Archives for category: Americana Music

Multi-Instrumentalist Extraordinaire Dirk Powell Readies
Sugar Hill Records Debut, Walking Through Clay

 

 
Dirk Powell walking through clay

Nashville, Tenn. (Dec. 9, 2013) – Considered one of the finest Americana musicians performing today, with a musical voice grown directly from roots in Appalachian and Louisiana soil, Dirk Powell is set to release his fourth solo album and Sugar Hill Records debut, Walking Through Clay, on February 4, 2014. The album finds Powell, whom Steve Earle calls “the greatest old-time banjo player alive,” uniting the hard-hitting drums of guests like Levon Helm with homegrown electric guitars, fiddles, amplified fretless banjos and Creole accordions. Barriers between styles are cooked off and what remains is a fearlessly emotional portrait of rural American music presented as only Powell could. Throughout the 12 tracks on Walking Through Clay, the longtime Lafayette, La., resident speaks many musical languages with amazing fluency, bringing in guests like Jerry Douglas, Aoife O’Donovan, and Mike McGoldrick to help with the task.

“This is my life and what I love and what moves me,” Powell says. “It’s time to share it without any limitations.”

Powell’s musical identity shapes every note of his craft: He’s plucked his share of strings in Kentucky, where his grandfather passed down Appalachian fiddle and banjo tunes in the great aural tradition, and absorbed Cajun bowing straight from Dewey Balfa. But it’s his ability to unite those traditions with more modern sensibilities, while maintaining a deep commitment to     expression as the goal of any artistic endeavor, that has led to work with artists such as Jack White, Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle, Linda Ronstadt, Kris Kistofferson and Joan Baez, who says of Dirk, “God gave this one an overdose of talent.”

On Walking Through Clay, Powell has created a project that is the definition of  Americana — a quilt that stitches together the past and present in a way that honors both. The project carries generations of stories, including those of Powell’s own family roots. In fact, his great-great grandmother, Eliza Davis, shares the album dedication with Levon Helm and inspired the title     track, an upbeat song, on which banjo and fiddle step aside for an assertive electric-guitar solo.

The track “That Ain’t Right” stakes bluesy territory somewhere between Cajun and zydeco, and the Celtic-tinged traditional, “Goodbye Girls” aches with a dirge-like tempo. Another cut, the hymn “Abide With Me,” features the late Helm on drums and his daughter, Amy, on gospel harmonies, with New Orleans jazz horns in the procession. They recorded it at Helm’s Woodstock studio.

Powell’s film soundtrack credits range from Ang Lee’s Ride With the Devil to Spike Lee’s Bamboozled. Powell collaborated with Cold Mountain author Charles Frazier to create a musical companion to the bestselling novel, which led to Powell’s work on the Academy Award-winning film and the T Bone Burnett-produced soundtrack. Powell very recently teamed up with Burnett again for a concert to celebrate the early-60s folk era depicted in the Coen Brothers film, Inside Llewyn Davis. Taped in New York as a benefit for the National Recording Preservation Foundation, “Another Day, Another Time” features Powell performing with Joan Baez, Elvis Costello, Gillian Welch, Patti Smith and Marcus Mumford.

Dirk Powell doesn’t see tradition as a re-creation of the past or something to be preserved like a museum artifact; to him, it’s a map to help future generations navigate their own roads of expression. On Walking Through Clay, Powell invites listeners on his own unique journey through the highs and lows, past and present.

 

Interviews with Dierks Bentley, Ricky Skaggs and many more –

Dierks Bentley during Simply Bluegrass taping, photo courtesy Phil Johnson (c) 2013

Dierks Bentley during Simply Bluegrass taping, photo courtesy Phil Johnson (c) 2013

Larry Black gathered some of the most well-known names in Bluegrass Music to record live for the Gabriel Communications’ series Country’s Family Reunion to be titled Simply Bluegrass featuring Ricky Skaggs and Bill Anderson as co-hosts with musical guests that have spanned decades.

Larry Black, Ricky Skaggs & Bill Anderson at Simply Bluegrass taping, photo - Brad Hardisty

Larry Black, Ricky Skaggs & Bill Anderson at Simply Bluegrass taping, photo – Brad Hardisty

Ricky Skaggs explained that it took over two years to put this together. Larry Black added, “Well, it took two years to get Ricky convinced to do it.” Ricky, after a quick laugh explained, “It took two years to where I could get my schedule to where I could do it.  But, you know we started talkin’ about doin’ this a couple of years ago. We started trying to plug in bands and people and availabilities and that kind of thing and I am so glad we did.

Rhonda Vincent, photo courtesy Phil Johnson (c) 2013

Rhonda Vincent, photo courtesy Phil Johnson (c) 2013

Lee Gibson of The Gibson Brothers shared, “It’s a bit surreal to sit there and I’m sitting so close to Ramona Jones who since I was a young boy before I became musical at all, was a part of our entertainment and our life on Hee Haw or when I watched any kind of Country Music Awards Show you would see Grandpa [Jones] and Ramona. I never thought I would be in the same room let alone standing there and singing a song in front of her.

Sierra Hull at Simply Bluegrass, photo - Brad Hardisty

Sierra Hull at Simply Bluegrass, photo – Brad Hardisty

Ricky Skaggs working with Larry Black put an incredible roster together that included everybody from Ramona Jones and Del McCoury to Sierra Hull who has put out two great albums under the guidance and production of Alison Krauss.

Sam Bush, photo courtesy Phil Johnson (c) 2013

Sam Bush, photo courtesy Phil Johnson (c) 2013

Sam Bush known as part of the Newgrass movement beginning in the late 60’s – early 70’s said, “Well, for starters, we are fans of each other so I have already got to hear The Gibson Brothers. I have already got to hear Rhonda Vincent and at first I thought you had to have an AARP card to get in here but then fortunately, Sierra Hull showed up. I have been influenced by a lot of people in this room. I used to see The Osborne Brothers on television. The Osborne Brothers were really, really, so progressive in their day. They are overlooked. Obviously, I was influenced by Doyle Lawson. I was influenced by Ricky Skaggs to want to learn to play the mandolin because he started before I did. He is two years younger than me and I started to see him on local Bowling Green, Kentucky TV. Ricky Skaggs sat in with Flatt and Scruggs on their television show. So, when I saw this kid playing the mandolin I thought this was the greatest thing I had ever seen and I wanted to do it too. It’s nice that many are contemporaries and we get to play on the same gigs and stuff. So, that’s one of the nice things about it. We play a lot of festivals but, we get to “horse around” more today.

The Whites at Simply Bluegrass, photo - Brad Hardisty

The Whites at Simply Bluegrass, photo – Brad Hardisty

Sharon White, who is Ricky Skaggs’ better half and a long time member of The Whites said, “Well, we started out playing acoustic music, playing bluegrass music and I mean we still do a lot of concerts that are considered bluegrass concerts and we love these people. I think my favorite part about being here today is that I am a big fan of everyone in the room plus some of these men like Bobby Osborne and Jesse McReynolds, Del McCoury and Mac Wiseman are legends and to hear their stories and to be part of this day it is just a real blessing. You know it really just feels like a family. We love each other. We are fans of each other. It’s a great thing,” Sharon than added, “When I got here and everyone was seated, I told Larry Black, you can really tell this is a Bluegrass family reunion. Everybody is holdin’ their mandolin or guitar and everybody has their instrument because that such a part of being in Bluegrass.

Ricky Skaggs, photo courtesy Phil Johnson (c) 2013

Ricky Skaggs, photo courtesy Phil Johnson (c) 2013

Ricky Skaggs felt the best way to understand Bluegrass Music is to play it. Ricky said, “You really just got to play it. You know you can study it all day long but until you get your hands on it, it’s like a farmer; until he gets his hands in the dirt, he’s never going to know about farming!

Jerry Douglas says that his most favorite part of being one of the world’s greatest Dobro players is the performance and getting out on the road.  Jerry said, “I like playing live. You can’t take it back. In the studio, nowadays especially, it’s so easy to make something perfect and the idea as musicians is to make something as perfect as possible in the moment and I was good at it and learned a lot from it.

Jerry Douglas ay Simply Bluegrass, photo courtesy Phil Johnson (c) 2013

Jerry Douglas ay Simply Bluegrass, photo courtesy Phil Johnson (c) 2013

Jerry Douglas reminisced about how the live aspect used to be when Music Row was really Music Row in Nashville when he said, “I can remember walking down Music Row when there was snow. When Nashville used to get snow, remember that? I’d park my car at one studio and walk to two or three sessions back then.

Doyle Lawson at Simply Bluegrass, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Doyle Lawson at Simply Bluegrass, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

Dierks Bentley, photo - Brad Hardisty

Dierks Bentley was probably the most mainstream current Country Artist in the room and he shared when he first really got an interest in Bluegrass Music saying, “I moved here to do country music when I was nineteen but, that same year I walked into a little bar called The Station Inn here in Nashville and my life kind of changed forever. I saw a band there called The Sidemen made up of different guys from The Del McCoury Band and The Osborne Brothers. It was a really special night that changed my life for me and I’ve been a big Bluegrass fan ever since.”

Dierks Bentley at Simply Grass, photo - Brad Hardisty

Dierks Bentley at Simply Grass, photo – Brad Hardisty

For Dierks it was a real community feeling that won him over and he said, “The authenticity of the music, real and honest, not just the music part but also the Bluegrass community is such a great community of folks: a real place to call home for a kid from Arizona. The whole community just took me in and I found myself at pickin’ parties and weddings and just a lot of cool, cool, things. It gave me a musical foundation. Terry Eldridge who sings with the band The Grascals was my mentor.  I paid five dollars for my Tuesday night door fee cover charge to get in and hear The Sidemen play so those were my lessons:  listenin’ to Terry and Ronnie McCoury who is up there on mandolin a lot. It really was a bluegrass education sitting there and listening to those guys play.

The Grascals at Simply Bluegrass taping, photo - Brad Hardisty

The Grascals at Simply Bluegrass taping, photo – Brad Hardisty

Dierks would eventually get his guitar out and learn some licks saying, “I went to a lot of picking parties. I would bring my Martin in my truck and it would stay in the case in the truck. I would be too nervous to get it out. I never wanted to get the guitar out of the back of my truck.  But, eventually I would get enough nerve to pull it out and play but, it’s never ending, even tonight just playing is just nerve racking playing in front of that audience.  It’s pretty cool to be a fly on the wall and just hang out and hear them tell stories just off the top of their head like they are just hanging out in their living room.

Bobby Osborne at Simply Bluegrass, Nashville, TN, photo  courtesy Phil Johnson (c) 2013

Bobby Osborne at Simply Bluegrass, Nashville, TN, photo courtesy Phil Johnson (c) 2013

Bobby Osborne will be marking 50 years as a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 2014 and shared how he and his brother decided to record “Rocky Top” which became a hit in 1967 and is the official song of University of Tennessee and of eight official songs of the state of Tennessee. Bobby was grateful to be a part of such a special historic taping and he said, “I have always been interested in the history of Bluegrass and Country music for that matter, you know, because I have always listened to Country and Bluegrass songs also. I’m very happy to be a part of this today. A lot of us are happy to be here today. We don’t get a chance to get together that often, you know, like we are today so, it’s really nice to be here and I am enjoying it very much. It’s really interesting to hear the stories that all of us have gathered in our minds through the years. It really is.”

Reno and Mac Wiseman at Simply Bluegrass, photo courtesy Gabriel Communications

Reno and Mac Wiseman at Simply Bluegrass, photo courtesy Gabriel Communications

Ricky Skaggs noted how spontaneous Bluegrass music is when he said, “This music is very organic. It changes every night. You never know what’s going to come. You never play a solo the same way twice. That’s what makes it fun. Every time Country loses its way and gets so far away from the center from what it should be then bluegrass music goes straight to the top because that is the alternative. That’s the real Country. Those were the records that we fell in love with and we learned as young kids and we loved those little “hickies” in a record that wasn’t perfect and we would make the same mistakes. You know, like Beatles fans will play the same mistakes and go to the wrong chord in the wrong place, where George or John might have played somethin’ totally different and these crazy Beatles groups like 1964 … the tribute bands. They will make the same mistakes just to keep the records right just because they love it, you know.

Rhonda Vincent and Dailey & Vincent warming up backstage at Simply Bluegrass, photo - Brad Hardisty

Rhonda Vincent and Dailey & Vincent warming up backstage at Simply Bluegrass, photo – Brad Hardisty

Ricky explained the real difference between Country and Bluegrass music by saying, “It’s built around a band. It’s not built around a lead singer. I mean you got to have a lead singer to sing the stuff but bluegrass that’s the difference in bluegrass and Country. Country is usually built as a band in the background and the lead singer is up front and he is doing his deal and they are just kind of supporting him. A bluegrass band, everybody is just as important. You got to have the mandolin, you got to have the fiddle, you got to have the guitar and you know obviously you got to have good singin’ and you got to have good playin but it is built around a band.

Del McCoury signing commemoratove poster, photo - Brad Hardisty

Del McCoury signing commemoratove poster, photo – Brad Hardisty

With this much talent in the room, the idea of collaboration had to come up and Ricky shared, “I am always up for something, I just had Jamie Johnson from The Grascals ask me to do something with them. They are going to re-record “Waitin’ For The Sun To Shine”, a song that I had hit with back in the eighties.

– Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN     thenashvillebridgeathotmaildotcom

Buddy and Jim Live

 

Jim Lauderdale, Buddy Miller, Cannery Ballroom, Sept 2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Jim Lauderdale, Buddy Miller, Cannery Ballroom, Sept 2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

The most anticipated set at this years’ Americana Festival was Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale bringing their collaboration, Buddy and Jim to the Cannery Row in front of a packed house.

Buddy Miller, Cannery Ballroom, Sept. 2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Buddy Miller, Cannery Ballroom, Sept. 2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

Buddy and Jim have both been mainstays since almost the inception of the Americana Music scene where both have one multiple awards starting in 2002 when Jim Lauderdale won both Artist of The Year and Song of the Year.

Buddy Miller at Cannery Ballroom, Sept. 2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Buddy Miller at Cannery Ballroom, Sept. 2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

Buddy Miller was not to be outdone winning a duet album of the year in 2002 with his wife Julie Miller as well as Album of The Year as a solo artist in 2005 for Universal United House of Prayer.

Jim Lauderdale, Buddy Miller, Cannery Ballroom, Sept 2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Jim Lauderdale, Buddy Miller, Cannery Ballroom, Sept 2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

Jim Lauderdale has played host of the Americana Music Association Awards Show for several years running and if you want to get a hint of that check out the video of “ Hush Hush” by Pistol Annies where he was featured as a Preacher and Brenda Lee plays the Choir Director.

On the other hand, Buddy Miller has been leader of the house band for the Awards show for several years running.

Buddy Miller, Cannery Ballroom, Sept 2013, photo - Brad hardisty

Buddy Miller, Cannery Ballroom, Sept 2013, photo – Brad hardisty

Buddy Miller’s career really started taking off in the late 90’s and especially during the last decade with several High Tone and New West releases, but International acclaim outside of Americana circles came as bandleader on Robert Plant’s Band Of Joy album and subsequent tour. Although Band of Joy became a big tour and launched all over the world, The Americana Music Association featured Robert Plant with the project at the Awards show just prior to release as well as Robert singing a song from the release at the following year’s star studded show that also featured Gregg Allman.

Buddy and Jim had collaborated for nearly fifteen years off and on, but never sat down to do an album together until now.

Americana Music is a realm of collaboration and this was inevitable between two Artists that have worked with everybody from Emmylou Harris, Patty Griffin, Elvis Costello, Ralph Stanley, James Burton to Grateful Dead Lyricist, Robert Hunter.

Buddy Miller, Cannery Ballroom, Sept 2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Buddy Miller, Cannery Ballroom, Sept 2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

Buddy and Jim are currently tastemakers on their Sirius XM Radio Show on Outlaw Channel 60 as well as Jim Lauderdale’s Radio Show on WSM 650 in Nashville.

Currently, Buddy Miller just produced The Devil Makes Three’s new release.

 Jim Lauderdale released a new Bluegrass album in September entitled Old Time Angels.

–          Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN     thenashvillebridgeathotmaildotcom

So Cal Tale Weaving  Nettie Rose at The Billy Block Show

Billy Block Into - Mercy Lounge 10/22/2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Billy Block Into – Mercy Lounge 10/22/2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

Nettie Rose is a cross between a young June Carter growing up in Modern So Cal, instead of the Smoky Mountains with a Laurel Canyon era Graham Parsons partner Emmylou Harris singing thru the lens of a Gold rush street fightin’ San Fran Saloon Chanteuse.

Nettie Rose, Mercy Lounge 10/22/2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Nettie Rose, Mercy Lounge 10/22/2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

Nettie Rose debuted on The Billy Block Show live from Mercy Lounge Tuesday night weaving tales from the San Francisco gold rush days to sharing her own stories of modern L.A.life.

Nettie Rose, Billy Block Show at Mercy Lounge, 10/22/2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Nettie Rose, Billy Block Show at Mercy Lounge, 10/22/2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

Her voice is part plaintive Wildwood Flower , Wanda Jackson “Fuji Yama Mama” with a little scratch tickling the throat and sometimes pure catfight from a Boomtown Dance Hall girl that has been through too many “love ‘em and leave ‘em” romances from a transient California strike it rich past.

Nettie Rose at Billy Block Show, Mercy Lounge, 10/22/2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Nettie Rose at Billy Block Show, Mercy Lounge, 10/22/2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

Nettie Rose had been in Nashville the past few days recording new songs, one of which ”Deaf Cowboy” was debuted during the six song set that gave Nashville a taste of California’s history and country music heritage as well as the first song she wrote, the sing-a-long “Ride, Ride, Ride.”

Lynn Shipley Sokolow, Fred Sokolow, Nettie Rose, Mercy Lounge, 10/22/2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Lynn Shipley Sokolow, Fred Sokolow, Nettie Rose, Mercy Lounge, 10/22/2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

Current mentor and co-writer, Fred Sokolow was featured on some pre-Bakersfield Sound style Tele work as well as “Speedy West” Electric Hawaiian tone that played like on old California Town Hall Party 78 record.

John "Spazz" Hatton, with Nettie Rose at Mercy Lounge, 10/22/2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

John “Spazz” Hatton, with Nettie Rose at Mercy Lounge, 10/22/2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

Upright bassist extraordinaire, John “Spazz” Hatton, who has played with Brian Setzer, kept the bottom end somewhere between early Bob Wills and Sun Records’ Tennessee Two percussive slaps when needed, like they were goin’ to play the Grand Ole Opry in 1952 and couldn’t use a drummer.

Lynn Shipley Sokolow, Fred Sokolow, Nettie Rose at Mercy Lounge, 10/22/2013, photo - Brad  Hardisty

Lynn Shipley Sokolow, Fred Sokolow, Nettie Rose at Mercy Lounge, 10/22/2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

Lynn Shipley Sokolow on banjo gave the quartet a pre-war Americana feel to the evening.

Nettie Rose at Mercy Lounge, 10/22/2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Nettie Rose at Mercy Lounge, 10/22/2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

Nettie Rose referenced Ernest Tubb as an inspiration on one song as she seemed to pull back the concrete jungle of modern Bay Area Cali and The Sunset Strip to reveal a parallel universe where Nettie Rose seemed to be an ether conduit for hard living gold rush era women telling their story of living from Mendocino and Oakland [“Last Chance Saloon”] on down to pre-highway Southern California where somebody was on horseback trying to outrun the law going over the “Grapevine.”

Nettie Rose at Mercy Lounge, 10/22/2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Nettie Rose at Mercy Lounge, 10/22/2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

Nettie Rose did a cover of “Don’t Fence Me In” which fit the vintage motif although many songs reflected the current state of affairs written from a hanging out at McCabe’s Guitar Store point of view rather than partying with the ecstasy crowd.

Nettie Rose at Mercy Lounge, 10/22/2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Nettie Rose at Mercy Lounge, 10/22/2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

The poetic lyrics reflect a well-read deep thinker rather than an insipid “throw your hands up in the air” refrain and this will remind listeners that California is also the land of Lucinda Williams and Ryan Bingham as well as the growing up years of songwriters’ Darrell Scott and Jeffrey Steel.

California is also the birthright of Tele’s and Fender Amps, Bigsby tailpieces, Dobro guitars and The Byrds’ “Sweetheart Of The Rodeo” as well as Rose Maddox’ pre-Rockabilly pumped up Hillbilly muse.

Nettie Rose at Mercy Lounge, 10/22/2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Nettie Rose at Mercy Lounge, 10/22/2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

The one thing Nettie Rose accomplishes better than just about any muddy roots artist out there today is that she is able to weave modern tales and vintage sounds like they can co-exist without some weird juxtapose which doesn’t box her in like, say for example San Joaquin Valley throwback Frank Fairfield who can give a definitive 110 year old style from the top down on a Thompson Square 10 inch but, has a style that is very hard to translate into a modern storyline.  

Nettie Rose at Mercy Lounge, 10/22/2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Nettie Rose at Mercy Lounge, 10/22/2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

The advance copy of People I Know shows diversity in storylines that go concurrently with real time to the California that the first Pioneers, Gold Miners and Okies experienced over the last two hundred years when it was the Wild, Wild, West. Colin Linden has production credits and is currently part of the team working with T Bone Burnett making music for the hit TV show Nashville

Nettie Rose at Mercy Lounge, 10/22/2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Nettie Rose at Mercy Lounge, 10/22/2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

Nettie Rose appears to have a good West Coast based team of musicians, music business friends and a three generation music family that are supportive of her quest and it appears that will be helpful in her effort to be a genuine West Coast modern Bob Dylanesque storyteller of the rough and tumble life of California’s golden years.

Nettie Rose preachin' the Cali Blues, Mercy Lounge, 10/22/2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Nettie Rose preachin’ the Cali Blues, Mercy Lounge, 10/22/2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

–          Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN    thenashvillebridgeathotmaildotcom

charles butlerVery Entertaining Records Artist Charles Butler took his banjo for a ride on Daft Punk’s “ Get Lucky” a few days ago and posted it to YouTube on May 25th and after a few links by random bloggers, Huffington Post took notice and now the East Nashville banjo style version is nearing a million hits.

Charles Butler posted May 27th on YouTube, “A heartfelt thanks to everyone who left words of encouragement! And thank you to Daft Punk. Random Access Memories is amazing, go get it. I am going to cut a new version of this to offer as a free download, and produce some banjo tab for those who are interested, probably within a week or so.”

There are now videos of people watching his version on YouTube.

Very Entertaining Records Bill Davis is excited about the light being shined on his label mate and friend.

How far can this go? How about a kickstarter campaign to press a back to back 7 inch of “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk and Charles Butler? For information on Charles Butler and Very Entertaining Records contact info@veryentertaingrecords.com.

–          Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN     thenashvillebridge@hotmail.com

Charles Butler photo courtesy Very Entertaining Records

photo - Scott Toepfer

photo – Scott Toepfer

Somewhere in Texas, The Nashville Bridge caught up with Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band  as they  geared up for SXSW following a successful first leg of the Big Damn Blues Revolution Tour with Jimbo Mathus, purveyor off all things “Southern” and Alvin Youngblood Hart.

The latest album the Side One Dummy Records release Between The Ditches which debuted at Number One on the iTunes Blues Charts the week of its release, has caught on all over the country after 250 shows a year that has left blood, sweat and tears on stages all over North America

The first single, “Devils Look like Angels,” featured a great video and has been popular on YouTube and Blues and Americana radio.

photo - Scott Toepfer

photo – Scott Toepfer

Nashville has been a regular stop for Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band after finding a solid supportive crowd with their mix of Country Blues that sits somewhere between Blues, Country and the local Americana Scene. The Reverend will be stopping through Nashville March 20th at Exit/ In on Nashville’s Rock Block with wife, Breezy Peyton on washboard and his cousin Aaron Persinger on drums continuing The Big Damn Blues Revolution Tour with a full entourage and possible special guests.

Reverend Peyton shared some insight about why they have been doing so well this year.

Brad Hardisty / The Nashville Bridge: Where are you guys at right now?

Reverend Peyton: We are two hours from Dallas. Texarkana, I Believe.

TNB: Well you are in the south.

RP: Yeah. We were in Little Rock, Arkansas last night and now we are heading out towards our SXSW shows.

TNB: That is coming up here pretty quick.

RP: Yeah, we just did the first leg of the Big Damn Blues Revolution Tour. It will pick back up in Nashville (Exit/In March 20th) after SXSW.

TNB: You make Nashville a regular stop.

RP: We have.  We have played a lot of different venues in Nashville. We’ve played so many of ‘em and I think Exit/In is the best one. I love that place.

TNB: I have heard a lot about you guys around town. I’m sure you’ve done the Grimey’s in-store.

photo - Scott Toepfer

photo – Scott Toepfer

RP: Oh Yeah, we’ve played a Grimey’s in-store…two or three of ‘em. I just love Mike. He’s a fan and The Basement’s really cool too!  It’s an intimate place and you know Grimey’s is just such a great place. Mike is such a music fan, you know.  Like, all the bands that come through there and all the people that he deals with and he’s still a fan, you know. He’s cool.

TNB: The Basement is pretty cool, that is where Justin Townes Earle used to play there all the time when he first started with The Good Life and all that.  Even Metallica did a Live At Grimey’s disc at The Basement. They wanted to play Grimey’s but it was too small so they played at The Basement below the store. I was going to say, your band is at an interesting crossroads. You can play straight up blues festivals, Bonaroo and The Americana Music Festival. You are kind of in an interesting position, don’t you think?

RP:  Yeah, we are looking that way. It’s kind of weird because sometimes people don’t know what to classify us as or where to put us, but, it has really been a blessing because we can play anywhere, you know. There are certain bands, like a punk band, they can play a punk rock club and that’s it, you know, or if you are even just a straight up Country Honky Tonk band you’re running that way. We can play everywhere, you know.  We can play a regular rock fest and blues fest and folk fest, country fest and you name it.  It is sort of funny too. A lot of people, they don’t even quite understand what kind of music it is that we play; it’s country blues, you know, that’s what it is.

TNB: I’ve got some friends out in Mississippi. I can see your sound is mostly what they would call Boogie Blues if it was coming out of Mississippi.  It’s not straight up Hill Country; it’s got a little bit of Hill Country. What do you guys think where you are coming from? What are you after?

RP: Well, I just call it Country Blues. For Hill Country, there is a certain trance aspect. It’s kind of raggedy. Old Delta stuff.  We are a little bit of that mixed up.  I have been a student of it all since I was a little kid. I sort of have my way of playing and it kind of mixes it up all together and also, a lot of times we are playing straight up blues and blues stuff, but, the difference is nobody’s writing songs anymore. They just focus on being guitar gunslingers. You know. I want to be someone who writes song from the heart. You know what I mean. That is the most important thing.

TNB: I think that is what keeps the blues alive. Have you met “Blind Boy” Paxton?

RP: No, I don’t think I know him.

TNB: He made the cover of Living Blues Magazine. He plays old time Charlie Patton style or earlier. He’s probably the best acoustic blues musician right now, but, he won’t write anything. It’s like the music was written in a certain time period and that is where it fits. You are one of the only songwriters that I can see where, it’s like you are not copying Burnside, Kimbrough.  You really are not copying anybody even though it has that aged feel. It’s your own stuff. Do you get that feeling?

photo - Scott Toepfer

photo – Scott Toepfer

RP: Here’s the deal, man. If you are not making new music then go home. Because, nobody is going to do it as good as Charlie Patton did it anyway. You know what I mean? Nobody can play Charlie Patton better than Charlie Patton.  You are not going to play Son House better than Son House. So, my songs are what I am going to play, you know, otherwise you are just kind of like a museum piece, like a throwback like someone in costume that is just showing up to play a part in a movie or something.  I think music should be from the heart. I’ve always believed that. That is why Muddy Waters was so good. That’s why John Fogerty is so good. The best music comes from a personal place.  Some people copy things and change the names, I don’t even do that. You know, for me, that’s what it’s all about. Music that’s fresh and new but maybe it sounds like it’s old, like timeless music that’s new. I guess so, if that makes sense.  It’s hard to do. Blues has been around for almost a hundred years and I’ve been playing it for you know, most of my life. It’s hard to sort of write new stuff because so much has been done, but, it’s a quest that I will be forever on; to write new songs that are timeless still. Songs that still fit in with the annals of blues going back to Charlie Patton, you know.

TNB:  It’s interesting; you do go back and do Charlie Patton covers, which is way back.

photo - Scott Toepfer

photo – Scott Toepfer

RP: He is my patron saint. I did that record, Peyton on Patton because I want people to know who he is because I feel like I have a problem with the blues world. Not enough people know who Charlie Patton is. I think if you know who Charlie Patton is then you have to start with him. I think that music in general starts to get more into focus. You start to understand where people like Muddy Waters and where I am coming from. I just want to make sure people know about Charlie Patton.  In his day, he was super famous you know. In his day, he was the guy. It’s sort of like he influenced Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf. In his day, Charlie was the hero; He was the one they all wanted to be. He drove around in good cars; he played a Gibson Guitar with a hard case.  He was the one that was truly successful, you know and the music is amazing. In my opinion, he was the best there ever was.  I think the reason his playing is not that well known is because the recordings were so raw. That’s why I did that record that way. I wanted to do it his way. I kept it sort of raw. I didn’t put too much of myself into the record. Anyway, I wanted to try to use his rawness and play it the way he would play a song. I wanted to play the way he played them so people could hear his guitar pickin’.  So they could have appreciation for what he was on guitar. He was just about songs you know.

TNB: You guys have been around for about four or five albums now?

RP: Yeah, we have made five records I think.

TNB: Things are really starting to pick up the last couple of years.

RP: Yeah, it has been a slow and steady ride. I think the last records have got a lot more attention it has been exponential, especially after the Charlie Patton record. People in like the traditional blues world sort of heard that one and started saying, “maybe we should have been paying attention to these fellas.”

TNB: That is kind of how it happens sometimes. What is ground zero for you guys?

RP: Well, I don’t know. We have pockets all over the place where it’s big. The West Coast is really good:  lots of stuff there. It has kind of blown up in Cincinnati and, of course, southern Indiana, Burlington. Indianapolis; big time there. Kansas City has been a huge place.  I think for us it has always been just one fan at a time. More word of mouth than anything else. It has been fans just coming out and telling their friends and then they buy the record and they’re spinning it. A lot of barbecuing or whatever and I think has been the secret for us.

TNB: One of the most interesting things was that I saw you played a big motorcycle rally. Was that at Sturgis?

RP: We have done Sturgis a couple of times. We did a Bike fest in Arkansas. It’s no big deal. We do a Biker fest and then we will turn around and do the Vans Warped Tour. The kids on the Warped Tour are like 13 and those kids are fun to play for! They go nuts! Then we will go and play a festival at Red Rocks in Denver, Colorado. Denver is a big town for us. It might be one of the biggest. They are such a great crowd.

TNB: They do have a good acoustic scene.

RP: That’s true.

TNB: Real quick, any new albums this year or just touring what is going to happen.

RP: I’m not sure. We will be touring on the Blues Revolution Tour which has been going strong.  There are going to be festivals. We’d like to get in there and do some recording. I think it’s something I just we’ve made, kind of like, once a year for a while, so, I foresee us doing something.

TNB: Have you had any guests come up and jam on encores?

photo - Scott Toepfer

photo – Scott Toepfer

RP: Oh yeah on the Blues Revolution Tour we have been doing jams where it’s just the three of us those two guys and me then the Big Damn Band and Jimbo’s band. I think in Nashville… I don’t wanna say who…but, there is likely going to be some specials guests coming up that are Nashville locals.

TNB: When you jam, are you doing old time blues or…

RP: Yeah, we have been jamming on stuff like that and just trade it up, like, maybe one or two Jimbo songs or like some Charlie Patton stuff. Different things. It changes every night.

– Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN     thenashvillebridge@hotmail.com

Michael Des Barres and Brad Hardisty at Americana Festival

This Sunday Dec. 2nd, at 11AM Central Time, that would be 10 AM Mountain Time, 9AM in sunny California and 12 Noon in Atlanta, Brad Hardisty of The Nashville Bridge and Performer Magazine is live on the air with Music News With Kat Pat on Blog Talk Radio.

Brad Hardisty, Tootsie’s on Lower Broad, photo – Tristan Dunn

“Recently, I interviewed Ricky Skaggs for Performer Magazine and it was kind of a mind expansion experience talking about Bill Monroe, Emmylou Harris, Barry Gibb and recording with Jack White and The Raconteurs all in the same hour. I look forward to talking to Kat Pat about that as a preview to the January edition as well as Nashville, Music City, today and the explosion of all things happening musically from Punk Rock to the Blues. I don’t have any idea where we will stray and ramble; there are so many different directions we can go. There is a lot of new music around here and then there is always history like Jimi Hendrix at The Del Morocco. I’m looking forward to this.” – Brad Hardisty, The Nashville Bridge, Performer Magazine

Kat Pat has a couple of rare guitar tracks of Brad Hardisty as well as a never before heard version of “Spark The Flame” recorded live at The Nick in Birmingham, Alabama in 2006 with the band Furthermore featuring Brad on guitar as well as Danny Everitt on Bass, Peter Davenport on vocals and Daniel Long on drums.

Listeners can call in at (818) 369-0352.

Brad with Southside Gentlemens Club, Burt’s Tiki Lounge, Salt Lake City, 2009

Kat Pat has interviewed several bands including regional acts, Skinny Molly (featuring Mike Estes of Lynyrd Skynyrd) and Robert Nix, one of the founders of The Atlanta Rhythm Section.

You can get to information here.

Also you can link to Music News with Kat Pat here.

The interview will be up for some time after Sunday for later listening.

Brad Hardisty Live at The Nick, Birmingham, AL with Furthermore, 2006

– The Nashville Bridge, Nashville, TN     thenashvillebridge@hotmail.com