Episode #84 featuring Bret Ervin of Countryside Ride

Bret Ervin, bellied up at the bar in The Helm. Photo by Anne Marie for Local Hero Media

Stream or download Episode #84: Episode 84 w/ Bret Ervin

The gang from Countryside Ride knew they had the songs and the inclination to make a great second album. But they remained patient while looking for a way forward — some kind of sign to show them which direction to go.

They found it when the band did a studio session at The Deer Lodge, a Portland-based music hub where producer and engineer Ezra Meredith was compiling songs for a tribute CD to country music great George Jones. In making its contribution to the compilation, the band and Meredith immediately clicked, and from there Countryside Ride saw the path to making their fabulous new album, “I Hope He Breaks Your Heart.” It’s a long-playing blast of pure country music that eschews modern production tricks and will delight traditionalists and new fans searching for a truer sound.

Bret Ervin belting it out in The Helm. Photo by Anne Marie for Local Hero Media

Countryside Ride singer Bret Ervin Lien stopped into The Helm to record Episode #84 in advance of the record’s release and the band’s big show this coming Saturday at The Secret Society in Portland. He talked about the band’s natural progression from a trio to a five-piece, the inspiration he draws from his daily life for his songwriting, and finding a second home for his band at The Deer Lodge.

He also offers up some songs from a few of his major influences and plays a few stripped-down versions of tunes that highlight the new album. One listen to this podcast and you’ll know why we’ve come to love and admire this very humble, talented singer-songwriter as well as the super cool folks he calls bandmates. So sit back, buckle up and enjoy a ride through the Pacific Northwest countryside.

Here’s the playlist:

All You’ll Ever Be, Countryside Ride
I Hope He Breaks Your Heart, Countryside Ride
Since You’ve Been Gone (Live In The Helm), Bret Ervin
Ramblin’ Lips, The Cedar Shakes
Pay No Attention To Alice, Tom T. Hall
Other Side Of The Blues, Mike Stinson
Truck Driver’s Lament (Live In The Helm), Bret Ervin
Breakfast Blues, Countryside Ride
Trailer Of Love (Live In The Helm), Bret Ervin

Countryside Ride, 2018: Jessica Kunze, Ian Miller, Bret Ervin Lien, Joshua Kunze and Johnny Payola. Photo by Mirifoto (www.mirifoto.com)

Episode #33 featuring Hearts of Oak

Nate Wallace of Hearts Of Oak

Episode #33 featuring Hearts of Oak

It was our distinct pleasure to have the men of Hearts of Oak — singer/guitarist Nate Wallace, drummer J. Lever and guitarist/producer Ezra Meredith — in The Helm for an interview and performance for Episode #33. The lads are promoting the Aug. 19 release of the band’s third album, “New England,” and their show this coming Friday night at the Doug Fir in Portland.

The record represents a bit of a departure for Hearts of Oak. Nate’s terrific folksy songwriting and nasally vocal remain, but the record features an extra dose of fuzzed-out guitars (standard six-string electric and pedal steel) courtesy of Ezra and his brother Joel, who served as producers on the project. On this episode, we share a couple of tracks from the record and enjoy a couple of fine performances by the band. Always a great time hanging out with these dudes.

We also share some great new music from Billy Joe Shaver, The Gaslight Anthem, Big Shoals and the Portland band Denver. And if you stay tuned, you’ll hear a few details about the upcoming “Further West Fest” to be hosted by the podcast crew in September.

So crank it up! Here’s the playlist:

Hard To Be An Outlaw (featuring Willie Nelson), Billy Joe Shaver
Drag, Caleb Caudle
Good Man, Nikki Lane
Goldmine, Hearts of Oak
Used To It Now (Live in The Helm), Hearts of Oak
Easy By The Gun (Live in The Helm), Hearts of Oak
New England, Hearts of Oak
Rollin’ And Tumblin’, The Gaslight Anthem
Skipping Stones, Big Shoals
Rowdy Love, Denver
Denver Rock City, Bud Bronson
Crater, Gord Downie, The Sadies, And The Conquering Sun
I Saw It with My Own Two Eyes Again, Drunken Prayer
Rise In The River, Lincoln Durham
Non-Addictive Marijuana, Supersuckers
The Other Side of OK, Drag The River
Blessing And A Curse, Have Gun, Will Travel