On The Road With Southern Songs And Stories: Tales From Colorado To Carolina

Happy summertime, y’all. It is the time of year to go places and take in some live music. And in this episode of Southern Songs and Stories, we tag along with several artists as they tell us some of their tales from being on those highways and byways. You will hear new stories from bands featured on previous episodes, like Town Mountain and Jon Stickley Trio, and from artists like Hiss Golden Messenger, Dangermuffin, The Deer, Yonder Mountain String Band, and The Travelin’ Kine, which will give you a peek at some of what we have in store. From practical jokes played on band mates to being locked in a kids’ bedroom to a stolen instrument, a lost tooth, stinky cheese and more, it is all here on this podcast. Of course, there is plenty of good music to go along with these tales, too.

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Southern Songs and Stories is produced in partnership with grassroots radio WNCW and the Osiris podcast network, and is available wherever you get your podcasts. One of the easiest ways to help spread awareness of these artists, their music, and this series is to subscribe to the podcast and to give it a good rating and a comment on the platforms where you listen. We always want to improve, and want your input so we can give you more podcasts and experiences that you love. So, we are doing a listener survey. When you click to complete the survey here, you can enter to win an amazing limited edition, original Osiris poster. It is shown below. We will be selecting 3 winners at random. Thanks for listening, and for supporting great music and great podcasts! - Joe Kendrick

limited edition Osiris poster giveaway

limited edition Osiris poster giveaway

Songs played in this episode, in order:

Hiss Golden Messenger “Pittsboro Farewell (Two Monarchs)” excerpt, from Poor Moon

Yonder Mountain String Band “Black Truck”, performed live at Cold Mountain Music Festival 6-1-19

Hiss Golden Messenger “I Need A Teacher” excerpt, from Terms Of Surrender

Jon Stickley Trio “The Price Of Being Nice” excerpt, from Maybe Believe

Acoustic Syndicate “Vanity” excerpt, from Terra Firma

Canned Heat “On The Road Again” excerpt

Tim O’Brien “Me And Dirk’s Trip To Ireland” excerpt, from Two Journeys

Getting Ruened With Henry And Rupert Stansall Of The Ruen Brothers

It all began with the desire to give a platform to all the great off-the-cuff conversations about music heard in the hallways at WNCW. A dozen years ago, as then morning music host, I started the feature What It Is, with journalists, artists and other music professionals taking on a wide array of topics ranging from album and concert reviews to debates on overrated icons, and everything in between. My love of producing multimedia projects rooted in music conversation continued with other independent projects that followed What It Is, and now that comes full circle, with Southern Songs and Stories becoming a part of the WNCW lineup, while remaining a proud member of the Osiris podcast network and Bluegrass Planet Radio. 

The Ruen Brothers perform at the Albino Skunk Music Festival. Photo: John Gillespie

The Ruen Brothers perform at the Albino Skunk Music Festival. Photo: John Gillespie

This episode takes a detour from the very South-centric array of artists and history heard previously on the series with a show on The Ruen Brothers, from England. Their music is inspired by a lot of pioneering Southern artists, however: The Everly Brothers, Roy Orbison, Muddy Waters and Johnny Cash, among others, are all acknowledged as being key to their sound. 

I caught up with Henry and Rupert at the spring Albino Skunk Music Festival in Greer, SC. They talk about similarities between the rural area where they grew up and the rolling hill country of Upstate South Carolina, how people often forget that rock and blues greats from the mid 20th century had an air of danger about them, and how the Americana scene is booming in England; woven into these conversations are many live songs from their performance. - Joe Kendrick




Don't Say No To The Muse: Side Hustles, Part Two

Let’s say you want to be a musician. The music bug bit you, and you just can’t resist the urge to pick up an instrument, maybe keep a notebook handy at all times to write down ideas and lyrics. You start recording pieces of melodies and sing them to your phone before the ideas evaporate. Maybe it was because you saw that performance where the light bulb went off over your head, or you heard a song in a movie soundtrack that moved you, or you got on stage and felt more alive than anywhere else. However it happened, you are soon wood shedding and finding like minds to play with and then finding an audience to play to. The muse serves up a sweet elixir, and you may be forever under its spell.

The Deer, from Austin, Texas, perform in Greer, SC 4-13-19. Photo: John Gillespie

The Deer, from Austin, Texas, perform in Greer, SC 4-13-19. Photo: John Gillespie

Our guests on this podcast are firmly in that camp, but there are also plenty of musicians who have dropped out. Some came back, too. In our first episode on Side Hustles, there were a lot of examples of why music artists would want to quit making music, at least as a primary means of making a living. Making money by making music is harder than ever, it seems, unless you are at the very top of the heap. The pitfalls for professional musicians seem to have no end. But, there is no shortage of people making music, and plenty who stay with it through thick and thin. I hinted at why that’s the case in our first episode, but never spelled it out. If you haven’t deciphered the clues yet, stick around and it will come together by the end of the episode. Along the way, you’ll hear from Dangermuffin, Joey Burns of Calexico, The Deer, Max Brown and Phil Bronstein from The War and Treaty, and Dan Fedoryka from Scythian, along with a lot of their music, too.

Thanks for visiting! Please support the music of the artists you enjoy hearing here, and I hope you will spread awareness about this independent project and consider helping by subscribing, rating and commenting on the show where you get your podcasts, and by becoming a patron. You can find out about contributing on our Patreon page, linked in the column to the right. To correspond, shoot me an email and I will be glad to get back to you from southernsongsandstories@gmail.com.  This series is available on most every podcast platform, as well as on Bluegrass Planet Radio. This is Southern Songs and Stories: the music of the South and the artists who make it. - Joe Kendrick

Side Hustles, part one: For Musicians, The Gig Economy Is Nothing New

It is a common fantasy to dream about being on stage, playing music in front of adoring fans, making meaningful art, traveling around the world, and getting fat paychecks along the way. People often think that being in a band means you get “money for nothin' and your chicks for free”, like the Dire Straits song says. But talk to musicians and artists and you quickly find out that this is, and never was, the case. Their stories paint a completely different picture than what we likely had in mind. Maybe you are like me, and you know a bit about how hard it is to make it in the arts world. I have been around musicians for decades, and thought I knew a lot about what they deal with on a day to day basis, but after preparing for and talking with artists in this episode, my eyes were opened even wider than before.

Mike Sivilli (left) and Dan Lotti (right) of Dangermuffin interviewed in the Nap Shack at the Albino Skunk Festival, April 11 2019

Mike Sivilli (left) and Dan Lotti (right) of Dangermuffin interviewed in the Nap Shack at the Albino Skunk Festival, April 11 2019

In this podcast, the first of a two part series, we hear from bands and music artists about how they keep their heads above water, and how they find balance in this upside down equation. And we get at some of the larger questions involved, like why they often are not paid the equivalent of minimum wage. As always, there is lots of music along the way, including songs from our guests Dangermuffin (an acoustic cover of the Phish song “Back On The Train'“), Elizabeth Cook, Brian Swenk, David Ball and Warren Hood.

Elizabeth Cook performs on the Americana Stage at MerleFest 4-26-19. Photo: Ken Banks

Elizabeth Cook performs on the Americana Stage at MerleFest 4-26-19. Photo: Ken Banks

I’m pretty sure you love music, so please support the music of the artists you enjoy hearing here. Would you help spread the word about this independent project? The easiest way to help is by subscribing, rating and commenting on the show where you get your podcasts. Becoming a patron is even better. You can find out more on our Patreon page here. -- and you can keep up with us on our Facebook page, on twitter and Instagram, all linked in the banner at the top of the page. Send me an email, and I will be glad to get back to you from southernsongsandstories@gmail.com.  This series is available on most every podcast platform, as well as on Bluegrass Planet Radio. Stay tuned for part two of this episode, which will feature conversations and music from The Deer, members of the band The War and Treaty, and Dan Fedoryka from Scythian. Thanks for listening! - Joe Kendrick

The War and Treaty: Blowing The Roof Off and Loving Without Limits

Their biographies read like something out of a movie, and probably should be made into one. Maybe those plans are already being made. While being the subject of a film is highly unlikely for 99.9% of all other bands, including themselves less than a year ago, now it seems not only logical but also like it might be just another chapter in their story rather than the high point of their career. Who knows how far that career can go for The War and Treaty, but even without all the acclaim, Michael and Tanya Trotter would be just fine. The couple would be happy as long as they still could make music together, whether that meant being in front of small crowds or in front of full arenas.

The War and Treaty play at the Albino Skunk Music Festival in Greer, SC. Photo: John Gillespie

The War and Treaty play at the Albino Skunk Music Festival in Greer, SC. Photo: John Gillespie

Michael and Tanya, along with Buddy Miller, who produced their album Healing Tide, speak about the couple’s incredible music and improbable journey, and we have conversations with Albino Skunk audience member Sharon Meeker and music therapist Gretchen Chardos Benner as well. There is plenty of music from The War and Treaty’s set at the Albino Skunk Music Festival too, and some history of how they came to resemble something out of a fairy tale. Their story definitely did not start out that way.

Thanks for being here, and stop by any time! We hope you would spread awareness of this independent project and the artists we profile, and one of the best ways to do that is to subscribe to our podcasts, and rate and especially comment on them wherever you get your podcasts. Check out what The War and Treaty are doing on their website, and the Albino Skunk Festival on their site here.

We have been quite busy lately, and have interviews with The Ruen Brothers, Elizabeth Cook, Dangermuffin, The Deer and David Ball in hand for upcoming episodes. Stay tuned! - Joe Kendrick