TMFWP Special: Fifth Anniversary Podcast Picks

An idea comes to life: Eric Kotila (left) and Mike Lee launched That Much Further West Podcast five years ago as a live internet radio show, broadcast from the Hawthorne Theater Lounge in Portland.

Stream or download Fifth Anniversary Podcast Picks: 5th Anniversary Podcast Picks

It began as a simple idea: a couple of burly, bearded buddies sharing their love of rock, punk and country music with friends and other folks far and wide. What Eric Kotila and Mike Lee launched five years ago as a live internet radio show has evolved into what we today call That Much Further West Podcast.

Much has changed over that time. The show is no longer broadcast live from a public place — instead, it has been taped for the last three-plus years in the comfy confines of The Helm, our subterranean lair in North Portland. We also have a dedicated website
(where you are right now) that serves as a hub for episodes, playlists, specials and reviews. And the team has added Phil Favorite as a co-host and producer and Anne Marie as photographer to help bolster our efforts to produce quality, original content.

The boys, live from The Helm (left to right): Mike Lee, Eric Kotila and Phil Favorite. Photo by Anne Marie for Local Hero Media (www.localheromedia.com)

Despite the many changes, mostly for the better, the spirit of the show remains the same. We’re here to turn you on to the music that we love and also the music of the amazingly talented guests we’ve had on the show for the last five years.

To celebrate, we’ve compiled a collection of tunes that represents the tip of the iceberg of what we’ve been listening to and sharing with you over the past five years, and hope to continue to share going forward.

We owe a deep debt of gratitude to the many artists who have volunteered their time and energy to be guests on the show. By one count we’ve had as many as six members of the Oregon Music Hall of Fame visit and perform in The Helm, and that’s just scratching the surface. Rising national stars such as John Moreland and Aaron Lee Tasjan also have stopped by as we’ve compiled more than 80 episodes live from The Helm.

We’re also indebted to the many friends whose interest, enthusiasm and support have fueled our efforts. Special props to Christopher Sohler for his rock-solid stint as our contributing photographer, and to Mary Atwood for her behind-the-scenes, “hostess with the mostest” contributions.

We also can’t thank enough our sponsors — Secret Aardvark Trading Co. and Cloud City Gardens — for their above-and-beyond generosity in making each podcast taping a special treat for our guests.

And last but far from least, a special thank you to Jean Kotila and Ruby Kotila for welcoming us into their home on podcast nights and putting up with our shenanigans. We greatly appreciate it.

So there you have it. A big thank you to you all. And if you’re still wondering what all this is about, just push the play button above. You’ll hear the following:

30 Days, Root Jack
1964, Hearts Of Oak
Tears Don’t Matter Much, Lucero
Right Time, Nikki Lane
Life Is Beautiful, Willy Tea Taylor
Humble Narrator, Two Cow Garage
Dog Bumped, Tim Barry
Midwestern Guys, Lydia Loveless
With Love From Brushy Mountain, Matt Woods
Captain And Tennille, Drunken Prayer
Anchor’s The Way, The Calamity Cubes
Shoulda Known Better, Possessed By Paul James
Whole Damn Bottle, Copper & Coal
The Travelin’ Kind, Tom VandenAvond
Beautiful, Fernando
Ain’t Going To The Bar Tonight, American Aquarium
Deep Red Bells, Neko Case
Better Days, The Harmed Brothers
Somebody Loves You, Austin Lucas
Fire Away, Chris Stapleton
Hurtin’ On The Bottle, Margo Price
Keep It Between The Lines, Sturgill Simpson
Always On The Ride, Richmond Fontaine
Elephant, Jason Isbell

Right at home: Goon squad and co-hosts, protecting the booze at The Helm.

December Podcast Picks

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Nikki Lane’s new full-length LP “Highway Queen” will be hitting the streets in February 2017.

Stream or download our December Podcast Picks:  December Podcast Picks

She’s logged a lot of road miles since the release of her breakthrough 2014 breakthrough album “All Or Nothin” and now Nikki Lane is ready to take the world by storm with “Highway Queen,” the much anticipated follow up due early next year.

We kick off our December Podcast picks with the title track from the record, which Rolling Stone.com describes as “an amalgam of gritty twang, dirty blues and a whip-smart taste for dangerously delightful melody” — in other words, more of what we’ve come to love from the sassy, stylish outlaw country chanteuse. After “Highway Queen” hits the streets, Ms. Lane and her band will hit the road for an extensive tour that includes a stop at California’s Stagecoach Festival in April.

Nikki is just one of several of our favorite female singers featured among this month’s podcast picks. Amanda Shires’ new record, “My Piece of Land,” is receiving across-the-board praise while Lydia Loveless continues to tour behind her genre-busting Bloodshot Records LP “Real,” released in August. We also have an official outtake celebrating the 20th anniversary of Gillian Welch’s debut album “Revival,” and a song from Courtney Marie Andrews’ much (rightly so) praised “Honest Life” record, released this past summer by Portland-based Mama Bird Recording Co.

We also added a little modern rock muscle to the mix with cuts from Two Cow Garage, Drunken Prayer and Blackberry Smoke, but still managed to keep it country with songs old and new by the likes Billy Don Burns, Western Centuries, Chris Stalcup and Brent Cobb. And we always seem to find a way to salute the forefathers, with a careful nod to a legend lost, the great Leonard Cohen.

So dial it up. These should help hold you through the holidays. Here’s the playlist for our December Podcast Picks:

Highway Queen, Nikki Lane
Continental Distance, Two Cow Garage
Keith Whitley Blue, Billy Don Burns
Gold, The Handsome Family
The Old You, Western Centuries
You Are My Home, Amanda Shires
Fell Into The Sun, Drunken Prayer
Chickenhawks and Jesus Freaks, Tom Heyman
Me and the Whiskey, Whitey Morgan and the 78’s
Midwestern Guys, Lydia Loveless
Burnin’ Up These Highways, Chris Stalcup
Drinking, Cheating, Loving and Leaving, Adam Lee and the Dead Horse Sound Company
Show Me, Neil Young
Merry Christmas From The Family, Robert Earl Keen
Go On Downtown (Revival Outtake), Gillian Welch
Diggin’ Holes, Brent Cobb
Sunrise In Texas, Blackberry Smoke
15 Highway Lines, Courtney Marie Andrews
Chelsea Hotel #2, Leonard Cohen

August Podcast Picks

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Don’t mess with Mamma Coal. The show is Thursday, August 18 at Mission Theater in Portland. Photo by Chad Lanning Photography

Steam or download our August Podcast Picks: August ’16 podcast picks

“You can’t hang a woman for killing a stranger who’s threatened the life of her babe.” So goes the narrative in Mamma Coal’s ambitious new album “Raven Haired Vixen,” ready for release this month and featured here at the top of our podcast picks for August.

We were lucky enough to have Portland’s Carra Barrett Stasney, aka Mamma Coal, as a guest on That Much Further West Podcast for Episode #63 back in January. She had just Kickstarted her recording project, a story in songs inspired by Willie Nelson’s timeless album “Red Headed Stranger.”

Now the raven-haired Mamma is ready to celebrate with an album release show on Thursday, Aug. 18, at the Mission Theater in Portland. We offer a sneak preview of the record with “Ride Through The Night” topping this month’s podcast picks.

Also featured is new music by several podcast favorites who have new records out, including the inimitable Lydia Loveless, American Aquarium frontman B.J. Barham,  former podcast guests Evening Bell, the mighty Sadler Vaden (best known as lead guitar for Jason Isbell’s band, The 400 Unit) and the fabulous outlaw country practitioner Cody Jinks.

We also have summertime hits from Portland’s Wilkinson Blades, whose excellent album “Home” came out earlier this year, and Western Centuries, who lit up Pickathon earlier this month with a couple of stunning performances.

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Willy Tea Taylor, left, with Chuck Noland in The Barn in Portland.

Finally, we share a collection of songs in salute of a fallen hero. Last week the podcast team lost a dear friend, patriarch and constant source of inspiration — Chuck Noland. He was strong as an ox, tough as nails but tender to the core and taught us that real men can be emotional, thoughtful and kind-hearted without losing a shred of masculinity. Chuck was a man’s man, which is why all who knew him loved him so.

Chuck created a family of friends around his love of music and dancing and enriched our lives more than words can say. And for that we will forever be grateful. R.I.P. buddy, we’ll see you on heaven’s honky tonk hardwood floor.

Here’s the podcast picks for August:

Ride Through The Night, Mamma Coal
Same To You, Lydia Loveless
American Tobacco Company, B.J. Barham
Tail Light, Evening Bell
Watch The World Go By, Wilkinson Blades
You Can’t Have It All, Sadler Vaden
Knockin’ ’em Down, Western Centuries
I’m Not The Devil, Cody Jinks
Rose Marie, Slim Whitman
Burning .44, Chuckanut Drive
Sao Paulo, Deadstring Brothers
The Travelin’ Kind, Tom VandenAvond
Life Is Beautiful, Willy Tea Taylor
Grandpa, Truckstop Darlin’

May Podcast Picks

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Austin Lucas, coming to a town near you soon.

Stream or download Podcast Picks: May Podcast Picks

Austin Lucas has one of those pure country voices that makes your ears stand at attention. Apply the voice to the terrific songs he writes and it’s no surprise Austin has long been a favorite of That Much Further West Podcast, where we’ve been sharing his songs from the start.

Now, with a fantastic new album out called “Between The Moon & The Midwest,” the hardworking Mr. Lucas is ready once again to take his show on the road. He’ll be launching a tour later this month with Adam Faucett and Portland’s Fernando that will sweep through Texas and the Southwest before covering California and the Pacific Northwest. They’ll be at the Doug Fir Lounge in Portland on June 8.

One of the cuts from the new album, titled “Wrong Side Of The Dream,” features the inimitable Lydia Loveless and kicks off our Podcast Picks for May. It’s a bittersweet song about being stuck on the road and away too long from the one you love, written from both sides of the sad story. Washed in steel guitar, the song is a perfect way to launch into this month’s podcast picks, which feature more tales of bad-boy brothers, wild sailors, weekend hell raisers and troubadours ready to hit the road.

We’re especially stoked to share a song from our Australian friend Matthew Colin, who recently hit us with a stunning set of new demos. Hearing “Coyote,” you’ll quickly understand why we’re big fans of Matthew and his music.

We also have songs from the hot new albums by Sturgill Simpson, Richmond Fontaine and Margo Price along with a few of our local favorites such as Drunken Prayer, Hearts of Oak and Quiet Life. And we wrap things up first with a birthday salute to Mr. Willie Nelson and a tune from the band Denver sung by Birger Olsen, whose solo debut album is due in June. We’re hoping to bring Birger into The Helm for a formal podcast episode in advance of the new record, but until then, enjoy some great music as selected by our podcast team.

Here’s the playlist for May Podcast Picks:

Wrong Side Of The Dream, Austin Lucas (featuring Lydia Loveless)
Sea Stories, Sturgill Simpson
Three Brothers Roll Into Town, Richmond Fontaine
Low Down Soul, The Deslondes
Weekender, Margo Price
Hellraiser, Drunken Prayer
Used To It, Hearts Of Oak
Time Until, Quiet Life
Coyote, Matthew Colin
Keweenaw Flower, The Lowest Pair
My Leavin’, Luther Dickinson
On The Road Again, Willie Nelson
Sammyville, Denver

Episode #30 — Some favorites from 2014 so far

Scott H. Biram

Scott H. Biram

Episode #30 — 2014 Favorites So Far

Well folks, we’ve hit the halfway point of 2014 like a runaway train. It’s been full speed ahead since we launched That Much Further West Podcast, and hard to believe we’re 30 episodes into the new incarnation.

This week we tap the brakes a bit for a quick review of tunes from some of our favorite releases of the year so far — co-hosts Mike Lee, Eric Kotila and Phil Favorite picked a handful of songs that offer a taste of what the show’s been featuring in 2014. Some are recent finds, others are podcast hits we’ve been wearing out most of the year. So if you’re new to the show, this episode is a great way to get caught up on the action as we head into the second half of 2014.

We kick things off with a tune from Scott H. Biram and his excellent album “Nothin’ But Blood,” released earlier this year by Bloodshot Records. Mike wrote a review of the record which you can read here.

Another Bloodshot release is featured on this episode, Lydia Loveless’ “Somewhere Else.” Phil reviewed it when it came out in April; you can read his review here.

We also have a healthy batch of tunes from artists from our hometown of Portland, OR, USA, including songs from Root Jack, The Low Bones, The Delines, Spirit Lake and Jake Ray. There are also tunes from Fluff & Gravy Records artists Hillstomp, Anna Tivel and Sassparilla, all local to us here in P-town and all with excellent records out this year.

The guys made sure to include many of the alt-country’s most popular acts who are out with kickass stuff this year (Old 97s, Hellbound Glory, Drive-By Truckers, Dave and Phil Alvin, etc.), and some of the newer artists who are “arrow up” in the national scene right now (Nikki Lane, John Fullbright, Lee Bains III). And no list of goodies from this year would be complete without tunes from Sturgill Simpson and Matt Woods, two leading lights of alt-country who have been in heavy rotation on the podcast all of 2014.

So here’s the playlist . . . some of our favorites from 2014 so far. We hope you enjoy, and thanks for listening.

Slow & Easy, Scott H. Biram
Right Time, Nikki Lane
Trade All The Lights (featuring Lydia Loveless), Caleb Caudle
Dead Man’s Hand, Root Jack
Edgar Cayce, Adam Faucett
Head, Lydia Loveless
The Weeds Downtown, Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires
Voices, Sturgill Simpson
Stateline, The Delines
Santa Ana Winds, Spirit Lake
Must Be Rain, Jake Ray
Five Dollar Bill, Anna Tivel
Primer Coat, Drive-By Truckers
A Memory Now (featuring Hayes Carll and Evan Felker), Jason Eady
Longer Than You’ve Been Alive, Old 97’s
Cocaine, Sassparilla
Suicide Sal, Karen Jonas
Streets of Aberdeen, Hellbound Glory
Shakedown, Left Lane Cruiser
Meet Me At The Bottom, Hillstomp
The One That Lives Too Far, John Fullbright
No Place To Be, The Low Bones
You’ve Changed, Dave Alvin and Phil Alvin
Lucero Song, Matt Woods

Review of Somewhere Else by Lydia Loveless

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Lydia Loveless, Somewhere Else (2014, Bloodshot)

She was all dressed up and ready to be crowned alt-country’s queen-in-waiting, but a funny thing happened on the way home from the prom. Lydia Loveless rolled down the window, tossed the tiara, took a left turn and hit the throttle.

On her third full-length record, the 23-year-old Loveless says goodbye to the raging banjos and cowpunk shuffles that made it so easy to box her in as the future of alt-country. Somewhere Else is something very different — a radio-ready rock album that aligns the singer less with country blues songstress Lucinda Williams and more with a fellow Ohioan, rocker Chrissie Hynde.

Sure, many of those good ol’ country music themes (drinking, cheating, etc.) remain at the heart of Loveless’ songwriting, and she’s not afraid to cast herself in a bad light. On Somewhere Else, the singer is a drunk, a home-wrecker, an obsessive helplessly bent on self-destruction and destined to wind up alone. But she also knows her way around a song, with lyrics so direct and sexually frank it’s hard to miss the point — or not get caught up in the naughty fun.

Listen to “Really Want To See You” “Really Wanna See You” by Lydia Loveless

The album’s first track, “Really Want To See You,” announces not just its obsessive lyrical tone but also its direction as a straight-ahead rock record. The listener is greeted with screaming guitars, heavy drums and not a hint of the twang that was a hallmark of Loveless’ previous work.

On the poppier “Wine Lips,” Loveless shows off her talent for terrific word play. Early in the song when she sings, “Ain’t there somewhere where you and me can be alone/Honey, this isn’t a party if it’s chaperoned,” you already have a good idea of who you’re dealing with. This is an artist who isn’t afraid to say what she wants, and seems to be willing to do whatever it takes to get it.

Listen to “Wine Lips” “Wine Lips” by Lydia Loveless

Eventually, steel guitar winds it’s way into the mix as the songs start to sink from the heart to the gut and, eventually, the crotch. On the slow-burner “Hurts So Bad,” Loveless sings, “I swore I’d go to bed, but I must have it bad/’Cause I got up and I pushed every button your elevator had.” On the not-so-subtle “Head,” she sings, “The sooner I go to sleep, the sooner I can dream/Well, maybe if I get lucky tonight you’ll be there waiting, ready for me.”

Listen to “Head” “Head” by Lydia Loveless

As things slow down on the back half of the record, Loveless offers a glimpse at her more gentle side. But obsession, longing and desire for love remain constant themes throughout Somewhere Else, a record so well executed, straightforward and fun that it’s bound to elevate Ms. Loveless’ profile as an indie-rock comer and destined to be included on many lists of the 2014’s best.

— PHIL FAVORITE
That Much Further West Podcast

Lydia Loveless and her band will be performing live in Portland at Doug Fir Lounge on Wednesday, April 2. The Stubborn Lovers open the show. Visit www.dougfirlounge.com for more information.