Episode #73 featuring Lowlight

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Buddies for life . . . Chris Viola and Nick Foltz of Lowlight.

Stream or download Episode #73:  Episode 73 w/ Lowlight

Our podcast ramp-up to this week’s Wildwood MusicFest & Campout hits a crescendo with a visit to our homebase, The Helm, by Nick Foltz and Chris Viola, the leader and lead guitarist, respectively, of Portland’s Lowlight.

With a pair of acoustic guitars in tow, Nick and Chris play a couple of original songs and tell us how Lowlight evolved from the mind of Foltz to become a fully fleshed-out rock and soul machine with the additions of Carmen Paradise on bass, James Pearson on drums and now a horn section primed for the band’s Friday night performance at Wildwood.

DSCN0945The taping of Episode #73 was made even more special by the presence of Nick’s dad Ken Foltz and an old rock-and-roll pal from his North Carolina days, Cameron Thomas. Nick explains how both gentlemen played key roles in his musical development, from music fan to player to writer and singer.

Nick and Chris also talk about some of the other musical influences in their upbringing, and Nick shared songs by Leon Russell, The Kinks and David Bowie as samplings from his musical DNA. We also play a couple of songs from local projects Nick has been involved in, including The John Brown Band and Truckstop Darlin’.

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Lowlight lads getting it done in The Helm.

One listen to this episode and you’ll understand why we’re so jacked up for Wildwood this year, and when Nick talks about his involvement in the Sunday morning festival all-star session, you’ll know why we plan to stick around all weekend long.

So fire it up! Episode #73 is designed to get you in the mood for Wildwood.

Here’s the playlist:

Flung Too Far, Lowlight
Try Again, Lowlight
Bloodlines (Live In The Helm), Lowlight
Sing Me Away, Lowlight
Hummingbird, Leon Russell
Strangers, The Kinks
Starman, David Bowie
The Pond, The John Brown Band
Bluegrass State, Truckstop Darlin’
Hands (Live In The Helm), Lowlight

 

Episode #72 featuring The Hill Dogs

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Taylor Kingman, gearing up to lead the Hill Dogs at Wildwood MusicFest & Campout. Photo by Anne Marie for Local Hero Media

 

Stream or download Episode #72:  Episode 72 w/ Hill Dogs

The fifth-annual Wildwood MusicFest & Campout in Willamina, OR, USA, is just a few weeks away, and to kick off our coverage The Hill Dogs visited The Helm to share some songs and provide an update on what they’ve been up to since their festival appearance three years ago.

Formed while the members were still in high school, the Hill Dogs have held together and honed their chops to become one of the Northwest’s best rockin’ folk bands. Led by singer, songwriter and guitarist Taylor Kingman, the band put out its second album, “Hang In There,” earlier this year and is currently recording a third record expected out next year.

Kingman talks a bit about the holding the band together while the group enters early adulthood, and also about taking advantage of opportunities to play a few solo shows since moving to Portland from small-town Oregon. While taking the lead as the Hill Dogs main songwriter, he said he still works collaboratively with his mates as the band’s sound continues to evolve.

He’s also joined by fellow ‘Dogs Kayla Stroik (viola, vocals) and Lucas Benoit (guitar) for a pair of live performances of new songs expected to be on the next Hill Dogs record. And if these performances aren’t enough to stoke the interest of festival goers, Taylor’s stories from the band’s previous experience at Wildwood should be reason enough for folks to keep their eyes out for The Hill Dogs at this year’s festival (hint: be sure to hydrate).

So dial it up and spread the word — it’s The Hill Dogs on Episode #72 of That Much Further West Podcast! Here’s the playlist:

Mindhole, The Hill Dogs
Mother Mountain (Live In The Helm), The HIll Dogs
Landlocked Blues, Bright Eyes
Two-Headed Boy, Neutral Milk Hotel
From, Dr. Dog
Burning Bright (Live In The Helm), The Hill Dogs
Thick Was The Night, The Hill Dogs

Episode #71 featuring Birger Olsen

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The Quiet Man: Birger Olsen. Photo courtesy of Mama Bird Recording Co.

Stream or download Episode #71:   Episode 71 w/ Birger Olsen

They don’t make ’em like they used to. Truer words were never spoken, or in this case sung by Birger Olsen, the quiet and steady guitarist from the band Denver who explores his smokey blues side on a new six-song solo record, “The Lights Just Buzz.”

Birger stopped by The Helm to share some stories and songs and promote the new release for Episode #71 of That Much Further West Podcast.

Listening the new record, it’s easy to understand why it’s creating such a strong early buzz in the Americana scene. Birger taps into a mysterious, bluesy vein he says has long been at the root of his musical foundation, revealing the influence that several of his musical heroes have had on his writing — artists like Taj Mahal, Lyle Lovett and Ry Cooder.

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Rainier beer and smokey blues: Birger Olsen live in The Helm.

On this episode, Birger talks about his decision to record the six songs on the new release with the help of musical partner Ben Nugent, who guided the recording process and added a few special touches to help him convey a sort of nightclub vibe — a music noir if you will — that oozes from the record. He also speaks of his musical upbringing and how he first got into playing country music only after arriving in Portland, and how he formed Denver with a few of his musical pals in his adopted hometown.

Birger also shares of a couple of gem-like live solo acoustic performances from the new record: the title cut, and another called “Slow Bone.”

On June 30, Birger will be celebrating his record release with a show at Mississippi Studios in Portland along with Kele Goodwin and the rest of Denver. To pre-order “The Lights Just Buzz,” due in stores later this week, visit the dedicated Mama Bird Recording Co. page. Also, watch for Birger at the annual Americana Music Association festival in Nashville in September.

In the meantime, dial up the podcast and give it a spin! Here’s the playlist for Episode #71:

The Lights Just Buzz, Birger Olsen
You Look As Sweet (Live In The Helm), Birger Olsen
Sweet Mama Janisse, Taj Mahal
God Will, Lyle Lovett
Tattler, Ry Cooder
Bird In The Morning Dew, Denver
Sammyville, Denver
Rabbit Dancing, Denver
Slow Bone (Live In The Helm), Birger Olsen
Hummin’, Birger Olsen

Episode #70 featuring Aaron Lee Tasjan

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The man with the folky jams, Aaron Lee Tasjan on the Bear Couch at The Helm. Photo by Anne Marie for Local Hero Media

Stream or download Episode #70:   Episode 70 w/ Aaron Lee Tasjan

Back in the summer of 2014, blossoming East Nashville singer-songwriter Aaron Lee Tasjan took up residency at the Crystal Hotel in downtown Portland for a string of dates at the hotel’s tiny basement bar, Al’s Den.

Over the course of the week, Tasjan was inspired to write a song, “Lucinda’s Room,” that would later turn up on his critically acclaimed album of last year, “In The Blazes.” The residency was also an introduction for our hosts at That Much Further West Podcast, who quickly championed the Ohio-born player as one to watch on the Americana rock and folk scene.

Fast forward to Spring 2016 — Tasjan has risen to prominence among the elite of the burgeoning Americana scene. The success of the independently released “In The Blazes” has helped him earn a new deal with New West Records, and his growing reputation has won him a following among the successful, well-traveled artists that have influenced him along the way.

We caught up with Aaron Lee during his recent swing through the Pacific Northwest — this time with an impressive full band in tow — and corralled him into The Helm for a podcast interview and performance.

He talks about the humbling success of “In The Blazes,” his upbringing in a house full of poetry and life in his adopted hometown of East Nashville, the new epicenter of alt-country. He also shares live performances of three songs, including two expected to be on “Silver Tears,” an album due to hit the streets in October.

We think, listening to this podcast, this truth will hold self-evident: Aaron Lee Tasjan kicks ass. His rare combination of singing, songwriting, stunning guitar playing and aw-shucks charm bode well for success in the coming years.

So dial it up, download it and share it with your friends — it’s Episode #70. Enjoy!

Here’s the playlist:

American Tan
Memphis Rain (Live In The Helm)
The Dangerous Kind
The Trouble With Drinkin’ (Live In The Helm)
Get Gone
E.N.S.A.A.T.
Ready To Die (Live In The Helm)
Don’t Walk Away
Lucinda’s Room
Not Punk
Made In America

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ALT in The Helm, bringing the folky East Nashville goodness. Photo by Anne Marie for Local Hero Media

 

Episode #69 featuring Stars of Cascadia

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Representing Stars of Cascadia (l to r): Scott Jeffries, Mandy Allan and John Nyen. Photo by Anne Marie for Local Hero Media

Stream or download Episode #69:  Episode 69 w/ Stars of Cascadia

When we first met Stars of Cascadia last summer, they had just launched as a local band ready to make some noise in the Americana scene in our hometown of Portland, Oregon, U.S.A. Now they’re back in The Helm with a debut CD called “Riverside Skyline” and ready to rock with a big celebration show this Friday, May 20 at White Eagle Saloon.

According to the band’s leader, Scott Jeffries, the new CD came together quickly under the guidance of producer/engineer Bryan Daste at his Magic Closet studio. With songwriting contributions from several band members, the seven-piece Stars pooled their talents to deliver some beautiful renderings of their heartfelt alt-country songs, some of which the trio of Jeffries, singer Mandy Allan and fiddle player John Nyen perform here live for Episode #69 of That Much Further West Podcast.

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Stars for the night in The Helm: Mandy, John and Scott of Stars of Cascadia. Photo by Anne Marie for Local Hero Media

They also preview a few songs from the debut album that show off the talents of the various songwriters from the band. Each is a poignant look into the life of the author, a theme that often brings out the best in country music. And by sharing a few selections by artists who have influenced his songwriting, Jeffries displays a leaning toward the sentimental and wistful, things that may not seem obvious considering the scathing nature of a few of the originals he shares.

All in all, the band paints a fairly complete portrait of what they’re about and how they bring their hard-boiled stories to life. So sit back and enjoy this hour with Stars of Cascadia, and be sure to pick up a copy of the new record at their show this Friday night or at any of a number of online outlets when the disc goes live later in the week.

Here’s the playlist:

Santa Ana Winds (Live In The Helm), Stars of Cascadia
Life Of The Party (Live In The Helm), Stars of Cascadia
Judge Moore (Live In The Helm), Stars of Cascadia
$1,000 Wedding, Gram Parsons
TVA, Drive-By Truckers
Tonight, Shine A Light, Matthew Lindley
The Man I Am, Stars of Cascadia
Lowmoor, Stars of Cascadia
Bad Habits, Stars of Cascadia

Episode #68 featuring The Harmed Brothers

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Coming to a town near you soon, The Harmed Brothers (l to r): Matthew McClure, Alex Salcido, Ray Vietti and Ryan Land. Photo by Anne Marie for Local Hero Media

Stream or download Episode #68: Episode 68 w/ Harmed Bros

Right there at the top of their tour schedule: The Helm!

Yes, that’s right, we were stop No. 1 (on 4/20, no less) as The Harmed Brothers launched an ambitious three-month tour that will take them from their home base of Portland, Oregon, all the way to Portland, Maine, U.S.A. And they brought their full touring quartet — with leaders Alex Salcido and Ray Vietti supported by bassist Matthew McClure and drummer Ryan Land — into The Helm for a fun interview and performance for Episode #68 of That Much Further West Podcast.

We had Alex and Ray as individual guests on the show last summer, so it was good to get the full Harmed Brothers experience this time around. On this episode they talk about their plans to release an EP some time this summer on Fluff & Gravy Records, the tour itinerary (including a stop to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N. Y.), and some of the bands they expect to hook up with along the way.

They also talk about their coming together under the influence of the Dave Matthews Band and select a couple of songs (by ELO and Ryan Adams) that reveal what inspired them to become songwriters and also what’s been ringing in their heads recently. They also share some stories from their close relationship with podcast favorite and musical guru Willy Tea Taylor, who has been a guiding light for The Harmed Brothers in their larger family of Americana troubadours (including Tom VandenAvond and Soda Gardocki, among many others).

And after performing a handful of original songs and a lovely version of Happy Birthday for podcast gallery member Stacy, the boys were ready to hit the road outfitted with several bottles of hot sauce from Secret Aardvark Trading Company, our show sponsor.

Stay on top of all things Harmed at their website, including tour dates, and in the meantime, kick back and enjoy the show. Here’s the episode playlist:

A Letter To Lisa
State of Kansas
With Them Comes Hell (Live In The Helm)
Conversation (Live In The Helm)
Telephone Line, Electric Light Orchestra
If I Am A Stranger, Ryan Adams & The Cardinals
Under The Axe
Better Days
Where I’ve Always Been (Live In The Helm)

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The Harmed Brothers, launching their tour from The Helm. Photo by Anne Marie for Local Hero Media

Episode #67 featuring Evening Bell

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Down from Seattle, it’s Evening Bell (l to r): Aaron Harmonson, Jason Merculief, Caitlin Sherman, Hart Kingsbery and Olie Eshleman. Photo by Anne Marie for Local Hero Media

Stream or download Episode #67: Episode 67 w/ Evening Bell

Traffic at the Landmark Saloon in Portland came to a sudden halt last Thursday night as folks crowded the tiny dance floor to get their first listen and look at Evening Bell, one of Seattle’s finest up-and-coming bands and purveyors of Alt-Country Noir. Led by singers Caitlin Sherman and Hart Kingsbery, the band ripped through an inspired set of original music that kept the normally transient Landmark crowd riveted from opening notes.

Beforehand, Evening Bell stopped by The Helm to record Episode #67 of That Much Further West Podcast. Just off the road from a set of shows on the Washington coast, the full band set up shop and shared an interview and a pair of songs they’ve been refining on the road. With Aaron Harmonson playing bass, Jason Merculief working a slightly stripped down drum kit, Olie Eshleman plucking the pedal steel guitar and Sherman playing The Helm’s house piano, Kingsbery led the band through “Devil’s House” and “Prairie Calls,” the second of which will appear on their debut album to be released in the fall.

The band also talked about their rise from Seattle’s burgeoning country music scene and their plans to tour once the album is released in the fall. We also squeezed in a few of Evening Bell’s already-released songs, which can be heard at band’s website. Check there to stay on top of the band’s activity in and around the Pacific Northwest and be sure to look for the album and tour this fall.

Here’s the playlist:

Strange Mama
Devil’s House (Live In The Helm)
Prairie Calls (Live In The Helm)
Restless Angel
Dust Storm

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Evening Bell, all settled in at The Helm. Photo by Anne Marie for Local Hero Media

 

Episode #66 featuring Kory Quinn

Kory Quinn, at home in the wilds of Eastern Oregon.

Stream or download Episode #66: Episode 66 w/ Kory Quinn

Not all that long ago, Kory Quinn was standing on the corner of Chicago and Western avenues in the Ukranian Village neighborhood in his native Chicago when he realized he was at a crossroads. Though tethered to life in the big city, the West was calling his name.

Fast forward through some bumps along the road and you’ll find Kory settled in our hometown of Portland, Oregon, U.S.A., where the talented singer-songwriter has established himself as one of the strongest voices on the local folk rock scene. Backed by some of Portland’s finest Americana players, young Mr. Quinn is building a following of fans who have come to love his boisterous performances and fun-loving, entertaining style.

Kory fits into the tradition of America’s greatest folk storytellers — names like Bob Dylan, Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark come to mind immediately when listening to his music. He weaves his tales of outlaws, misery and corruption with a knowing eye for detail, and he can share a talking-blues with the best of them.

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Kory Quinn (right) the quintessential David Lipkind performing in The Helm. Photo by Anne Marie for Local Hero Media

On this episode of That Much Further West Podcast, Kory tells stories from his musical influences and his upbringing in Chicago, where his parents’ love of music and performance took hold of the boy at a very young age. He also speaks of his adoption into the folk circles of Eastern Oregon, where he found a kinship with the people who travel the great, open spaces to seek out entertainers who truly have something to say.

And accompanied here by his pal, harmonica “super natural” David Lipkind, Kory shares a number of songs that show off his terrific talent for vocal performance and word play. One listen to “Back To Oregon” and you’ll get a feel for the power and authenticity that Kory brings to the music.

We also share a couple of new songs that will be available when Kory releases his next digital album, appropriately titled “Chicago/Western.” To pre-order the digital release, visit Kory’s bandcamp site. And local folks should watch for Kory’s upcoming seven-day residency at Al’s Den in downtown Portland, kicking off on Sunday, April 24.

In the meantime, enjoy this latest podcast episode. Big thanks from us to Kory and Dave for bringing the musical goodness to The Helm.

Episode #65 featuring Willy Vlautin of Richmond Fontaine

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Willy Vlautin of Richmond Fontaine making himself at home in The Helm. Photo by Anne Marie for Local Hero Media.

Stream or download Episode #65: Episode 65 w/ Willy Vlautin

For 20 years, Richmond Fontaine has been the vanguard for Portland’s alt-country scene, earning worldwide acclaim for their dramatic, steel-infused Western soundscapes and the one-of-kind storytelling of singer Willy Vlautin. That’s why we are thrilled to share this interview and performance by Mr. Vlautin, recorded at our home base, The Helm.

Now entering the last chapter of their fantastic run, RF has just released their final album, “You Can’t Go Back If There’s Nothing To Go Back To,” available now on Fluff & Gravy Records. On this episode of That Much Further West Podcast, Willy shares a few solo performances of songs from the new record as well as some thoughts on the end of the Richmond run and the impact the band has made over the years.

Willy takes us back to his roots growing up in Reno, Nevada, and how he came to find great music from the Los Angeles underground during his teenage years. Asked to pick a few tunes that were influential during that period, he selected songs by Los Lobos, Tom Waits and The Pogues (this episode was taped on St. Patrick’s Day).

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Willy the lefty sharing a few of the instant classics from the new Richmond Fontaine record, “You Can’t Go Back If There’s Nothing To Go Back To.”

He also talks about the evolution of his songwriting, introducing different storytelling techniques and voices and shifting points of view to advance his richly detailed lyrical ideas. As author of four critically acclaimed novels, Willy talks about how many of his longer literary stories start as song ideas — indeed, many of the characters from his great books first show up in songs by Richmond Fontaine. Listen closely as Willy reveals the title of his next novel.

We wrap up the episode with the handful of RF classics from the body of their 10 great albums — a quick primer for what is unquestionably one of the greatest bands in Portland history (see the playlist below). Also, check out the video for one of the band’s awesome instrumentals, “El Tiradito,” from the album “Thirteen Cities,” captured at WaveLab Recording Studios in 2007.

The band will be heading to Europe this spring to promote the new record and will do some touring over the rest of the year in what appears to be Richmond Fontaine’s swan song, so be sure to pick up a copy of the new record and keep an eye out for when they roll into your town. You want to miss one last chance to see this legendary band.

Here’s the playlist from Episode #65 featuring Willy Vlautin of Richmond Fontaine:

$87 And A Guilty Conscience That Gets Worse The Longer I Go, Richmond Fontaine
Wake Up Ray (Live In The Helm), Willy Vlautin
Three Brothers Roll Into Town (Live In The Helm), Willy Vlautin
Will The Wolf Survive, Los Lobos
Shore Leave, Tom Waits
A Rainy Night In Soho, The Pogues
Don’t Skip Out On Me (Live In The Helm), Willy Vlautin
Lost In The Trees, Richmond Fontaine
The Warehouse Life, Richmond Fontaine
Give Me Time, Richmond Fontaine
Always On The Ride, Richmond Fontaine
Winner’s Casino, Richmond Fontaine
The Kid From Belmont Street, Richmond Fontaine
Through, Richmond Fontaine

 

Episode #64 featuring John Moreland

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Impressive beard, super impressive talent: John Moreland in The Helm. Photo by Anne Marie for Local Hero Media.

Stream or download Episode #64: Episode 64 w/ John Moreland

We were still reeling from his stunning performance the night before at The Doug Fir Lounge in Portland when John Moreland dropped by The Helm for a visit and interview with That Much Further West Podcast. With just an acoustic guitar, a rich, low voice and an arsenal of songs aimed straight for the heart, Mr. Moreland reduced the usually chatty crowd at Doug Fir to a hushed, reverent flock of believers. Call it Sunday School.

John Moreland is an artist’s artist. His name always seems to come up when some of the best songwriters in alt-country and Americana talk about the peers they most admire. And on the strength of his massively acclaimed 2015 record “High On Tulsa Heat,” he’s been riding a huge wave of career momentum.

He started the year opening for double Grammy-winner Jason Isbell in the U.K. and Europe, then returned stateside for his first national TV appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. He’s currently wrapping up a swing through the Western States and will be appearing at the South By Southwest music festival in Texas later this month before hitting the road with Lucero in April.

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A legend in the making: John Moreland stops by The Helm for a chat with the podcast team. Photo by Anne Marie

For this podcast episode, John sits down with the podcast team to talk about riding the publicity wave, the challenges of songwriting and his little tricks for quieting a live, boisterous crowd when the chatter threatens to ruin the mood. He also talks up some of his most-admired peers and his recent discovery of Canadian bands and artists who have come onto his radar, including Doug Paisley.

To complete the episode, we share a set of songs that highlight the  power, depth and greatness of John’s songs as well as the breadth of his talent. This is nothing new — his songs are among the most played on That Much Further West Podcast and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. Simply, we’re big, big fans of John Moreland.

Be sure to follow John’s exploits via his website and be on the lookout for when his road show pulls into your town. He’s a stunning live performer who always is well worth the price of admission.

We couldn’t be more grateful to John for sharing this interview in The Helm or more proud to share this episode with you. Enjoy.