This week, Eric and Mike are back in all their vulgar, politically incorrect glory as we bring you another fun show from The Helm. Philly missed the taping because he had band practice, but he did catch up with Fredd Luongo of The Swearengens, a great Seattle alt-country band named — fittingly for this episode — after the foul-mouthed saloon keeper and general all-around bad guy played by actor Ian McShane in the HBO drama Deadwood.
The soft-spoken, kindly Mr. Luongo (not at all like Al Swearengen) was nice enough to sit down for an interview before his band’s terrific show Friday night at The Landmark Saloon in Portland. Among other things, he talked about his influences from the late-90s Americana scene and also some of the kindred spirits he’s connected with in Seattle. Later in the podcast, we share a Swearengens song and also hear from a couple of those key groundbreaking bands of the Seattle alt-country scene, Chuckanut Drive and North Twin.
You’ll also hear some wonderful females voices on the show, including recent breakthrough star Holly Williams and the great Lucinda Williams, as well as a pair of showings by Portland’s own Annalisa Tornfeldt: one with her band Black Prairie (on the heartbreaking and haunting Richard Manuel) and another with her fantastic female trio Calico Rose.
We also get a bit folky on this episode with a tune by Utah Phillips and a tribute to a giant in American music, the recently departed Pete Seeger. We’ll always remember Mr. Seeger not just for his profound musical impact, but also the never-wavering political courage he displayed in bringing his songs of hope and legend to audiences around the world.
Here’s this week’s songlist. Enjoy the show!
That Much Further West (Show theme), Lucero
Ain’t Nothing Free, Root Jack
Ballad Of The Opening Band, Jeff Tweedy
Railroads, Holly Williams
Wrong Way To Run, Willy Tea Taylor
Interview with Fredd Luongo of The Swearengens
Timebomb, Old 97’s
Long Winter’s Feeling, Freddy Trujillo
Never Gonna Change, Drive-By Truckers
By The Time I Get To Phoenix, Glen Campbell
If You Come Around Here, The Swearengens
Richard Manuel, Black Prairie
Jesse James, Pete Seeger with Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and Ed McCurdy
Pineola, Lucinda Williams
Portland, Drag The River
The Green Rolling Hills of West Virginia, Utah Phillips
Thunderstorms And Neon Signs, Wayne Hancock
Hangin’ Up, Chuckanut Drive
Trouble, Have Gun, Will Travel
Write Home (Live At Al’s Den), Calico Rose
Oh Me Oh My, Deadstring Brothers
Drunk Dial, Whiskey Shivers
Hurricane, Possessed By Paul James
Bar Scar, The Whipsaws
Just To See, The Low Bones
Whiskey For Breakfast, Adam Lee and the Dead Horse Sound Company
Thinking California, The James Low Western Front
Darken My Door, Cory Branan
Wreck, North Twin