todd snider

Allen Thompson #1608

Allen Thompson Band‘s new album, Brace Yourself, is still kept under top-secret guard, but the stories leading to the title seem surreal. Thompson and band mate, Clint Maine, both broke their backs in separate accidents within a month of each other. The following year helped them expand their sound and get weirder, as they describe. Thompson called on a slew of music friends to contribute to the record, including the first single, a duet with Elizabeth Cook, “Long Time Thinkin’,” out now.

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Town Mountain #1606

Town Mountain‘s new album, Southern Crescent, will be out on April Fools’ Day 2016 on Todd Snider’s new record label, Lo Hi. We previously featured this IBMA Award winning band just prior to the release of Leave the Bottle. When we talked for this podcast at Revelator Coffee in Nashville during AmericanaFest, the band had not publicly announced the album and were shopping it around. Southern Crescent reflects the band’s loose, dance-able music, more reflective of their festival and club sets that a staid performing arts center straight-bluegrass set. I’m not sure if the Southern Crescent still runs from Atlanta to Boston like my relatives talked about taking to go “visit culture” in the Northeast, but I’m fairly sure it still runs down to New Orleans, where a more exhilarating culture has endured — an apt analogy for this album.

Town Mountain Southern Crescent is available here on Amazon and iTunes.

Aaron Lee Tasjan #1523

Aaron Lee Tasjan writes folk songs for an indie rock crowd, weaving storylines with humor and social commentary. His debut full-length album, In The Blazes, includes friends from his former band, Everest, at the helm, and the vibe of Elliott Smith’s studio, New Monkey. Tasjan is touring heavily in support of the album, opening for Ray Wylie Hubbard, and playing solo and band gigs across the country. NOTE: We previously featured ALT here, following his debut EP.

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Drivin N Cryin #1522

Kevn Kinney of Drivin N Cryin has been a thread throughout my life in music, from teenage punk wannabe sneaking into clubs for shows (thanks, Randy!), to not getting hired at the first radio station I interviewed for because the program director told me he hated DNC and I defended them anyway (look who turned out to be right, Chris), to one of the very first radio shows on Country Fried Rock, before we had a podcast and were still streaming on Live 365, to now — me filling my dream of talking to the best songwriters about music I love and so many of y’all loving what we share. Kevn Kinney changed my life and now his band will be inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame.

Fangirl.

Kevn Kinney is not stuck in the 1980s, though, and that is what makes his solo work interesting and also what keeps DNC vibrant. They are not a nostalgia band at all; in fact, their series of EP’s over the last couple of years, produced by Sadler Vaden (then, playing in DNC, now playing with Jason Isbell, but also a solid songwriter in his own right and his former band, Leslie), brought DNC to fresh territory and new audiences. I first learned about #CFRalum, Aaron Lee Tasjan, via Kevn, and Tasjan later played with the band for a while. (ALT also has a new album, In The Blazes.) Currently, Warner Hodges (solo, Jason & The Scorchers, Dan Baird) is bringing his guitar to the stage with the band.

Collaborations are Kinney’s behind-the-scenes hallmark, regularly writing with his pal, Todd Snider, and upcoming recordings with Chuck Mead (BR-549). Just as Peter Buck gave Kinney new platforms to share his writing with MacDougal Blues, Kinney does the same for folks like Findlay Brown, The Everyothers, and Angie Aparo (who sings like an angel, y’all). Kinney has at least four other records coming out in the next twelve months, keeping fans and new listeners on their toes. Catch a show, solo, band, or the special “And Friends” sets — you will be in for a treat.

Buy Drivin N Cryin or Kevn Kinney‘s music.

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We welcome your feedback on the show. You can reach me on Facebook or @countryfriedrok.

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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Alumni Update: Hard Working Americans

Sort of an Alumni Association party for Country Fried Rock, combining the various talents of our alumni, Neal Casal (Chris Robinson Brotherhood), Kevn Kinney (Drivin N Cryin), and Kevin Gordon with the band assembled by Todd Snider and Dave Schools (Widespread Panic).

Buy their music here Hard Working Americans on Amazon or Hard Working Americans on iTunes.

Here’s how Hard Working Americans describe themselves:

What do you get when you take a batch of incredible songs, five veteran players who have never played together, with an arsenal of five musical minds working in unison to reinvent them? You get Hard Working Americans. Hard Working Americans is the self-titled debut from this new musicians’ collective, scheduled for a January 21 release on Melvin Records/Thirty Tigers. Genres meld seamlessly with the birth of this group, featuring artists from the Americana, singer/songwriter, experimental, jam and rock communities. Hard Working Americans is: Todd Snider (vox), Dave Schools of Widespread Panic (bass), Neal Casal of The Chris Robinson Brotherhood (guitars/vox), Chad Staehly of Great American Taxi (keys) and Duane Trucks of Col. Bruce Hampton’s school of music and Trucks family lineage (drums).

Hard Working Americans features 11 tracks written by a range of artists that include Randy Newman, Lucinda Williams, Kevin Gordon, Hayes Carll, Kevn Kinney (Drivin’ ‘N Cryin’), Gillian Welch & Dave Rawlings, Brian Henneman (The Bottle Rockets), Will Kimbrough, Tommy Womack, Kieran Kane, Chuck Mead (BR5-49), Don Herron and Frankie Miller (Elizabeth Cook). As the five band members came together, they had no idea what to expect. Snider, known more as a songwriter than interpreter of songs, would just start singing and clapping, which then set the creative ideas in motion with his new band mates. This was uncharted territory as the players had not worked together previously, but it became an uninhibited, creative and fruitful environment as their chemistry was almost instant, a very pleasant surprise. In the end, the group created fresh and uniquely original arrangements of great songs, led by Snider’s intrepid vocals and backed by a band of virtuosos. The songs were then sequenced in an order that tells a story of the everyday person, the blue-collar worker, the frustrated, the struggling, the Hard Working American.

Hard Working Americans was produced by Dave Schools and Todd Snider. Special guests include John Popper and John Keane. The album was recorded at Bob Weir’s TRI Studios is San Rafael, CA, mastered by Bob Ludwig and mixed by John Keane. Look for Hard Working Americans on tour in early 2014.