Review of A Long Way From Your Heart by Turnpike Troubadours

A Long Way from Your Heart
by Turnpike Troubadours
(2017, Bossier City)
 
100 words on A Long Way from Your Heart
By MIKE LEE
Every great road trip is about the journey more than the destination. The latest offering from Turnpike Troubadours is a leisurely drive on the back roads of Oklahoma. The windows down on the old Chevrolet C-10 as the fence posts whiz past and the roadside attractions become paragraphs in your travel memoir. The boys in the band are seasoned guides taking you to all the fun spots including that great, local diner in the town you never heard of before now. Easy yet meaningful conversation and hearty laughter are the hallmarks of this trip which doesn’t leave you choking on red dirt.

Mixtap Trio Bravo:

Listen to “The Housefire”:  The Housefire

Listen to “Pay No Rent”:  Pay No Rent

Listen to “Pipe Bomb Dream”:  Pipe Bomb Dream

Review of Tell It To The Jukebox by Miller & Sasser

Miller & Sasser
Tell It To The Jukebox
(2017, Never Lucky)

By PHIL FAVORITE

There’s a small AM radio station north of Seattle that plays what I would define as classic country music — the hit songs I heard in my mother’s Ford Granada (no FM radio) back in the 70s and 80s. I wasn’t a huge fan of that music back then, but these days when my travels take me up that way, I love switching to that station because it offers such sonic relief and pure contrast from the same-sounding singers, songs and raunchy, computer-generated beats that populate country music radio today.

I get that same feeling of “ahhh” listening Tell It To The Jukebox, the new CD by the Portland-based country duo Miller & Sasser. Their music takes you back to the early 70s when the Charlies — Charley Pride and Charlie Rich — were dominating the charts with songs that went straight for the heart instead of the crotch. No bedazzled jeans here; just great songwriting, killer picking and some really, really fine singing.

The title cut — with its tight twin telecasters and vocal harmonies — tells of a love gone wrong from too much time in the honky tonk. “Lonesome Eyes” is a masterful demonstration of country melody executed with a terrific twangy mix of mandolin, acoustic and electric guitars. And the clever combination of guitars and the smooth vocal delivery of Chris Miller on “Way Out Of No Way” will take you right back to 1974.

More than simple nostalgia, the 10 original songs on Tell It To The Jukebox show how two talented country artists — Mr. Miller and his partner James Sasser — can use the old playbook and still deliver a sound that feels crisp and refreshing.

And if you close your eyes, you can imagine what the AM radio in my mom’s Granada sounded like during country music’s Golden Era.

Podcast Trio Bravo:

Listen to “Tell It To The Jukebox”:  Tell It To The Jukebox

Listen to “Way Out Of No Way”:  Way Out Of No Way

Listen to “Lonesome Eyes”:  Lonesome Eyes

To download or purchase a copy of “Tell It To The Jukebox,” visit Miller & Sasser’s page at Bandcamp. Miller & Sasser will be performing live at the Laurelthirst Public House in Portland on Friday, Nov. 10 with Matty Charles + Katie Rose. Visit the Miller & Sasser website for more info.

TMFWP at Wildwood MusicFest: Matt Woods live in The Raven’s Roost

Logging thousands of road miles and playing countless gigs every year, hearty-voiced troubadour Matt Woods has seen America from every angle. His latest album, “How To Survive,” is described by Lee Zimmerman in No Depression as “a brilliant blend of resilience and remorse ably conveyed in songs that consistently find an intimate connection.”

Such is the case on “The American Way,” a quick snapshot of the struggles folks are asked to overcome in their daily lives.

Matt Woods in the Raven’s Roost at the 2017 Wildwood MusicFest & Campout. Photo by Anne Marie for Local Hero Media.

We caught up with Woods this past summer at the Wildwood MusicFest & Campout in Willamina, OR, where he returned as one of the festival’s most favored artists. During a down moment at the festival, Woods dropped into the Raven’s Roost to perform “The American Way,” captured here by Local Hero Media for That Much Further West Podcast.

Learn more about Matt Woods and find out when he’ll be rolling into your town by visiting his website. And in the meantime, check out this video that demonstrates the power Woods can generate with a guitar, his voice and a great story to tell.

Enjoy.

TMFWP Special: 2017 Wildwood MusicFest Preview

Henry from Hillstomp will be rocking your world at the Wildwood MusicFest & Campout this coming weekend in Sheridan, OR. Image courtesy of Chad Lanning Photography (chadlanningphoto.com)

Stream or download 2017 Wildwood MusicFest Preview: Wildwood 17 Preview

It’s that time again, our favorite time of year! The crew at That Much Further West Podcast is gearing up for this weekend’s Wildwood MusicFest & Campout in Sheridan, OR, and to help psyche you up for the event, we’ve put together this playlist to introduce or reacquaint you with the acts that will be performing.

We’re especially thrilled this year to have some of our favorite bands from years past and several new Wildwood performers who have been guests and/or friends of ours for many years. For example, kicking off the playlist is Countryside Ride, a traditional country band we’ve been friendly with for a long time. They’re fresh out of the studio and share a few new songs from an upcoming release, to be heard exclusively on this special episode of the podcast.

Other newcomers to the festival have been regularly featured on the podcast or exclusive guests in the past, bands like The Easy Leaves, Jenny Don’t & The Spurs and The Mutineers. The brilliant Caleb Klauder was a guest on our show several years back, and we were thrilled to see this internationally renowned singer and picker scheduled for this year’s festival.

Conrad Wert is a one-man band known as Possessed By Paul James.

We also get to dip into some uncharted waters with bands such as Tango Alpha Tango, featuring the stunning guitar work of Nathan Treub — a local player who carries a reputation as one of the best young songwriters in Northwest rock. Festival goers will not want to miss seeing this guy in action.

So let this playlist be a primer for your weekend ahead, and follow along as we buckle up for another wild weekend of fun and music at the Wildwood MusicFest & Campout.

Here’s the playlist:

All You’ll Ever Be (Is All You’ve Ever Been), Countryside Ride
I Hope He Breaks Your Heart, Countryside Ride
15 Horses, Hillstomp
Lucy’s Lament, Hillstomp
Further From Shore, The Hooten Hallers
It’s Hard To Trust Your Baby, The Hooten Hallers
Devil And The Deep, The Easy Leaves
Midnight Song, The Easy Leaves
I Gotta Girl, Tango Alpha Tango
Kill & Haight, Tango Alpha Tango
Coming On Strong, Caleb Klauder & Reeb Willms
Innocent Road, Caleb Klauder & Reeb Willms
Aura Vista, Vaudeville Etiquette
Tipping Point, Vaudeville Etiquette
Break Your Fall, The Mutineers
Ace, The Mutineers
Prairie Fire, The Riverside
Don’t Rock The Boat, The Riverside
A Lovely Conversation, The Harmed Brothers
Better Days, The Harmed Brothers
Ain’t No Living, Matt Woods
Johnny Ray Dupree, Matt Woods
Call Of The Road, Jenny Don’t and The Spurs
She’s To Blame, Jenny Don’t and The Spurs
The Woods, Robert Sarazin Blake
Our Winter In New York, Robert Sarazin Blake
Hurricane, Possessed By Paul James
Shoulda’ Known Better, Possessed By Paul James
This Little Pig, Shovelman
Navigate, Shovelman

Veterans of the festival, The Harmed Brothers are back by popular demand. Photo by Anne Marie for Local Hero Media.

 

TMFWP Special: Fifth Anniversary Podcast Picks

An idea comes to life: Eric Kotila (left) and Mike Lee launched That Much Further West Podcast five years ago as a live internet radio show, broadcast from the Hawthorne Theater Lounge in Portland.

Stream or download Fifth Anniversary Podcast Picks: 5th Anniversary Podcast Picks

It began as a simple idea: a couple of burly, bearded buddies sharing their love of rock, punk and country music with friends and other folks far and wide. What Eric Kotila and Mike Lee launched five years ago as a live internet radio show has evolved into what we today call That Much Further West Podcast.

Much has changed over that time. The show is no longer broadcast live from a public place — instead, it has been taped for the last three-plus years in the comfy confines of The Helm, our subterranean lair in North Portland. We also have a dedicated website
(where you are right now) that serves as a hub for episodes, playlists, specials and reviews. And the team has added Phil Favorite as a co-host and producer and Anne Marie as photographer to help bolster our efforts to produce quality, original content.

The boys, live from The Helm (left to right): Mike Lee, Eric Kotila and Phil Favorite. Photo by Anne Marie for Local Hero Media (www.localheromedia.com)

Despite the many changes, mostly for the better, the spirit of the show remains the same. We’re here to turn you on to the music that we love and also the music of the amazingly talented guests we’ve had on the show for the last five years.

To celebrate, we’ve compiled a collection of tunes that represents the tip of the iceberg of what we’ve been listening to and sharing with you over the past five years, and hope to continue to share going forward.

We owe a deep debt of gratitude to the many artists who have volunteered their time and energy to be guests on the show. By one count we’ve had as many as six members of the Oregon Music Hall of Fame visit and perform in The Helm, and that’s just scratching the surface. Rising national stars such as John Moreland and Aaron Lee Tasjan also have stopped by as we’ve compiled more than 80 episodes live from The Helm.

We’re also indebted to the many friends whose interest, enthusiasm and support have fueled our efforts. Special props to Christopher Sohler for his rock-solid stint as our contributing photographer, and to Mary Atwood for her behind-the-scenes, “hostess with the mostest” contributions.

We also can’t thank enough our sponsors — Secret Aardvark Trading Co. and Cloud City Gardens — for their above-and-beyond generosity in making each podcast taping a special treat for our guests.

And last but far from least, a special thank you to Jean Kotila and Ruby Kotila for welcoming us into their home on podcast nights and putting up with our shenanigans. We greatly appreciate it.

So there you have it. A big thank you to you all. And if you’re still wondering what all this is about, just push the play button above. You’ll hear the following:

30 Days, Root Jack
1964, Hearts Of Oak
Tears Don’t Matter Much, Lucero
Right Time, Nikki Lane
Life Is Beautiful, Willy Tea Taylor
Humble Narrator, Two Cow Garage
Dog Bumped, Tim Barry
Midwestern Guys, Lydia Loveless
With Love From Brushy Mountain, Matt Woods
Captain And Tennille, Drunken Prayer
Anchor’s The Way, The Calamity Cubes
Shoulda Known Better, Possessed By Paul James
Whole Damn Bottle, Copper & Coal
The Travelin’ Kind, Tom VandenAvond
Beautiful, Fernando
Ain’t Going To The Bar Tonight, American Aquarium
Deep Red Bells, Neko Case
Better Days, The Harmed Brothers
Somebody Loves You, Austin Lucas
Fire Away, Chris Stapleton
Hurtin’ On The Bottle, Margo Price
Keep It Between The Lines, Sturgill Simpson
Always On The Ride, Richmond Fontaine
Elephant, Jason Isbell

Right at home: Goon squad and co-hosts, protecting the booze at The Helm.

Episode #82 featuring W.C. Beck

W.C. Beck in The Helm for Episode #82 of That Much Further West Podcast. Photo by Anne Marie for Local Hero Media (www.localheromedia.com)

Stream or download Episode #82: Episode 82 w/ W.C. Beck

William Christopher Beck grew up in Middle America surrounded by music, so it’s no surprise he found his musical calling early in life. Now, having moved from coast to coast and overseas (check out the video at the bottom of this post), the multi-talented Mr. Beck has put down roots in Brooklyn, N.Y., after establishing himself as a leading light in the Portland Americana music scene.

Making a quick return visit for a handful of shows in our fair hometown, Chris stopped by The Helm to talk about a few recording projects he has cooking, including one with a crowd-funding campaign underway called “First Flight.” On Episode #82, he plays a live version of his song “Steel Bird” which will be featured on the new record and available for digital download soon.

W.C. Beck sharing some wonderful new songs in The Helm. Photo by Anne Marie for Local Hero Media (www.localheromedia.com)

Chris also plays a couple other original songs: “Facecomber” is from a second recording project he has in the works with his friend Justin Wilcox; on the other, “The Long Way Home,” he invites local singer Anna Hoone to join him on harmony vocal.

We also delve deep into W.C.’s musical upbringing under the watchful eye of his composer grandfather, falling under the influence of some amazing old-time and bluegrass players, and how he came to write his own brand of Americana, roots and country music.

We’re beyond grateful that Chris made time in his busy schedule to do this podcast episode, and we hope you’ll further explore his catalog and support his ongoing Kickstarter campaign. We think you’ll be an instant fan after downloading and digging this episode.

Here’s the playlist:

Poor Man, W.C. Beck
Steel Bird (Live In The Helm), W.C. Beck
Rolling Hills, W.C. Beck
Facecomber (Live In The Helm), W.C. Beck
New Shoes, Caleb Klauder
Le déserteur, Boris Vian
Abandoned Love, Bob Dylan
The Long Way Home featuring Anna Hoone (Live In The Helm), W.C. Beck
Atchison Train, W.C. Beck

 

Episode #81 featuring The American West

Matthew Zeltzer and Maria Maita-Keppeler are The American West, and their little dog, too. Photo by Anne Marie for Local Hero Media (www.localheromedia.com)

Stream or download Episode #81: Episode 81 w/ The American West

The cinematic image of The American West is all at once promising and shattering — beautiful, hopeful, gritty and heartbreaking. Portland-based band The American West capture all these feelings and more on their new record, “The Soot Will Bring Us Back Again,” to be released this week.

Band members Matthew Zeltzer and Maria Maita-Keppeler dropped by The Helm to discuss the record and share a few tunes — recorded and live — for Episode #81 of That Much Further West Podcast. With Zeltzer taking the lead on guitar and vocal and Maita complementing on harmony vocal and violin, the duo paint a romantic view of a West without glossing over the fine and sometimes damaging details.

Just back from a five-week European tour, the pair talk about the genesis of their partnership (both artistic and romantic), their approach to touring, the making of the new album and overcoming the obstacles they face in pursuing their art.

The American West, laying it down in The Helm. Photo by Anne Marie for Local Hero Media (www.localheromedia.com)

On Wednesday, March 15, they’ll bring their fully realized band to the stage at Doug Fir Lounge in Portland for a big album release show. Also on the bill are former podcast guests Jenny Don’t & The Spurs and Mamma Coal for an evening that promises to be entertaining and unforgettable.

You can learn more about The American West by liking their Facebook page and also check out the new album at their  Bandcamp site. In the meantime, give Episode #81 a spin. You’ll be glad you did.

Here’s the playlist:
Heart of Stone, The American West
Ghost Town (Live In The Helm), The American West
Roadsick Blues, The American West
Let Me Love You Like A Pauper Does (Live In The Helm), The American West
Westward Man, The American West
Patience, Young Conquistador (Live In The Helm), The American West
One More Cup Of Coffee, Bob Dylan
Walk On, Neil Young
Give Me All Your Love, Alabama Shakes

 

Episode #80 featuring Jacob Miller

The Bridge City Crooner: Jacob Miller in The Helm for Episode #80 of That Much Further West Podcast. Photo by Anne Marie for Local Hero Media (www.localheromedia.com)

Stream or download Episode #80: Episode 80 w/ Jacob Miller

Growing up in a small town in Wisconsin, Jacob Miller was like a lot of kids his age with a song in his heart and a love for pop music and rock and roll. Little did he know at the time that jazz and swing music ran deep in his bloodlines.

Fast forward to 2017 — following a move to the Pacific Northwest, the 26-year-old Miller now fronts one of the region’s top swing outfits, Jacob Miller and The Bridge City Crooners (see video below). And while he hasn’t lost his love for good old rock and roll, Miller came to discover he wasn’t the first in his family to delve deep into the realm of swing dance music.

Jacob Miller chops away at his ’49 Epiphone archtop while delivering some sweet tunes in The Helm. Photo by Anne Marie for Local Hero Media (www.localheromedia.com)

Here on Episode #80 of That Much Further West Podcast, Miller talks about how he came learn of his family ties to classic swing as well as his neo-traditional approach to the music. By bringing original compositions to a genre flooded with standards, Miller and his band  stand out in the tight-knit community of jazz enthusiasts who bring the classic style to ballrooms and festivals all over the country.

He also tells the serendipitous story about how he acquired an archtop guitar from the 1940s that he uses in sharing some beautiful solo versions of tunes for us live in The Helm. So dial it up, kick back and tune into some some great music and storytelling from a young lion with a big future in the music game.

Here’s the playlist:

Spin That Record, Jacob Miller and The Bridge City Crooners
Love Her Mad (Live In The Helm), Jacob Miller
St. Mary’s Gospel Choir (Live In The Helm), Jacob Miller
Trouble In Paradise, Jacob Miller and The Bridge City Crooners
Oh The Vampyre (Live In The Helm), Jacob Miller
I’mona Wait, Jacob Miller and The Bridge City Crooners

February Podcast Picks

Canada’s finest: The Sadies’ new record, “Northern Passages,” features a cameo from indie-rocker Kurt Vile.

Stream or Download February Podcast Picks:  February ’17 Podcast Picks

It was Episode #65 of That Much Further West Podcast when Portland’s alt-country laureate, Willy Vlautin of Richmond Fontaine, was asked what was the most impressive band he had shared a bill with over his 20-or-so years of gigging.

Without hesitation, Vlautin responded, “The Sadies.”

While Richmond Fontaine celebrated a memorable farewell in 2016, The Sadies continue to bring it to the people. Renowned for their mix of country, rock and psychedelia, the Canadian quartet have released their 10th studio album, “Northern Passages,” and we kick off our February Podcast Picks with “The Elements Song,” a big slice of what makes them great. The record is a joyous mix of big soundscapes and smaller, ear-catching buzzes that have been hallmarks of the band’s finest work. The album also features a lead vocal cameo by indie-rocker Kurt Vile, so be sure to make time to give the whole thing a good listen.

Also featured on this month’s podcast picks are brand-new songs from a number of our genre-leading favorites, including Son Volt, Nikki Lane, Two Cow Garage, Dr. Dog and Tift Merritt. You’ll also recognize the unmistakable voice of Chris Stapleton from his days of fronting blue grass kingpins The SteelDrivers. Also, a song from podcast-team favorite Karen Jonas, who knocked ’em dead at the Ameripolitan Awards in Austin this past week.

Included as well are plenty of new voices to the podcast, including Roger Hoover, Whitney Rose, Derek Hoke, Justin Wells and Shawn James. We also share a fun tune from the new record by Dale Watson and Ray Benson, legends in their own right who came together for a new record called “Under The Influence” under the moniker “Dale & Ray.”

And we close out with a song from Hip Hatchet, who has our new president squarely in his sights with the title cut from his new EP, “Hellhound In The House.” You can read podcast co-host Mike Lee’s 100-word review of the EP and stream all three of the songs here.

In the meantime, give this month’s podcast picks a listen! Here’s the playlist:

The Elements Song, The Sadies
You Put The Hurt On Me, The SteelDrivers
Oh, How Times Have Changed, Roger Hoover
Analog, Whitney Rose
Sinking Down, Son Volt
Shadows Through A Canyon, Fort Defiance
Southern Moon, Derek Hoke
Whiskey And Dandelions, Karen Jonas
The Same, Cody Jinks
Brand New Flag, Two Cow Garage
Going Down Grinnin’, Justin Wells
Jackpot, Nikki Lane
Both Sides Of The Line, Dr. Dog
The Ballad of Dale and Ray, Dale & Ray
Delilah, Shawn James
It’s Alright If You Sleep Around (Featuring Kate Mann), Joshua James and the Runaway Trains
Heartache Is An Uphill Climb, Tift Merritt
Hellhound In The House, Hip Hatchet

Review of Hellhound In The House by Hip Hatchet

Hellhound In The House EP
by Hip Hatchet

One listen, 100 words
By MIKE LEE

The protest song is a tradition not unique to America but somewhat apropos to our current situation. Portland, Oregon-based Hip Hatchet paints a stark portrait of a country facing complicated challenges. How do we fight the battle that seems overwhelming? Will we be triumphant when our weapons of songs, poems and love battle the almighty dollar? Do we stand a chance if the fight turns into another civil war to be battled in the streets? We are walking a tightrope in America and we need voices and songs to keep us grounded and marching to victory over vile hatred.

So it goes.

Listen to “Hellhound in the House”:  Hellhound in the House

Listen to “Burden of an Empath”:  Burden of an Empath

Listen to “Great Divide”: Great Divide