Twang Nation Podcast Episode 2

I am humbled by the responses to the first episode of my Podcast and the kind and encouraging emails, tweets and conversations from readers and musicians. So before the holidays kick into full gear I bring you, friends and neighbors,Twang Nation episode 2.

Fresh off  the interview with the Civil Wars, upstairs at the historic Fillmore theater in San Francisco, I wanted to include their extraordinary title song from the current album Barton Hallow. If there is a super group and mainstream representatives for the Americana/roots music genre it’s Joy Williams and John Paul White. Also Houston’s own brings his own sweet brand of honky tonk as a chaser for those bittersweet beers. Mat D and the profane Saints and Jeannette Kantzalis were kind enough to send me some great unreleased cuts to include on the episode. Also I have also decided to end to the Podcast with a classic country song, on this episode David Allan Coe’s classic barroom number You Never Even Called Me by My Name.

It continues to be fun. Thanks for listening and please share with friends and family and leave any comments or requests below.

Dale Watson – A Real Country Song
The Civil Wars – Barton Hollow
Robert Ellis – What’s In it For Me
Lydia Loveless – Steve Earle
Mat D and the profane Saints – Red Ball
A Brokeheart Pro aka (Jeannette Kantzalis) – When The Killing’s Done
Porkchop Express – War W00t
Rita Hosking – My Golden Bull
Possum Jenkins – New Brand Of Misery
Joe Whyte – Please Believe Me
Somebody’s Darling – Another Two-Step
David Allan Coe – You Never Even Called Me by My Name

Twang Nation Podcast Episode 2

Music Review: Joe Whyte – When The Day Breaks [Bridge & Tunnel Records]

There appears to be a resurgence of sorts of the modern troubadour. the male singer/songwriter armed with only an acoustic guitar and the stories he weaves always teetering on the precipice between  emotional authenticity and cloying sentimentality. The balance becomes even more precarious when you have pop leanings as the term “pop” has been severed from it’s root “popular” into something fleeting and vapid.

A well-crafted song defies genre. Whether it’s Sinatra’s I did It My Way or Willie Nelson’s Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain, there’s a craftsmanship that transcends and a balanced symmetry of sound and word. These types of songs also used to fall under the moniker of pop because they were “popular” not because they were reminiscent of sugary confection.

New Jersey based Joe Whyte’s new (FREE!) release, When The Day Breaks, is a slice of pop-Americana that straddles territory settled in the 70’s by pioneers like Gordon Lightfoot and Stephen Stills and currently being reshaped by the likes of the  Avett Brothers, Darrell Scott and Brice Robinson.

Rambling is the asphalt-hearted theme that runs through this release. The jangly channeling of Gram Parsons in the opener Please Believe Me portrays a sunny tempo belying the narrators compulsion to hit the  road and not allow anyone to fence him. It’s a Shame with its Dobro yawn supplies  a precisely suited accompaniment to reflect the dark dysfunction of a man destined to leave a caring woman knowing full well its the wrong thing to do,

This City is Alive has the narrator sit still in the City that Never Sleeps (sounding like a lost track from Elton John’s Tumbleweed Connection) yet fights the urge to escape before it steals the person he’s finally discovered he is. Off to War is a different kind of leaving. A soldier being deployed wants more then anything to be home with his family and his solemn ache is the strongest testament against an unjust war.

Blending a pop songwriters instinct for precision and hook with the warmth and authenticity in storytelling that are the trademarks of folk and country Whyte rescues the much maligned genre and gives it beauty and depth.

Official Site | Free Download | Facebook


News Round Up: RIP Vic Chesnutt

Welcome to 2010 folks, not let’s get a cup of joe and roll up our sleeves, and get into the latest in music happenings…

  • The New York Times features an article, Nashville Inches, Ever So Grudgingly, Into The Future, where it compares the lack of innovation in Music Row to the stubborn (and suicidal) stance to the recording industry over the last decade. Country music has learned tat “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” in as much as it’s attained it’s current  brand of pop-country. This is where the article overlooks Nashville’s history of of style assimilation over the past 50 years from co-opting the 1940’s crooners to the current filching of bad 70’s rock.
  • New York City twangers need to head over to the always excellent Rockwood Music Hall on Tuesday, January 12 to see friend of  Twang Nation Joe Whyte (the King of NYC Americana)  who will be appearing with his full band, Cat Popper (Grace Potter, Ryan Adams) on bass, Rob Heath (Kevin Kinney, Jill Sobule) on drums, and Dan Marcus (Norah Jones, Ana Egge) on guitar. Whyte will be playing current favorites as well as premiering new music to appear on his follow up to Devil in the Details.
  • American Songwriter’s newest legend’s issue features Townes Van Zandt, Robert Earle Keen, Bobby Braddock, Rickie Lee Jones, Richard Thompson and John Prine.
  • If you didn’t hear, died on Christmas Day at his Athens, Georgia, holidays singer/songwriter Vic Chesnutt took his own life by overdose of muscle relaxants.  Paralyzed from the waist down after a 1983 car accident, Chesnutt was wheelchair-bound since the age of 18 and suffered from years of depression. His music is a unique blend of idiosyncratic folk/Americana, bracing in its beauty as much as in its honesty. Here are some tributes:, Online Athens, the New York Times and the

Americana Conference Wrap Up

I’m baaaack. So if you’ve been keeping up with my tweets, or just reading the news,  you know the 10th Annual Americana Association Conference and Festival in Nashville last week was quite a shin-dig. I missed goodBBQ and that laid-back Southern charm and although the conference attendance seemed to be down a bit (well, a lot actually), if my Shiner fogged memory serves me, the showcases were better than ever.

There were a number of memorable nuggets that I wanted to quickly share. For one thing, there must be an aging painting in Jim Lauderdale’s attic becuase the man that is ubiquitous not only at the AMA event but in Americana music in general, still beams with youthful charm.

The performance that made my biggest impression was a serendipitous discovery. A friend’s showcase Friday afternoon at BB Kings brought Dallas’ Somebody’s Darlng to my radar. I should be ashamed of not knowing about them earlier since they hail from my home town and they rocked my ass with a their roots-rock soul sound.

Then there was the two great guitar pulls. The Douglas Corner Cafe featured The Americana Renegades Show with excellent performance by Irene Kelley, Roger Saloom, Joe Whyte and Stoll Vaughan. The club was like a Blue Bird Cafe II with a reverent and attentive audience. Then I lucked into getting out of the rain and a long line at the Station Inn to see Nanci Griffith, Mary Gauthier & Elizabeth Cook in their own audience hushing performance was a great treat.

Seeing Bearfoot do their short set at the Compass records’ notorious Hillbilly Central open house was also a nice surprise. I was not familiar with this newgrass band but they held the packed audience in spellbound attention with their performance and did musch less cocaine than the former Hillbilly Central residents.

There was the spellbinding rustic winsomeness of Amanda Shires. The leather-tough gold-hearted girl  – Angela Easterling (w. Will Kimbrough), and the omnipresence of Austin Texas with The Gourds, Cross Canadian Ragweed, Asleep at the Wheel, Reckless Kelly, Radney Foster and Charlie Robison.

Then there was standing near the stage to behold the wonder that is John Fogerty (along with Buddy Miller) at his semi-secret show at the Cannery. Wow…wow…

It was old-school alt-country at the closing night at the Basement with the ex-singer of Nashville super group BR549, Chuck Mead, and the only band that rivals the Drive By Truckers for a live performance, the Bottle Rockets, sending the whole thing off to a booming, bitter-sweet end.

Then there were the artists, radio, writers, fellow bloggers and general soldiers that, like myself, champion this music each and every day out of love more than riches (Ha!)

You can’t be everywhere all the time, and the four performance spaces for the AMA festival are a considerable distance from each other, so there are tough choices to be made and many show I wish I could have attended. But with a little logistics and a dash of serendipitous happenstance this trip to Nashville was a great party with wonderful memories (from what I can remember!)


DelFest and Pickathon News

  • The deadline for discounted tickets for DelFest has been extended until March 2nd at midnight. Some of Bluegrass’ best will be featured at the 3-day festival- Sam Bush, Old Crow Medicine Show, Leftover Salmon, JD Crowe & The New South, The Lee Boys as well as headliner legendary Del McCoury and more. The festival takes place Memorial Day Weekend, May 22-24th on the Allegany County Fairgrounds in Cumberland, Maryland.
  • The 11th annual Pickathon Indie Roots Music Festival, which takes place  just outside Portland, OR.,  has released their new website and festival line-up which includes Blitzen Trapper ,  The Sadies, Dale Watson, Justin Townes Earl, Those Darlins and Joe Pug.  Pickathon takes place July 31-August 2.
  • Now a little love for my old hood New York City.  The always excellent and lovely Joe Whyte will big show with his  band and will be featuring some new tunes. It’s on Monday, March 2 and it’s  free show at Rockwood Music Hall (196 Allen St., NYC) Go, you won’t be disappointed.

It Burns When I Pee Live Stream (heh!) Tonight

  • It Burns When I Pee, the only podcast covering the cutting edge and proud tradition of country music, will be streaming their show live tonight (7:30pm CST) and showing us how the sausage is made. And yes, that is a lewd comment directed towards Norma Jean. The final gussied up and edited edition will be available  on Jan 23rd which will feature an interview and music by Bob Wayne.
  • George Clinton, leader of the psychedelic funk music collective Parliament Funkadelic, is one of the celebrities participating in this season ofCMT’s  Gone Country 3.  Says Clinton: “I wanted to do Gone Country because I wanted to learn how to write country songs. I’ve written a lot of songs before, but I’ve never been validated as country, not even to myself. I’m country. I am a country boy. Johnny Cash, I like his songwriting. I used to watch Roy Clark and all them all the time — Chet Atkins and all those guys are really good songwriters. The lyrics for country songs are miles and miles ahead of almost anybody else’s lyrics. I guess everybody would agree there’s no comparison to it. I’m pretty sure I’ve got to do something that’s pretty challenging. I try not to imagine what it is, so when it happens I’ll just say I don’t have no time to do nothing but get off my ass and do it. I’m funky about doing whatever it takes.” I might have to actually watch it this season in spite of the homophobic midget host John Rich.
  • Mercury Nashville is set to release an LP version of Jamey Johnson‘s Grammy nominated album That Lonesome Song on January 27.  Since That Lonesome Song was released, it has spent 8 weeks in the Top 10 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums Chart and has appeared on numerous 2008 Top-10 lists (including mine.)
  • Ryan Adams has announced a musical hiatus citing health issues and “narcissistic over-indulgent behaviour” as the reason. Really!? Who knew? In all seriousness, I hope Adams finds peace of mind in his reprieve.  (
  • Shooter Jennings talks about to NPR World Cafe host David Dye about Waylon Forever, a collection of songs Shooter recorded with his dad Waylon Jennings in 1995. Shooter then revisited the material with his backing band, The .357s.
  • Joe Whyte is back with his band at the Rockwood on inauguration Tuesday. Aang great show will be had by all: Rockwood Music Hall
    196 Allen St., NYC – 8pm – FREE
  • New York blues guitarist Popa Chubby is readying his foray into country music entitled Vicious Country. The release features his wife Galea on bass. Below is a video shot at New York’s Rodeo Bar of Popa Chubby covering Hank Williams III‘s song Straight to Hell.


David Browne on the Future of Country Music in Politics

David Browne writes an interesting article on the New Republic site about country music’s seeming total allegiance to the GOP, and how the lost election may cause the industry to do some back-room hashing out of the future of country music. I like how the article ends up, but doesn’t Brown know that Ralph Stanley, in many ways the living embodiment of traditional country music, endorsed Obama?


A few dates are upcoming for country music legend Dwight Yoakam, since he’s not officially “on tour” they are scarce as hen’s teeth:

  • Terrible’s Casino – Star of the Desert Arena in Primm, NV on November, 22nd 2008
  • The Crystal Palace (Buck Owens Joint) New Year’s Eve December 31, 2008
  • Jackpot Junction Casino Hotel – Morton, MN January, 23rd, 2009


If you’re in my old neck of the woods, New York City, get your holidays started right and head to The Rockwood Music Hall on November 25th to catch Mr. Joe Whyte live, in concert. Whyte will be debuting so new tunes and the show is free so get on out, you’ll be glade you did.

Joe Whyte
Tuesday, November 25
Rockwood Music Hall
196 Allen St., NYC
*take the F or V to the LES/2nd Ave stop and its right across the street

Rebel Spirit Music Americana Showcase

Rebel Spirit Music defines itself as an organization that can “support and develop the careers of independent artists both individually and as a community.” Okay, it’s got a hippy-dippy name and sounds like cultural collective commune but they do have the good sense to be putting on a great showcase tonight at the Rockwood Music Hall. On the bill is Twang Nation favorite Joe Whyte with Alec Gross, Kelley McRae and Nate Campany.   Get down to the East Village and show some love.

Wednesday, July 2
Rockwood Music Hall
196 Allen St.

Joe Whyte at Rockwood Music Hall – Tuesday, March 11

If your in the 5 boroughs next Tuesday head on over to the Rockwood Music Hall to catch singer/songwriter Joe Whyte and his band. Whyte won’t be playing these parts until May so ya’ll head on over!

Tuesday, March 11
Rockwood Music Hall
196 Allen St., NYC


Joe Whyte Record Release – New York City – 12/18

New York based folk, rock and Americana singer/songwriter Joe Whyte will be holding his record release party for his new album “Devil in the Details” on Tuesday, December 18 at Rockwood Music Hall – 196 Allen St., NYC at 8pm.The event will be free and Whyte will be unveiling his band that night. Alng with his usual cohort Dan Marcus, on guitar and mandolin, he’ll be adding 2 new players – Rob Heath on drums, and Catherine Popper on bass (late of Ryan Adams and the Cardinals.)