Country Fried Rock
Summary: There was a time, not too long ago, when a road-trip across America meant channel surfing and cultural discovery. Drivers would hear the music morph as the view outside their windshield evolved. Accents would change. The food at roadside diners had a local flavor. These days? Not so much. Massive commercial radio behemoths have gobbled up the airwaves and churn out the same “mainstream” music from town to town. Corporate rock, commercial country and top-40 pop sound frighteningly similar. Discovery? Adventure? The spirit that once defined American radio is all but gone. It is into this musically bleak reality that a match has now been struck. Enter Country Fried Rock, a one-hour, weekly radio road trip that features some of the most exciting off-the-radar artists talking about, and playing, the music that moves them. From legendary veterans like James McMurtry to newcomers playing clubs and sleeping on couches, each episode features an in-depth conversation that explores motivations, fears and victories as America’s truest musical artists unpack their own tunes and the songs that inspire them. The sounds may range from bluegrass to indie-rock, but the heart beats true. Host and producer Sloane Spencer has been on-the-air at major radio stations for over a dozen years and is every bit as passionate about great music as she has ever been. You can hear the experience in her easy, conversational style. This unapologetic lover of all things “musically real” turns up the volume on Delta Blues, Western Swing, Rock & Roll, Singer-Songwriter, Folk, Honky-Tonk, R&B, soul, Gospel and many other Made-in-America treasures. “Rock and roll and country are really amalgams of so many incredible indigenous styles,” Spencer explains. “You don’t have to dig too deep to find a sort of creative spring that seems to feed all of these things.” Tapping that spring is what Country Fried Rock is all about. Each fully-licensed episode contains the eclectic, educated conversation of the best NPR programs, with top-drawer production and charisma of major commercial shows. “This is no fly-by-night podcast,” Spencer explains. “Each show is produced to the highest standards, is fully licensed with the PRO’s and Sound Exchange and is ready for air.” Her first 100 episodes are in the can and have featured acclaimed artists like Dawes, Joe Pug, Courtney Jaye, James McMurtry and many more. Now, after years of prep on college and satellite radio, Spencer’s musical adventure is ready for prime-time. The show is currently available for syndication on college, commercial, public and satellite radio and is looking to expand across America. “I appreciate and respect mainstream radio for what it is,” she adds, “I still work in that environment, but when I see thousands of people of all ages packing into clubs and festivals to enjoy this kind of music it lights me up. There is obviously a market for authentic American music and radio is not really reaching those people. That’s what Country Fried Rock is all about.” If you remember the romance of radio road trips, or if you’re too young for all that and just wish your iPod could introduce you to exciting new music and let you eavesdrop on the kinds of conversations that happen among artists at late-night diners after gigs, Country Fried Rock is for you. If your job is to make your radio station sound interesting, or if you’re just a fan of great music, come on in. You can smell the soul in the air as the door closes behind you and your mouth begins to water. Everything is better when it’s country fried, right?
I first got to know Chad Cochran, known online as CowtownChad, through the defunct Twitter event, Couch By Couchwest. Cochran’s photographs and mixed media art featuring haunting landscapes and abandoned buildings held titles from songs by musicians featured on our show. Through the magic of social media, we became friends and hung out at AmericanaFest in Nashville one year, and then he came down to South Carolina to cover the Country Fried Rock 4th-ish Anniversary party, where Caleb Caudle played in our rural school house, a magical, slightly decrepit place that is made for singing. At the urging of Lydia Loveless, Cochran has expanded his photography to include concert shots, with a specialty for stage images and raw portraits. In this podcast, we talk about many of the bands he has “shot” recently (Charles Bradley, Old 97s, John Moreland, etc.) and festivals from Nelsonville to High Water. I also put him on the spot about a “wish project” that I hope he accomplishes, with your help. Links: * Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800-273-8255 * Guitar String Bracelets $15 each (DM me on Instagram) * Cowtown Chad * Read Sloane Spencer’s recent interview with John Moreland on PopMatters * Give to support this podcast. * Shop for whatever you want on Amazon & help us out, at no extra cost to you.
As most of y’all know, our friend, Chris Porter, passed away in a terrible car wreck while on tour (along with touring partner, Mitch Vandenburg, and survived by drummer, Adam Nurre). I’ve been going through my old hard drives to the early days of this show, when it was a daily feature on select country stations across the country, with a brief excerpt of my interview with one song from the band, called the “Daily Plate of Country Fried Rock.” Here’s the excerpt. I also found the full interview from around 2010, and I also have a long, un-aired interview with Porter — including video — from September 2015. I have offered that audio and video to the people who will hopefully be releasing his recently completed record, if they choose to use it. Please support Porter’s surviving fiancee, Andrea Juarez, Adam Nurre Rehabilitation Fund, or the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians in his memory. XO, Sloane *** Here was my original post following this old conversation: Much like it never occurred to us that iced tea could be “out of season,” it never once crossed our minds that someone might not know what “Back Row Baptist” meant. These Birmingham, Alabama musicians chuckle (politely, of course, to themselves) every time someone asks about the “Backroad Baptists” or where “Bagrow” is. The Ole Miss Center for the Study of Southern Culture is the academic authority on phrases, food culture, religion, and history in the Deep South, so that’s where we turned for a definitive explanation: I can’t immediately find an answer to who, if it’s possible to identify anyone, first started using the term. I think it’s theologically meaningful, because the Baptists have so much emphasis on going forward to the altar–you can’t have “back row” Episcopalians or even Presbyterians. It’s also important because unlike other groups that emphasize going forward and making a commitment or testimony, various pentecostal groups for example, Baptists have a reputation for conservatism, so staying in the back is a way of being in between the action at the front and staying out of it altogether. (Source: Ted Ownby, personal email, 22 June 2010) The Back Row Baptists bring together political controversy and kickin’ country music much like Lynyrd Skynyrd did. Throw into the mix multiple lead singers, including the amazing jazz-influenced Sarah Green, and you’ve got crank it up, party down country rock that you will love, even if it might make you think or tick you off. It’s hard to narrow down their standard three-hour live show to one CD, but their first label-backed release allowed them the luxury of a horn section and a less rushed atmosphere. They are influenced by the subversive lyrics and themes of Boston underground hip hop, the multi-instrumentation of
Sadler Vaden released his debut full length solo album in August 2016. His DIY effort morphed and was scrapped then re-imagined and recorded over a few years. What ultimately became this upbeat, pop influenced rock record demonstrates Vaden’s expertise gleaned from fronting his own band in the early 2000s for 8 years, playing for Drivin N Cryin, and most recently for Jason Isbell. Even his cover of John Moreland’s song, “Nobody Cares About Songs Anymore,” becomes Vaden’s own, filtered through Big Star and Vaden’s own sensibilities. Buy Sadler Vaden here on Amazon or here on iTunes. Vinyl, CD, and digital available.
Decided to do a quick podcast update from my 3 favorites at AmericanaFest 2016. Lots more video to come, but here’s a taste of my favorite band that I did not previously know: Ladies Gun Club (Sally Jaye/Sarah Roberts). I also dug a #CFRalumni band that I had never seen play live and the band all my music friends most-suggested to me. Tons of great music all week! Listen for a feature on Ladies Gun Club soon.
Jon Latham‘s pals are lifers. Capturing the heart of why Country Fried Rock exists, Lifers highlights songwriters who create because they must — driven to write, driving in vans. In this song premiere of the title track, dedicated listeners to this radio show will be able to guess who the song is about: a couple of our alumni and other lifers who make our kind of music happen. Pre-order Lifers here on IndieGoGo: https://igg.me/at/jon-latham-lifers Catch Jon Latham’s official AmericanaFest showcase Sat., 9/24/16 at the 5 Spot. Catch a quick VOIP chat with Sloane Spencer and Jon Latham here, where we talk about our friends like Todd Farrell, Jr.: All Our Heroes Live in Vans (not “friends,” but you know what I meant) (Benchmarks, The Dirty Birds), Aaron Lee Tasjan, and Darrin Bradbury.
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. Always know about your new favorite band by clicking your favorite “Subscribe” link below! Automated Transcript. Hilarity ensues. Welcome to country friend rock I’m your host. Slan Spencer this week Paul Allen Thompson a country fried rock alum from our very first season comes back via a little bit of a touchy cell phone connection. It’s Alan Thompson of the Alan Thompson band. Their new album coming in the next year. Brace yourself. My guest today on Country fried rock is Country Rock and now my personal buddy Alan Thompson. Welcome. Hey it’s going to be here. So I’m thinking you know not to be trite or silly or anything but in your case it’s good to be here on a lot of different levels. Yes. KEITH RICHARDS I say it’s great to be here. It’s great to be anywhere. There’s definitely been a long hard few years for not just me and everyone in the band. We did a lot of really adult stuff this last couple years. So about a year ago I went to the swimming Percy Priest Lake and there’s these really talk with them that we’ve grown up the mountain river right on the river I’d always go swimming with comfort and stuff. And so I was doing what I normally do. And you did it wrong and broke my back. I’m not really sure because of the 50 foot drop the 50 feet of water. So there wasn’t really like anything hard there for the Impac other than just the impact. I think probably it was one of the reflex thing where my obliques and back muscles tensed up before I even hit the water and crushed like 12 vertebrae. Holy cow. Thankfully there were people there and they were able to get you out of the water. Yeah. Because that was the one at the bottom of your rib cage. You know I thought I had the wind knocked out of me because all the pain is on my diaphragm and so I ran back to the boat. It was cold so I was trying to climb up the ladder that I realized my arms and legs were together and something had happened that was bad. I stood up for about a month after that just try to recover hey this is something you listen to country fried rock. Look for new stuff from us. THOMPSON You got got. Our new single long time thinking will be on all your favorite music playing apps on September 9th. Holy cow. So a medical catastrophe like that is something nobody ever wish for but as an independent musician I mean it’s almost worse because then you’re out of work as well. Yeah there was no day job bartending there was no playing. I mean I had to relearn how to hold a guitar on my back. Couple of months after I got out. And you know on top of that I didn’t have inherent. So I am just getting bill after bill after bill after bill and getting more and more scared every day. It was it was tough. It was really tough. Luckily as far as the medical bill part goes with the ...
James Hunter was notably “discovered” by Van Morrison while performing in gritty pubs in England, but the songwriter and singer is more than a protege. The James Hunter Six perform across the world, primarily for blues audiences, although they have been embraced by Americana and rock clubs, as well. Their dynamic shows, fronted by the charismatic British-soul singer, highlight their rhythm and horn sections. The band often works up those parts separately before a whirlwind set of rehearsals when they are recording a new album, such as their latest on Dap Tone Records, Hold On. Buy the James Hunter Six’s music on Amazon or iTunes.
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.
Golden Eels popped onto my feed because of our mutual music preferences on Bandcamp. Their songwriter, Neil Golden, has played on records for several Athens, Georgia, bands, ranging from the Elephant 6 legends, Elf Power, to The Glands and #CFRalumni, Shonna Tucker & Eye Candy. Periscopes in the Air leans toward the psychedelic pop sounds of Golden’s earlier collaborations, yielding a completely DIY record that suits long commutes and pleasant workday distractions. Buy Periscopes in the Air by Golden Eels here. Podcast Listen or download below or on SoundCloud.
Kevin Gordon‘s latest album, Long Gone Time, continues his thoughtful, critical examination of reconciling your love for family with deeply held incompatible beliefs. Country Fried Rock previously featured Gordon following his album, Gloryland. Gordon again recorded with his friend and frequent guitar player, Joe V. McMahan, and funded the album with a personal twist on crowdfunding, detailed in our conversation. We recorded this program in our AirBnB in East Nashville during AmericanaFest 2015. Buy Kevin Gordon’s music here. PODCAST Listen or download the podcast below or on SoundCloud.
Jeffrey Foucault’s (pronounced Folk-alt) latest album, Salt As Wolves, brings the #CFRalum (previously featured here) back to his rock and blues roots. The title references Shakespeare’s character, Iago, from Othello, but the songs reflect Foucault’s personal life more than any of his other albums. As he prepares for the European leg of his tour supporting the record, his long-time band slips into his groove without missing a beat. Buy Jeffrey Foucault’s music here on Amazon. Podcast Stream or download below or on SoundCloud.
Caleb Caudle’s upcoming album, Carolina Ghost, is his first that’s been fully created since he got sober. The Country Fried Rock alum was previously featured on this program following Paint Another Layer on My Heart. He shares tips on releasing a record successfully, choosing songs to record, and the benefits of recording in a legendary studio close to home. After extensive touring both solo and with a band, Caudle feels like he’s starting to get it right. Buy music here on Amazon. Carolina Ghost to be released in 26 February 2016. Podcast Stream or download this podcast below or on SoundCloud.
Adam Landry made a ton of records that I love, and several that we featured last year. As the first person who primarily works as a record producer that we have featured on Country Fried Rock, I did not even know that I liked his work until the middle of an interview last season, when it suddenly dawned on me that he was a recurring theme! From #CFRalumni Lilly Hiatt, T. Hardy Morris, Hollis Brown, and Rayland Baxter, to records we have played in our radio show version of CFR, like Diamond Rugs, Middle Brother, and DeerTick, Landry has been the force behind the scenes, helping the songwriters make the records they have inside them. Buy music here. Podcast Listen or download below or on SoundCloud, or wherever you love your podcasts! Transcript Sloane: My guest today on Country Fried Rock is Adam Landry, the first time we featured someone who’s known for things way beyond just his own recording. Welcome. Adam: Thanks for having me. I’m glad to be here. Sloane: I’m not totally sure I’ve ever had the opportunity to be chatting with other folks so many times and suddenly had this dawning in the middle of interviewing someone else of “Oh my God, I’ve played every single record this guy’s produced in the last couple years.” [Laughter] Adam: Yeah, I remember listening to your interview, I believe, with, it was either with Hardy or Rayland and you mentioned, “I’m having an Adam Landry year.” It made me smile, I was very proud at that moment. Sloane: Seriously, it’s kind of a crazy—Hollis Brown, Hardy, Rayland, Lilly Hiatt. I mean, it was like I didn’t mean for that to happen, but apparently I like what you’re doing. Adam: Cool, cool. Sloane: So I’ve been listening to stuff that you’ve worked with, both for other people as well as things you put out on your own. And I discovered your record from maybe 2012-ish, El Scorpion. Adam: Oh, yeah, that was a rare case of me making music. I was going through an interesting—I won’t call it difficult, because everybody has difficult times—but I was going through an interesting period of my life. And decided that I’ve always been a songwriter, I’ve not so much been a performer, and still not, but, I decided that I was going to make this record that I had inside me. Just to intentionally no fanfare, I just wanted to make it for my friends. I had some friends help me with it. Yeah, I’m real happy with it. It’s very off-the-wall. It’s not representative of anything but the time period I was going through at the time. Sloane: Sure, like a snapshot at any given moment. Adam: Yeah. Sloane: I like the grungy-fuzzy sounds and the little psychedelic tints and all that sort of stuff, which I hear through a lot of the stuff you’ve worked on lately. Adam: Cool. Sloane: How do things morph into you doing what you’re doing with producing for other folks and then there’s Cosmic Thug Records and y’all have some projects there. Adam: It’s been really a whirlwind the last couple years, but I started… I won’t bore you with a bunch of boring details. Essentially I moved to Nashville from Portland, Maine in 1997 so I’ve been here for 18 years now. I came down here because it was Music City, USA, and I was into roots music, if you will. I’m one of those guys that came by roots music via British Invasion stuff. I was always obsessed with the early Stones and Beatle...
Danny Barnes returns to Country Fried Rock to discuss his recent accolade, the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass. Barnes has two distinct audiences: those who know him for playing with bands ranging from Dave Matthews Band to the Butthole Surfers, and those who know him for his songwriting and wide-ranging banjo styles. The term “electronic folk” may have been coined just for him. Barnes is fascinated by sound, and how incongruous sounds mesh or conflict. From the computer programs he designed to interpret his banjo or bazouki playing to his obsession with noise music and cassettes, Barnes is engrossed by the process as much as the product. This year, he released a special recording for Cassette Store Day on his cassette-label, Minner Bucket Records, and will release a more traditional bluegrass album later. Barnes’ take on “tradition” is anything but traditional, though, so it is guaranteed to be another fascinating investigation of technology and instrumentation. PODCAST Stream or download below, or on SoundCloud. Please subscribe to Country Fried Rock in iTunes or your favorite podcast app, and leave us a rating and a comment! That will help boost our search results and allow people to find the show more easily. We welcome your feedback on the show. You can reach me on Facebook or @countryfriedrok.
Kenny Roby returns to music with a dark record, Memories and Birds. Roby describes it as a "slow burn," an album that builds as you listen to the entire sequence. You cannot miss the vocal hint of Elvis Costello in Roby's voice, which surprised me, as I had not noticed that back in the 6 String Drag days. This is not a nostalgic record--it is totally new territory for Roby. Make some coffee and slowly wake up on a weekend morning with this record on repeat. You'll find yourself reaching for it again, as the lyrics slowly burn in your psyche and emerge at the strangest times. Roby has made a memorable album, but not one that jumps up in your face at first. Listen to the Complete Radio Program Here (Podcast to download is at the bottom of the page.) Liner Notes Kenny Roby Memories & Birds "Memories & Birds," "Tired of Being in Love," "The Monster" Roby was also the founder of 6 String Drag, a band signed to Steve Earle's label, E Squared, in the 1990's. They recorded 3 or 4 albums, depending on who you ask, 2 of which were released. Roby also collaborated with previously featured songwriter, Neal Casal. The V-Roys Sooner or Later Sooner Or Later "Cry" This is another band with many branches that have touched this program, including Scott Miller (and the Commonwealth, not the guy from Big Star who passed away this April), John Paul Keith (now of the One Four Fives), & Mike/Mic Harrison (and the High Scores). Two Dollar Pistols Here Tomorrow Gone Today "Here Tomorrow, Gone Today" We've played several songs from the guys who were in this band at various times on this program. They've backed Tift Merritt, as well. John Howie still fronts a band, The Rosewood Revue, and the original drummer also played for the Squirrel Nut Zippers. I think those are all the branches of the family tree that touch this band that have been on this program! 6 String Drag "She's a Hurricane" on 6 String Drag 6 String DragHigh Hat High Hat & 6 String Drag are not currently available on mp3, so these are CD links. There's a long-standing rumor that some deluxe re-issues of these 2 albums and some other bootleg material might get released. My fingers are crossed! Rob Keller of the band has a great bluegrass band, The Welfare Liners, who we will feature soon on the program.High On A Hilltop Tim Easton Beat the Band "Nobody Plays Piano in Athens, GA" Roby will be on the road with Easton later this year. Video