Episode #39 featuring Henry of Hillstomp


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

TMFWP Special: Five Questions with Aaron Lee Tasjan


Aaron Lee Tasjan

Is he a hot-shot electric guitar-playing gun-for-hire, or is he really just a folkie trapped in a shredder’s body?

Aaron Lee Tasjan’s still young and precocious enough to be whatever he wants to be. The 20-something Ohio native has made a name for himself playing guitar as a member of numerous well-known rock bands, including Alberta Cross, Everest, the New York Dolls and Drivin’ N Cryin’. He’s also a noted songwriter — his songs have been picked up by the likes of Jack White and country star Pat Green.

And if you search the internet for Tasjan, you’ll find pictures of him hanging out and playing with a dizzying array of New York City rock and folk legends, people like Blondie drummer Clem Burke and Patti Smith Group guitarist Lenny Kaye. The list goes on and on.

But folks on the East Coast also know Tasjan for his solo act, where he combines his ample talents for guitar playing and clever songwriting. It’s all on display on his debut solo EP, “Crooked River Burning,” a terrific five-song release that came out earlier this year.

Listen to “Don’t Walk Away” from Crooked River Burning:

“Don’t Walk Away” by Aaron Lee Tasjan

He recently completed a co-headlining tour with rising alt-country star Caleb Caudle and will be holding down a week-long residency at Al’s Den in Portland, starting Sunday, July 20. That Much Further West Podcast producer and co-host Phil Favorite caught up with Tasjan for a conversation as he prepared for his trip to Portland.

TMFWP: You’re fairly well known in the rock community as an electric guitar-playing sideman, but you are also a guy who embraces his folkier side. What can we expect to hear and see at the residency?

ALT: Funny enough, that’s exactly what you will hear — rock and roll guitar over top of folk songs. I actually started in folk music, though. My first gig ever was opening for Peter Yarrow (of Peter, Paul & Mary). Doesn’t get more folk than that!

TMFWP: Well, since you mentioned Peter Yarrow, we have to ask about all the legends who you’ve played with both publicly and privately. As a guy so young, do you ever have to pinch yourself to make sure you’re not dreaming?

ALT: Yes, I constantly have to pinch myself. Earlier this year in Mexico I was playing guitar with my favorite band Drivin’ N Cryin’. On our last song John Paul Jones (of Led Zeppelin) walked on stage and played mandolin and sang with us. We also had rock and roll dynamo Chuck Prophet on stage for that one, too. One of the highlights of my life.


TMFWP: The new EP allows listeners to hear your voice and learn more about your songwriting. Does it feel good to share your own songs instead of playing everybody else’s?

ALT: Yeah, most people don’t know it but I was always making up songs. My songs have been recorded by Pat Green, BP Fallon and Jack White and have been on TV shows like “The Voice” and a couple movies, too. Most recently “The Way Way Back” starring Steve Carell. I’ve been playing and singing my songs for people for 10 years. The guitar-playing thing is just a side note to what I really do.

Listen to “Junk Food and Drugs” from Crooked River Burning:

“Junk Food and Drugs” by Aaron Lee Tasjan

TMFWP: How’s the response been to the EP since its release in March?

ALT: Very proud of the EP. I’ve gotten a great response. I can’t believe that it continues to reach people. I credit the musicians who played on it with me like Anton Fier, who also produced it, and Chris Morrissey, Tony Scherr, Rich Hinman, Grey McMurray and Erik Deutsch. They’re the real heroes.

TMFWP: Have you ever toured the West Coast or been to Portland? What are looking forward to most about the residency and/or tour?

ALT: I have toured through there before opening for both Everest and Alberta Cross. I love Portland. I look forward to accidentally guesting on Portlandia, starting my own microbrewery and fashioning a canoe out of a tree to ride to the gig each day.

Aaron Lee Tasjan plays Al’s Den at the Crystal Hotel in downtown Portland July 20-26. Shows start at 7 p.m. and all are free. Guests include local acts Casey Neill, Kris Stuart of Root Jack, Kathryn Claire and Jake Ray. For more information, visit the Al’s Den website.



TMFWP Special: Catching Up With Matt Woods


The indomitable Matt Woods


“Don’t pick up that guitar, boy. It’ll only steer you wrong.” Words of wisdom in a letter from Brushy Mountain State Prison, a notorious little slice of hell in Tennessee that serves as ground zero for With Love From Brushy Mountain, the fantastic new album by singer-songwriter Matt Woods.

We’re thankful Matt didn’t heed such advice, but instead chose to grab his guitar, hit the road and share his terrific songs of love, longing, liquor and lies with an ever-growing audience of believers. As he sings on one of Brushy’s standout tracks, “It ain’t no living, it’s my life.”

Matt’s travels brought him through the Pacific Northwest in recent weeks, and our podcast hosts Mike Lee and Phil Favorite caught up with him and drummer Larry Fulford for a Monday night show at Dante’s in Portland. It was truly Matt Woods at his best. His burly, emotional vocal stylings and impressive acoustic guitar work combined with Fulford’s tasteful and booming rhythms for a unforgettably powerful performance.

After the show, the lads gathered for an interview where Matt talks about the anticipation that’s been building for the release of the new record, especially in light of the buzz created by the album’s advance single, “Deadman’s Blues.”

“Deadman’s Blues” was released last fall and, among other accolades, earned 2013 Song of The Year honors by the respected genre-watch blog Saving Country Music. Now it sits at the center of an 11-song LP that more than delivers on the promise of “Deadman’s” and is garnering universal praise as one of the year’s best records so far.

With the album release, Matt and Larry are streaking across the country with shows scheduled right through June. You can see the tour dates at Matt’s website, and while you’re there, order a copy of With Love From Brushy Mountain. You’ll be glad you did.

In the meantime, enjoy this podcast featuring a handful of tracks from the new record, a couple of rough live cuts from the Dante’s show and some select bits from Mike and Phil’s conversation with Matt and Larry.

Here’s the playlist:

With Love From Brush Mountain
Company Town (Live at Dante’s 5-12-14)
Interview, Part 1
Deadman’s Blues
Interview, Part 2
Ain’t No Living
Port St. Lucie (Live at Dante’s 5-12-14)
Interview, Part 3
Real Hard Times
Interview, Part 4
Lucero Song
Liberty Bell

Episode #21 Greetings from Portland, Oregon, U.S.A


Episode #21 Greetings From Portland

Let’s start this post with a note of thanks to all of you who have been listening to the podcast and visiting our Facebook page. Last week we saw an enormous increase in podcast-related traffic and we’re super grateful to all of you for staying with us through the trials and tribulations of pulling together 20 episodes in the new incarnation of the show. Thank you!

This week’s podcast is an “all music” show delivered with the help of many of the musical acts we’ve featured through the first 20 episodes: the legends of country, the pioneers or alt-country, the current standard bearers of Americana and a bunch of fantastic artists from the Pacific Northwest and specifically right here in beautiful Portland, Oregon, U.S.A.

We’re deeply indebted to the friends who have helped us since the launch of the podcast last fall, especially the talented musical folks who have given their time to perform or be interviewed (or both) for the show. Several — such as Sarah Gwen, Freddy Trujillo, Joel Roth of the Low Bones and Miller & Sasser — are featured on this week’s podcast, which includes lots of “tags” from said folks and also contains the world’s shortest interview.

The sun is shining today in beautiful Portland, and we think we have your perfect soundtrack for the day. So let’s get to it. Here’s the playlist for Episode #21.

Newspaper, The Resolectrics
Cooke City, The Lonesomes
Wild American Runners, Arliss Nancy
Suicide Sal, Karen Jonas
What Is Truth, Johnny Cash
Bluegrass State, Truckstop Darlin’
Bye Bye Baby, Miller & Sasser
Arianne, The V-Roys
Border Radio, Kelly Willis & Bruce Robison
The Race Is On, George Jones
I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool (with George Jones), Barbara Mandrell
Keep Your Promises, Matthew Lindley
90 Miles (The Tennessee Song), The Honeycutters
Sister Sinead, Kris Kristofferson
The Old Black Hen, Songs: Ohia
We’ll Sweep Out The Ashes In The Morning, Gram Parsons
If You Come Around Here, The Swearengens
Loaded, North Twin
Something May Catch Fire, Chuck Ragan
Tom 33, The Low Bones
Woods, Sarah Gwen
Assimilation Blues, Trujillo
Winter Bloom, Celilo
This Land Is Your Land, Tim Barry
A Good Day To Be A Husband, I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch In The House
Christ For President, Billy Bragg & Wilco
Too Lazy To Work, Too Nervous To Steal, BR5-49
Another Place Another Time, Jerry Lee Lewis
Bartender Blues, Countryside Ride


Review of Copper & Coal


Copper & Coal (2013, self released)

The women of Copper & Coal present a striking vision on stage. With their beautifully detailed evening gowns and towering presence, they demand your attention even before the first note of music is played.

Their voices, though, prove even more arresting.

Check out “Kentucky Blue” (www.reverbnation.com/copperandcoal/song/18224686-kentucky-blue) from their new self-titled debut. A short line of steel guitar opens the ears to the signature sound of Leslie Beia and Carra Stasney harmonizing in a pitch-perfect union that recalls the best of old Nashville.

No auto-tune needed here, folks. These ladies can really belt it out, which they demonstrate throughout this 10-song collection produced by local country legend Caleb Klauder.

Having common roots growing up in their native state of Michigan, and a shared love of country music, the vocal duo came together at Beia’s regular Monday night gig at the Landmark Saloon in Portland. Almost instantly, they found they were on to something special and drew the attention of some of the finest local players — all standing at the ready to back them up.

Branching out, Beia and Stasney were determined to produce a recording to share with a growing audience. Klauder answered the call and along with engineer Jordan Leff helped create this collection of classic-style tunes that would have sounded great on country radio in the 1950s and every era since.

Copper & Coal also gave Stasney and Beia a chance to flex their formidable songwriting chops. The disc features just one cover song, Dolly Parton’s “Dagger Through The Heart,” which fits nicely among the nine others (included seven written by Stasney specifically for the project).

And they hit all the right classic-country notes with songs of longing, drinking, honky -tonking, heartbreak and cheating. Buoyed by terrific performances on fiddle (Luke Price), steel (Gary Newcomb, Russ Blake) and mandolin (Klauder), the music takes the listener back to a time when content mattered and talent trumped all.

An impressive debut, Copper & Coal is sure to draw in new fans to a classic stye of country music, and also bodes well for an act just starting to take off.

— Phil Favorite
That Much Further West Podcast