Episode #54 featuring Ray Vietti of The Harmed Brothers


“No, ma’am, we’re musicians.” The Harmed Brothers (l to r): Alex Salcido and Ray Vietti. Photo by Christopher Sohler (www.christophersohler.com)

Episode #54 featuring Ray Vietti

The podcast crew survived another action-packed weekend at the Wildwood MusicFest & Campout here in beautiful Oregon, and upon returning to Portland the lads went right back to work in The Helm producing Episode #54.

Having hosted one half of The Harmed Brothers earlier in the year, we figured it was time to bring in the other half — singer-songwriter Ray Vietti. Known to his touring pals as “Donny Baseball,” Ray’s been spending much of the first half of 2015 in the Midwest, playing shows and traveling with fellow troubador Soda Gardocki.

On this episode, Ray tells us of his travels with Soda and his efforts to work on his performance skills without the help (or hindrance, as it were) of alcohol. The two spent significant time in Soda’s hometown of Chicago, playing Whiffle Ball and music with friends and cohorts.

Ray also talks about his early travels from his hometown in Missouri and the path that led him to “fall in love” with Portland and settle on the West Coast.

Now back from his early 2015 travels, Vietti has reunited with his Harmed Brothers partner, Alex Salcido. The pair are playing shows and building momentum for their next record, due out in early 2016 on Fluff & Gravy Records. They’re currently soliciting contributions to cover the cost of recording and producing the record through a crowd-funding campaign via Indiegogo. Check out the page here, and see the related video at the bottom of this post.


Ray Vietti, kicking out the jams in The Helm.

Then, with Alex riding shotgun on banjo, Ray shares a couple of acoustic songs — one expected to be on the next record called “A Life In Progress,” and another called “Ode To Uncle Tupelo,” one of the first songs the two wrote together. Later, Alex grabs to the spotlight to sing on “Sail Away,” the Randy Newman classic. We capped the interview and performance with a couple of songs from the Harmed Brothers’ critically acclaimed record “Better Days.”

We also have some great music to share from some of our favorite country and Americana artists, including Elizabeth Cook, Adam Lee, Lilly Hiatt and Nikki Lane. Co-host Eric Kotila’s songlist contributions serve as a tribute Owen Mays, the great young songwriter who passed away recently.

So dial it up and make it happen. Here’s the playlist for Episode #54:

Sometimes It Takes Balls To Be A Woman, Elizabeth Cook
Drinking, Cheating, Loving and Leaving, Adam Lee and the Dead Horse Sound Company
Too Bad, Lilly Hiatt
A Life In Progress (Live In The Helm), The Harmed Brothers
Ode To Uncle Tupelo (Live In The Helm), The Harmed Brothers
Sail Away (Live In The Helm), The Harmed Brothers
Never Went Away, The Harmed Brothers
Love Song For The Assumed, The Harmed Brothers
Same God, The Calamity Cubes
Way To Go, Dogbite Harris
Crooked Smile, Jayke Orvis and the Broken Band
Don’t Ya Blame Me, James Hunnicutt
I Don’t Care Anymore, Owen Mays and the 80 Proof Boys
Another Dead Friend, Leroy Virgil
Myrna Lee, Blue Mountain
Lies, Nikki Lane
If You Think You’re Mine, James Sasser


Episode #53 featuring Mike Coykendall


The one and only Mike Coykendall. Photo by Chad Lanning (courtesy of Fluff & Gravy Records)

Episode #53 featuring Mike Coykendall

We’re gearing up big time this week for the upcoming Wildwood MusicFest & Campout here in beautiful Oregon, but we made time to gather with friends for another hot summertime episode in The Helm, this time featuring local musical treasure Mike Coykendall as our guest.

Mike has a fantastic new record coming out this week on Fluff & Gravy Records called “Half Past, Present Pending,” the follow up to his terrific release from a few years back, “Chasing Away The Dots.” He’ll be doing promotional shows all week locally, so if you’re in the Pacific Northwest and want to see a truly original performer, be sure catch one of these handful of gigs (click on our “Live Music Portland” tab for a listing of local shows).

On this episode, Mike tells us about his musical upbringing and the path that led him from America’s heartland to Portland via San Francisco, where he formed and made three great records with the band Old Joe Clarks in the 90s and early oughts. Mike also is a very-much-in-demand audio engineer and producer, having worked with the likes of M Ward and Richmond Fontaine, and has toured the world as a member of M Ward’s band and its popular spinoff, She & Him.


Mike Coykendall, telling stories and sharing songs  in The Helm. Photo by Christopher Sohler

Mr. Coykendall also shares a couple of sweet live performances on his Baby Taylor acoustic, both songs from the new record. One is a cover of Syd Barrett’s “Late Night,” and the other an original tune called “You Don’t Have To Treat You That Way.”

We also play a couple of recordings from the new record, including “Spacebaker Blues,” a song quite reflective of what Mike’s “rig” shows sound like . . . one man singing, jamming fuzzed out guitar, playing drums with just his feet and occasionally twisting the knobs on an array of assorted electronics. His spin on Roger Miller’s “In The Summertime” illustrates his ability to take somebody else’s song and put his personal stamp on it.

This episode also has new music from some of our favorite artists and bands, including Aaron Lee Tasjan, Jason Isbell, Heartless Bastards and The Swearengens. Lots to chew on with this episode.

So dial it in and crank it up, folks! We’ll see you at Wildwood at the end of the week. Here’s the playlist:

American Tan, Aaron Lee Tasjan
Something More Than Free, Jason Isbell
Ode To Whiskey, Deception Past
Late Night (Live In The Helm), Mike Coykendall
You Don’t Have To Treat You That Way (Live In The Helm), Mike Coykendall
Spacebaker Blues, Mike Coykendall
In The Summertime, Mike Coykendall
Cigarettes, Matthew Lindley
Black Cloud, Heartless Bastards
Last Ride, C.W. Ayon
Stono River Blues, Shovels & Rope
Long Lonely Winter, The Swearengens
Cherokee, John Moreland
Nobody Asked To Be Born, Shane Sweeney
15 White Horses, HIllstomp
I Still Believe, Frank Turner