Here it is hot off the presses ladies and gents, the last single-digit podcast from Casa Twang. That’s right #9 is in the books and ready for your listening pleasure.
As I say in the podcast (listen and see!) with 4 performers - The Pollies, Dillon Hodges, Jason Isbell and Doc Dailey - all hailing from the fertile music climes of Muscle Shoals, AL, that it feels like this episode is sponsored by the Alabama Tourism Department This is patently untrue! At least until they send me a check!
If there is another theme in this episode it’s the rich display of old-school honky-tonk from Rodney Hayden, Daniel Romano , Billy Don Burns and the legendary Loretta Lynn.
A couple of mia culpas on the introduction to Rodney Hayden’s song: “I Drink To Remember” I mention George Jones as a contributing songwriter. I misspoke and meant to say George Strait. Also I mention the new Pollies release “Where The Lies Begin” was on Palomino Records. It is out on This Is American Music.
I hope you like this episode of the Twang Nation Podcast. if you do tell a friend and let me know here at my site, Google+, Twitter or my Facebook.
And thanks to all of you for supporting great music!
Opening Song – “Mr. D.J” – by Dale Watson
1. Rodney Hayden – song: “I Drink To Remember” – Album: “Atascosa Sand” (Palomino Records – out now)
2. The Pollies – song: ” Little Birdie” – Album: “Where The Lies Begin” (This Is American Music – out now)
3. The Martha Redbone Roots Project – song: ” The Garden Of Love” – Album: “The Garden of Love, Songs of William Blake” ( Blackfeet Productions – out now)
4. Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit – song: ” Danko/Manuel” – Album: “Live From Alabama” ( Lightning Rod Records – out November 19)
5. Daniel Romano – song: “Middle Child” – Album: “Come Cry With Me” ( Normaltown Records, an imprint of New West – January 22, 2013 this single “Middle Child” out 11/27 on iTunes)
6. Amy LaVere and Shannon McNally – song: “Never Been Sadder” – Album: “Chasing The Ghost Tour-Rehearsal Sessions EP” ( Archer Records – out 11/27)
7. Dillon Hodges – song: “The Proof” – Album: “Rumspringa” ( Single out November 20 and his Debut album, Rumspringa slated for 2013 release )
8. Billy Don Burns – song: “Honky Tonk Singer” – Album: “Nights When I’m Sober: Portrait of a Honky Tonk Singer” ( Rusty Knuckles – out now)
9. Goodnight, Texas – song: “Submarines” – Album: “A Long Life of Living” ( Tallest Man Records – out now)
10. Doc Dailey & Magnolia Devil – song: “Catch the Presidents” – Album: “Catch the Presidents” ( Southern Discipline Recording Co. Records – out November 13th)
11. Loretta Lynn – song: “Honky Tonk Girl” (MCA Nashville)
NPR intern Emily White has come under a brush-fire of criticism for being guilty of two things. Music piracy, to which she confesses, and being naively honest.
White belongs to a generation of customers, or in the parlance of my tech day-job; users, who have come to expect simple, frictionless access to media to accommodate their lifestyle.
Is it egotistical and reckless not to consider the larger business consequence of consumption? Yes it is, but I don’t think outright immorality is what we have here. White’s generation have been shown to be more socially conscious , with their fair-trade coffee and local sourced restaurants, then previous generations. Her generation is certainly provided with easy access to more real-time information in order to make informed decisions then any previous generation.
But Technology Giveth, and it taketh Away.
Access to information comes in many forms. Sometime information comes as social and web sites. Sometimes information comes as sharable files. Sometimes these files have audio media. Technology is amoral and it inadvertently leads to immoral, or at least questionable, results. There’s an entire generation who’s source of music wasn’t like mine – Peaches, Sam Goody and Tower Records. It’s the infinite isles of online shared music shared globally and at the speed of light. It’s an inexhaustible inventory with the doors unguarded and wide open 24-7. The old regime, or the big-label bubble as I like to think of it, was gone almost overnight.
But Napster was a wake up call not a time bomb. Like the Linda Chorney and the Americana AOTY GRAMMY nom broo-haha, the Emily White post blow-back is more about attacking the messenger instead of looking for a larger technology, business and behavioral changes in the air. Then the industry having the courage of self-assessment and pivot to meet the new conditions.
The current environment of attack and blame from the top of an LA corner office down to the working stiff PR agent wasted energy and a missed opportunity. If this business side of the industry used the same creativity exhibited by the producers of the music this could be the enlightenment instead of the professed dark ages.
Renee Hopkins, Senior Editor of Texas Enterprise and Media Relations Manager at the University of Texas McCombs School of Business tweeted to me when I asked about her to weigh in on this topic ” *Anyone* involved – record co, artist, tech firm, listener – could create new biz model for digital distribution of music. Record co’s didn’t figure out digital distrib biz model either, so indirectly encouraged culture of free, sold out artists. Artists need new biz model based on wider distribution/lower margins. But they dont get it. #disruption” (I know this is over 140 characters, this is a compilation of three tweets )
Then there’s the moral dissonance. Yes there was convenience in ripping and sharing music but does that make it right? What about the creators of the music? Dwindling school music programs and little support in most towns for local bands made music an abstraction in people’s life. The culture of music of the local barn dance from you great-grandparents life is long over. add to that knee-jerk big label lawsuits against fans, and you have
animosity with little context to the of working musicians and lets face it, the vast majority of musicians fall into that category.
The tech might be new but the business environment appears to me as being very much like the old ways. While reading the excellent book “Satan Is Real: The Ballad of the Louvin Brothers” (Igniter books) I was struck by the hardships and daily hustling that Ira and his brother Charlie endured to escape the back-breaking toil of the Alabama family farm and make a name for themselves. Their routine was early morning radio (the Internet of it’s day) performances -usually for free. Followed by local business performances, – also usually for free/ These provided a few opportunities for merch sales , typically lyric sheets or if lucky, your vinyl form the back of the car. These free performances (free music) allowed exposure and led to a wider tour schedule (without the benefit on an interstate highway system) and established a career and, because of the quality of the music, a legacy.
Then there was the Louvin’s stern, sharecropping father who, though opened the door to music for the boys by making them perform in church, held contempt of the “soft’ life they must have led after perusing it as a vocation. Ira had the idea to invite the old man on the road for a couple of weeks to which their father agreed, thinking it vacation of sorts. After two weeks of bad road food and strange motels the old man was begging to get back home with a renewed respect for the life his boys led.
I recall the stories above to illustrate the point that music as a vocation is not new. Miles of roads and night after night of seedy bars is a common way of learning the ropes and paying your dues. Luckily the Internet allows you to take the temperature of a city and get out the word of your impending show from a phone. Life on the road, for good and bad, can be shared with fans through social media and that close connection can lead to a higher moral barrier against theft. You turn yourself from an agent of the big label system to a human being working for a living. One of them creating something of value.
People have less qualms stealing from a big box store then from the mom and pop store on the corner. You’re more akin to the mom and pop shop, let the fans know this by engaging with your fans and humanizing yourself. To this day country performers, like politicians, make jokes and recall local color in the attempt to signal “I’m one of you.” Social media let’s you do this anytime you want with no concern for distance or time. But in the end it’s about the music.
I don’t pretend to have the answers, but i do know there are some out there if we look and stop wringing our hands like the buggy whip manufacture in the face of the Model A. I am a music blogger and , as of this writing, make no money for my efforts. I’m still struggling with how all this good-will and influence can be turned into cold, card cash. I want the financial freedom to do more, to hear and see more music and bring that music to a larger audience. I’m sure where I for in the new industry, but I know I do and I’ll figure it out, with your help.
It’s been a while but here’s Twang Nation Podcast #5 and it’s a beaut.
This episode features cuts from upcoming albums by Ray Wylie Hubbard, Chelle Rose and Joe Pug and great cuts from The Damn Quails, The Steel Wheels , Hiss Golden Messenger and Jim White.Mr J.R. Cash concludes the episode to commemorate the year of his 80th birthday and the upcoming gospel-themed Bootleg Vol. IV: The Soul of Truth.
I hope you all enjoy the great Americana and roots music featured in this and all the podcasts and hope you seek out the musicians and buy their music, merch and , most importantly, take all your friends and see them live. Remember you can leave requests or feedback below or email me at baron(at)twangnation(dot)com.
1. Ray Wylie Hubbard – song: Coricidin Bottle album: The Grifter’s Hymnal (Bordello Records)
2. The Damn Quails – song: Fool’s Gold - album: Down The Hatch ( 598 Recordings)
3. Chelle Rose – song: Browder Holler Boy (Feat. Ray Wylie Hubbard) album: Ghost of Bowder Holler (Lil’ Damsel Records)
4. The Steel Wheels – song: Spider Wings album: Lay Down , Lay Low (independent release)
5. The Memphis Strange – song: 5 Miles or Less album: Birth of the Strange (independent release)
6. Hiss Golden Messenger - song: Jesus Shot Me In The head album: Poor Moon (Tompkins Square records)
7. Screen Door Porch – song: Devil’s Honey album: The Fate & The Fruit (Independent release)
8. Jim White- song: The Way of Alone album: Where It Hits You (Yep Roc Records)
9. Joe Pug – song: Hymn #76 album: The Great Despiser ( Lightning Rod Records)
10. Brown Bird – song: Bilgewater album: Salt For Salt (Supply and Demand Music)
11. Johnny Cash- song: Walk the Line Album: Bootleg 3: Live Around The World (Sony Legacy)
Due to either 1) all the great and positive responses from listeners and bands, or 2) my general bullheadedness, here it is friends, Episode 3 of the Twang Nation Podcast just in time for the holidays! This episode is festive a mix of gritty (Possessed by Paul James, Doc Dailey, Matt Woods ) and glorious (Laura Repo, Whitehorse, Matraca Berg) and concludes like an empty Tecate can perched on top of a silver tensile Christmas tree, with the classic Robert Earle Keen’s Merry Christmas from the Family. Remember you can leave requests or feedback below or emeuial me at baron(at)twangnation(dot)com.
1. Possessed by Paul James – song: Four Men From The Row - album: Feed the Family (Hillgrass Bluebilly Records 2010 )
2. Root Jack – song: The Good Life - album: In The Pines
3. Doc Dailey & Magnolia Devil – song: Sunday School album: Victims, Enemies, & Old Friends (Southern Discipline Recording Company)
4. Eleven Hundred Springs – song: Texas Afternoon - album: Country Jam (Palo Duro Records)
5 Laura Repo – Song: Like to call you honey album: Get Yourself Home (Independent)
6. Whitehorse – Song: “Killing Time is Murder – album: self-titled debut ( Six Shooter Records in October )
7. Matt Woods - Song: Beating Down My Door – Album: The Matt Woods Manifesto (Lonely Ones Records)
8. Whiskey Daredevils – Song: Party Plates – Album: Introducing the Whisky Daredevils (Lonely Ones Records)
9. Matraca Berg – Song: Your Husband’s Cheating On Us – Album: The dreaming Fields (Dualtone Records)
10. The White Buffalo – Song: Matador – Album: The White Buffalo ep
11. Robert Earle Keen – Song: Merry Christmas from the Family – Album: Gringo Honeymoon
The GRAMMY nominees categories that I cover does not come with choreographed dancers or share the stage with Rihanna. They appear further down on the list near Best World Music Album and Best Spoken Word Album - the Americana/folk/bluegrass and the speck of trad country that might find its way into a movie soundtrack or liner note nods. This is the the pre-telecast posse, the back of the bus and behind the gym crowd. This is where the cool kids hang out. Where Lou Reed can sit between a nominee for Best Opera Recording and Best Comedy Album. These are the rough and rowdy mongrels of music.
I watch the nominee concert dutifully but it’s nothing to do with me or my readers. I am waiting for the full list to be posted online. Then I run my eye over it. downward to the Best Folk Album, some nice surprises with The Civil Wars and Eddie Vedder. Best Bluegrass Album, great to see the old guard Del McCoury and Ralph Stanley in the mix with Steve Martin and Jim Lauderdale. Next the big enchilada – Best Americana Album. Ry Cooder, Emmylou Harris, Levon Helm, Lucinda Williams legends all…wait…who’s this? Who is Linda Chorney?
I’m a frikkin “Influencer” for krips sake (or so Klout tells me), how is it I don’t know this person? Where did she come from and how, after 6 albums, is it that I haven’t heard of her until now? i like a to be surprised as much as the next music blogger, but sometimes there is this feeling that if you missed this artist how many others are sliding past your gaze. I needed to atone and find out who this person is.
So i did what any red-blooded Americana blogger would do – I Googled her. First off a video that appears to be centered on scuba diving in some tropical locale. She’s easy on the eyes, but how does she sound? First impression is Aimee Mann, Chrissie Hynde and Michelle Shocked on a serious Meet The Beatles! bender. I emailed her directly from her site. She can’t already have a layer of people to sift through for a conversation. I’m the the official GRAMMY folk/Americana blogger guy. I figure that that should account for something!
Maybe it did. Maybe I caught her at a vulnerable time in the wake of her nomination. Maybe she confused with with her friend Bryan Lang. Whatever…i had an interview set.
I hope the below exchange let’s you get to know Linda Chorney and you find her as charming and talented as I did. enjoy…
Twang Nation – So, how are you feeling?
Linda Chorney – I’m still a little but in shock but I feel great. When I told my mom and dad (about the Best Americana Album Grammy nomination) and my mom said this is one of her greatest moments since your birth for me.
TN – Wow, you can’t buy fans like that.
LC - (laughs) When I was younger they paid for my demo tapes and have been coming to biker bars that I’ve played throughout my life. They’ve waited for me to get my big break and now it’s kind of come.
TN – Tell me a little about how you got here.
LC – I once broke the top 40 in the adult contemporary on the Friday Morning Quarterback (music industry news publication) with my song Living Alone. We thought then that something was going to happen. Then the day we had some deals on the table was on September 11th (2001) and everything sort of got put on hold. I said to myself that I didn’t die that day, and nobody I know died. How important is another song? So I didn’t take (the deals falling through) that hard. Though I took the the events of September 11th very hard and wrote a song about it on my third album.
TN – I’ve been blogging about this genre for several years and lived in New York City for 5 years, how is it I’m just now hearing about a Grammy nominated Americana artists based from New Jersey?
LC – Probably because I’ve been bopping around the whole world. I played on Bleecker Street for years, at Red Line and the Back Fence and a few other clubs. I’ve played the Hamptons. I like to travel! I’ve bartered my way around the world. I’m an avid scuba diver but diving costs a lot of money so when I travel I will write a few dive places and say “Hey I’m a singer/songwriter and will perform for your crew aboard or your place in exchange for scuba diving. Diving can easily can run you a couple of hundred bucks a day. One place that responded was the Bottom Time Bar in Palau Micronesia and that where I shot my video for my song Sink or Swim (see below) I played a weekend and was able to dive for two weeks for free.
TN – Not a bad gig.
LC – it was awesome! I also went to Mount Everest where I sang at 17,000 feet – I’ve sung below sea-level and sung 17,000 feet above sea-level.
TN – Did you know you were in the running for a Grammy nomination?
LC – From the feedback I was getting from Grammy 365 people. I said to my executive producer, “Jonathan is all the people that say I’m great and are voting for me actually do vote for me I think we might have a shot.” I had no idea what I was doing. This is my first time with the whole Grammy process, two weeks before the ballets were due I had zero contacts. My husband and I stayed up 20 hours a day and we wrote every single person we could on the Grammy 365 site to ask for their contact information. Out of the roughly 6000 emails we personally wrote – we didn’t have a staff it was just me and him – then around 2000 people responded and I asked them to consider my stuff. I was overwhelmed with responses. One guy was the historian on (Martin) Scorsese’s George Harrison documentary, he said very nice things about my stuff, he said it touched him and that he was going to talk to other people about me and get them to consider my music – this happened several time with others - I was just blown away!
TN – Tell me the story about your executive producer and how y’all met.
LC – I was in Colorado playing a ski resorts, because the moneys good and I sell a lot of merch and get to keep all the money, and I would ski to my gig every day with my guitar on my back to perform at 10.000 feet. At one gig this quirky guy comes up to me after buying all my CDs I had for sale and said “You have something special here. I’m a doctor but I wanted to be a musician, so I know how hard it can be. I’d lie to send you something.” I had no idea who this guy was or if he was hitting on me so I gave him a P.O. Box address and sure enough a few weeks later a chord-less mic and guitar pickup showed up in the mail and it contained a note that read “This is for you kid, way to go.” Over the years I got to know his family, and we became really good friends. Last year he approaches me and says “Linda, I want you to make the album you’ve never been able to make before, and I’ll pay for it.”
Every other album I’ve done has been out of my own pocket and I was always watching the clock , I didn’t have the money for live drums or more time for the engineer, I knew how to make a great album but I never had the resources. Jonathan says “I want you to do this album without compromise Linda. I’m going to give you the money for this album and I don’t want anything in return. I just want you to make the greatest album that you can and I want to be part of the process.” I was so touched by this! Jonathan also knows some musicians like Jeff Pevar (CPR) and Leon Pendarvis (band leader for the Saturday Night Live band) who is a great keyboard player. So he got them involved in the project. I knew Lisa Fischer (singer and background vocalist for the Rolling Stones, Luther Vandross, and others) because she sang background on my adult contemporary charting song Living Alone. And I knew bass player Will Lee (The Late Show with David Letterman, B.B. King, Cat Stevens, Ringo Starr, James Brown and many others), then I knew people here in my neighborhood (Asbury Park, NJ) who should be famous , like Arlan Feiles, who has his own album coming out soon and to me is like Bob Dylan with a prettier voice. I had him sing a duet with me called Finally on the album and then I have a song on the album called Do It While You Can, with a kind of a Satchmo vocal vibe to it and Richie Blackwell (Bruce Springsteen) helped with that. So this whole thing is a passion project. There was no thought to “Let’s make this song four minutes so we can get radio airplay.”
The second CD (on Emotional Jukebox) has a symphony I fantasized about making (Mother Natures Symphony.) The 15 minute piece begins with classical to Bluegrass to folk then back to classical and then ends with a Beatles ending.
TN – Wow, you’re not one to walk the genre straight and narrow are you. You also cover Led Zeppelin’s Going to California on Emotional Jukebox.
LC – I do! I had to fight to have that on because I jammed it in the end with a Flamenco solo by this guy Hernan Romero (Al Di Meola) who this amazing player that was just in the Latin GRAMMYs who I met in Boston who’s been on a couple of my albums. I had this idea of the song that ended up being 7 minutes long and we still got airplay. They don’t make songs like that anymore. I like solos. On my song I’m Only Sleeping I put a whirly solo it it. I like music!
TN – Where was the album recorded?
LC – We recorded at Sear Sound in New York and Lupos Studio with Frank Wolf, who I’ve worked with in the past, engineering the project. He’s an amazing talent. I spent the most time on the album than anybody. I did all the editing and arranging myself on my Pro Tools at home at night with the master and poured over every single bar on the album to make sure I had all the instrumentation in all the right places so it was tasty, clean and interesting to me. that was my goal. I probably spent over 2000 hours on it.
TN – well your hard work is being recognized. When did you find out about your nomination?
LC – We were having a party that night and somebody gave me a mock GRAMMY because we all conceded to the fact that I didn’t stand a chance against these amazing and well-known artists – John Hiatt, Jeff Bridges, Steve Earle, Emmylou Harris, Ry Cooder – who is one of my heros – there was just no slot open for an unknown. So all the people went home from the party and then I started getting all these emails saying “Congratulations.” “You have my support.” “I’ll see you in L.A.” I thought this has to be a mistake. This must be a chain email that I’m on and somebody else was nominated. Then I had a hard time finding the list of nominees online. Then we found the list of nominees on GRAMMY.com and there in Americana Album of the year was my name first on the list. I had to wake up my executive producer, Jonathan, at midnight to tell him about it. We freaked out. He believed in me and my music and he’s such an amazing person.
TN – I love that you are on the nominee list, and that the GRAMMY Americana category appears to be a big tent where talent is rewarded no matter how what your profile.
LC – Early in the process I did put my album up for a lot of categories – best Album, and all of that. In retrospect i should have concentrated on the one category. I submitted for 8 but but as I was getting up to speed submitting my work it occurred to me that I might have been spreading myself too thin and that might not be in my best interest. So then I started concentrating on the Americana music category.
TN – Have you got your speech ready?
LC – (laughs) Not yet.I think I might have a mock one ready for You Tube and to post on my blog (lindachorney.wordpress.com) to thank the people that helped me.
I hope everyone had a great Independence Day. I spent America’s 234th birthday seeing some great music by Hang Jones, at the park with family and friends eating, watching spectacular stuff bow up and watching Brock Lesnar stop being pummeled long enough to submit Shane Carwin with a arm-triangle choke. Ah, American values….I wanted to take some time to post some cool things I found around the web celebrating this great day.
S.P. Gass at NoDepression.com asked for recommendations for a Americana/roots Independence Day playlist. And the members (incl. yours truly) came up with a doozy.
Willie Nelson took his legendary picnic to Bee Cave, Texas’ Backyard and featured Johnny Bush, Kris Kristofferson, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Leon Russell, Jody Nix and the Texas Cowboys Billy Joe Shaver canceled his showing at the picnic due to health reasons. We hope he ‘s doing well.
FrontLoader.com has posted some a mother load of independence goodness. MP3 outtakes from the quintessential American musician, Johnny Cash. These cuts are from his American recording sessions (of course) with Rick Rubin he did at the end of his life.
No Depression magazine (and now web site), the go-to authority for roots and Americana music for 15 years, has announced the line-up for their second annual No Depression Festival, and it’s a peach! The Swell Season, Lucinda Williams, The Cave Singers, Alejandro Escovedo, Chuck Prophet, Punch Brothers and Sera Cahoone. The fun starts on Aug. 21, 2010, at Marymoor Park in Redmond, Wash. Pre-sale tickets are available 10 a.m. Thursday 4/29 until 10 p.m. Friday 4/30 (password: HAPPY). Tickets will be available to the general public beginning 10 a.m. May 1.
If you order your tickets in the presale, email your confirmation to info at nodepression dot com to be entered in a drawing for a special No Depression prize package. Three winners will be chosen at random and will win a No Depression t-shirt, tote bag, anthology, and stickers.
The Rick Rubin produced American recording done by Johnny Cash near the end of his life featured some inspired covers (most famous being the cover of Trent Reznor’s Hurt on 2002′s album, American IV: The Man Comes Around) Paste.com lists 10 songs they wished Cash had lived to cover featuring works by Joe Strummer, The Silver Jews and Ryan Adams. Though I’m sure a list like this could go on and on I have to take exception to a couple of the entries on the Paste list; Bob by the Drive By Truckers could be their worst song and I doubt that the mighty Cash could make it better (and there are tons of better DBT songs for him to cover; Cottonseed perhaps?) and Death Cab For Cutie?! Really?! (via the 9513.com)
Aquarium Drunkard posts a fine ode to the greatness that is Jerry Jeff Walker.
Legendary Austin musician Roky Erickson returns on April 20th with his Anti Record’s release True Love Cast Out All Evil, his first new album in fourteen years. Producing the release is Will Sheff and his band, Okkervil River, backs Erickson.
It’s the end of a year and the decade (yikes!) and besides my own best of 2009 list I offer you some like-minded blogs year-end lists to round of the great selections of the year. There is some overlap but enough differences to make them worth a look for additions to your own list of music to check out. You can tell by many of the blogs breaking the top 10 mold and offering top 20 that it was a great year for Americana and roots music. Feel free to add your own as a comment below.
Check out the excellent videos of Casey Driessen’s 5-string fiddle hunt video over at Bluegrass Blog.
Steel guitarist Robert D. Norred, one-time member of Hank Williams’ backing band for a short period in the late 1940s, died Sunday, Oct. 25.
Face A Frowning World (Available 12/8 – Tompkins Square) is a tribute to the old-timey and gospel music of E.C. Ball and his wife Orna. The couple were lesser known contemporaries of the Carter Family and seldom ventured far from their home on the Virginia-North Carolina boarder (in Rugby, VA) where they owned a general store and service station. Featured performance by Jon Langford, The Handsome Family (offered as a download below), Michael Hurley, Bonnie “Prince” Billy, the Health & Happiness Family Gospel Band of Louisville, Kentucky, and many others.