Review of Wannabe by Taylor Kingman

Wannabe
by Taylor Kingman
(2017, Mama Bird)

By ERIC KOTILA

“I wannabe strong. That time I proved I was right, I was wrong.”

I love records where the artist opens up and shares everything they have. For some songwriters (John Moreland, Willy Tea Taylor, Micah Schnabel), it just comes naturally and they do it all the time. Others (Jason Isbell, BJ Barham) share it from a period in their life when there is growth. Taylor Kingman is among the latter, and it’s evident on his solo debut, “Wannabe.”

I first met Taylor at the 2013 Wildwood MusicFest & Campout as lead singer of The Hill Dogs and, I must be honest here, I was not impressed. A late start to his showcase set and a missed slot at the Sunday morning review showed me a kid still trying to figure things out while having the time of his life. Soon afterward he was spending a lot more time here in Portland and a few friends who also saw the Wildwood performance said I should get to know him better and see him for the talented, good-natured kid that he is.

Getting to know more about Taylor the person, I discovered a kind spirit with a big smile who truly loves music. We had him and The Hill Dogs on the podcast (see Episode #72) and I could tell immediately he had figured stuff out. He launched an open mic on Sundays at The Laurelthirst Pub, challenging all comers with a new songwriting theme each week. He started hanging and playing with the regular musicians there as well. This is where we have seen him shedding his old skin for new. His songwriting is amazing and has matured so much. We all witnessed a rebirth at Wildwood 2016. The Hill Dogs were perfect and blew everyone away.

Now Taylor has made an honest and truly great solo record.

“I wannabe forgiven for everything I knew. I wannabe true.”

To purchase a CD, cassette or digital download of “Wannabe” by Taylor Kingman, visit his page at the Mama Bird Recording Co. website. Taylor will be performing songs from “Wannabe” and also playing with his band TK and The Holy Know Nothings on Wednesday, Nov. 29 at Mississippi Studios.

Listen to “Wannabe” on Spotify, courtesy of Mama Bird Recording Co.:

TMFWP Special: 2017 Wildwood MusicFest Preview

Henry from Hillstomp will be rocking your world at the Wildwood MusicFest & Campout this coming weekend in Sheridan, OR. Image courtesy of Chad Lanning Photography (chadlanningphoto.com)

Stream or download 2017 Wildwood MusicFest Preview: Wildwood 17 Preview

It’s that time again, our favorite time of year! The crew at That Much Further West Podcast is gearing up for this weekend’s Wildwood MusicFest & Campout in Sheridan, OR, and to help psyche you up for the event, we’ve put together this playlist to introduce or reacquaint you with the acts that will be performing.

We’re especially thrilled this year to have some of our favorite bands from years past and several new Wildwood performers who have been guests and/or friends of ours for many years. For example, kicking off the playlist is Countryside Ride, a traditional country band we’ve been friendly with for a long time. They’re fresh out of the studio and share a few new songs from an upcoming release, to be heard exclusively on this special episode of the podcast.

Other newcomers to the festival have been regularly featured on the podcast or exclusive guests in the past, bands like The Easy Leaves, Jenny Don’t & The Spurs and The Mutineers. The brilliant Caleb Klauder was a guest on our show several years back, and we were thrilled to see this internationally renowned singer and picker scheduled for this year’s festival.

Conrad Wert is a one-man band known as Possessed By Paul James.

We also get to dip into some uncharted waters with bands such as Tango Alpha Tango, featuring the stunning guitar work of Nathan Treub — a local player who carries a reputation as one of the best young songwriters in Northwest rock. Festival goers will not want to miss seeing this guy in action.

So let this playlist be a primer for your weekend ahead, and follow along as we buckle up for another wild weekend of fun and music at the Wildwood MusicFest & Campout.

Here’s the playlist:

All You’ll Ever Be (Is All You’ve Ever Been), Countryside Ride
I Hope He Breaks Your Heart, Countryside Ride
15 Horses, Hillstomp
Lucy’s Lament, Hillstomp
Further From Shore, The Hooten Hallers
It’s Hard To Trust Your Baby, The Hooten Hallers
Devil And The Deep, The Easy Leaves
Midnight Song, The Easy Leaves
I Gotta Girl, Tango Alpha Tango
Kill & Haight, Tango Alpha Tango
Coming On Strong, Caleb Klauder & Reeb Willms
Innocent Road, Caleb Klauder & Reeb Willms
Aura Vista, Vaudeville Etiquette
Tipping Point, Vaudeville Etiquette
Break Your Fall, The Mutineers
Ace, The Mutineers
Prairie Fire, The Riverside
Don’t Rock The Boat, The Riverside
A Lovely Conversation, The Harmed Brothers
Better Days, The Harmed Brothers
Ain’t No Living, Matt Woods
Johnny Ray Dupree, Matt Woods
Call Of The Road, Jenny Don’t and The Spurs
She’s To Blame, Jenny Don’t and The Spurs
The Woods, Robert Sarazin Blake
Our Winter In New York, Robert Sarazin Blake
Hurricane, Possessed By Paul James
Shoulda’ Known Better, Possessed By Paul James
This Little Pig, Shovelman
Navigate, Shovelman

Veterans of the festival, The Harmed Brothers are back by popular demand. Photo by Anne Marie for Local Hero Media.

 

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.

Episode #81 featuring The American West

Matthew Zeltzer and Maria Maita-Keppeler are The American West, and their little dog, too. Photo by Anne Marie for Local Hero Media (www.localheromedia.com)

Stream or download Episode #81: Episode 81 w/ The American West

The cinematic image of The American West is all at once promising and shattering — beautiful, hopeful, gritty and heartbreaking. Portland-based band The American West capture all these feelings and more on their new record, “The Soot Will Bring Us Back Again,” to be released this week.

Band members Matthew Zeltzer and Maria Maita-Keppeler dropped by The Helm to discuss the record and share a few tunes — recorded and live — for Episode #81 of That Much Further West Podcast. With Zeltzer taking the lead on guitar and vocal and Maita complementing on harmony vocal and violin, the duo paint a romantic view of a West without glossing over the fine and sometimes damaging details.

Just back from a five-week European tour, the pair talk about the genesis of their partnership (both artistic and romantic), their approach to touring, the making of the new album and overcoming the obstacles they face in pursuing their art.

The American West, laying it down in The Helm. Photo by Anne Marie for Local Hero Media (www.localheromedia.com)

On Wednesday, March 15, they’ll bring their fully realized band to the stage at Doug Fir Lounge in Portland for a big album release show. Also on the bill are former podcast guests Jenny Don’t & The Spurs and Mamma Coal for an evening that promises to be entertaining and unforgettable.

You can learn more about The American West by liking their Facebook page and also check out the new album at their  Bandcamp site. In the meantime, give Episode #81 a spin. You’ll be glad you did.

Here’s the playlist:
Heart of Stone, The American West
Ghost Town (Live In The Helm), The American West
Roadsick Blues, The American West
Let Me Love You Like A Pauper Does (Live In The Helm), The American West
Westward Man, The American West
Patience, Young Conquistador (Live In The Helm), The American West
One More Cup Of Coffee, Bob Dylan
Walk On, Neil Young
Give Me All Your Love, Alabama Shakes

 

February Podcast Picks

Canada’s finest: The Sadies’ new record, “Northern Passages,” features a cameo from indie-rocker Kurt Vile.

Stream or Download February Podcast Picks:  February ’17 Podcast Picks

It was Episode #65 of That Much Further West Podcast when Portland’s alt-country laureate, Willy Vlautin of Richmond Fontaine, was asked what was the most impressive band he had shared a bill with over his 20-or-so years of gigging.

Without hesitation, Vlautin responded, “The Sadies.”

While Richmond Fontaine celebrated a memorable farewell in 2016, The Sadies continue to bring it to the people. Renowned for their mix of country, rock and psychedelia, the Canadian quartet have released their 10th studio album, “Northern Passages,” and we kick off our February Podcast Picks with “The Elements Song,” a big slice of what makes them great. The record is a joyous mix of big soundscapes and smaller, ear-catching buzzes that have been hallmarks of the band’s finest work. The album also features a lead vocal cameo by indie-rocker Kurt Vile, so be sure to make time to give the whole thing a good listen.

Also featured on this month’s podcast picks are brand-new songs from a number of our genre-leading favorites, including Son Volt, Nikki Lane, Two Cow Garage, Dr. Dog and Tift Merritt. You’ll also recognize the unmistakable voice of Chris Stapleton from his days of fronting blue grass kingpins The SteelDrivers. Also, a song from podcast-team favorite Karen Jonas, who knocked ’em dead at the Ameripolitan Awards in Austin this past week.

Included as well are plenty of new voices to the podcast, including Roger Hoover, Whitney Rose, Derek Hoke, Justin Wells and Shawn James. We also share a fun tune from the new record by Dale Watson and Ray Benson, legends in their own right who came together for a new record called “Under The Influence” under the moniker “Dale & Ray.”

And we close out with a song from Hip Hatchet, who has our new president squarely in his sights with the title cut from his new EP, “Hellhound In The House.” You can read podcast co-host Mike Lee’s 100-word review of the EP and stream all three of the songs here.

In the meantime, give this month’s podcast picks a listen! Here’s the playlist:

The Elements Song, The Sadies
You Put The Hurt On Me, The SteelDrivers
Oh, How Times Have Changed, Roger Hoover
Analog, Whitney Rose
Sinking Down, Son Volt
Shadows Through A Canyon, Fort Defiance
Southern Moon, Derek Hoke
Whiskey And Dandelions, Karen Jonas
The Same, Cody Jinks
Brand New Flag, Two Cow Garage
Going Down Grinnin’, Justin Wells
Jackpot, Nikki Lane
Both Sides Of The Line, Dr. Dog
The Ballad of Dale and Ray, Dale & Ray
Delilah, Shawn James
It’s Alright If You Sleep Around (Featuring Kate Mann), Joshua James and the Runaway Trains
Heartache Is An Uphill Climb, Tift Merritt
Hellhound In The House, Hip Hatchet

Episode #79 featuring Jon Neufeld

Portland’s Jon Neufeld stopped by The Helm to talk about his production work and playing on the new Smithsonian Folkways collection “Roll Columbia: Woody Guthrie’s 26 Northwest Songs.” Photo by Anne Marie for Local Hero Media (www.localheromedia.com)

Stream or download Episode #79: Episode 79 w/ Jon Neufeld

When it comes to playing guitar, Jon Neufeld seems to have it all covered. From bluegrass to folk to gypsy jazz, Neufeld has been a go-to guy having built a national reputation for superb playing from our hometown of Portland, Oregon, U.S.A.

And more and more, it seems Neufeld is becoming a go-to producer as well. Such was the case when executives were looking for somebody to wrangle a talented cast of artists to put together “Roll Columbia: Woody Guthrie’s 26 Northwest Songs,” a new collection of the songs that made a lasting impact on the music and history of the Columbia River region.

With the new record out on Smithsonian Folkways (the non-profit record label of the Smithsonian Institute), the podcast team invited Neufeld into The Helm to talk about the project and also his evolution and career as a working musician based in the Pacific Northwest. Neufeld brought along Darrin Craig, his longtime bandmate from local bluegrass stalwarts Jackstraw, to sing some Guthrie songs and tell stories from their early days of making music together.

Jon Neufeld (left) and Darrin Craig get down on some Woody tunes in The Helm. Photo by Anne Marie for Local Hero Media

Not only did Neufeld produce the record but he also played on many of the 26 songs, including one sung here by Craig titled “The Ballad of Great Grand Coulee.” He also shares songs from the album sung by Michael Hurley, Al James (Dolorean) and Martha Scanlan and talks about some of the influences that have spurred his musical growth both as a player and producer.

We encourage you to dig into this new collection of songs and learn more about the lasting legacy of Woody Guthrie and his impact on the history of our local region. You can order the CD or download it directly from Smithsonian Folkways by following this link, and we hope you’ll look up online performances by Neufeld in his many musical adventures, including his work with Jackstraw (see below), Scanlan, Black Prairie and the Kung Pao Chickens.

In the meantime, enjoy Episode #79 of That Much Further West Podcast. Here’s the playlist:

Just Another Way to Go, Jackstraw
Pastures of Plenty,
Michael Hurley and Jon Neufeld
The Talkin’ Blues, Al James and Jon Neufeld
Jackhammer Blues (Jackhammer John), Martha Scanlan and Jon Neufeld
Ballad of the Great Grand Coulee (Live In The Helm), Darrin Craig and Jon Neufeld
1913 Massacre (Live In The Helm), Darrin Craig and Jon Neufeld
Minor Swing, Django Reinhardt
Black Mountain Blues (Rag) & Soldier’s Joy, Clarence White
When I Was A Boy, Electric Light Orchestra
Nowhere Massachusetts, Black Prairie

TMFWP Special: Live From The Helm, Vol. 3

Mamma Coal celebrated the release of her widely anticipated album “Raven Haired Vixen” with a visit to The Helm. That’s 2016 Oregon Music Hall of Fame inductee Paul Brainard riding shotgun. Photo by Anne Marie for Local Hero Media (www.localheromedia.com).

Stream or download Live From The Helm, Vol. 3:  Live From The Helm Vol. 3

There were a lot of things about 2016 we’d like to forget — it was a year of staggering losses for both the music world and the great wide world in general. Still, our team at That Much Further West Podcast had much to be thankful for, namely the incredible roster of guests we hosted at The Helm for podcast episodes this year.

From start to finish, this year marked a great leap forward for the podcast. The team decided to narrow the focus, dedicating the entirety of each episode to our individual guests. That way we learned more about their histories, their influences, their hopes and dreams and their immediate plans for the future. All celebrated remarkable successes this year and we were happy to promote their fine work and proud to host them in our subterranean home in Portland — The Helm!

Nick Foltz of Lowlight added his usual heavy dose of cool to The Helm scene in 2016. Photo by Anne Marie for Local Hero Media (www.localheromedia.com).

We were pleased to rope in some more out-of-towners this year, including Seattle’s Evening Bell and national acts John Moreland and Aaron Lee Tasjan. We also were thrilled to highlight the great work being down by local longtime friends like Mamma Coal, Nick Foltz of Lowlight and Birger Olsen. We even made some great new friends in Kory Quinn and Taylor Kingman of the Hill Dogs, and hooked up with local legends such as Willy Vlautin of Richmond Fontaine and the mighty Fernando. All were incredibly inspiring to the team.

Still, 2016 will be remembered for our many musical losses, one big electoral loss and another that’s particularly personal to our team. We said goodbye the father of our Hoot, our friend Chuck Noland, a loss that proved particularly devastating. That’s why we wrap up “Live From The Helm, Vol. 3” with a beautiful tribute to Chuck by Maria Francis and Jeff Overbo of Silver Lake 66. In a year full of tears, there wasn’t a dry eye in The Helm during that performance.

But as we reflect on the past year before turning the calendar page, enjoy this collection of songs we proudly share here with you. We’ll see you in 2017!

Here’s the playlist:

Memphis Rain, Aaron Lee Tasjan
Our Horse Barn, Kris Stuart
Ride Through The Night, Mamma Coal
Three Brothers Roll Into Town, Willy Vlautin
In The Shadow Of The Tower Of Babel, Kory Quinn
Devil’s House, Evening Bell
A Lovely Conversation, The Harmed Brothers
Life Of The Party, Stars Of Cascadia
You Look As Sweet, Birger Olsen
Mother Mountain, The Hill Dogs
Bloodlines, Lowlight
This Very Hour, McDougall
Wasted And Waiting My Saturday Night, Lewi & Anita
Late Bloomer, Matthew Lindley
True Instigator, Fernando
Walk Away, Silver Lake 66

Our podcast hosts, at home in The Helm, left to right: Mike Lee, Eric Kotila and Phil Favorite.

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 #77 featuring Silver Lake 66

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Jeff Overbo and Maria Francis are Portland’s Silver Lake 66.

Stream or download Episode #77:  Episode 77 w/ Silver Lake 66

America’s highway, Route 66, covers nearly 2,500 miles from Chicago to the Southern California Coast and for a long time served as the main path for those who migrated West in the early part of the last century.

Regaled in popular culture over the past 100 years, Route 66 serves as the perfect metaphor for the road traveled by our guests for Episode #77 of That Much Further West Podcast, our friends Maria Francis and Jeff Overbo of Silver Lake 66. The Portland-by-way-of-Minneapolis-via-Los Angeles group has taken the long road, overcoming the real life obstacles of age and illness and emerging with one of this year’s finest albums, titled “Let Go Or Be Dragged” (check out this review in No Depression).

On this episode, Maria and Jeff share stories of their journey through 80s — starting in Midwest biker bars, traveling the country in stinky vans, booking shows by pay phone and living on beer and peanut butter. The road led them to move to Los Angeles, where they fell in with a like-minded group of Americana musicians that first held court at The Palomino club and went on to varying degrees of fame — folks like Lucinda Williams, Jim Lauderdale and Dale Watson.

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Jeff and Maria, sharing their terrific music in The Helm as Silver Lake 66. Photo by Anne Marie for Local Hero Media

Soon their peers became big influences and they began to write and perform in the alt-country realm, a place they’ve stayed even after moving to Portland in the 90s. After a long period out of the public spotlight, the married couple slowly began to emerge with a batch a well-crafted tunes that display each player’s knack for poignant storytelling as well as their natural chemistry as players and harmony singers.

Now armed with a fantastic new album, Silver Lake 66 is poised to make a big splash on the burgeoning Portland Americana scene. Their album release show, scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 22, at the Alberta Street Pub in Portland, is sure to be a celebration of not just the hard road they’ve traveled but also the open road and blue skies ahead.

We think you’ll really enjoy the stories and the sharing of their wonderful music, so tune in and prepare to be moved by the spirit of Silver Lake 66.

Here’s the playlist:

Sherman County, Silver Lake 66
Devil’s Looking For Me, Silver Lake 66
Bury My Bones In Arkansas (LIve In The Helm), Silver Lake 66
Pineola, Lucinda Williams
Country Comforts, Rod Stewart
Return Of The Grievous Angel, Gram Parsons
Magnolia (Live In The Helm), Silver Lake 66
Walk Away (Live In The Helm), Silver Lake 66
Doctor, Silver Lake 66