Slim Hadley from The Punkin Holler Boys shot me an email about a Melody Inn show this Friday (Sept. 14) featuring a reunion of the Honky Tonk Prowlers (and a recreation of the Big Ol’ Cadillac album) plus the country rock of 19Clark25 and the Fabulous SlimTones.
So I found Slim, and we talked about the old band, what’s ahead for what he calls “real country music” and the inspiration for getting the bands together for one night of twangin’ and rowdy country music.
For a brief history lesson, we recall the Prowlers featured the singing and writing of Punkin Holler’s Ralph Ed Jeffers, and were an Americana/Roots/country and hillbilly punk-leaning band. The leader of the band, Jeffers, got the chance to work with another Indy legend, Frank Dean, on the Cadillac album.
“We took inspiration from Buck Owens, Johnny Cash, Marty Robbins and Dwight Yoakam”, Hadley says of the HTP band. “This will be an evening of music akin to the above-mentioned as we will perform the complete Big Ol’ Cadillac album live for the first time in 20 years, as recorded by Ralph Ed Jeffers all those years ago.”
Rob Nichols: What’s the story of the Big Ol’ Cadillac album?
Slim Hadley: Ralph and (local singer/songwriter) Frank Dean had been wanting to work together. Frank had access to Monday Morning Studios and they took Ralph’s songs and a couple from Frank and created a narrative of an aspiring country singer going through the process of trying to make it big.
It could’ve been from 1962 or 1992 or 2012. It’s a timeless story of passion for one’s craft and the trials of getting to where one can do it. Or not getting there.
Frank also says he starts recording his next new album, Antique Finish, in two weeks. It will be his first solo recording in nearly ten years. He says “some of the finest musicians around have signed on to help out”. He says you can check out his Facebook page to stay up to date.
Want some attitude with your country rock? Indianapolis-based (well, Franklin, to be correct) songwriter, bandleader and longtime Hoosier Americana roots musician Frank Dean has led that pack of candidates for nearly 30 years.
He plays from the gut and heart as well as any musician, and has proven he will do what he wants, much in the way a Waylon or Merle or Hank Sr. might. Roots rock spun with snarly attitude. His influential bands Blue DeVille and Hillbilly Central gave way to Sindacato, and the most popular section of his career.
Ten years as the leader of that brilliant bluegrass/country/roots rock band supplied Dean the highs (album of the Year for Logan County from both the Indianapolis Star and NUVO; touring with his peer/heroes like Dwight Yoakam, Ralph Stanley, Marty Stuart, Del McCoury and Sam Bush), and the lows (the breakup of the same band after parting ways with longtime friend Gary Wasson; some critics who incorrectly thought the West Virginia-born Dean was a rocker selling out to play bluegrass)
His new band, The Snakehandlers, shifts Dean into a blues-based rock band. Their debut album, released earlier this year, was produced by Eric Lee Johnson at Indianapolis’ The Pop Machine studios. Rock Plus Roll, according to Marc Allen’s review from April in NUVO “leaves you feeling like you stumbled into a roadside bar and discovered an authentic, gritty blues band. You can taste the beer, smell the cigarettes, picture the packed dance floor.”
ROB: How’s the Indianapolis music scene these days for guy like you?
Frank Dean: I don’t have much good to say about the Indy Music Scene. Not that I ever have and that’s always hurt me financially, but it’s the truth. Clubs want free music with no effort or cost to them. They think putting you on their website page is promotion. And even if you have a bar that really digs you, they can’t book you because they signed a contract with a booking agent that only books the people they have on roster. We’ve had clubs tell us how much they dig us but they’re under contract with “you know who”. The Booking Nazis. It’s Miracle Whip on white toast. They’ll go too far with that crap someday. Everything has consequences. Luckily, I’m at the place in my life where ass kissing is not gonna happen. Not that I was ever much for that. Continue reading “Indiana Music: Catching up with Frank Dean”→
• Cross Canadian Ragweed leader Cody Canada and his new band The Departed will be in Bloomington on April 5, for a show at the Bluebird. Show at 9pm – $15
• Frank Dean and The Snakehandlers will perform a special “Unplugged” show this Saturday (March 5) at The Jeff St. Pub in Franklin at 7pm. The free, all-ages, no smoking show features the longtime Indana singer-songwriter’s brand and catalog of alt-country/Americana tunes.
• Jeremiah Posner will be performing cuts from his Hold Steady EP at the Vollrath in Indianapolis on Friday, March 18, performing with Landon Keller, Brandon Whyde, and the Matt Mitchell Project. Wilde and Keller are singer/songwriters from Indy, and Matt Mitchell is from of Louisville.
• Shawn Mullins kicks off the 14th season of the Indy Acoustic Cafe Series this Sunday, March 6, at the Wheeler Community Art Center. Doors at 6:30pm, show at 7pm – Tix are $20 at the door. Here’ a guess: he’ll play “Lullaby”. His latest album is called Light You Up.