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.

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.

Fall Seasonal Podcast Picks

newwoodsiemug

Matt Woods’ new album, “How To Survive,” will be released Oct. 13.

Steam or download our Fall Seasonal Podcast Picks: Fall ’16 podcast picks

It’s Record Release Madness this season in the world of That Much Further West Podcast, where we’re sifting through so many great new albums being released by some of our favorite artists just as summer turns to fall out here in Portland, Oregon, U.S.A.

We kick off our seasonal podcast picks with an awesome new song by Matt Woods, whose record “How To Survive” comes out on Friday, Oct. 7. The song “Bound To Lose,” co-written by Woods and Jeff Shepherd and featuring Liz Sloan on fiddle and Aaron Lee Tasjan on guitar, is quick snapshot of everything great about Woods’ music. It’s a sweet slice of storytelling with a just a touch of road rash delivered by one of alt-country’s biggest, most authentic voices. Watch for Matt and his full band on the road this fall — the “How To Survive” tour kicks off this Friday and will cover lots of ground east of the Mississippi River — you can find tour dates at Woods’ website.

Our picks also include a few superb takes on race relations in America from newly released records by Drive-By Truckers and M. Lockwood Porter; killer new songs from Shovels & Rope, John Prine, Aaron Lee Tasjan, Elizabeth Cook and Blackberry Smoke; a terrific, original take on traditional country from Caleb Klauder and Reeb Wilms; some secret nuggets you probably wouldn’t hear elsewhere (read: Springsteen); and even new cuts from Bob Weir ad Bon Iver, taking us gently off the podcast’s well-worn pathways.

Lots of a great stuff here, folks. So dial it up and share it with your friends — we hope it adds a little light as the darkness of fall starts closing in. And remember to get out and support live music . . . many of these acts will be coming to a town near you soon.

Here’s the playlist:

Bound To Lose, Matt Woods
Just To Be With You, Aubrie Sellers
What It Means, Drive-By Truckers
Charleston, M. Lockwood Porter
Beauty Seldom Seen, John Calvin Abney
Botched Execution, Shovels & Rope
Look At Us (featuring Morgane Stapleton), John Prine
Memphis Rain, Aaron Lee Tasjan
Evacuation, Elizabeth Cook
Diamond State Heartbreak, Lucero
Here’s To The Losers, Drag The River
Let’s Hit One More Place, Richmond Fontaine
Sunrise In Texas, Blackberry Smoke
Coming On Strong, Caleb Klauder & Reeb Wilms
Gonesville, Bob Weir
About To Find Out, Margo Price
The Ballad of Jesse James, The Bruce Springteen Band
Falcon, Charlie Parr
Sad, Sad Music, Dwight Yoakam
00000 Million, Bon Iver

May Podcast Picks

Austin_Lucas_Biographgy

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

Springtime Podcast Picks

margoprice

East Nashville’s Margo Price, leading the new pack of country traditionalists.

Stream or download Podcast Picks: Podcast Picks 3-28-16

The momentum’s been building for the first part of 2016, with appearances on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and the Conan O’Brien Show. Finally, with the release last week of her debut solo album, “Midwest Farmer’s Daughter,” Margo Price takes the spotlight as country’s next big thing.

We kickoff our latest playlist with the epic “Hands Of Time,” a six-minute sample of the kind of traditional country that has helped Price stand above the noisy din of cookie-cutter country that dominates radio playlists across the dial. Expect to hear plenty more from Ms. Price the rest of the year — she’s recently made her debut at the Grand Ole Opry and we’re sure she’ll be making headlines through the summer concert season.

With Price setting the stage, we attempt to shatter the mold with this playlist by featuring some of the best new voices in roots and country, including Parker Milsap, Caleb Caudle, Brent Cobb, Australian Emma Swift and our hometown favorite sons, Portland’s Richmond Fontaine. We also feature a brand-new song from Mudcrutch, the Tom Petty side project that will be releasing its first album in 10 years in May, and a terrific song from 2015 podcast guests Indianhead. You may remember them debuting “Angelina” live in The Helm on Episode #57 of That Much Further West Podcast.

We round out the playlist with songs from several of our well-established favorites, including a tune from veteran bad-ass Paul Thorn and cuts from Drunken Prayer, Two Cow Garage, Austin Lucas (new album soon!), Cory Branan, Steve Earle, Valerie June and Sturgill Simpson. And we’d be remiss if we didn’t take a moment to honor a lost brother, Phife Dawg, the five-foot assassin of A Tribe Called Quest. R.I.P. Phife Dawg . . . thanks for the rhymes and inspiration. You’ll be missed!

Here’s the songlist. Enjoy!

Hands Of Time, Margo Price
Wherever You Are, Parker Milsap
Wasted Thursday, Caleb Caudle
Love Looks Like A Master, Drunken Prayer
Trailer, Mudcrutch
Diggin’ Holes, Brent Cobb
Angelina, Indianhead
What The Hell Is Goin’ On?, Paul Thorn
Let’s Hit One More Place, Richmond Fontaine
My Great Gatsby, Two Cow Garage
Let Me In, Austin Lucas
All The Rivers In Colorado, Cory Branan
Buggin’ Out, A Tribe Called Quest
Seasons, Emma Swift
You’re The Best Lover That I Ever Had, Steve Earle
Trials, Troubles, Tribulations, Valerie June
Brace For Impact (Live A Little), Sturgill Simpson

Episode #65 featuring Willy Vlautin of Richmond Fontaine

Willy Vlautin-5

Willy Vlautin of Richmond Fontaine making himself at home in The Helm. Photo by Anne Marie for Local Hero Media.

Stream or download Episode #65: Episode 65 w/ Willy Vlautin

For 20 years, Richmond Fontaine has been the vanguard for Portland’s alt-country scene, earning worldwide acclaim for their dramatic, steel-infused Western soundscapes and the one-of-kind storytelling of singer Willy Vlautin. That’s why we are thrilled to share this interview and performance by Mr. Vlautin, recorded at our home base, The Helm.

Now entering the last chapter of their fantastic run, RF has just released their final album, “You Can’t Go Back If There’s Nothing To Go Back To,” available now on Fluff & Gravy Records. On this episode of That Much Further West Podcast, Willy shares a few solo performances of songs from the new record as well as some thoughts on the end of the Richmond run and the impact the band has made over the years.

Willy takes us back to his roots growing up in Reno, Nevada, and how he came to find great music from the Los Angeles underground during his teenage years. Asked to pick a few tunes that were influential during that period, he selected songs by Los Lobos, Tom Waits and The Pogues (this episode was taped on St. Patrick’s Day).

Willy Vlautin-4

Willy the lefty sharing a few of the instant classics from the new Richmond Fontaine record, “You Can’t Go Back If There’s Nothing To Go Back To.”

He also talks about the evolution of his songwriting, introducing different storytelling techniques and voices and shifting points of view to advance his richly detailed lyrical ideas. As author of four critically acclaimed novels, Willy talks about how many of his longer literary stories start as song ideas — indeed, many of the characters from his great books first show up in songs by Richmond Fontaine. Listen closely as Willy reveals the title of his next novel.

We wrap up the episode with the handful of RF classics from the body of their 10 great albums — a quick primer for what is unquestionably one of the greatest bands in Portland history (see the playlist below). Also, check out the video for one of the band’s awesome instrumentals, “El Tiradito,” from the album “Thirteen Cities,” captured at WaveLab Recording Studios in 2007.

The band will be heading to Europe this spring to promote the new record and will do some touring over the rest of the year in what appears to be Richmond Fontaine’s swan song, so be sure to pick up a copy of the new record and keep an eye out for when they roll into your town. You want to miss one last chance to see this legendary band.

Here’s the playlist from Episode #65 featuring Willy Vlautin of Richmond Fontaine:

$87 And A Guilty Conscience That Gets Worse The Longer I Go, Richmond Fontaine
Wake Up Ray (Live In The Helm), Willy Vlautin
Three Brothers Roll Into Town (Live In The Helm), Willy Vlautin
Will The Wolf Survive, Los Lobos
Shore Leave, Tom Waits
A Rainy Night In Soho, The Pogues
Don’t Skip Out On Me (Live In The Helm), Willy Vlautin
Lost In The Trees, Richmond Fontaine
The Warehouse Life, Richmond Fontaine
Give Me Time, Richmond Fontaine
Always On The Ride, Richmond Fontaine
Winner’s Casino, Richmond Fontaine
The Kid From Belmont Street, Richmond Fontaine
Through, Richmond Fontaine

 

February Podcast Picks

RichmondFontaine

The new record by Portland alt-country legends Richmond Fontaine, due in March, will be the band’s swan song, according to frontman Willy Vlautin.

Stream or download Podcast Picks: Podcast Picks 2-1-16

Word got out last week that Richmond Fontaine’s new album You Can’t Go Back If There’s Nothing To Go Back To, due out March 18 in the U.S. on Fluff & Gravy Records, will be the band’s final release. According to frontman and founding member Willy Vlautin, band members will be concentrating on other things, including their soulful country side project The Delines as well as Vlautin’s burgeoning career as a novelist.

The folks at Fluff & Gravy were kind enough to pass along a tune for us to lead off this fresh batch of podcast picks, “Wake Up Ray.” They also shared a new song by Dan Stuart, the former Green On Red frontman who has a new record due out soon on the Portland imprint. Stuart is backed by Mexico City country psych rockers The Twin Tones on Marlowe’s Revenge, the followup to his comeback record from 2012. “Elena” sounds as cool and sweet as “fresas con crema.”

And speaking of fresh music, our playlist includes brand-new music from Lucinda Williams, Caleb Caudle, Seattle’s Evening Bell and Nashville’s Buddy Miller, who teams up with podcast favorite Nikki Lane on the classic country tune “Just Someone I Used To Know.”

Twenty-something Sierra Hull’s been making waves on the bluegrass scene since she was in her mid-teens. Her haunting song “Black River,” paired with Tom VandenAvond’s “Chef’s House,” adds a soothing vibe to this mix, but only after we get a little rowdy with Texas’ Randy Rogers Band.

We also have a couple of songs by two of the emerging female voices from left-of-center Nashville. Aubrie Sellers shows off her brand of garage country on “Light of Day” from her new album New City Blues, while “About To Find Out” provides a perfect example of why Margo Price is positioned to become alt-country’s it-artist of the first half of 2016. She has an album due out soon on Jack White’s Third Man Records.

“Win Her Love” by the Freak Mountain Ramblers is our tribute to a great, great band that lost one their own recently, guitarist and singer Jimmy Boyer (RIP). And we wrap things up with “Peaceful Release” by Lowlight, whose frontman Nick Foltz will be our guest in The Helm this week for Episode #64 of That Much Further West Podcast.

So give it a spin, folks — a fine dose to kick off your February in style. Here’s the playlist:

Wake Up Ray, Richmond Fontaine
If My Love Could Kill, Lucinda Williams
Steel & Stone, Caleb Caudle
Strange Mamma, Evening Bell
Elena, Dan Stuart
Hangin’ Out In Bars, Randy Rogers Band
By The Time I Get To Phoenix, Glen Campbell
Black River, Sierra Hull
Chef’s House, Tom VandenAvond
Just Someone I Used To Know (with Nikki Lane), Buddy Miller
Light Of Day, Aubrie Sellers
About To Find Out, Margo Price
Win Her Love, Freak Mountain Ramblers
Peaceful Release, Lowlight

TMFWP Special: Willy Vlautin Live at Landmark Saloon

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Willy Vlautin of Richmond Fontaine

When Kelly Blair Bauman invited his friend Willy Vlautin to play a set of music for Bauman’s weekly “Unhappy Hour” at the Landmark Saloon, Vlautin had never been to Portland’s “Best Little Honky Tonk.” In fact, since moving with his girlfriend to the outskirts of town, Vlautin has been mostly staying out of bars and concentrating on his burgeoning fiction-writing career, which has taken off like a rocket since the publication of his first novel, “The Motel Life,” in 2007.

So without much fanfare, Vlautin came to the tiny Landmark on Sunday, Aug. 4 of last year for a late-afternoon performance of songs new and old, many familiar to folks who been following his band, Richmond Fontaine, during its 15-year run as Portland preeminent alt-country band. This was before the release of “The Motel Life” movie — which hit theaters last fall — and before the release this year of his fourth novel, “The Free,” which has been making headlines around the globe.

Vlautin played three short sets that summer day in Southeast Portland, swapping stage time with Bauman as both played to a nearly empty room. A few of Vlautin’s friends were on hand, a few other regulars, and a couple of tables worth of chatty patrons who clearly had no interest in the music nor any clue as to what they were hearing or who was playing.

Undaunted, the easy-going Vlautin played through the clanking glassware and jibber-jabber, letting his well-worn voice and left-handed Martin acoustic tell his true-to-life tales of society’s down and out. During the first set — which Vlautin asked us not to share due to the unfinished nature of the songs — Vlautin sat with a notebook of fresh ideas at his feet and could barely get a reaction from the small crowd while strumming and singing a batch of brand-new songs.

The small crowd proved a bit more responsive during the second and third sets, which we share here. Afterwards, podcast host Phil Favorite caught up with Vlautin outside the Landmark for an interview that was featured in Episode #2. As longtime fans of both Vlautin’s fiction and the great music of Richmond Fontaine, we’re thrilled to be able to share these couple of sets in all their ragged glory. Big thanks to both Willy and Kelly for helping us make it happen.

Listen to Willy Vlautin Live at Landmark Pt. 1 Willy Vlautin at Landmark Pt. 1

Two Alone
$87 And A Guilt Conscience That Gets Worst The Longer I Go
Lost In The Trees
Unknown Song

Listen to Willy Vlautin Live at Landmark Pt. 2 Willy Vlautin at Landmark Pt. 2

Moving Back Home #1
Moving Back Home #2
Santiam
“Tapped Out In Tulsa (?)”
The Boyfriends

Willy Vlautin will be promoting “The Free” with readings in the Los Angeles area on March 26 and 27, and at St. Johns Booksellers in Portland on April 10. He will also be performing at Wesley Stace’s Cabinet of Wonders at the Aladdin Theater in Portland on April 4. Learn more about Willy Vlautin’s fiction writing and music career at willyvlautin.com.