Bands & Boil Preview – Meet the Bands!

My favorite part of Nashville opening back up is getting to hear live music again. The first time I stepped into the American Legion Post 82 after a year-long hiatus, I saw a dancefloor full of people twirling around after months of cabin fever. It inspired me to book bands people could dance to — and performers folks could sit back and enjoy.

So, meet the bands from this year’s Bands & Boil:

AFTON WOLFE (2:30 pm)

Genre: Mississippi Americana

Latest Release: Kings for Sale (June 11, 2021)

Preview: Afton Wolfe has a big voice. Yes, it’s gritty, but it BOOMS over his lyrics and melodies. Listen to the latest single, “Paper Piano”, from his upcoming release, “Kings for Sale” — and you hear that voice booming over big horns. The chorus is catchy as all hell — so catchy, that I found myself humming it while cleaning the house. I remember thinking, what does “paper piano” even mean? Does it matter? I was literally singing it to myself while cleaning our downstairs bathroom, which my two young sons had nearly destroyed (they are complete slobs, by the way). His record release show will be on June 11th at City Winery in Nashville.



Genre: Hard country

Latest Release: “Homesick Blues” single (2021)

Preview: When I say “hard country”, I’m talking about musicians who play country and mean it. Too often in Nashville you come across a country musician who releases a few honky-tonk records. Then suddenly, he rips off his western shirt and declares, “I was indie rock all along!” He ditches the country sound and does a complete musical U-turn. His new record is a totally weird, inaccessible indie abomination aimed at the Pitchfork crowd. Even worse, the recording is drenched in so much reverb you have to crank up the volume to under the lyrics, most of which are still unintelligible. Thank God Pat Reedy is never going to do this to us. Listen to the chorus of his latest single, “Homesick Blues“. I’m a sucker for great choruses.



Genre: Tennessee Honky-Tonk

Latest Release: “Hardliner” (June 11, 2021)

Preview: The first time I saw Hannah Juanita, she was singing on stage at the American Legion Post 82 to a packed dancefloor. Keeping that dancefloor packed is harder than it looks! Sure, East Nashville is full of honky-tonk spazzes in western shirts who will dance to whatever — but after a few songs, most people head to the bar for a drink, or maybe the patio to cool off. I watched her mix covers with originals and keep the dancers moving. Song after song was connecting. I still haven’t forgotten. Watch the awesome video for her song, “Our Love is Done” (featuring Sierra Ferrell), and see what I mean.


Runner of the Woods (5:30 pm)

Genre: Country & Cajun

Latest Release: “Acadiana Girls” single (2019).

Preview: If the idea of kids smashing accordions appeals to you, you’ll love the video for Runner of the Woods’ single, “Acadiana Girls”. New music is in the works, but he is taking his time, spending long hours fly fishing for trout and singing French songs to himself. Speaking of which, he keeps threatening to release a tribute album to Quebecois singer, Gilles Vigneault. He even once sang a Vigneault song, “I Have for You a Lake” while sitting in a kayak. Seriously, though, Gilles Vigneault is 92 years old, so he’d better hurry.

Megan Palmer (6:30 pm)

Genre: Uplifting Americana

Latest Release: “Take Good Care” (2021)

Preview: When people mention Megan Palmer, it’s not her music that comes to mind, but Tom Waits. I saw her perform at the 5-Spot’s Tom Wait’s tribute in 2018, where she sang, “Come on Up to the House”. It was so uplifting — much like the title track of her latest release, “Take Good Care”. I love the vocals and the marching drum beat — and the video, with its footage of guitars being crafted by luthiers, is comforting. This is why I call her music “Uplifting Americana”. Unlike the rest of that genre. Geez. Some of it is an enormous downer. Every song is about how some guy who lives in a “small town” where the factory has closed for good and is now popping codeine just to get over the agony of his girl leaving him to pursue alcoholism full-time in the “big city”. Good grief. No wonder kids prefer techno.


Bands & Boil 2021 on Sat, June 5th at the Groove Records in Nashville!

Sponsored by Vida Wakeman, Realtor

Everyone is getting together again! Join Runner of the Woods for an afternoon of free crawfish, beer, and live music at the Groove Records, in Nashville on Saturday, June 5, 2021. The event begins at 2 pm. Music schedule below! A hearty thanks to our sponsor, Vida Wakeman, Realtor.


2:30 pm: Afton Wolfe
3:30 pm: Pat Reedy
4:30 pm: Hannah Juanita
5:30 pm: Runner of the Woods
6:30 pm: Megan Palmer

*** We will be serving individual portions of crawfish for safety purposes.

Additional details on the performers and an interview with our sponsor on the Nashville realty market coming next week!

French Music Will Save Us

Or should I say — French music will save me? My local shows, including a debut full band show at the Bluebird here in Nashville, have been postponed. Now the weather is getting colder and there’s less and less fishing. What is a country singer with a fishing career to do?

I’ve been delving deeply into French singer-songwriters, especially Quebec’s Gilles Vigneault. A few years ago, at a music conference in Montreal, I heard the lead singer of the band, Jabbour, sing one of Vignault’s songs, “J’ai Pour Toi, Un Lac” (“I have for you a lake”). It struck me hard, right in the solar plexus. I couldn’t believe it. A song that expressed a love of lakes and the great outdoors and used it to speak about love. And not just any love, the head-over-heels joy of abandoning yourself completely. Most genres (cf Indie Rock) are too cool to express themselves in this manner. French music is not big on detached irony.

It was a pleasure to learn it. And even more fun to play it while in a kayak this summer on an obscure Tennessee lake. I would have done the third verse – my favorite – but I was starting to worry about my guitar falling in the water. You may need to turn up the volume on this one.

I also recently did a version of a deeper Vignault cut, “On Ne Sait Jamais” (“You Never Know”). I recorded it in the car with my dog, Pichenotte, for company. Does it seem odd to play and sing in the car? It shouldn’t. In times of COVID, it’s one of the few places in one’s home where you have privacy. Enjoy and stay safe. Covid lockdowns are a head game and the challenge is to keep yourself smiling and singing.

Live at the Listening Room – Aug 5th!

Covid-19 protocols and local ordinances strictly observed

I can’t thank singer-songwriter, Ronny Criss, enough for inviting me to perform on Wednesday, August 5, 2020 at the Listening Room Cafe in Nashville. Showtime is 6 p.m., the venue has been extremely diligent in observing COVID-19 best practices and local ordinances. Joining us will be songwriter, Brian Southerland.

I haven’t performed live since Mardi Gras, this past February. Since then, I’ve cancelled many shows, including my annual Bands & Boil crawfish and live music event at the Groove in Nashville. What a disappointment! The event had grown into a celebration of East Nashville’s music community, something that was sorely needed in the aftermath of the March tornado. The wreckage of that storm persists just blocks from our home. I actually missed crawfish season its entirety. I couldn’t justify boiling 20 pounds of mudbugs for myself, and communal eating and dancing seem unwise at the moment.

In the meantime, I have spent months setting aside funds to record a new album. Life without live music is drained of a key essence. I have attempted to fill the void with family time (which has been wonderful). And fishing, as ever, provides a much needed release. You can always read about those adventures here.

In the meantime, this upcoming show is an opportunity to shake off rust and reconnect with Nashville’s music community. I’m grateful for the chance to get back on the horse. See you there!

Video from Our Mardi Gras Show

Thanks to Fats Kaplin for taking this short video of our Mardi Gras show. I don’t get to play squeezebox in the key of A very often. BONUS: Can you identify this Cajun song in spite of the fact they all sound similar?

Celebrate Mardi Gras at Dee’s in Nashville!

Join Runner of the Woods as we dig deep into the Cajun catalog this Fat Tuesday, February 25th at Dee’s Country Cocktail Lounge from 8 pm – 9:30 pm. We’ll playing plenty of new originals too, but Mardi Gras calls for danceable Cajun music we will deliver with one of the best bands in Nashville (Billy Contreras on fiddle, Adam Meisterhans on guitar, Eric Frey on bass, Zoltan Tobak on drums). And yours truly, making this “accordion face” while focusing on idiosyncratic chord changes.

For that is the Tao of Cajun music. See you there!

Folk Alliance 2020 in New Orleans

Photo by Mickey Bernal

Runner of the Woods is showcasing at Folk Alliance International this year in New Orleans! We’ll be playing several showcases, including Blackpot. I’ll also appear on a panel as musician/legal professional to discuss my experience with merch (e.g. making T-shirts, handling money on tour, how booking emails functions as contracts, percentages taken by venues and festivals etc.).

I also plan to prove it’s possible to eat fried gulf seafood for 5 days in a row…and live to tell the tale.

A bientot!

Fish Blog & Folk Alliance

A gift from the heavens

Check out this beauty from the fish blog. My arm still hurts.

Runner of the Woods is possibly going to Folk Alliance this year. It’s in New Orleans, and decaying French cities are my thing.

It’s an expensive cattle call, really. But who am I kidding? It’s in New Orleans and I’m going.

Official AmericanaFest Party “It’s All Gravy”, Sat, Sep 14th!

Join Runner of the Woods, Teddy and the Rough Riders, Kristina Murray, and Leo Rondeau for some of the best independent Americana East Nashville has to offer. You won’t leave hungry because we’ll be serving free poutine, the world’s best comfort food.

The event is open to the public in addition to all AmericanaFest attendees. Food and music start at 3 pm:

3:00 pm: Leo Rondeau

3:50 pm: Kristina Murray

4:40 pm: Runner of the Woods

5:30 pm: Teddy and the Rough Riders

Back in the Studio this Month!

Runner of the Woods is back in the studio this July to record one more single for 2019 and their second full length album for 2020. With the killer band we have, I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited to record.

And speaking of being excited, I leave tomorrow morning for the wilds of Quebec, where I’ll be fly fishing the stunning Lac des Trente et Un Milles (“31 Mile Long Lake”). It’s full of monstrous, angry small mouth bass and I aim to wrestle with them until the sun sets each day. More soon!