted players and the sons of Don Reno, of Reno and Smiley.
  • Stevie Ray Vaughn live The Essential Stevie Ray Vaughan And Double Trouble on Amazon doing “Superstition.”  A great example of amazing blues working well with other styles of music.
  • Israel Nash Gripka Barn Doors and Concrete Floors on Amazon

Podcast

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

SCROLL JUST BELOW “MOST POPULAR”, WHERE YOU CAN
CLICK TO THE REST OF THE COUNTDOWN

Pages: 1 2 3

Ronnie Fauss #1302

Ronnie Fauss is not ready to give up his regular life for music just yet, but the Texas songwriter continues to release new material frequently. After several self-released EP’s, Normaltown Records (an imprint of New West Records) made it possible for Fauss to record his debut full-length album, I Am The Man You Know I’m Not.  The cryptic title belies the straightforward folk songs, and the excellent players brought in for the recording expand the sound without overwhelming its simplicity.

Fauss’s singing voice is gravelly and reminiscent of punk rock crooners, so I was surprised by his soft-spoken voice on the telephone.  He is a deliberate person, answering questions carefully and completely.  He is not winging it.  This measured, precise approach to our conversation reflects his method of getting his music out to listeners; he looks at what can be reasonably accomplished, how to make it fun, and plans specifically to achieve his modest goals.

For I Am the Man You Know I’m Not, Fauss brought some other layers to his project, including both PR and radio promotions partners.  These teammates helped bring his music to the attention of key radio programmers, bloggers, and music writers who might not otherwise have known of his music.  With the sheer volume of recorded music today, most media outlets–even small “new media” portals–rely on their trusted gatekeepers to help them filter the content.  For Fauss, this expansion team from his former all-DIY plan made a huge difference in the attention his album garnered.

Liner Notes

  • Ronnie Fauss I Am The Man You Know I’m Not  “I Don’t See You,” “Pistols in the Air,” “The Last” I Am the Man You Know I'm Not - Ronnie Fauss
  • Slobberbone Straight Outta Boone County “Dark As A Dungeon” Straight Outta Boone County - Various Artists
  • Lilly Hiatt Let Down “Championship Fighter” Let Down - Lilly Hiatt And The Dropped Ponies
  • Gram Parsons The Complete Reprise Sessions  “Sin City” The Complete Reprise Sessions - Gram Parsons
  • Todd Snider East Nashville Skyline “Nashville” Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables - Todd Snider
  • The Wayward Sons “Gaslight
  • Guy Clark Old No. 1 “Rita Ballou” Old No. 1 - Guy Clark
  • Willie Nelson Heroes “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me” (with Snoop Dogg and Kris Kristofferson) Heroes - Willie Nelson

Podcast

#1251 Bloodkin

Bloodkin’s 25th anniversary box set, One Long Hustle, is everything a retrospective should be, yet it is completely new, too. The booklet of the band’s history reminisced and revealed by Daniel Hutchens, the collection of previously unreleased tracks, and the stories they tell are as much about Athens, Georgia’s musical spiderweb as they are of the band itself. Despite collaboration with legends like Moe Tucker and Sterling Morrison of the Velvet Underground and Southern stalwarts like Gov’t Mule, Bloodkin might be the band that was always there for every amazing show– that you have never heard of before…but you have probably heard their music.

Friends and conspirators with the guys in Widespread Panic from the beginning, many of Hutchens’ and Eric Carter’s songs gained notoriety when played by the jam band, like “Can’t Get High,” “True to My Nature,” and “Henry Parsons Died.”  One Long Hustle is like being transported to the nights you might have missed at their famed High Hat residency “way back when.”  Bloodkin’s songs sound like them, but definitely do not sound the same.  They travel through their different sounds in a natural flow, bringing their own history, the sounds of their friends who play on various tracks, and their latest muse with them.

What appeals most about One Long Hustle is the breadth of the recordings:  living room tapes on a 4-track Tascam, cleaned up in the studio by David Barbe, but wisely not sanitized into a shiny version apart from the original, studio outtakes from a variety of formal and informal sessions throughout the Southeast,and alternate takes that did not make an album playlist for one reason or another.  Bloodkin’s 25th anniversary is not just about history; it’s also about where they are headed.  They recorded a few new tunes for the release, too.  Listening to all 88 songs carries me through the 25 years of Georgia music that formed me, too, from the Athens, Georgia Inside Out days (which was around or just before when Hutchens and Carter arrived from West Virginia) to the current success of The Whigs or Drive-By Truckers.

Author’s Note:  Bloodkin generously donated “Henry Parsons Died” for a worldwide debut for Country Fried Rock’s Compilation Vol. 1 to Benefit Nuci’s Space in Athens, GA, available for free download here.  Please consider a generous donation to Nuci’s Space in return for the download.  They prevent musician suicide by removing barriers to mental health care and a lot more. 100% of the money in the compilation’s “tip jar” goes directly to Nuci’s. I personally covered all the expenses of the album. SS

Liner Notes

  • Bloodkin You should buy the One Long Hustle box set from the band just for the amazing liner notes.  The music is, of course, worth every penny.  Bloodkin
  • Widespread Panic Hugely supportive of Bloodkin’s music, recording and playing several tunes from Hutchens and Carter over the last 25 years. Widespread Panic
  • Vic Chesnutt Athens’ songwriter (anti-)hero, who passed away a few years ago. At least 2 documentaries  about him are floating around. Vic Chesnutt
  • The Rolling Stones Some Girls (Deluxe Version)Some Girls (Deluxe Edition) - The Rolling Stones
  • Bob Dylan Street-LegalStreet-Legal - Bob Dylan
  • Brute (Originally, a collaboration between Vic Chesnutt and some of the members of Widespread Panic.  On the second album, I believe the whole band joined Chesnutt.  WP still plays “Blight,” and other Chesnutt songs, like “Aunt Avis,” regularly.)  Nine High A PalletNine High a Pallet - Brute
  • Sugar: Copper Blue (Deluxe Remaster) Engineer and producer to the stars, songwriter, singer, player, leader of the Quick Hooks, David Barbe also played bass in Sugar.  Bob Mould (formerly of Husker Du) still plays these songs regularly. Sugar
  • The Heap: Deluxe The Heap horns. So fabulous that they are going to be the bed music for the 2013 Country Fried Rock radio shows.Deluxe - The HEAP
  • Betsy Franck Franck was featured in 2011 on Country Fried Rock. She is a fixture of Athens’ current music scene, singing on hundreds of bands’ albums, in addition to her own music. This Far - Betsy Franck
  • Taxi Driver (Two-Disc Collector’s Edition), the Robert de Niro movie, from which the character Travis Bickle’s line forms the title for this box set. Taxi Driver

Amazon Advertisement
When you buy through our links, it does not cost you extra, but we get a small percentage of the purchase price. You get a bargain on what you want, and we get a little bit to play for music licensing. We all win!

Podcast

Joey Kneiser (Glossary) Solo EP

Listen to Joey Kneiser of Glossary’s brand new solo EP, Moonlight for the Graveyard of the Heart. Share with your friends!

Joey Kneiser of Glossary EP Moonlight for the Graveyard Heart

Brand New EP from Glossary's Joey Kneiser

Check out our intense conversation with Joey Kneiser here.