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New Singles in 2019 and Folk Alliance in Montreal

Thanks to all the great bands and fans who came to our “It’s All Gravy” showcase at the Americana Conference in Nashville this past fall.  I spent long hours perfecting my recipe for poutine gravy, and the results spoke for themselves (clean plates!).  Simple food done well is always harder than it looks.

We look forward to making this an official showcase during 2019’s Americana Music Conference.  This will be in addition to our annual Bands ‘n Boil event, a live music festival every spring featuring free boiled crawfish.  Just yesterday I was inspecting the 80-quart boiler and gas burner, which waits patiently in storage.  The thought of seafood boiling in cayenne pepper is enough to sustain me through Nashville’s dreary early winter weather.

Speaking of winter, Runner of the Woods will be Montreal, Canada this February for the Folk Alliance International Conference.  Our showcase schedule is currently being finalized, but let me say the following — as a former resident of this city, I am well acquainted with Quebec’s brutal winters.  Unfortunately, this means I’m well aware that one forgets just how intense the cold weather can be.  Unless you’ve experienced a February in Montreal within the past year, your memory has likely glossed over the worst of it.  Speaking from experience, your recollection of the cold fails to do it justice.  I’ll never forget shivering uncontrollably in my best New York coat, a few short years after leaving.  I was a New Yorker then and had grown soft.  Now I’m a Nashville guy and I anticipate a reckoning.

We’re looking at a February or March release for our first single in 2019.  Entitled “Acadiana Girls”, it features some of Nashville’s top musicians: Billy Contreras (fiddle), Stephen Daly (gutiar), Eric Frey (bass), and Zoltan Tobak (drums).  Even the rough mix sounds fantastic.  We plan to shoot a video as well, to coordinate the publicity push.

In the meantime, stay warm and read our Fish Blog.

AmericanaFest Party this Tues, Sept 11th at Fond Object 4th Ave (Downtown Nashville)

We’ll be kicking off Americanafest this Tuesday, September 11th at Fond Object (4th Ave S.) at 6 pm in downtown Nashville for the first annual “It’s All Gravy” showcase!  There will be free beer from Nashville’s top brewery, Black Abbey, and free POUTINE, a satisfying dish of fries, fresh cheddar cheese curds, and hearty gravy.  It’s the perfect backdrop for a lineup of great music, including Brennen Leigh & Noel McKay, Teddy & the Rough Riders, Miss Tess & the Talkbacks, and yours truly.

There is plenty of free parking at this downtown location, in the lot to the right of the venue.  Come hungry and thirsty!

New Music from Runner of the Woods!

We’re extremely proud of two new singles recently recorded at Whites Creek Music in Nashville, Tennessee. They are currently being mixed and mastered in advance of a release in January 2019. Releasing in the new year allows for plenty of time to shoot videos and conduct a proper release. This is the reality of putting out new songs — even though you’re dying for the world to hear your latest work, you have to wait patiently and unleash them at the perfect time. There is no other way…

In the meantime, we’ll be opening up for Cajun stalwarts Jesse Lege, Joel Savoy & the Cajun Country Revival on Friday, August 31, 2018. We go on at 9 pm sharp.  Savoy’s father built my beloved Cajun accordion(s).

Here’s a little taste of tracking in the studio with fiddler Billy Contreras:

This is how honky-tonk sausage is made. Billy Contreras is probably my favorite fiddler in Nashville. His playing feels like a loud roar erupting from a cage when you’ve lifted the latch from a safe distance to let out a wild beast. It says, “Let’s not fuck around, cuz someday we won’t be here.” That ties in nicely with my reason for jumping into the studio on a whim. In the span of a week, my father got the worst of all possible diagnoses – the very worst. When the doctors were able to take a closer look, they backed off the original assessment, which would have been terminal. The emotional exhaustion gave way to a sense of urgency to record songs I’ve had kicking around. No time to waste! There never was. I called all of my favorite local pickers in Music City. A few days later I was driving up a very iffy, rural mountain road up to a log home in the hills outside of Nashville. The studio was in the basement. I got out of my truck and looked around. An old dog was on his back, exposing his tummy and flashing his pearly whites. Was he smiling at me? I was in the right place. #nashville #recording #runnerofthewoods #fiddle #lafayette #cajunmusic #honky-tonk #acadianagirls

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Lastly, thanks to everyone who came to the very first Bands & Boil in Nashville in June!  I now consider myself a seasoned expert in boiling crawfish.  Looking forward to putting on next year’s event.  Here are a few pics/video depicting the fun (mess):

New Music + New Shows + Fishing Blog

Folk Alliance was extremely fun, but like many forms of “extreme” fun, you feel exhausted afterwards.  Staying up past 3 a.m. is for 20 year olds.  I’ve lived in New Orleans, Montreal, and New York City so I am well-trained in the art of late nights.  Still, I’m a family man now so early mornings are also part of the equation.  When I returned to Nashville I needed almost a full week to recover.

Not that I had much time.  There were plenty of local gigs and songwriting sessions to attend to.  Much of the past few weeks are a blur, but one of the highlights was the “For the People” radio show on WSM 650 AM.  Apart from our standard repertoire, I busted out a new song for the first time, “Lafayette”.  We hadn’t rehearsed it so I had no idea how it would go.  It’s such a great feeling to play new material for the first time.  You can stream the song here.

I’m hard at work on songs for the new Runner of the Woods record, including a separate French album.  All of this means less time on the road, but there are plenty of local shows on the calendar. Check `em out here.

In the meantime, read all about the smallmouth bass I caught in a snake-filled creek at the Fish Blog.  Here’s a teaser photo…

 

Live on WSM + Mardi Gras Feb 13th + Folk Alliance!

Dearest friends,

Happy New Year from Nashville, Tennessee.  We have much planned for Runner of the Woods in 2018, including a live stream on WSM’s Americana program, “For the People”, (Jan 25th) a Mardi Gras show for Honky-tonk Tuesday at East Nashville’s American Legion Post 82, and several showcases at this year’s Folk Alliance Conference in Kansas City.  And this only the first two months.

We are currently shopping for studios to record the follow-up to our debut, “Thirsty Valley”.  I can’t believe it’s time.  I’ve spent much of the past few months holed up in a songwriting studio on Music Row.   My God, has it been fruitful.  I used to enjoy writing songs while wandering the rooms of my craftsman-style cottage, but being a father has transformed the space forever.  Without privacy and silence songs never get done.  Renting a quiet space far from the odor of diapers and spilled apple sauce has proven to be a wise investment.

The fishing has also been good.  I say “good” because, frankly, it hasn’t been anything more in quite some time.  Tennessee’s Caney Fork River, where I spend most of my idle hours, has been tricky this year.  I’ve spent hours in both the heat and cold wiping my face in frustration (what do they want?).  Whatever the cause, lack of easy success has made me a better fisherman.  Read all about my adventures on the water at my Fish Blog.

Thankfully, being in nature is nearly always its own reward.  Man, do I love it, especially for moments like this:

Appearing at Honky-Tonk Tuesday on Dec 12th!

We’ll be performing at Nashville’s top honky-tonk event, Honky-Tonk Tuesday, on Tuesday, December 12, 2017.  Native Magazine recently wrote an excellent feature on this weekly happening.  Say what you will about Nashville’s population and real estate boom.  This is a new golden age for honky-tonk and hard country in Music City.

As always, I encourage you to visit our Fish Blog for tales of trout fishing and photos my adventures in the great outdoors of Tennessee.

House Concert in Nashville Tonight + Fish Blog!

Read the back story behind this beautiful brown trout on the Fish Blog.  I caught him right as I was ready to throw in the towel and scream in despair.

And, for those of you in Nashville, drop by this house concert tonight.  I’ll have some new songs and some fancy IPA.  Yes, you can have one.

Your Facebook “Likes” sooth our otherwise empty souls.

A Sad Farewell to a Member of the Family

We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of band member, Craig Aspen.

In addition to being a talented musician, he was a gifted photographer and videographer.  His handwork behind the lens is still there for you to see.  The wonderful music he recorded with his band, The Believers, is also out there forever.

More than anything, I will miss laughing with Craig in the touring van.  We spent hours on the road joking ourselves into a frenzy.  Sometimes we would get so obnoxious that other band members would retreat into noise-killing headphones.   Who could blame them?  We both loved dark humor, and the exhaustion provoked by long drives and late nights fueled some crazy shit.  I’m grateful no recordings exist.

I can’t make sense of his departure but I treasure the time we spent chasing the dream together.

If you are able, please consider making a donation to his memorial fund.  And by all means, check out the links below.  The music is the least of it.  Just get a feel for a man who had style.

With Runner of the Woods on “Good Day Dallas” (2016):

With The Believers on the BBC: