Episode #23 — Go Blazers!


Episode #23 — Go Blazers!

NBA playoff fever has swept through our hometown of Portland, OR, USA, aka Rip City, where our Trail Blazers have grabbed a 3-1 first-round lead over the Houston Rockets. During the latest taping in The Helm, the podcast lads were monitoring the scoreboard while putting together Episode #23, dubbed by co-host Mike as “The Michael Jordan Episode.”

Well, since Michael is sort of a four-letter word in these parts (the Blazers famously passed on His Airness in the 1984 draft in favor of the infamous, injury-riddled and sadly cursed Sam Bowie), we managed to spin the topic away from the Bulls famous #23 and to the excitement swirling here in the City of Roses.

It’s not just the playoffs that have the gang kinda giddy this week. Around the time of the taping, word had just broke that Mike had booked a summer house concert for Possessed By Paul James here in Portland. Warning: The PPJ show date quoted here on the podcast has changed, but if you follow us at Facebook, it won’t be hard to track in the weeks ahead.

Mike also shares a few stories from behind the scenes of his rock and roll past, including the birth of the Gothic Americana scene in Denver, a cool one about Chuck Ragan’s boots, and another about George Clinton, smoking crack and stealing cars. We also get a tip on a cool bar in North Portland and a Scotch-tasting lesson from Eric, and a nose-clearing lesson from Phil.

More importantly we’ve got some great music to share, including new stuff from Left Lane Cruiser, Cutbank and Matt Woods as well as classics from Lucero, The Handsome Family and The Highwaymen.

So let’s tip it off, shall we? Here’s this week’s playlist:

Losing Days, Frank Turner
Slingshot, Left Lane Cruiser
You Make My Heart Beat Too Fast, Buddy & Julie Miller
The Mountain, Lucero
Can’t Be Satisfied, Hillstomp
Hold Back The Water, Cutbank
Bones, Willy Tea Taylor
Used To The Truth, The Hooten Hallers
Scarlet Town, Gillian Welch
Shoulda Known Better, Possessed By Paul James
Dead Man’s Blues, Matt Woods
When That Helicopter Comes, The Handsome Family
I Want My Mojo Back, Scott H. Biram
Disarray, The Ghostwriter
The Last Cowboy Song, The Highwaymen


Episode #22 — Remembering Levon Helm (1940-2012)


Levon Helm

Episode #22 — Remembering Levon

The second anniversary of Levon Helm’s death gave us a chance to pay tribute to the great man, and also to do it from our home base, The Helm. So we did just that for Episode #22, which features a block of favorites from Levon and The Band.

The boys managed to tape this week’s show while Eric was on baby patrol. Thankfully his daughter Ruby is a great sleeper — she snoozed right through the show so the crew could bring together their usual shenanigans uninterrupted. This trial run went so well, it could be the precedent for future shows from The Helm.

This time around, we kept it pretty brief, but we also have a new music from Hillstomp and Sturgill Simpson and a block of other goodies for you to enjoy, so just press play. Here’s this week’s songlist:

Santa Fe Line, Hillstomp
Gone, Gone, Gone, Nikki Lane
Turtles All The Way Down, Sturgill Simpson
Rattlesnake, American Aquarium
Reno, Denver
The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down, The Band
Poor Old Dirt Farmer, Levon Helm
Anna Lee, Levon Helm
When I Paint My Masterpiece, The Band
The Weight, The Band
Meanest Jukebox In Town, Whitey Morgan & The 78s
American Charm, Hip Hatchet
Whip-Poor-Will, Magnolia Electric Company
It Could Happen To You, Blue Rodeo
Here’s Looking At You, Kid, The Gaslight Anthem

Episode #21 Greetings from Portland, Oregon, U.S.A


Episode #21 Greetings From Portland

Let’s start this post with a note of thanks to all of you who have been listening to the podcast and visiting our Facebook page. Last week we saw an enormous increase in podcast-related traffic and we’re super grateful to all of you for staying with us through the trials and tribulations of pulling together 20 episodes in the new incarnation of the show. Thank you!

This week’s podcast is an “all music” show delivered with the help of many of the musical acts we’ve featured through the first 20 episodes: the legends of country, the pioneers or alt-country, the current standard bearers of Americana and a bunch of fantastic artists from the Pacific Northwest and specifically right here in beautiful Portland, Oregon, U.S.A.

We’re deeply indebted to the friends who have helped us since the launch of the podcast last fall, especially the talented musical folks who have given their time to perform or be interviewed (or both) for the show. Several — such as Sarah Gwen, Freddy Trujillo, Joel Roth of the Low Bones and Miller & Sasser — are featured on this week’s podcast, which includes lots of “tags” from said folks and also contains the world’s shortest interview.

The sun is shining today in beautiful Portland, and we think we have your perfect soundtrack for the day. So let’s get to it. Here’s the playlist for Episode #21.

Newspaper, The Resolectrics
Cooke City, The Lonesomes
Wild American Runners, Arliss Nancy
Suicide Sal, Karen Jonas
What Is Truth, Johnny Cash
Bluegrass State, Truckstop Darlin’
Bye Bye Baby, Miller & Sasser
Arianne, The V-Roys
Border Radio, Kelly Willis & Bruce Robison
The Race Is On, George Jones
I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool (with George Jones), Barbara Mandrell
Keep Your Promises, Matthew Lindley
90 Miles (The Tennessee Song), The Honeycutters
Sister Sinead, Kris Kristofferson
The Old Black Hen, Songs: Ohia
We’ll Sweep Out The Ashes In The Morning, Gram Parsons
If You Come Around Here, The Swearengens
Loaded, North Twin
Something May Catch Fire, Chuck Ragan
Tom 33, The Low Bones
Woods, Sarah Gwen
Assimilation Blues, Trujillo
Winter Bloom, Celilo
This Land Is Your Land, Tim Barry
A Good Day To Be A Husband, I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch In The House
Christ For President, Billy Bragg & Wilco
Too Lazy To Work, Too Nervous To Steal, BR5-49
Another Place Another Time, Jerry Lee Lewis
Bartender Blues, Countryside Ride


Review of Somewhere Else by Lydia Loveless


Lydia Loveless, Somewhere Else (2014, Bloodshot)

She was all dressed up and ready to be crowned alt-country’s queen-in-waiting, but a funny thing happened on the way home from the prom. Lydia Loveless rolled down the window, tossed the tiara, took a left turn and hit the throttle.

On her third full-length record, the 23-year-old Loveless says goodbye to the raging banjos and cowpunk shuffles that made it so easy to box her in as the future of alt-country. Somewhere Else is something very different — a radio-ready rock album that aligns the singer less with country blues songstress Lucinda Williams and more with a fellow Ohioan, rocker Chrissie Hynde.

Sure, many of those good ol’ country music themes (drinking, cheating, etc.) remain at the heart of Loveless’ songwriting, and she’s not afraid to cast herself in a bad light. On Somewhere Else, the singer is a drunk, a home-wrecker, an obsessive helplessly bent on self-destruction and destined to wind up alone. But she also knows her way around a song, with lyrics so direct and sexually frank it’s hard to miss the point — or not get caught up in the naughty fun.

Listen to “Really Want To See You” “Really Wanna See You” by Lydia Loveless

The album’s first track, “Really Want To See You,” announces not just its obsessive lyrical tone but also its direction as a straight-ahead rock record. The listener is greeted with screaming guitars, heavy drums and not a hint of the twang that was a hallmark of Loveless’ previous work.

On the poppier “Wine Lips,” Loveless shows off her talent for terrific word play. Early in the song when she sings, “Ain’t there somewhere where you and me can be alone/Honey, this isn’t a party if it’s chaperoned,” you already have a good idea of who you’re dealing with. This is an artist who isn’t afraid to say what she wants, and seems to be willing to do whatever it takes to get it.

Listen to “Wine Lips” “Wine Lips” by Lydia Loveless

Eventually, steel guitar winds it’s way into the mix as the songs start to sink from the heart to the gut and, eventually, the crotch. On the slow-burner “Hurts So Bad,” Loveless sings, “I swore I’d go to bed, but I must have it bad/’Cause I got up and I pushed every button your elevator had.” On the not-so-subtle “Head,” she sings, “The sooner I go to sleep, the sooner I can dream/Well, maybe if I get lucky tonight you’ll be there waiting, ready for me.”

Listen to “Head” “Head” by Lydia Loveless

As things slow down on the back half of the record, Loveless offers a glimpse at her more gentle side. But obsession, longing and desire for love remain constant themes throughout Somewhere Else, a record so well executed, straightforward and fun that it’s bound to elevate Ms. Loveless’ profile as an indie-rock comer and destined to be included on many lists of the 2014’s best.

That Much Further West Podcast

Lydia Loveless and her band will be performing live in Portland at Doug Fir Lounge on Wednesday, April 2. The Stubborn Lovers open the show. Visit www.dougfirlounge.com for more information.