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.

Review of Drag The River


I’m not a music critic. I’m not a musician. I am just one lucky SOB who has been working in venues and with bands for better part of my adult life.

— Mike Lee
That Much Further West Podcast

Drag The River (2013, Last Chance Records)

I first head Drag The River in the summer of 2001. I was managing the Bluebird Theatre in Denver, Colorado and we were hosting a 30th birthday party for Luke Schmaltz (lead singer of the seminal Denver punk band, King Rat). The band tapped to play was Drag The River. I had not heard the band yet and judging by the cast of characters assembled on stage and in the crowd I was ready for a punk rock show. I mean, for Christ sake, I had seen every single member over the previous year in their separate punk bands.

I was too busy to notice the pedal steel sitting on stage. I suppose from the first note plucked I was definitely intrigued. I am not sure if it took a full song to be all in and wanting to leave my post at the bar and set up in front of the stage with a large glass of bourbon and a smile.  The show was epic. The party was an epic adventure with many stories still told to this day.

I bought the Hobo Demo’s cd the band had at the show and it was in heavy rotation over the next couple of months (or the past dozen years). Listening to that album made me feel like I had suddenly been given a road map following a lifetime of roads traveled listening to old country with my step dad and the punk rock I ingested later in life.

Here I sit over a dozen years later and once again I am wearing out the newest release from Drag The River. A 10 song, self-titled recording released on Last Chance Records. The EP is everything I have come to expect from a Drag The River record. The songs rock. They twang. They are punk. They are country. The lyrics will make you slam whiskey; hug a friend and drunk dial an ex in less than 30 minutes.

In my life, the punk rock heroes picked up acoustic guitars and slowed it down with charged songs about living, family, addiction, the road and so much more. The gentlemen in Drag The River (Jon Snodgrass and Chad Price) can hold their own with anybody in that group while bringing their own humor, stories and the ability to rip out a scorching rock tune with plenty of twang. They are steady. They are part of home base. I suspect 12 years from now I will find as much solace in this new EP, Drag The River as I do in the original recording.

Interested in learning more about Drag The River? Go to www.dragtheriver.com for show dates, merch and music information. They will be on tour this winter with Cory Branan.

The music can also be purchased at Last Chance Records www.lastchancerecords.com

For more info about their other projects look up:

Jon Snodgrass: Armchair Martian / Jon Snodgrass / Scorpios

Chad Price: All / Chad Price

JJ Nobody: The Nobodys