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

Episode #79 featuring Jon Neufeld

Portland’s Jon Neufeld stopped by The Helm to talk about his production work and playing on the new Smithsonian Folkways collection “Roll Columbia: Woody Guthrie’s 26 Northwest Songs.” Photo by Anne Marie for Local Hero Media (www.localheromedia.com)

Stream or download Episode #79: Episode 79 w/ Jon Neufeld

When it comes to playing guitar, Jon Neufeld seems to have it all covered. From bluegrass to folk to gypsy jazz, Neufeld has been a go-to guy having built a national reputation for superb playing from our hometown of Portland, Oregon, U.S.A.

And more and more, it seems Neufeld is becoming a go-to producer as well. Such was the case when executives were looking for somebody to wrangle a talented cast of artists to put together “Roll Columbia: Woody Guthrie’s 26 Northwest Songs,” a new collection of the songs that made a lasting impact on the music and history of the Columbia River region.

With the new record out on Smithsonian Folkways (the non-profit record label of the Smithsonian Institute), the podcast team invited Neufeld into The Helm to talk about the project and also his evolution and career as a working musician based in the Pacific Northwest. Neufeld brought along Darrin Craig, his longtime bandmate from local bluegrass stalwarts Jackstraw, to sing some Guthrie songs and tell stories from their early days of making music together.

Jon Neufeld (left) and Darrin Craig get down on some Woody tunes in The Helm. Photo by Anne Marie for Local Hero Media

Not only did Neufeld produce the record but he also played on many of the 26 songs, including one sung here by Craig titled “The Ballad of Great Grand Coulee.” He also shares songs from the album sung by Michael Hurley, Al James (Dolorean) and Martha Scanlan and talks about some of the influences that have spurred his musical growth both as a player and producer.

We encourage you to dig into this new collection of songs and learn more about the lasting legacy of Woody Guthrie and his impact on the history of our local region. You can order the CD or download it directly from Smithsonian Folkways by following this link, and we hope you’ll look up online performances by Neufeld in his many musical adventures, including his work with Jackstraw (see below), Scanlan, Black Prairie and the Kung Pao Chickens.

In the meantime, enjoy Episode #79 of That Much Further West Podcast. Here’s the playlist:

Just Another Way to Go, Jackstraw
Pastures of Plenty,
Michael Hurley and Jon Neufeld
The Talkin’ Blues, Al James and Jon Neufeld
Jackhammer Blues (Jackhammer John), Martha Scanlan and Jon Neufeld
Ballad of the Great Grand Coulee (Live In The Helm), Darrin Craig and Jon Neufeld
1913 Massacre (Live In The Helm), Darrin Craig and Jon Neufeld
Minor Swing, Django Reinhardt
Black Mountain Blues (Rag) & Soldier’s Joy, Clarence White
When I Was A Boy, Electric Light Orchestra
Nowhere Massachusetts, Black Prairie

TMFWP Special: Live From The Helm, Vol. 3

Mamma Coal celebrated the release of her widely anticipated album “Raven Haired Vixen” with a visit to The Helm. That’s 2016 Oregon Music Hall of Fame inductee Paul Brainard riding shotgun. Photo by Anne Marie for Local Hero Media (www.localheromedia.com).

Stream or download Live From The Helm, Vol. 3:  Live From The Helm Vol. 3

There were a lot of things about 2016 we’d like to forget — it was a year of staggering losses for both the music world and the great wide world in general. Still, our team at That Much Further West Podcast had much to be thankful for, namely the incredible roster of guests we hosted at The Helm for podcast episodes this year.

From start to finish, this year marked a great leap forward for the podcast. The team decided to narrow the focus, dedicating the entirety of each episode to our individual guests. That way we learned more about their histories, their influences, their hopes and dreams and their immediate plans for the future. All celebrated remarkable successes this year and we were happy to promote their fine work and proud to host them in our subterranean home in Portland — The Helm!

Nick Foltz of Lowlight added his usual heavy dose of cool to The Helm scene in 2016. Photo by Anne Marie for Local Hero Media (www.localheromedia.com).

We were pleased to rope in some more out-of-towners this year, including Seattle’s Evening Bell and national acts John Moreland and Aaron Lee Tasjan. We also were thrilled to highlight the great work being down by local longtime friends like Mamma Coal, Nick Foltz of Lowlight and Birger Olsen. We even made some great new friends in Kory Quinn and Taylor Kingman of the Hill Dogs, and hooked up with local legends such as Willy Vlautin of Richmond Fontaine and the mighty Fernando. All were incredibly inspiring to the team.

Still, 2016 will be remembered for our many musical losses, one big electoral loss and another that’s particularly personal to our team. We said goodbye the father of our Hoot, our friend Chuck Noland, a loss that proved particularly devastating. That’s why we wrap up “Live From The Helm, Vol. 3” with a beautiful tribute to Chuck by Maria Francis and Jeff Overbo of Silver Lake 66. In a year full of tears, there wasn’t a dry eye in The Helm during that performance.

But as we reflect on the past year before turning the calendar page, enjoy this collection of songs we proudly share here with you. We’ll see you in 2017!

Here’s the playlist:

Memphis Rain, Aaron Lee Tasjan
Our Horse Barn, Kris Stuart
Ride Through The Night, Mamma Coal
Three Brothers Roll Into Town, Willy Vlautin
In The Shadow Of The Tower Of Babel, Kory Quinn
Devil’s House, Evening Bell
A Lovely Conversation, The Harmed Brothers
Life Of The Party, Stars Of Cascadia
You Look As Sweet, Birger Olsen
Mother Mountain, The Hill Dogs
Bloodlines, Lowlight
This Very Hour, McDougall
Wasted And Waiting My Saturday Night, Lewi & Anita
Late Bloomer, Matthew Lindley
True Instigator, Fernando
Walk Away, Silver Lake 66

Our podcast hosts, at home in The Helm, left to right: Mike Lee, Eric Kotila and Phil Favorite.

December Podcast Picks

1

Nikki Lane’s new full-length LP “Highway Queen” will be hitting the streets in February 2017.

Stream or download our December Podcast Picks:  December Podcast Picks

She’s logged a lot of road miles since the release of her breakthrough 2014 breakthrough album “All Or Nothin” and now Nikki Lane is ready to take the world by storm with “Highway Queen,” the much anticipated follow up due early next year.

We kick off our December Podcast picks with the title track from the record, which Rolling Stone.com describes as “an amalgam of gritty twang, dirty blues and a whip-smart taste for dangerously delightful melody” — in other words, more of what we’ve come to love from the sassy, stylish outlaw country chanteuse. After “Highway Queen” hits the streets, Ms. Lane and her band will hit the road for an extensive tour that includes a stop at California’s Stagecoach Festival in April.

Nikki is just one of several of our favorite female singers featured among this month’s podcast picks. Amanda Shires’ new record, “My Piece of Land,” is receiving across-the-board praise while Lydia Loveless continues to tour behind her genre-busting Bloodshot Records LP “Real,” released in August. We also have an official outtake celebrating the 20th anniversary of Gillian Welch’s debut album “Revival,” and a song from Courtney Marie Andrews’ much (rightly so) praised “Honest Life” record, released this past summer by Portland-based Mama Bird Recording Co.

We also added a little modern rock muscle to the mix with cuts from Two Cow Garage, Drunken Prayer and Blackberry Smoke, but still managed to keep it country with songs old and new by the likes Billy Don Burns, Western Centuries, Chris Stalcup and Brent Cobb. And we always seem to find a way to salute the forefathers, with a careful nod to a legend lost, the great Leonard Cohen.

So dial it up. These should help hold you through the holidays. Here’s the playlist for our December Podcast Picks:

Highway Queen, Nikki Lane
Continental Distance, Two Cow Garage
Keith Whitley Blue, Billy Don Burns
Gold, The Handsome Family
The Old You, Western Centuries
You Are My Home, Amanda Shires
Fell Into The Sun, Drunken Prayer
Chickenhawks and Jesus Freaks, Tom Heyman
Me and the Whiskey, Whitey Morgan and the 78’s
Midwestern Guys, Lydia Loveless
Burnin’ Up These Highways, Chris Stalcup
Drinking, Cheating, Loving and Leaving, Adam Lee and the Dead Horse Sound Company
Show Me, Neil Young
Merry Christmas From The Family, Robert Earl Keen
Go On Downtown (Revival Outtake), Gillian Welch
Diggin’ Holes, Brent Cobb
Sunrise In Texas, Blackberry Smoke
15 Highway Lines, Courtney Marie Andrews
Chelsea Hotel #2, Leonard Cohen

TMFWP Special: A conversation with Dan Stuart and Tom Heyman

night-three-star-9590

Tom Heyman and Dan Stuart on stage at Star Theater in Portland during the Five Years of Gravy celebration. Photo by Chad Lanning for Chad Lanning Photography (www.chadlanningphoto.com)

Stream or Download TMFWP Special: A conversation with Dan Stuart
and Tom Heyman: 
TMFWP Special: Stuart & Heyman

Having spent more than 30 years in the record business — both as a solo artist and leader of the seminal 80s indie-rock band Green On Red — Dan Stuart can speak to the changes he’s seen in the industry over the years. And when he says, “There’s no music business any more,” he speaks with considerable authority.

But having survived a good amount of personal tumult since the breakup of Green On Red, Stuart is back to making records, and damn fine ones at that. His record from last year, Marlowe’s Revenge — released in America on the Portland-based label Fluff & Gravy Records — earned excellent reviews. And he’s spent much of 2016 promoting the record, touring the U.S. and Europe with friend and fellow indie-rock holdover Tom Heyman.

Podcast producer and co-host Phil Favorite caught up with Heyman and Stuart recently when the duo appeared in Portland for a performance during Fluff & Gravy’s five-year anniversary celebration — three nights of live performances by label artists and associates hosted over the weekend of Nov. 11-13.

Holed up in the bunkhouse at the Fluff & Gravy headquarters, Heyman and Stuart share stories of their extensive histories in the American indie-rock scene and how their paths crossed over the years. Stuart talks freely about his move to Mexico and working with other notable international artists and producers, and Heyman tells how their mutual friendship with former Green On Red guitarist Chuck Prophet led to them working together.

img_0112

Tom Heyman, left, and Dan Stuart, strumming and singing in the bunkhouse at Fluff & Gravy Records headquarters in Portland.

They also play a handful of songs on acoustic guitars — Stuart sharing tunes from his solo catalog as well as, “Jimmy Boy,” from Green On Red’s classic 1985 album “No Free Lunch.” Heyman takes on singing duties while strumming a 12-string guitar on “Keep The River On The Right,” a song from his terrific record That Cool Blue Feeling, recorded with Portland’s own Mike Coykendall and released in 2014.

We’re stoked to be able to share this intimate interview and performance by two fantastic American songwriters. Special thanks to John Shepski and Chad Lanning of Fluff & Gravy Records for their help in setting up and executing this podcast and post, and also to the great Fernando Viciconte for his friendship and assistance with the interview.

Here’s the playlist, all performed live in the Fluff & Gravy bunkhouse:
Last Blue Day
Jimmy Boy
Keep The River On The Right
Searching Through The Pieces

Episode #78 featuring Fernando

fernhelm-8596

Celebrating a fabulous 2016, it’s Fernando in The Helm. Photo by Chad Lanning for Chad Lanning Photography (www.chadlanningphoto.com)

Stream or download Episode #78:  Episode 78 w/ Fernando

It’s been a pretty remarkable 12-plus months for Fernando Viciconte.

Since the release of his most recent album, “Leave The Radio On,” in late 2015, Fernando has enjoyed two European tours, a tour through the American southwest, a summer jaunt opening for alt-country legends The Jayhawks and last month was inducted in to the Oregon Music Hall of Fame.

Not bad for a guy whose musical career not all that long ago was sidetracked by health issues that kept him from touring and limited his local performances. But the Portland-based singer-songwriter is back in full force these days, and the momentum he’s re-building continues to grow.

As our guest for Episode #78 of That Much Further West Podcast, Fernando talks about his return to form in the live performance realm as well as the changes he’s made to help preserve the vocal gift that’s made him a worldwide fan favorite. We were thrilled to have Fernando in The Helm to promote his upcoming show at Star Theater in Portland as part of Fluff & Gravy Records‘ three-day celebration of its five-year anniversary.

fernhelm-8607

Fernando rocks The Helm with some of his wonderful original music. Photo by Chad Lanning for Chad Lanning Photography (www.chadlanningphoto.com).

With friends and members of the Fluff & Gravy brain trust (and their kids!) in attendance, Fernando recounted the Argentinian roots of his family heritage, spoke of some of the musical influences that have shaped his songwriting, and also shared some wonderful live performances of his original music.

Among the recorded music we play on this episode, Fernando’s song “No Regrets” is part of Fluff & Gravy’s new “Five Years of Gravy” compilation that will be available at this weekend’s shows in Portland. Proceeds from sales of the compilation — featuring songs by Drunken Prayer, Hillstomp and Sassparilla, among many others — will be donated to the Jeremy Wilson Foundation‘s musicians relief fund.

Fernando has scheduled a handful of shows in the Pacific Northwest with Dan Stuart (Green On Red) before heading to Europe in early 2017 opening for Mark Eitzel (American Music Club) on a tour that will cover 14 countries, including Spain. Whether it’s solo, partnered with guitarist Dan Eccles (Richmond Fontaine) or playing with his full band, Fernando is a can’t-miss for lovers of great American folk rock. Be sure to check him out when you have a chance, and dig the video referenced at the beginning of the podcast — it’s posted below!

Here’s the playlist for Episode #78. Enjoy!

Save Me, Fernando
No Regrets, Fernando
True Instigator (Live In The Helm), Fernando
Elena, Dan Stuart & The Twin Tones
Supercheria, Pescado Rabioso
Si Se Calla el Cantor, Horacio Guarany
Para Ti (Live In The Helm), Fernando
Selos, Fernando
The Dogs (Live In The Helm), Fernando