Tennessee

The Wild Feathers #1422

I finally caught up a show from The Wild Feathers following my conversation with Joel King. Rhythm N Blooms in Knoxville hosted the guys and tons of other fantastic bands for a three-day festival spanning downtown and the botanical garden. The guys are still on the road, moving east from Colorado through Texas toward Louisville, Nashville and Atlanta before they head overseas to Spain then back again to the West. If you can keep up, catch one of their shows!

Please scroll down to the bottom of this post for the podcast.

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Scott Miller #1421

Scott Miller is miles away from his days with the V-Roys, but Knoxville still claims him as their own, even if he has since returned to rural Virginia to farm. Raising cattle requires his presence, limits his touring, but allows Miller hours and days to think. From talking with Miller, I get a sense that the cows are going to win out over the road, sooner rather than later, making his performances more precious to fans than they may realize. His most recent album, Big, Big World, unites Miller’s lyrics with Doug Lancio’s guitar thoughts, for a cohesive, but not yet thematic, album. Both recorded multiple instruments on the record, with just a few friends stopping by to add to the sounds. Miller is already writing for whatever his next album may be, in his assessment moving even closer to a “vibey” complete thought.

Please scroll down this page for the podcast.

Thanks to Rhythm N Blooms in Knoxville, TN, for connecting us with Scott Miller.

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The Infamous Stringdusters #1420

The Infamous Stringdusters tour so much that they even have their own festival, The Festy, with a fabulous lineup including our alumni, New Country Rehab. Chris Pandolfi and Andy Hall are so in sync that they alternate answering questions and finish each others’ sentences. For their fifth album, Let It Go, the Stringdusters opted to produce the album themselves, using their own instrumentation and vocals, but this time around, they road-tested the songs before recording. I likened their sound to a bluegrass band inside a giant rubber band, stretching in every direction, but staying within bounds and not wandering off too far into jamband territory.

Grab the podcast at the bottom of this page.

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Patrick Sweany

Country Fried Rock featured Patrick Sweany a couple of albums ago, and the East Nashville-based blues rocker has just gotten better over time. Here’s a quick update from Sweany and another fun new video from him.

Patrick Sweany

1. When I first saw you play live at The Basement during Americana Fest a few years ago, your stage presence and songs blew me away. I think we had a zillion retweets that night! What’s been happening with your touring since we last talked — a couple of albums ago?

Well, a lot of things. It seems as though most of the momentum we have been experiencing has been readily apparent in the last 12 months. Doing some opening slots in the US for Tedeschi Trucks Band (nicest people in the biz, everyone in that band is a cool human being) and a lot of the attention that my song “Them Shoes” has received via Internet radio has exposed a larger amount of people who are now interested in seeing us live. It’s nice to see an audience excited to see the show, rather than us having to win them over from zero. Which means we have to be better when we come around. I’ve added a member to the band, Zach Setchfield, on guitar to play the new material and it really augments the live show. Having a really consistent touring line up in Dillon Napier on drums and Jason Harris on bass. Really driven, focused musicians and really cool guys, so the van hang has been great too. Most recently we just completed four weeks overseas and a bunch of dates in the mid south and mid west, prior to the European dates.

2. I didn’t realize how funny you are, too, until I saw the “Working For You” video. How did that idea roll around with your latest album?

I’ve always adhered to the David Lee Roth school of musical cinema. The album is pretty heavy, subject matter wise, and trying to do something dark for my first video seemed a bit much. I’ve always admired funny people. The original idea was to be an Al Bundy-esque shoe salesman and showcase some awkward and ridiculous social interactions, but we lost the location I had in mind. Door to door vacuum cleaner salesman seemed to have a suitable amount of interaction to carry the desired amount of random social awkwardness. While talking to my neighbor and fellow East Nashville BB Gun Club ( #ENBBGC ) co-founder Terry Rickards, he hipped me to his experiences as a Kirby salesman. That was definitely some food for thought. We worked with Dave Shamban, Marty Linville and Craig Hill, whose work on The Altered Statesman’s “Bait” I really admired. I couldn’t be more pleased how it turned out.

3. Where are you headed on tour? Any new places or venues? Old favorites? Anybody coming along or are you joining up with anyone else (openers, etc.)?

The current run is full of both new territory and some familiar stomping grounds, and nearly all of it headlining dates, and all of it the first time with the new band . The Canadian dates, including Montreal Jazz Fest are a big jump for us, playing NYC is always a thrill as well. Really great audiences for us there.

We also hit the old stomping grounds in Ohio for several dates across the state, which is always awesome. Just really amazing to play to hometown crowd when you’ve been away, that’s always the best.

Check out another fun video here.

Buy Patrick Sweany’s music here on iTunes and here on Amazon mp3 and physical music..

Farewell Drifters

Early features on Country Fried Rock, The Farewell Drifters, have shared a new video from their recent Music City Roots performance!

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We did not podcast yet back in 2010, but here is what we had to say about their release at the time.

Buy The Farewell Drifters’ music in the iTunes store or over here on Amazon mp3 and physical music. We especially like their older record, Yellow Tag Mondays.

Bonnaroo 2014

Our friend, Blake Els, rocked another festival for us! Bonnaroo! –SS
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It seemed like Bonnaroo skewed younger this year, as EDM and indie dance rock acts gained prominent placement on a bill that was deepest at its center. While Elton John headlined Sunday night, performing his first American festival set, and while the festival saw the return of Kanye West, who in 2008 arrived to the Bonnaroo stage four hours late, the most difficult decisions about the weekend came on Friday when there was overlap between Vampire Weekend, Neutral Milk Hotel, Phoenix and CHVRCHES and on Saturday when there was overlap between Chromeo, Lionel Richie, James Blake and Lauryn Hill. But in the middle of those were distractions for the younger crowd – Zedd during the latter group, for example.

I was unable to stay Sunday. Patterson Hood, Jason Isbell and Mike Cooley were reuniting in Florence, Alabama, for a one-night only benefit, and I wasn’t going to miss it. But as I say each time I compile a list like this, they’re all subjective. There’s no way anyone can see everything, and each experience is unique. I’ve never tried to definitively tell people what the top five or top ten things were of the weekend, just my own top five or top ten experiences. This year, we’ll do five, as I feel like it makes the task more difficult and interesting. I will limit my list to musical acts, as the show I took in at the Comedy Theatre was phenomenal. It featured Taran Killam, Brooks Wheelan, Kyle Mooney and several other writers and cast members of Saturday Night Live. I even found myself next to a plant for a sketch, as Mooney came into the audience. A great time, to be sure, but not necessarily what the festival is about.

5, Sam Smith (The Other Tent, 2:15 p.m., Friday) – It was pretty remarkable to hear thousands sing along with the British crooner from an album that would not be officially released for days. I was unsure how that sound would translate; backed by a lot of manufactured sound, I didn’t know if it, or his voice could replicate to stage.

It did.

Smith included his latest hit, “Stay With Me,” amongst a collection of songs that had seen some previous light, including the acoustic version of “Latch” which he recorded with Disclosure and “Money on My Mind,” which was also on his Nirvana EP. “Leave Your Lover” and “Lay Me Down” were also included in the 60 minute set, which saw Smith become the second artist of a young weekend to cover “Do I Want to Know?” by the Arctic Monkeys (MS MR was the first on Thursday).

I very nearly missed this set, as my party dealt with security issues at the front gate. I made it to a packed stage just in time, and it was a set difficult to beat for the remainder of the weekend. The air became cool and the skies became overcast and there was something special in the air. While Smith claimed that Bonnaroo was his own first American festival, that actually came at Coachella. Still, it feels unlikely that his return will be at 2:15 p.m on Friday. Smith can go places.

4. Chromeo (Which Stage, 7:30 p.m., Saturday) – On the heels of White Women, Chromeo may have the “Song of the Summer,” the incredibly catchy dance/disco tune “Jealous (I Ain’t With It).” The duo was last at Bonnaroo for a much talked about set with Darryl Hall in 2010, late night, and has since grown into an act that played a sunset set on the festival’s second largest stage. As the packed pit danced the night away, the duo plowed through its most familiar tunes, including “Tenderoni” and “Bonafied Lovin'” before closing with “Jealous (I Ain’t With It)” and “Sexy Socialite.”

3. Ms. Lauryn Hill (The Other Tent, 8:45 p.m., Saturday) – Lauryn Hill was scheduled to play That Tent at 8:45 p.m., but when I arrived for her performance, James Blake was taking the stage 15 minutes later. Bonnaroo had switched its Saturday night lineup that morning on the app, and it proved confusing for festival goers.

But Hill, maybe expectedly, arrived nearly 45 minutes late. Her set didn’t begin until 9:30 p.m., just 60 minutes before Jack White was due to begin on the What Stage on the other side of the festival grounds. Hill opened her set with a cover of Michael Franti and Spearhead’s “Yell Fire!” which she combined with the Fugees classic, “Killing Me Softly.” She would perform “Killing Me Softly” a second time as the set approached its close, that time, a more traditional, album version. (NOTE: This is the song made famous by Roberta Flack at #1 in 1973, composed by Charles Fox with lyrics by Norman Gimbel. –SS)

Hill performed an ambitious cover of Aretha Franklin’s “I Never Loved a Man (the Way That I Loved You),” which was record at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. While Franklin’s version will likely never be matched, Hill handled it admirably. Among several other covers in her set, she took a version of Bob Marley’s “Could You Be Loved” into the set closer, “Doo Wop (That Thing).” The Fugees hit “Ready or Not” was also part of the 93 minute set.

2. Damon Albarn (What Stage, 5:45 p.m., Saturday) – The frontman for Blur and Gorillaz had reached a thin line in which he almost lost me; about a half hour into his set, Albarn began a long chat with the crowd, insisting that while Bonnaroo wasn’t Glastonbury, it was okay. While Bonnaroo didn’t have Stonehenge, it was just fine. It was strange to say the least, and he admitted that he went a little long with it when he realized that De La Soul was waiting to be introduced. The legendary hip-hop act came onstage to perform their Gorillaz hit, “Feel Good Inc.,” and a small crowd rushed the stage. It was among six Gorillaz tunes that Albarn played, including “Clint Eastwood,” for which he welcomed underground hip-hop icon Del the Funky Homosapien to the stage. Albarn included the title track from his solo debut, Everyday Robots, and he closed with “Heavy Seas of Love.” It was a set that saw him backed by a choir, a full sting section and a full brass section. It was eclectic, spanning the hip-hop sounds of the Gorillaz and the gentler side that he has displayed on the new record.

SETLIST: Lonely Press Play – Everyday Robots – Tomorrow Comes Today – Hostiles – Slow Country – Kids With Guns – Three Changes – Feel Good Inc. – Photographs (You Are Taking Now) – Kingdom of Doom – Broken – Out of Time – All Your Life – Clint Eastwood – Mr. Tembo – Heavy Seas of Love

1. Jack White (What Stage, 10:30 p.m., Saturday) – Jack White never wanted to stop. And he was chatty. He opened by taking a shot at Rolling Stone, which recently had a cover interview with the Nashville resident, and he went on to dedicate a song to “all of the people in Nashville that came before me,” which drew some ire from fans around me because he’s from Detroit, but really, isn’t that Nashville now?

Following his sophomore solo release last week, Lazaretto, White arrived to the What Stage 15 minutes late, but two and a half hours later, he had spanned over a decade of music with The White Stripes, The Dead Weather, The Raconteurs and his solo work, some 26 songs which closed after 1 a.m. with the crowd chanting along to “Seven Nation Army.”

White’s set at Bonnaroo was one for the ages. While he experimented with band lineups following his debut album, taking one all male backing band and one all female backing back on the road, he now seems to have settled into his position as the Eric Clapton for the new millennium, opening with “Icky Thump” by the White Stripes before hitting two tracks from the new record, “High Ball Stepper” and the title track. He hit The Raconteurs’ highlights like “Steady as She Goes” and “Top Yourself” and he covered Led Zeppelin’s “The Lemon Song.”

He was virtually flawless when he was singing, even if his rants were a little bizarre. And he easily crossed a very low headlining bar set by Kanye West on Friday. The lengthy set forced me to miss a lot of late night options on Saturday, but it was one of the most memorable performances in the four years that I have attended the festival.

SETLIST: Icky Thump – High Ball Stepper – Lazaretto – Hotel Yorba – Temporary Ground – Missing Pieces – Steady, as She Goes – Top Yourself – I’m Slowly Turning Into You – Freedom at 21 – Three Women – You Don’t Know What Love Is (You Just Do as You’re Told) – We’re Going to Be Friends – Alone in My Home – Ball and Biscuit – The Lemon Song (Led Zeppelin cover) – ENCORE – The Hardest Button to Button – Hello Operator – Misirlou (Dick Dale and His Del-Tones cover) – Sixteen Saltines – Cannon – Blue Blood Blues – Astro – Love Interruption – Little Bird – Seven Nation Army

David Mayfield #1417

David Mayfield grew up in a bus touring with his parents’ bluegrass gospel band, feeling the pressure of supporting the family’s livelihood as a child. Writing and performing define him, and he cannot see himself doing anything else. After two successful independent albums, Mayfield has just announced signing to the Compass Records label this week, with a new album in store for early fall.

In our conversation, Mayfield talks about the current and new albums and how they differ, confirms a Cadillac Sky reunion of sorts, and other tasty tidbits of his friends in music.

Buy David Mayfield’s music here The David Mayfield Parade on iTunes or on Amazon.

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Drew Holcomb #1414

Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors have been around the roots music community for a long time, but their continued willingness to change their sound and songwriting as they grow keeps their music fresh and their performances lively.  Despite his wife Ellie leaving full-time touring with The Neighbors to focus on her own songwriting, Holcomb takes this as the opportunity for each of them to grow personally and professionally, and to bring new sounds to their shows, such as a full-time keys player.  Previously featured  Country Fried Rock band, The Dirty Guv’nahs, actually told us about Holcomb’s festival, Moon River Festival in Memphis, 7 June 2014 at Levitt Shell.  Holcomb also shares that the band will record a new album this summer and that this upcoming short run of shows will likely see some of these songs get a little road testing.

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Turchi #1413

Turchi’s new album, Can’t Bury Your Past, comes out this week on Devil Down Records. How Reed Turchi has time to write, record, and tour behind a record is a mystery of space and time. As label director for the recently revived Ardent Music (part of the larger Ardent Studios family), Turchi spends most of his time in support of the label’s artists, like The Greyhounds (Mofro band members’ separate project). For his namesake band, Turchi has a strict “No Rehearsal” policy, that launches their tours with epic four-and-a-half hour shows at their favorite beach-side dive bar — part performance, part practice in front of an audience. The three primary band members live hundreds of miles apart, so snippets of songs fly via email, and coalesce in scratch and run recording sessions. If you like North Mississippi blues and rock, Turchi will fit your playlists, and even if your tastes run elsewhere, this is a surprising conversation.

Buy Can’t Bury Your Past from Turchi here on iTunes or here on Amazon mp3.

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Aaron Lee Tasjan #1411

I jokingly said to Aaron Lee Tasjan that it might be a shorter list of who he has NOT played music with.  Even though his name may not be familiar offhand, Tasjan was actually mentioned in some outtakes of our show several years ago, when I was talking with Kevn Kinney about emerging bands that he liked; Tasjan’s former band, Madison Square Gardeners, were on the top of Kinney’s list.  Bring that full circle of them working together on Anton Fier’s Golden Palominos record, A Good Country Mile, and now, Tasjan is the featured guitar player on the road with Drivin N Cryin.  It is truly a small world.

Tasjan writes his own music, as well, taking lessons from those with whom he has worked and applying them to improving his own songs.  His new EP, Crooked River Burning, shows some of his more recent direction, but I anticipate that Tasjan will continue to evolve as a writer.  I cannot imagine his music stagnating.  Produced by Anton Fier and released on Rockwood Music Hall Recordings, Tasjan incorporates his mentors into his music as much as he becomes one of them when playing their songs.

Buy Aaron Lee Tasjan’s music here on Amazon or here on iTunes.


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The Dirty Guv’nahs #1409

The Dirty Guv’nahs put on a rock & roll show you will not forget, but they have struggled to capture that energy in their studio albums. After a live EP, the band took the recording process into their own hands, renting a house and turning into their own recording studio, taking months to write, record, road test, refine, and re-record, leading to their new record, Hearts On Fire. In the last several years, The Dirty Guv’nahs have built regional success that allowed them to quit their dayjobs and go all-in with music. James Trimble reflects on how the sextet knew they were ready for that step, and the team member that really made that possible.

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Buy The Dirty Guv’nahs music here or Hearts on Fire – The Dirty Guv’nahs on iTunes.

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Allen Thompson

Woohoo! Country Fried Rock alums, Allen Thompson and Lucero, are playing a show in Nashville on 16 February at Exit/In!

Buy Allen Thompson’s music here on Amazon.

Buy Lucero’s music here on Amazon.

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