TMFWP Special: A conversation with Dan Stuart and Tom Heyman

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Tom Heyman and Dan Stuart on stage at Star Theater in Portland during the Five Years of Gravy celebration. Photo by Chad Lanning for Chad Lanning Photography (www.chadlanningphoto.com)

Stream or Download TMFWP Special: A conversation with Dan Stuart
and Tom Heyman: 
TMFWP Special: Stuart & Heyman

Having spent more than 30 years in the record business — both as a solo artist and leader of the seminal 80s indie-rock band Green On Red — Dan Stuart can speak to the changes he’s seen in the industry over the years. And when he says, “There’s no music business any more,” he speaks with considerable authority.

But having survived a good amount of personal tumult since the breakup of Green On Red, Stuart is back to making records, and damn fine ones at that. His record from last year, Marlowe’s Revenge — released in America on the Portland-based label Fluff & Gravy Records — earned excellent reviews. And he’s spent much of 2016 promoting the record, touring the U.S. and Europe with friend and fellow indie-rock holdover Tom Heyman.

Podcast producer and co-host Phil Favorite caught up with Heyman and Stuart recently when the duo appeared in Portland for a performance during Fluff & Gravy’s five-year anniversary celebration — three nights of live performances by label artists and associates hosted over the weekend of Nov. 11-13.

Holed up in the bunkhouse at the Fluff & Gravy headquarters, Heyman and Stuart share stories of their extensive histories in the American indie-rock scene and how their paths crossed over the years. Stuart talks freely about his move to Mexico and working with other notable international artists and producers, and Heyman tells how their mutual friendship with former Green On Red guitarist Chuck Prophet led to them working together.

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Tom Heyman, left, and Dan Stuart, strumming and singing in the bunkhouse at Fluff & Gravy Records headquarters in Portland.

They also play a handful of songs on acoustic guitars — Stuart sharing tunes from his solo catalog as well as, “Jimmy Boy,” from Green On Red’s classic 1985 album “No Free Lunch.” Heyman takes on singing duties while strumming a 12-string guitar on “Keep The River On The Right,” a song from his terrific record That Cool Blue Feeling, recorded with Portland’s own Mike Coykendall and released in 2014.

We’re stoked to be able to share this intimate interview and performance by two fantastic American songwriters. Special thanks to John Shepski and Chad Lanning of Fluff & Gravy Records for their help in setting up and executing this podcast and post, and also to the great Fernando Viciconte for his friendship and assistance with the interview.

Here’s the playlist, all performed live in the Fluff & Gravy bunkhouse:
Last Blue Day
Jimmy Boy
Keep The River On The Right
Searching Through The Pieces

Episode #78 featuring Fernando

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Celebrating a fabulous 2016, it’s Fernando in The Helm. Photo by Chad Lanning for Chad Lanning Photography (www.chadlanningphoto.com)

Stream or download Episode #78:  Episode 78 w/ Fernando

It’s been a pretty remarkable 12-plus months for Fernando Viciconte.

Since the release of his most recent album, “Leave The Radio On,” in late 2015, Fernando has enjoyed two European tours, a tour through the American southwest, a summer jaunt opening for alt-country legends The Jayhawks and last month was inducted in to the Oregon Music Hall of Fame.

Not bad for a guy whose musical career not all that long ago was sidetracked by health issues that kept him from touring and limited his local performances. But the Portland-based singer-songwriter is back in full force these days, and the momentum he’s re-building continues to grow.

As our guest for Episode #78 of That Much Further West Podcast, Fernando talks about his return to form in the live performance realm as well as the changes he’s made to help preserve the vocal gift that’s made him a worldwide fan favorite. We were thrilled to have Fernando in The Helm to promote his upcoming show at Star Theater in Portland as part of Fluff & Gravy Records‘ three-day celebration of its five-year anniversary.

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Fernando rocks The Helm with some of his wonderful original music. Photo by Chad Lanning for Chad Lanning Photography (www.chadlanningphoto.com).

With friends and members of the Fluff & Gravy brain trust (and their kids!) in attendance, Fernando recounted the Argentinian roots of his family heritage, spoke of some of the musical influences that have shaped his songwriting, and also shared some wonderful live performances of his original music.

Among the recorded music we play on this episode, Fernando’s song “No Regrets” is part of Fluff & Gravy’s new “Five Years of Gravy” compilation that will be available at this weekend’s shows in Portland. Proceeds from sales of the compilation — featuring songs by Drunken Prayer, Hillstomp and Sassparilla, among many others — will be donated to the Jeremy Wilson Foundation‘s musicians relief fund.

Fernando has scheduled a handful of shows in the Pacific Northwest with Dan Stuart (Green On Red) before heading to Europe in early 2017 opening for Mark Eitzel (American Music Club) on a tour that will cover 14 countries, including Spain. Whether it’s solo, partnered with guitarist Dan Eccles (Richmond Fontaine) or playing with his full band, Fernando is a can’t-miss for lovers of great American folk rock. Be sure to check him out when you have a chance, and dig the video referenced at the beginning of the podcast — it’s posted below!

Here’s the playlist for Episode #78. Enjoy!

Save Me, Fernando
No Regrets, Fernando
True Instigator (Live In The Helm), Fernando
Elena, Dan Stuart & The Twin Tones
Supercheria, Pescado Rabioso
Si Se Calla el Cantor, Horacio Guarany
Para Ti (Live In The Helm), Fernando
Selos, Fernando
The Dogs (Live In The Helm), Fernando

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 #56 featuring Sassparilla

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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.

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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

Episode #53 featuring Mike Coykendall

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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.

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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

Episode #48 featuring Alex Salcido of The Harmed Brothers

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The Harmed Brothers’ Alex Salcido bellied up to the bar at The Helm. Photo by Christopher Sohler (www.christophersohler.com)

Episode #48 with Alex Salcido

Armed with a beautiful voice and a wonderfully beat up acoustic, longtime podcast pal Alex Salcido of The Harmed Brothers stopped back in The Helm last week as the featured artist for Episode #48, and we’re sure glad he did.

Just a few weeks back, Alex could be heard backing up his pal Tom VandenAvond in a special podcast taping and house show in The Helm. Now cooling his heels in Portland while working on the next Harmed Brothers record, Alex has been playing a few shows here and there around town while prepping for a summer of fun and music with his Harmed Brothers partner Ray Vietti.

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Alex Salcido, laying it down in The Helm. Photo by Christopher Sohler

On this episode, Alex shares the stories of his musical journey from middle school up through the present, a long road with some interesting twists and turns along the way. The Harmed Brothers made quite a splash in 2013-14 with their terrific release “Better Days” on Fluff & Gravy Records, and we share a few of those songs on the show. But before then, Alex performs three fantastic newer tunes, including one he dedicates to his musical pal Drew Landry, currently on the mend from an auto accident. He sings, “Well be broke, but we’ll never be broken,” on the tune “Adopt A Highway.”

We also have some amazing new music to share, per usual. When he wasn’t spreading disinformation about NASCAR racing and Loudon Wainwright III, co-host Phil Favorite dug up brand-new, unreleased songs from The Earnest Lovers and Barna Howard as well as music from some killer Northwest bands he’s seen play live recently, including Evening Bell, The Ganges River Band and Jenny Don’t & The Spurs.

There’s also new music from John Moreland and Ryan Bingham as well as terrific cuts from podcasts favorites Caleb Caudle, Tim Barry, Cory Brannan and a closing track picked by co-host Mike Lee to shine the spotlight on the recent rioting in Baltimore.

So settle in for the ride and let Mr. Salcido’s voice carry you away. All you have to do is hit play. Here’s the playlist for Episode #48 of That Much Further West Podcast:

Dust Storm, Evening Bell
Eyes of Fire, The Ganges River Band
Angel of Sunrise, The Earnest Lovers
Indiana Rose, Barna Howard
Don’t Wanna Be Lonesome (Live in The Helm), Alex Salcido
Adopt A Highway (Live in The Helm), Alex Salcido
For Stephen Maddox (Live in The Helm), Alex Salcido
Ballad of Probably Not, The Harmed Brothers
When You See Me, The Harmed Brothers
Trade All The Lights (featuring Lydia Loveless), Caleb Caudle
Angelyne, Fernando
The James, Tim Barry
High On Tulsa Heat, John Moreland
Radio, Ryan Bingham
Trouble With The Law, Jenny Don’t & The Spurs
Downtown Girls, American Aquarium
Little Birds, Trujillo
Meantime Blues, Cory Branan
Hemingway’s Whiskey, Guy Clark
Streets of Baltimore, Gram Parsons

Episode #39 featuring Henry of Hillstomp

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A Portland original . . . Henry from Hillstomp

Episode #39 with Henry from Hillstomp

For the record, his name is Henry Kammerer, and for the last 15-or-so years, he and his musical partner John Johnson have lifted their band, the blues/punk duo Hillstomp, above the loud din of independent music made in our hometown of Portland, OR, USA, to become one of the Northwest’s best-loved musical acts.

The popularity of Hillstomp — and its organic growth over the past decade and a half — is just one of the cool topics we cover on this episode featuring Henry as our guest in The Helm. We also talk about the making of HIllstomp’s great record from earlier this, titled Portland, Ore., the making of the video for the song “Don’t Come Down” (see it at the bottom of this post) and the birth of the band at an open mic that Henry describes as a “blues punk explosion.”

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Henry from Hillstomp with his beautiful new Breedlove guitar in The Helm, December 2014

Henry even shares a song from the record, playing a solo acoustic version of Hillstomp’s “Crowhurst,” one the great cuts from Portland, Ore., out now on Fluff & Gravy Records. And as beautiful a version as it is, the best way to get the full, rowdy Hillstomp experience is to see their high-energy live act. The band headlines a fantastic bill this coming Friday night at Wonder Ballroom in Portland with podcast favorites The Good Luck Thrift Store Outfit and Jeffrey Martin. Go check it out!

Also on this week’s episode, our fearless co-hosts share some of the music that has been buzzing around in their worlds. First up is a set shared by Eric Kotila featuring nominees for song of the year by one of our favorite sources for music news, Saving Country Music, and includes songs from podcast favorites Lydia Loveless, Hellbound Glory and the mighty Matt Woods.

Next up is Mike Lee’s set of protest-inspired tunes from the 60s, 70s and 80s. As Mike explains, the national events that have hijacked the headlines and inspired millions of Americans to take to the streets have had his head spinning over the past few weeks. As is his nature, when searching for solace and answers to life’s big conundrums, Mike turns to music.

And in the final set, Phil Favorite shares some new discoveries after wading through an ocean of critical top picks from 2014, and also pays tribute to the recently deceased Ian McLagan, the legendary keyboardist who made rock and roll history as part of Small Faces and Faces.

Yes, lots to chew on in this episode. So give it a listen and don’t forget to check out Hillstomp’s new video (see below). Here’s this week’s playlist:

Life I Want, Hillstomp
Crowhurst, Henry Kammerer live in The Helm
It Ain’t You (featuring Willie Nelson), Ray Benson
I’ll Be Here In The Morning, Don Williams
Everything’s Gone, Lydia Loveless
Streets of Aberdeen, Hellbound Glory
Liberty Bell, Matt Woods
The City of New Orleans, Arlo Guthrie
Fortunate Son, Creedence Clearwater Revival
My Uncle, The Flying Burrito Brothers
This Ain’t No Picnic, The Minutemen
Ohio, Neil Young
OK Whiskey, Jason Eady
American Middle Class, Angaleena Presley
Cherry Licorice, The Felice Brothers
Truck Stop Gospel, Parker Millsap
Wicked Messenger, Faces
Everywhere Now, The Good Luck Thrift Store Outfit

Episode #35 — Lazy Late Summer Daze

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Episode #35 — Lazy Late Summer Daze

Labor Day has come and gone, the kids are back in school, football is in full swing and we’re gearing up for a big, big fall season full of awesome music here in our home base of Portland, Oregon, U.S.A.

This week we revisit some of the best music of the year so far and also preview a few of September’s upcoming highlights, including this coming weekend’s Fluff & Gravy Festival at Music On The Mounds in Little Rock, Washington, and our own That Much Further West Fest coming up Sept. 19 at The Barn in Portland.

Word on the street is there are just a handful of tickets available for the Fluff & Gravy Festival, so act fast if you want to be a part of that all-day-and-into-Sunday event. Also this coming weekend, we’ll have boots on the ground at the Chinook Music Festival in Naches, Washington, where Root Jack will be featured, and also at the North Twin reunion show in Seattle. Busy times, good times.

So let’s start psyching up for another fantastic week of tunes and bask in the last lazy days of summer. Here’s the playlist for Episode #35:

I’ll Be Here In The Morning, Don Williams
Rise Again, Root Jack
Drunk & Single (for George Jones), Joe Fletcher
Runaways & Strays (featuring Chris Robley), Mike Coykendall
Deadman’s Blues, Matt Woods
Every Night About This Time, Rachel Brooke
The Lord Will Come, Hillfolk Noir
Hurtin’ Albertan, Corb Lund
Somewhere Else, Lydia Loveless
Chemical Plant, Robert Ellis
Nothing Like You, Mario Matteoli
Early Morning Shakes, Whiskey Myers
Pretty Pictures, Country Lips
End Of The Line, Hurray For The Riff Raff
Cocaine, Sassparilla
Santa Fe Line, Hillstomp
Hartwood Train, The Shivering Denizens
I’ve Been Down A Might Long Time, Drunken Prayer
My Best Girl, Lucero