Hard Working Americans on Conan O’Brien!

hwa3I just want to make it a matter of public record… right or wrong… I predict the Hard Working Americans will play “Stomp and Holler” on Conan tonight on TBS.

Here’s why… It’s a KICK-ASS song! That is all…

Hard Working Americans ~ “Stomp and Holler”


Update to follow…

Update: 1/30/2014

Hey… Do I know how to call it or what?

Hard Working Americans on Conan on January 29, 2014


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Todd Snider talks about some Hard Working Americans – Interview


It’s no big secret that we here at “Our Kind Of Music” are HUGE fans of Todd Snider and just about anything he does. I’m so glad I got a chance to ask Todd a few questions about his latest project, a jam-band super-group called – Hard Working Americans. These five veteran players – TODD SNIDER on Vocals; DAVE SCHOOLS of  Widespread Panic on Bass Guitar; NEAL CASAL of  The Cardinals and Chris Robinson Brotherhood on Guitars and Vocals; CHAD STAEHLY of Great American Taxi on Keys; and DUANE TRUCKS of Col. Bruce Hampton’s school of music on Drums  – are putting in the hours and keeping at the grind for music lovers everywhere. The band is proud to introduce their self-titled debut album, scheduled for release January 21st on Melvin Records and Thirty Tigers. In the sidebar to the right, you can listen to the Hard Working Americans performing “Down to the Well” (written by Kevin Gordon).

Here’s how the Q&A went…

TS:  Its good to hear from you again, Blake. Thanks for helping us…

OKOM:  The last time we spoke you’d mentioned how much you’d love to be in a jam band. Now you’ve formed Hard Working Americans. How long have you been planning this type of project?

TS:  I have loitered back stage around the jam scene for a while… I dig that kind of music and that kind of crowd. When someone comes up and say they like me, I like it, but I really really like it if they have on like a (Grateful) Dead, Black Crowes, Widespread (Panic), Phish, or Moe t-shirt on. I don’t know why that is, or how it even relates to the question really. I am always trying to do different things with music or writing, or anything artsy fartsy I just like to do it, and to make a short answer long… it started when me and David Schools jammed together in San Francisco. I like the way he approaches my songs a lot… and just music in general. So we decided to form a hard rock band. If we keep going it’ll get even more rock. I want to be like Black Sabbath. It took a year or so to put this all together but it wasn’t planning as much as it was letting it happen.

OKOM:  Hard Working Americans brings together some extremely talented guys from different spots along the fringe of the musical spectrum. Was this by accident or design?

TS:  A lot of people were almost in this band – namely Jeff Austin.. eventually it came to Chad and me and David deciding to try calling Neal and talking him into it. We all love CRB (as key and peele say… that’s my shit). And then we wanted david to decide who to play drums with, and he said this kid Duane was peaking and I agree. He’s kinda the star of the album..  David Schools produced it all though and is our leader. All four of them produced really. It was fascinating to watch them work. I don’t play guitar in this.

The Hard Working Americans – “Stomp and Holler” Video


OKOM:  You’ve told me before you’re a huge fan of Chris Robinson. How did you manage to pull Neal Casel from Chris’s band into Hard Working Americans?

TS:  Oh, we did not do that nor would we want to. We have to just plan it all right… or someone does. He is still playing with Chris. They have a new record coming out soon.

OKOM:  You’ve worked with Chad Staehly of Great American Taxi a lot in the past. Have you worked with any of the other members of Hard Working Americans before this project?

TS:  I’ve sat in with (Widespread) Panic a few times when we opened for them, but the other guys – I had never played with until we got to the studio.

OKOM:  All of the songs on the new album are covers of songs written by some very talented people. How did the final choice of songs come about?

TS:  I have always kept a pile of songs that I really loved with this vague hope that I would get to produce a singer who needed songs some day. Jason D. Williams was going to do some of these, but then just started making up his own. So I suppose there’s about thirty of them. I sent them all to David with an outline of how it could be culled to hint at a story line and/or theme if not just outright have them. And from there I followed the band.

OKOM:  Most of my stoner friends don’t get shit done… But in the last year, you’ve managed to: put out two albums; write a book; star in a movie; form a new band and record an album with them; PLUS tour extensively. What do you do in all your spare time?

TS:  I play in the (Eastside) Bulldogs. We’re about two days from done with an album of Tim Carroll songs, and have some gigs coming up, and also I do reverend stuff… now that I am one. I smoke dope, play guitar, work on my songs, watch the old lady paint, make out, and walk the dogs… We watch a lot of tv too.

OKOM:  Thanks much for your time, Todd!

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Levon Helm – The Last Waltz

Upon reading the message from Levon Helm’s daughter, Amy, and his wife, Sandy about Levon being in the final stages of his battle with cancer – I closed my eyes and drifted back to 1973… I sat in my high school English Literature class talking about… what else?… music. My friend Doug looked at me like he didn’t recognize me and said, “What do mean you’ve never heard of The Band?” I felt ashamed for some reason – like I’d let him down or something.

Lunch break came after our class, and we headed out to his van for… lunch. Doug popped Moondog Matinee into the 8-track player – You remember those don’t you? – and the tinkling of piano keys of the opener “Ain’t Got No Home” cut through the sweet smoke wrapped around my head. I’d heard the song before, but not like The Band did it. I drifted away to New Orleans, or at least what I imagined New Orleans might have sounded like; I’d never been there.

About three songs into the tape Doug excitedly explained, “They’re all cover songs, man!… well, except for the next one. You know what cover songs are, right? It’s when they do someone else’s songs. You should hear their stuff though, man, it’s so cool. Its like nothing you’ve – ”

I had to stop him. “I know what a cover tune is, man,” I said. “Just relax and let’s listen to it.” Damn, Doug talked a lot when we had lunch. I slid deeper into the beanbag chair as “Third Man Theme,” took me and dropped me right in the middle of a carnival. We listened to the whole tape – it was like nothing I’d ever heard – and then we drifted off to our Art Appreciation class. Later that day, Doug and I went to the record store to look for more by The Band. He told me all about the albums I was buying before I got the chance to listen to them.

Now I’m 39 years older and shocked to hear that Levon Helm is closing in on death’s door. I shouldn’t be shocked, after all, he is 39 years older too, but it didn’t seem possible. I guess that’s one of the harsh realities of life – our heroes don’t stay the way we remember them so many years ago. The music locks us in those memories while everything and everyone else around us changes.

It did make me feel better though when I watched this interview with Levon from about a month ago. Sure his voice was raspy, and the cancer treatments had taken a toll on “The Man Behind The Drums,” but he still had a sparkle in his eyes and an undying smile on his face as he spoke about his favorite subject… music… and his friends known as The Midnight Ramblers. He still plays the drums the way I remember, and if you close your eyes… The best things don’t have to disappear.

Levon Helm Interview from the Sound Tracks: Quick Hits series by PBS Arts

Levon Helm and the Midnight Ramblers – Ophelia – from the Sound Tracks: Quick Hits series by PBS Arts

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Todd Snider Honors Jerry Jeff Walker

Click to pre-order 'Time As We Know It' on Amazon

On April 24, Todd Snider will release Time As We Know It: The Songs of Jerry Jeff Walker, a tribute to his original musical hero. “I’ve always hoped I’d stay around long enough to get to make a record of Jerry Jeff Walker songs,” Snider says. “He’s the guy I saw at 19 and decided to try to be like. His are the first songs I learned.” See full track list below.
Produced by Don Was (Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones), the 14 celebratory tracks feature friends and admirers like Kix Brooks of Brooks and Dunn, Elizabeth Cook, and Amy LaVere. “We just went into a studio and played about 30 of Jerry Jeff’s songs and let the performances dictate what songs would make it,” Snider says, adding, “I could’ve done 30 more.”
The release follows Snider’s acclaimed new album Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables (Aimless Records). Released this month, the album debuted in the Top 20 of four separate Billboard charts, including the Indie Label Chart, the Folk Chart, the Internet Chart, and the Independent Core Store Report. The New York Times hailed it as “among his best” and Rolling Stone called it “the sharpest musical response yet to the excesses of the one percent.”
Track Listing:
1. Vince Triple-O Martin
2. Jaded Lover
3. Moon Child
4. Takin’ It As It Comes
5. Derby Day
6. Sangria Wine
7. Continuous Saga of the Bummer Or Is This My One Way Bus Ticket to Cleveland
8. Little Bird
9. Hill Country Rain
10. Railroad Lady
11. Laying My Life on the Line
12. Pissin’ in the Wind
13. Mr. Bojangles
14. Will There Be Any

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I Owe You All…

…The Lost Snider Tapes

Photo by Todd Purifoy

Over a year ago I conducted two interviews with Todd Snider – one in January, 2009, and one more in May, 2009. I intended to write a interview/CD review article – based around the interviews – with hopes of getting it published in a national magazine. I sent query letters (sans the article) to a bunch of national publications, trying to get my foot in the big door only to find it locked (or maybe there were other writers leaning on the door from the inside). Then I got busy with other projects and pushed the Snider article to the back-burner – a couple months later my laptop crashed and the audio files of the interview were among the things lost.

BUT – guess what I just found on a flash drive buried at the back of my desk drawer? Apparently, at some time before the crash, I had a moment of clarity and good sense, and backed the audio files onto the flash drive – and then forgot I had backed them up.

So, my resolution to you all is that I’ll get them transcribed and up on my blog. That is, if you are still interested in reading them. The May, 2009 interview – that I’ll post first – has some very cool conversation about the (then) soon-to-be-released The Excitement Plan, Don Was, jail-time, wine, relationships, and some personal subjects that I promised Todd would be kept off the record – and they will stay that way. Since we talked for damn near an hour, that interview will have to be broken up into three or four parts (like I did with the Will Kimbrough interview).

The interview done in January, 2009 – that I’ll post after the May interview –  was a lot of fun too; We talked about his tour, living on the road, and his (then) upcoming Eugene, Oregon show. I’ll also share my experiences on the Todd Snider tour bus here in Eugene…

BUT FIRST – My wife, our dog Zack, and I have to pack up and move again at the end of January. You see, I got laid-off from my full-time job at OBEC Consulting Engineers in Eugene, Oregon over eight months ago and have had no luck finding full-time work here. I know that there’s a lot of that going around, I’m not the only one, so I won’t whine about it.

So I PROMISE, once we get settled in, sometime in February, I’ll get busy transcribing those Once-Lost Snider Tapes. Thanks for understanding. I hope your 2011 is better than your 2010!

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