Playlist

November 07, 2017

Listen

Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors
Andrew Combs
Peter Mulvey
Christian Lopez
and Lost Bayou Ramblers

Playlist




Hour

​Artist

Song

1

Andrew Combs

Blood Hunters

 

 

Rose Colored Blues

 

 

Better Way

 

 

Suwannee County

 

Lost Bayou Ramblers

Sabine Turnaround

 

 

Blues de Bouteille

 

 

La Valse de Balfa/The Bathtub

 

 

The Bastille

 

Christian Lopez

Swim the River

 

 

Don’t Wanna Say Goodnight

 

 

Silver Line

 

 

Steel on the Water

2

Peter Mulvey

The Last Song

 

 

You Don’t Have to Tell Me

 

 

What Else was It?

 

 

Vlad the Astrophysicist

 

Bob Thompson

It Never Entered My Mind

 

Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors

American Beauty

 

 

Postcard Moments

 

 

Morning Song

 

 

Wild World

 

 

Sometimes

 

Larry Groce & Co.

When I Paint My Masterpiece

Originally Broadcast October 27th, 2017​

Press Release

​Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors - Souvenirs. Drew Holcomb has collected many of them. A road warrior for more than a decade, he's spent his adulthood onstage and on the road, traveling from place to place with a catalog of vibrant, honest songs that explore the full range of American roots music. He turns a new corner with 2017's Souvenir, a highly-collaborative album that finds Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors focusing on the things that truly stick with you — including family and friends, music and memories, people and places — in a fast-moving world. Equal parts folksinger, roots-rocker, country crooner, and pop-hook provider, Holcomb blurs the lines between genres on his newest release. Souvenir is his band's most expansive album to date, dishing up everything from the West Coast country-rock of "California" to the front-porch folk of "Mama Sunshine, Daddy's Rain." The rootsy songs are more rustic than ever before, laced with harmonica, upright bass, and banjo, while the rockers are downright electrifying, from the searing guitar solo that carves a lightning-shaped streak through "Sometimes" to the emotionally-charged duet with Holcomb's wife, Ellie Holcomb, on "Black and Blue." Holcomb is still the captain of this band's ship, but Souvenir relies on contributions from the whole crew. It's a proper "band album," in other words, stacked with songwriting contributions from longtime members Rich Brinsfield and Nathan Dugger. Arriving two years after Medicine, a watershed album that cracked the Top 15 on both the Billboard Folk and Rock charts, Souvenir was borne out of collaboration. Holcomb and company had played nearly 200 shows in support of Medicine's release, and the pace took a toll on the frontman. 

Looking for help to whip up new material, he began holding weekly songwriting sessions with Brinsfield and Dugger. The two bandmates responded by bringing in some top-notch tunes. Dugger came up with "Yellow Rose of Sante Fe," a classic country song whose warm, western sway brings to mind a young Willie Nelson, while Brinsfield wrote "Sometimes," whose stacked harmonies and pop melodies evoke the Beatles. The trio finished an additional handful of songs together, while a solo acoustic tour through Europe gave Holcomb the time to polish off several tunes on his own. Fiercely supportive of his adopted hometown, Holcomb recorded Souvenir in East Nashville, teaming up with the same producers — Joe Pisapia (k.d. lang, Guster, William Tyler) and Ian Fitchuk (Maren Morris, James Bay, Kacey Musgraves) — who helped bring 2015's Medicine to life. Rather than try and resurrect the classic, stripped-down vibe of the previous album, though, the team adopted an "anything goes" approach in the studio. They used a drum machine on "New Year," a song about the annual cycle of triumph and tragedy. They made room for gang vocals, layered guitars, and epic, rock-influenced arrangements. On "Wild World," a socially-conscious song about embracing diversity and loving your neighbor, the crew recorded live, allowing the sounds of the outside world — including a passing ambulance, its siren blaring — to filter their way into the finished track. While Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors worked on Souvenir at Pisapia's home studio, America endured the final days of a dark, contentious election that seemed to leave everyone — both winners and losers — in a state of exhausted unhappiness. There's palpable anger rising from Holcomb's voice in "Fight for Love," whose epic tale of struggle and redemption was recorded one afternoon after Election Day. Souvenir doesn't shy away from those dark corners — the challenges and controversies that help give context and depth to our happier moments — but it does place most of its focus on one central theme: love. "Love is physical," says Holcomb, who kicks off the album with "The Morning Song," his most sexually-charged track to date. "Love is geographic," he adds, pointing to the album's tribute to the Golden Coast, "California." Then, looking at the rest of the 11-song tracklist, he draws connections to songs about estranged brothers, long-lost lovers, precocious daughters, and everyone in between. "Love is hard and tragic," he finishes. "Love is rewarding. Love is friendship. 

Love is fatherhood." Love is musical, too. One month after recording "Wild World," Holcomb found himself in the ER, once again listening to the blare of ambulance sirens outside. He was soon diagnosed with a rare case of viral meningitis, a disease that left him in the hospital and unable to listen to the finished, mastered mixes of Souvenir's tracks. Years ago, he might've waited until he completely recovered, delaying the album's release until he could personally approve each song. This time, he tossed the job to his bandmates, giving the Neighbors the trust, love, and support needed to finish Souvenir. Released on March 24, 2017, by Holcomb's own label, Magnolia Music, Souvenir is the very thing its name suggests: a keepsake from a band that's still moving, still growing, still scaling new heights. Like Medicine, the album is built around the idea that music helps bind people together. It's the population's connective tissue. It's part of our lives, carried with us from one milestone to the next, always providing the soundtrack to our individual journeys. For Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors, that journey is still going. Souvenir is the newest memento from that trip, its songs shining a light on the band's past while also pointing toward the next destination. Onward. 

Andrew Combs -“Ever heard of a happy song?” That question is posed to Andrew Combs in “Rainy Day Song”, the lead track on his acclaimed 2015 album All These Dreams, during a barstool chat with a sarcastic friend. The singer – offended but gracious – smiles and allows the moment to pass, eschewing confrontation for the sake of a gem he polishes as an afterthought for the listener: “Tab’s on me if you think I’m lying / Laughing ain’t a pleasure till you know about crying.” The moment, full of the understated charm and pulsing honesty that defines his music, and is as good a metaphor as any for the songcraft of Andrew Combs. A Dallas native now living near the same Nashville airport immortalized in the opening sequence of Robert Altman’s country music odyssey, Andrew Combs is a singer, songwriter, guitarist, and heir to that 1975 film’s idea of the Nashville troubadour as a kind of musical monk. Here in the twenty-first century whorl of digital narcissism, where identity can feel like a 24/7 social media soft-shoe performance, Combs makes music that does battle with the unsubtle. Like the pioneering color photographer William Eggleston, he sees the everyday and the commonplace as the surest paths to transcendence, and he understands intuitively that what is most obvious is often studded with the sacred. As a songwriter, Combs relies on meditative restraint rather than showy insistence to paint his canvases, a technique commensurate with his idea of nature as an overflowing spiritual wellspring. 

NPR music critic Ann Powers noted as much in a 2015 review: “His song-pictures are gorgeous, but he recognizes their impermanence as he sings.” This deeply felt sense of ecology, of the transient beauty within nature’s chaotic churn, lies at the heart of Combs’s approach to his art. After touring behind All These Dreams, a record that earned him international accolades and comparisons to everyone from Leonard Cohen to Mickey Newbury to Harry Nilsson, Combs has returned with a new album that puts down stakes in fresh sonic terrain. Canyons of My Mind, out in March on New West, is — as its title suggests — a landscape where the personal and the pastoral converge. Drawing inspiration from the biographies of literary figures like Charles Wright and Jim Harrison, Combs has created an album that explores the notion of “sustainability” in its many facets — artistic, economic, spiritual, environmental. "When I set out to record All These Dreams, I had a distinct vision of what I wanted the record to sound like. It was a cocktail of the Roy Orbison, Glen Campbell, Nilsson vibes that you can hear right there on the surface," Combs says. "Canyons of My Mind is much more personal. It’s a testament to my acceptance of who I am as a man, and who I am becoming.” The record’s sonic adventurousness bears witness to that evolution, as well as to some big changes in his personal life. Between All These Dreams and Canyons, Combs married his longtime girlfriend Kristin, with whom he honeymooned for six weeks in the Minnesota wilderness. “She walks through her life exuding such open-mindedness and kindness,” Combs says. “I can’t help but watch in awe. She lets me be whoever I want to be, and that’s new to me. And quite refreshing, and freeing.” The quiet struggles and satisfactions of carving out an identity in a world gone wrong are palpable throughout the album. Whether questing through the labyrinth of his own spiritual yearning, (“Heart of Wonder”), recreating a rail rider’s full-body sensation of freedom beneath an azure Montana sky (“Rose Colored Blues”), imagining a near-future dystopia where the very idea of green spaces has been annihilated (“Dirty Rain”), or channeling the desire of a peeping Tom who has fallen in love with his sylvan quarry (“Hazel”), Combs refines the vulnerable vagabond persona he mastered on All These Dreams while pushing it beyond those boundaries, into a more pastoral realm aligned with artists like Nick Drake and Tim Buckley. The idea of the artist’s creative life as an ecosystem — one just as in need of cultivation and care as our own imperiled world — informs much of Canyons. For Combs, the quest to sustain his own capacity to create on a daily basis is what drives him. “I want to create for the rest of my life — writing, singing, painting,” he says. “I also want my life to include a family, a house, and kids. Seeking out other artists who’ve been able to keep the lights on without compromising their art – that keeps me inspired.”

Peter Mulvey - SILVER LADDER is an auditory shot in the arm from veteran touring songwriter Peter Mulvey. Produced by the indomitable Chuck Prophet, it is a lean, muscular collection of tightly constructed songs, leavening Mulvey’s tendency toward ruminative and yearning acoustic songs with a dose of sharp-witted, punchy rock and roll. After a turbulent stretch in his personal life left him at sea, Mulvey decided to write his way out of it: “I've been through it. I bet you have too,” he said, “but there are times in life when you turn a corner and suddenly everything is simple: let's make some songs, people! Let's play!” Committing to writing one song a week relieved him of the precious, self-involved artist’s question, What Do I Have To Say? The songs came flooding out over the weeks and months, and within a year he had more than enough for a new record.

Christian Lopez - For singer, songwriter and guitarist Christian Lopez, Nashville has become a home away from home. That’s where he comes to write. He rehearses there with his band. His debut album and Red Arrow, his brand new follow-up for Blaster Records, were recorded in Music City too. But his heart? His long-term dream? Well, they’re rooted someplace far away from Music Row, to the place where he was born and knows he will never leave. “I’ve dedicated 100% of my life and time to my music. I work on some aspect of it every day. But I also see myself back in West Virginia someday, with a house and a big yard where I can relax. And a dog too,” he adds quickly, with a laugh. “You could say that’s the American Dream. For me, it’s more specifically my West Virginian dream.” Handsome, thoughtful and well spoken, Lopez is less concerned with the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle than with spending time back home with friends, family and the old cars he and his dad like to tinker with. At the same time, as interest in his multiple talents heats up, this only feeds into his fascination with discovering places, ideas and music. Lopez has been stoking that fire for five years, since he began touring and learning how to turn a bunch of bar patrons into foot-stomping, cheering fans. By that time, Lopez had already laid the foundation of a distinctive sound and style. Drawn first to the power of classic rock ’n’ roll, Lopez enriched and expanded on this foundation at age 15. “That’s when my dad brought me those The Essential compilation albums from Willie, Waylon, Johnny and Kris,” he remembers. “It was then that I started to realize that meaning and message could matter in music.” So he started to write. He widened his listening, going deep into and beyond traditional country toward what wasn’t yet labeled as Americana. 

When inspiration struck, he responded with a song. Soon inspiration became a frequent caller. Originals nudged covers out of the way on his set lists. His love for music transformed into certainty that performing his own songs was what he had been born to do. Eventually Lopez connected with Grammy-winning producer Dave Cobb in Nashville. Their creative synergy ignited on Lopez’s first album, Onward, released in 2015. “Working with Dave taught me to trust my first instincts and not to overthink my ideas because the magic usually comes naturally,” he says. “I’ll remember that forever.” Two years later, with characteristic curiosity, Lopez decided to explore different paths for his sophomore project. Over nine months, he tempered the intuitive approach he had cultivated for Onward with a more measured process, beginning with the careful selection of producer Marshall Altman. “It was almost like a science experiment,” he says, with a laugh. “But that’s what I thought recording would be like when I was a kid — a work of art rather than just throwing together a bunch of songs.” The songs, too, were different. His recent works reflected a more perceptive view of the world as well as a greater self-awareness. Some of this came from co-writing, which he’d never done before. “It did help me expand my thought process and come up with ideas I never would have on my own.” All of which makes Red Arrow a milestone for this emerging artist. On “Don’t Wanna Say Goodnight,” Lopez kicks into high gear, riding by the rockabilly rhythm as if hearing it for the first time. A different innocence informs “Swim The River,” through lyrics that conjure the thrill of young love. On the other hand, “1972” is a disarmingly affectionate tribute to his International Harvester Scout — and the romantic adventures it has witnessed. Writing with Mindy Smith and Josh Williams, Lopez came up with “Still On Its Feet,” an eloquent analogy equating beloved old piece of furniture with one who has weathered hard times; Vince Gill’s guitar accompanies Lopez’s intimate vocal. 

And for more classic harmony singing, look no further than “Caramel,” where Lopez and Kenneth Pattengale of Milk Carton Kids blend their voices and acoustic guitars with a synchronicity the Everly Brothers might have admired. There’s much more as well, but pay special attention to “Steel On The Water.” Lopez wrote this one alone, on his last night aboard the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis en route from Pearl Harbor to San Diego. Brought onboard to entertain 5,000 sailors on their way home, he ended up at least as moved by their stories as they were by his music. “This is maybe the most personal song I’ve written yet,” Lopez says. “When you come from the outside and join a bunch of people who’ve been living on that ship for years at a time, they gravitate toward you. They want to talk with you. They tell you everything. You’re almost like a refuge to them. It’s overwhelming, especially coming from kids your age.” Lopez was struck especially with the parallel he sensed between their lives and his as he embarks ever further and for longer hauls away from his West Virginia home. But he understood the differences in their missions too. “The first lines talk about how ‘some go for school; some go for tradition and some go for a last resort.’ I had conversations with people on that ship who had done those things. I was so emotional when it was time to leave them. On these songs and the album’s six other offerings, Red Arrow does us a service. For many, it will introduce an artist whose singing radiates youthful infatuation with life through songs rooted in a reverence for American tradition. To those who have already had the pleasure of discovering him, it documents the next stage of a journey toward wisdom, insight, perhaps heartbreak and a fruitful crop of great new songs to come.  For Lopez, maybe it’s a ticket on that trip that will lead to faraway places yet end back home in West Virginia. Through his music we travel with him, beginning here.

Lost Bayou Ramblers - Lost Bayou Ramblers’ evolution as a perversely progressive band rooted in Cajun traditions continues to excite, challenge, and redefine both genre expectations as well as cultural preconceptions. Produced by Korey Richey (LCD Soundsystem, Arcade Fire) their latest studio album, Kalenda, is set for release on September 26 on Rice Pump Records. Their Jack White produced performance in the 2017 documentary series and on the accompanying record release American Epic helped solidify Lost Bayou Ramblers’ reputation as one of the world’s finest traditional Cajun outfits, if one of the least orthodox. With eight albums, a Grammy nomination, contributions to the score of the Oscar-nominated Beasts Of The Southern Wild, and touring with both Arcade Fire and the Violent Femmes, Lost Bayou continues to swing wide from their Louisiana home base. Lost Bayou Ramblers’ new album celebrates the complex history and cultural diversity of  Kalenda – a carribean dance, a Louisiana rhythm, a Cajun rock’n’roll song, and eventually a woman’s name – that crossed both the black-white and Creole-Cajun divides in so many forms. The Ramblers channel those suggestive rhythms associated with the dance as producer Korey Richey masterfully incorporates new hues from his sonic palate into their arrangements. Once again, the band stands at the crosscurrents of Louisiana culture by inhabiting the gray area between Cajun and Creole, convention and innovation. 

Their Kalenda is at once a mystery and a revelation. This line-up of eclectic Louisiana musicians led by brothers Louis Michot (fiddle and lead vocals) and Andre Michot (accordion and lapsteel), joined by Bryan Webre (electric bass), Johnny Campos (electric guitar), Eric Heigle (electronics and acoustic guitar), and Kirkland Middleton (drums) brought the cumulative experience of 17 years of touring, recording, and collaborating to bear on Kalenda’s creation with intoxicating results. Lost Bayou Ramblers was formed in 1999 by brothers Andre and Louis Michot, performing the roots Cajun music they learned as members of Les Frères Michot, the family band their father and uncles formed in the 80's. The brothers quickly began playing clubs and festivals around Louisiana, and taking the traditional music they were raised with to new levels of rhythmic energy and spontaneity, producing the punk and psychedelic labels given to the band by reviews over the years. In 2012, with five albums under their belt, including a Grammy nomination for their 2007 release Live a la Blue Moon, the band released its most progressive and sonically experimental record to date, Mammoth Waltz. With the stylings of producer Korey Richey (LCD Soundsystem, Arcade Fire, Givers) and the help of guest artists Gordon Gano, Scarlett Johansson, and Dr. John, Mammoth Waltz was named #2 in the “Top 21 Louisiana albums of the 21st Century” by Times Picayune, and acted as an invitation for all music lovers to tune in to the hypnotic Cajun rhythms Lost Bayou Ramblers have been known for since their inception in 1999. Lost Bayou Ramblers’ contribution to the score of Beasts of the Southern Wild in 2012 brought them further renown worldwide, and continuing performances with Wordless Music Orchestra and score composers Benh Zeiltin and Dan Romer. 2014 brought LBR the support slot on Arcade Fire’s REFLEKTOR tour. In addition, they made a live appearance on NPR’s World Café; they were rated #1 on “David Dye’s five favorite live music moments in and out of the World Café studio.”  

They also released Gasa Gasa Live, recorded at New Orleans’ Uptown experimental music venue, one of four shows they played that day in the Crescent City. Lost Bayou Ramblers have continually integrated new sonic elements to their live performances, always experimenting and growing the show to what it's become today, an eclectic mix of modern sounds and rhythms with ancient Cajun melodies and lyrics and that’s reflected in the ambitious aesthetic reach of Kalenda. They will be premiering the repertoire from Kalenda live at a string of concert dates around the country, ranging from Seattle to Brooklyn to New Orleans, and all points in between.​

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