Video: Back Road Radio Show w/ Cari Ray

Host Andrew Funke and engineer “Deacon” Tim’s Back Road Radio Show is a weekly hour-long prodcution (8:30-9:30pm Wednesdays on 91.9 WITT) that not only taps into the regional/local alt-country, Americana, and roots talent pool, but has also scored a national guest, when they talked with Elizabeth Cook, as she was through Indy on a tour stop sandwiched between an Opry performance and another gig in Chicago. + see full guest list

The show audio is immaculate, Funke’s questions are informed, and he actually listens to answers, then follows up on them nicely. They do a great job of taking a show that’s on a small station, and extending it to a website so we can catch it on demand. It is the type of program that is seemingly too niche for a bigger station (though I would quickly argue otherwise) and excels because it is true to itself – it sounds honest. And the guests they have brought in during the short life of the program have been an impressive group of working, touring (even if only in Indiana or the Midwest), talented singers and songwriters.

And now, they have posted a video of Indy singer/songwriter Cari Ray performing in their “studio bunker”.  Again, a superb audio capture, and a good performance from Ray, who has upcoming shows at Muldoon’s in Carmel July 15, Kilroy’s In Indy July 22 and at the Britton Tavern in Fishers/Noblesville on July 29.

The show is on hiatus until July 14, but the archives are online.

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Hear new Mellencamp song from upcoming album

The title track from John Mellencamp’s forthcoming album No Better Than This was sent to AAA, Americana and Non-Commercial radio stations June 28th and is currently in rotation on AOL.com’s Adult Rock channel.

According to mellencamp.com, a video for the song, using footage from filmmaker Kurt Markus’ It’s About You documentarychronicling the making of the album will be released in the next couple weeks.

→ Hear the track at mellencamp.com

The cover photo of the No Better Than This album was shot by Elaine Mellencamp and shows Hud Mellencamp, their oldest son, in a photo with two young women. A photo of younger Hud, also by Elaine, was used on the cover of 2003’s Trouble No More.

Review from AOL:
The song ‘No Better Than This’ features a prominent rockabilly beat and lively, uncomplicated production. The lyrics portray a pretty happy guy reveling in the simple pleasures of romance and music: “Give me good loving / And seal it with a kiss / Drop me off where the music sounds / It can get no better than this.”

Folk singer Lucas-Grimm releases new book “My Beautiful Leukemia”; Americana Festival hits Brown County July 4

Jan Lucas-Grimm, the wife of Indiana folk singer and actor Tim Grimm, is releasing her book “My Beautiful Leukemia” at Viewpoint Books in Columbus, Indiana on Thursday (July 1st) at 6:30pm. Lucas-Grimm, who possesses one of the sweetest singing voices this side of Emmylou Harris, was diagnosed with leukemia in 2005, underwent chemotherapy for a year, then had a bone marrow transplant in 2006.

Jan’s battle with this disease is chronicled along with some of the artwork she created during her recovery. About the inspirational book, she wrote “… it’s a book I wish I had found when I was diagnosed and going through treatment.”
(Viewpoint Books, 548 Washington Street, Columbus, Indiana 47201 / 812-376-0778 / viewpointbooks@tls.net)

On Sunday, Jan and husband Tim play as part of a terrific lineup during the WFHB Acoustic Roots Festival, at the Story Inn. The venue is located deep in the belly of Brown County, on Rt 135 (12 miles South of Nashville) in Story, IN. It’s $10 to get in (tickets available on day of show) and gates open at noon.
directions/map

Lineup
1:30PM — GARDEN OF JOY
2:45PM — DAVY JAY SPARROW
4:00PM — BOBBIE LANCASTER
5:15PM — TIM GRIMM & JAN LUCAS
6:30PM — WHITE LIGHTNING BOYS
7:45PM — EILEN JEWELL

Listen Here: Alejandro Escovedo’s New Album – “Street Songs of Love”

Alejandro Escovedo, who has made stops at the Royal Theatre in Danville the past two years, has a new album, Street Songs of Love, coming out next Tuesday (June 29) and you can hear it all now, streaming at NPR.

Escovedo, who gained some new fans with a one-off live performance of his song “Always a Friend” on stage with Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band during their Magic tour stop in Texas, has Bruce sing on the new record.

Most interesting, thought, is the process Escovedo employed to create the album. He took his band, The Sensitive Boys, into the Continental Club in Austin for a show every Tuesday night for two months, and built the record – on stage, in front of an audience.

Escovedo recounts the story on his website:
“We would bring in three new songs every Tuesday night,” he says of his modus operandi, “and we would play them acoustically first for the audience, and then I’d bring in the rhythm section, and slowly but surely we would add each piece, like the singers. I had wanted to bring in horns, but it never made it to that point. But still, the audience could watch the songs develop.

“It was interesting to see it grow and blossom. It started with the room half full, but it built until the last one sold out. Every week it became more intense with the album taking shape in front of us organically, a work in progress. It’s as if it knew where it wanted to go, so that by the end of those two months we had watched songs begin with a verse and a chorus and become what we felt were complete compositions. And then we took that on the road for two and a half weeks, leading us from Austin to playing our first gig in Little Rock, and then working our way to Louisville, Kentucky, and then the following day we went to Lexington and started making the record.

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Click here to watch two live videos recorded at Rolling Stone

Alejandro’s website

New Music: American Aquarium, The Dead Peasants, Jethro Easyfields, Robert Plant

American Aquarium has a new record, as the North Carolina band has released Small Town Hymns. It follows 2009’s Dances for the Lonely . The Whiskeytown connections continue on the new album, which finds Caitlin Cary returning for backup vocals. North Carolina has produced some damn fine alt-country/Americana bands (or key members of those bands) recently – Truth & Salvage Co., Old Crow Medicine Show, Ryan Adams, and bands like the Flat Duo Jets and Southern Culture on the Skids made the Chapel Hill scene worthwhile in the 80’s. American Aquarium is one to check out.

Foo Fighters guitarist Chris Shiflett revealed details of a new band, The Dead Peasants, on his website. He’s got them playing Americana and classic country. Look for the band’s debut on July 12. The debut album was recorded in Foo Fighters’ California Studio 606 over December and January, and features the Mavericks’ guitarist Eddie Perez. Added Note: Shiflett (and his brother Scott) are members of the quirky cover band Me First and the Gimme Gimmes. “One of my favourite kinds of music is old country and old rockabilly and modern Americana like Son Volt, Wilco and Ryan Adams, I love all that stuff,” Shiflett told the NME.

Jethro Easyfields leaks his own songHere a rough mix version of “Lenny Bruce”, from the upcoming (August is the latest projectionBloodletting album from Indianapolis Americana singer/songwriter Jethro Easyfields

Robert Plant is back with Band of Joy, his first album since 2007’s Raising Sand. It was recorded in Nashville and will be out Sept. 14. Plant and guitarist Buddy Miller co-produced.