Episode #57 featuring Indianhead


They’re nationwide: long-time pals Derek Phillips (left) and Josh Boisvert of Indianhead. Photo by Anne Barrett

Episode #57 with Indianhead

Modern media has made it easier than ever for musical artists to work collaboratively from great distances. In the case of Indianhead, file sharing has allowed a pair of simpatico amigos to remain working musical partners despite living 2,000 miles apart.

Derek Phillips and Josh Boivert spent a lot of the early part of the century crafting an impressive catalog of songs as part of the Chicago collective Riviera, a beloved folk-rock band that fit nicely in the Americana realm created by the likes of The Jayhawks and Wilco. When Phillips moved to Portland around 2009, he kept the Riviera brand alive, recreating the vibe by adding some new players and new songs to the catalog.

As time passed, Phillips went back to an old friend to help add some fresh air to his musical life. He began a file-sharing project and roped in Boisvert to help flesh out some new songs he was working on, and thus Indianhead was born. Working remotely with other Riviera members past and present, the players have crafted a sound that leans slightly more to the electronic undertones that Riviera hinted at in the past.

Since arriving in Portland, Phillips’ winning combination of singing, songwriting, humor and humility has won over a score of new friends and fans — we here at That Much Further West Podcast are blessed to count ourselves among them. That’s why we were stoked to have him in The Helm along with Josh B. — visiting from Chicago — to perform a couple songs old and new and share the first finished Indianhead song ready for release, titled “Redwood.”


Indianhead, laying it down in The Helm. Photo by Anne Barrett

One listen here and you’ll know why we’ve come to love these guys and what they’re all about. Josh B. takes center stage when he leads the pair through his old Riviera classic, “Your American Past,” before D.P. takes a turn on a new Indianhead song, “Angelina.” We also learn during the interview how the two came together in Riviera, their history of playing together in the Chicago days and how Indianhead came to pass.

We expect big things from Indianhead when they’re ready to release more new material in the coming months. In the meantime, you can follow their latest moves at their website, and also stream the new song at their bandcamp page.

Episode #57 also features brand-new music from some of the biggest names in Americana, including Turnpike Troubadours, Fernando and — what do you know? — Lucero! So crank it up and remember to leave the radio on.

Here’s the playlist:

Doreen, Turnpike Troubadours
Turns Around The Bottle, Barna Howard
Punch Drunk, Uncle Tupelo
Your American Past (Live In The Helm), Indianhead
Redwood, Indianhead
Angelina (Live In The Helm), Indianhead
Breaker, Pee Wee Moore
Hi-Line, Heartless Bastards
I’m The Man Who Loves You, Wilco
Hellraiser, Drunken Prayer
Cold Duck, Bad Assets
Alone In Memphis, Austin Lucas
My Girl & Me in ’93, Lucero
Save Me, Fernando
Turtles All The Way Down The Line, Sturgill Simpson

Episode #56 featuring Sassparilla


The good folks of Sassparilla: (front, l to r) Colin Macdonald, Kevin Blackwell, Naima, and Ross Macdonald (standing). Photo by Chad Lanning (www.chadlanningphoto.com)

Episode #56 with Sassparilla

Few Americana bands in our hometown of Portland, Oregon, U.S.A., inspire the kind of loyalty displayed here last weekend by the fans of Sassparilla, the beloved folk-punk combo that went from busking in the streets to packing the biggest rooms in town in a blurr-like, 10-year run.

Playing their first show in nine months, Sassparilla returned to action in front of a sold-out Doug Fir Lounge on Friday night, bringing their high-energy high-wire act to an adoring throng that has remained loyal to the band while they’ve been taking time off to figure their next big move.

That’s why we were thrilled that the good folks of Sassparilla, led by front man Kevin Blackwell, took the time to visit The Helm for an interview and performance as guests for Episode #56 of That Much Further West Podcast.

During the interview, Kevin spoke about his recent move from Portland to suburban Milwaukie, Wisconsin, and how life in the Midwest is treating him and his family well. He also reflected on the blessings of his Portland experience, especially the relationship the band has built with its fans and also its record label, Portland-based Fluff & Gravy Records.


Sassparilla, sharing to good stuff in The Helm. Photo by Chad Lanning

Most of the band — including the father-son team of Ross Macdonald (harmonica) and Colin Macdonald (wash tub bass), and multi-instrumentalist and singer Naima — joined Kevin for the performance of two brand-new Sassparilla songs. Ace guitarist Jamie Stillwell supplemented the band with some world-class picking on her resonator guitar.

Inspired by the presence of Sassparilla, co-host Eric Kotila picked out some songs to share by bands he feels would fit well on a bill with Sassparilla, whose fast-paced style and acoustic leanings typify a kind of Americana we love and often share on the show. We also share a few songs by a pair of ladies emerging in the alt-country scene, Lera Lynn and Ashley Monroe, and co-host Mike Lee celebrated a fun rock show he recently attended by playing a song by The Eagles of Death Metal.

It’s all right here on Episode #56. So sit back, relax and prepare to do some toe-tapping with the fun-loving gang from Sassparilla. All you have to do is press play.

Here’s the songlist:

Anchor’s The Way, The Calamity Cubes
Long Way Home, Jayke Orvis
7 Devils, The Goddamn Gallows
Another Kind, McDougall
Mutiny (Live In The Helm), Sassparilla
Those Poor Darlings (Live In The Helm), Sassparilla
Rebel Flags, Ron Rogers & The Wailing Wind
Amexica, Trujillo
Jimmy Carter, Blue Mountain
Standing On The Moon, Lera Lynn
If The Devil Don’t Want Me, Ashley Monroe
So Easy, The Eagles of Death Metal
We’re Getting Closer To The Grave Each Day, Michael Dean Damron
Nobody Gives A Damn About Songs Anymore, John Moreland

TMFWP Special: Wildwood Sessions 2015 with Slim Cessna’s Auto Club


Wide shot: Slim Cessna’s Auto Club . . . that’s Slim, third from the left. Photo by Christopher Sohler (www.christophersohler.com)

Wildwood Sessions: Slim Cessna

It was our final interview session at the 2015 Wildwood MusicFest & Campout, so we went for broke. We invited all six members of Slim Cessna’s Auto Club to cram into the RV, along with our three hosts, to enjoy a little bit of air conditioning on a hot Saturday afternoon.

Slim and crew obliged, sitting patiently for our interview to end so they could drop some musical knowledge on the team and our listeners. When time came for the performance, Slim pulled out his iPhone and we plugged it into the soundboard to provide a pre-recorded backing track for the band to play along with.

Moments later the entire band, led by Slim, were clapping, chanting and singing along to a song — we never quite got the title — that demonstrated the high power of the collective. Co-host Phil Favorite found the performance so engrossing he couldn’t help but join in with hand claps, and thankfully he managed to go pretty much unnoticed by the band — they were all living in the moment, a hallmark of their live stage performances.


Men in black: Slim Cessna and his crew on stage at the 2015 Wildwood MusicFest & Campout. Photo by Christopher Sohler

Later that evening, Slim Cessna’s Auto Club set the main festival stage on fire with an intense, mind-blowing performance. It was a show that won’t soon be forgotten by the Wildwood faithful, most of whom were witnessing the Auto Club in action for the first time.

There really isn’t another band we can think of to compare to Slim Cessna’s Auto Club, but we recommend you go see them play live any chance you get. They’ll be at the Muddy Roots Festival in Cookeville, Tennessee, this weekend. Look for more information about the band and their touring schedule at slimcessnasautoclub.com.