Showing posts with label Interviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Interviews. Show all posts

May 21, 2020

A Conversation With Caleb Caudle

Photo by Laura Partain

By Kevin Broughton

Caleb Caudle wanted an earthy, funky sound for his new album. He assembled several Grammy-winning musicians to chase it down in the Cash Cabin, a small place with a big history. “It feels like you’re in the shadow of giants,” Caudle says.
He emerged from the shadows with Better Hurry Up, his eighth studio album. Its 11 songs showcase Caudle’s vivid lyrics and foreboding vocals, as well as the work of an A-list cast of musicians. John Jackson of the Jayhawks produced, and guest vocalists include Courtney Marie Andrews, Elizabeth Cook, Gary Louris, and John Paul White.
A large sound emerged from the little cabin, which Johnny Cash built in 1979 as a private sanctuary near his home outside Nashville. It evolved into a recording studio more than a decade later. Since then the rustic structure has hosted sessions by everyone from Loretta Lynn and Emmylou Harris to Jamey Johnson and Todd Snider, as well as Cash’s own work on his acclaimed series of American Recordings. Caudle and Jackson used the space to create a dramatic, compelling record.
We caught up with Caudle a few weeks back and talked about recording in such an iconic venue, how the band came together, and some unintentional irony in song titles.
I thought Crushed Coins was one of the great albums of 2018. There’s stark contrast between it and Better Hurry Up. Could you describe your thought process or approach …maybe your goals for a new/different sound as you set out to make this album?

I think the main difference was that this time I wanted to do as much live as I could: sing it live, play it live. Because that’s what I do every night. The approach was so raw that if you don’t like this record, you probably don’t like what I do every night. I came to terms with that and was fine with it, so…yeah. We just did it live. It felt good.

John Jackson of the Jayhawks produced the album, and his bandmate Gary Louris is one of several outstanding artists singing harmony vocals. What’s the connection with Jackson, and was your choosing him to produce based on his penchant for a particular sound?

He came to see me at a show in New York. He came up to the merch table afterwards and introduced himself, saying he had played with the Jayhawks. I had always loved the Jayhawks, so that was really cool. And we got to be friends, sharing music back and forth whether it was mine or whatever each of us was listening to at the time.

At some point he said, “Hey, would you mind sending me some demos, because I know you’re always writing?” So I just started sending him song after song, and we’d talk about each one: what he thought of it, what should be the focus of a particular song. One thing led to another and I was back in New York and at dinner he asked if he could produce the record. It just felt right; I liked his vibe and how he was really in tune with the songwriting. We pitched around some different studios, and he mentioned that he had worked at Cash’s Cabin – I think on a Loretta Lynn album. He suggested that, and I thought it felt perfect.

Y’all made liberal use of keyboards and pedal steel, which gives the whole album an ethereal, spacy feel. Was that something you set out to do ahead of time, or was it more of an organic thing during the arrangement process?

It was pretty spontaneous. Because what we did this time was hire all these people that I really trusted. I wasn’t given a ton of direction. Because you’re not gonna tell, for example, Mickey Raphael [harmonica] what to do; because he’s just gonna do his thing and be himself, and that’s what you’re looking for in the first place. Know what I mean? Because he’s gonna give it back to you better than you could ever ask for it.

Everything was just organic. I just told people to be themselves and do what they thought was right. They were all such high-caliber musicians that it all fell together really nicely.

Who put the band together for recording?

John and I had equal say when it came to the band. I had met Dennis Crouch [bass] – we had done a few demos together a few months before recording. And he just knows everyone in Nashville; he put me in touch with Fred Eltringham [drums] and Russ Pahl, who plays pedal steel. John knew Pat Sansone [keyboards] from Wilco and brought him in. And all the singers who were on the record, I had toured with the previous year. You know how it goes in this business; you meet everybody if you tour long enough.

It just came together naturally, and the record was really an easy one to make. By far the easiest record I’ve ever made.

Speaking of harmony vocals, one could do worse than Elizabeth Cook…

[Laughs] Yeah, she’s the best!

She makes three appearances I believe. Had y’all worked together before, and how likely are future collaborations?

She had taken me out on tour a couple times last year, so we were on stage singing together a lot. So, yeah, it came together really easily. She lives around the corner from us here in Nashville. She was great, of course.

There’s a line in “Feeling Free:” “It’s true I really ever only wanted to be a slave to things that’ll set me free.” Is that an allusion to anything particular?

Probably the road, you know? Touring. I’m really feeling it right now, you know, because of all the shows getting swiped. I’m so used to being on the road. Being on tour is second nature for me. Most of that song, though, is about being outdoors and trying to get away from it all. But I feel like I’m always on the chase; always trying to get to the next situation.

The first cut on the album is called “Better Hurry Up.” The next-to-last song is “Wait a Minute,” with a line in the chorus that says, “We get there when we get there.” Mixed messages? Irony? Tongue in cheek?

Ha! I didn’t even really know I did that until we were mixing the record. I said, “Oh, I wrote one called ‘Wait a Minute’ and one called ‘Better Hurry Up. I wonder if patience had anything to do with that?” It wasn’t really intentional, but it is kind of funny. Our whole routine on tour is a bunch of hurry up and wait. You just have to figure out when to take your shots, I guess.

The official release date for Better Hurry Up was April 3, not long after this virus changed everyone’s life. Obviously, tours are off the table indefinitely; what are some of the things you’re doing to adapt? And is there any reason for optimism going forward, in your view?

Aw, man. There’s always a reason for optimism, you know? If I lost hope, this would all be for nothing. I can’t go there; I don’t want to do that.

I’ve been going on long walks each day that the weather allows. There’s a nice park not far from our house…I’ve been doing some guitar work, learning some old traditional stuff. I’m just trying to learn. And I’ve been writing a bunch, too. Working on some clawhammer banjo here and there. Cooking. Eating a lot. [Laughs]

A lot of artists are streaming shows; have you dipped your toe in that at all?

Yeah, I did one for NPR last week and I did one for Wide Open Country yesterday. I’m trying not to do more than one a week. I just feel like everyone is going live all the time. And it’s how everyone’s getting by, so I totally get it. I just don’t want to take up too much space, so about once a week is all I’ll do.

What led you to record at the Cash Cabin? Is that a bucket-list thing for Nashville artists?

It was amazing. I got to sit in Johnny’s rocking chair while playing his guitar. The guys all gathered around me in a semi-circle with their pens and paper. I’d play them a song and they’d take their notes and we’d go in and run it once. Then we’d hit “record” on the second one and that’s usually the take we did.

Wow. What an experience.

Yeah. I knew we were going to Cash Cabin but had no idea I was going to get to do that. They handed me his guitar on the first day and I was blown away by that. It was a pre-War Martin for one thing; whether it belonged to someone famous or not, it’s an incredible guitar. But when it belonged to such a character as Johnny…and sitting in his rocking chair where he’d carved his initials in the right arm? Yeah, it was pretty special.

Better Hurry Up is available from Caleb’s site, Amazon, Apple Music, Spotify, etc.

May 12, 2020

Larry Hooper: The FTM Interview 2

Today, we speak with the Texas singer-songwriter-bus-driver, Larry Hopper. I hope you enjoy. (Also, he's taking over Galleywinter's FB page Thursday.)

FTM: Hello, Hopper! It’s been a while since we last spoke. I’ve been meaning to ask you, are you related to Jim Hopper from Stranger Things?

Larry: I said no to this interview.

FTM: Your denial didn’t take. So what have you been doing in the 9 1/2 years since our last interview? Prison time? 

Larry: I had some good toast about 4 years ago. I wanted to make sure and tell you about that toast. It wasn’t any special kind of bread, it was just the EXACT right amount of toasted. Not burnt, not under toasted. Can you imagine? It was so good!! I have some pictures of the toast if you need them.  

FTM: I'm good. What are you doing to pass the time during quarantine, besides (insert tired beard grooming joke here)? 

Larry: During what? No idea what you’re talking about. 

FTM: These crazy times, buddy! Hey, when you and your wife are teaching your kids for in-home school, are you in charge of bad jokes and puns training, while she teaches all the other subjects?

Larry: My wife will be offended that you would think for ONE SECOND I would be the one who would teach puns. She has her doctorate in Punning.

FTM: Is it true you co-wrote a song for Cody Jinks?

Larry: With.

FTM: Yeah right, Hopper; is it one that “accidentally got left off the album?”

Larry: It was the title cut of his 2019 release “After the Fire.” It was the number one country album for one whole week. Then he released another album the next week and kicked himself off the top spot. 

FTM: Oh really? Does Cody owe you money or something?

Larry: I wish. I keep hoping someone will remember that they owe me money. Nobody does. 

FTM: Most artists, and I use that term carefully, consume lots of art to keep their creativity flowing. What sort of books, movies, and music keep your muse alive? I’m assuming there will be a follow up question about coloring books, Tom Green films, and Hoobastank. 

Larry: I only watch my extensive collection of Puppy Bowl recordings. I recently read a book about a little dog named Meli that went to the vet. It was quite the thrill ride. I don’t want to spoil the ending, but page 12 will surprise you!!! As for what I listen to, mostly my interior monologue of self doubt and fear and neurosis and anxiety and guilt . Also John Prine. 

FTM: So I see you’ve been doing streaming concerts during the pandemic. What does that mean?

Larry: It just makes sense. Staying home is the best way for people to come see me. 

FTM: No, I meant “pandemic,” I’ve always assumed that had something to do with pandas.  

Larry: This is why I said no to the interview. Plus you barely even seemed interested in my really good toast story. The toast was excellent, the story was really good. 

FTM: You live a wild life, Barry. I haven’t been stalking you, I promise, but I’ve noticed there are always a ton of kids in your social media photos. Are you starting a cult?

Larry: I hear there’s good money in it. 

FTM: If your cult will have brisket and singalongs, I’m interested. Let’s talk about that later. Right now, I need to know what you think about how Red Dirt, independent country, and Americana music are kinda sorta mainstream these days. When we did that first interview, I’d have never dreamed that our buddy Drew Kennedy would be modestly more well known in 2020. It's wild.

Larry:  I don’t know who that is, but the meshing of all the different musical subsets is bound to happen. It’s a cycle. Some kids get sick of  mainstream music and there’s a movement of a new sound, it becomes popular and in that popularity gets watered down and pushed towards a more generic sound to appeal to more people.  theres art and then there’s business and the 2 can only coexist in a small window before it becomes more business. That’s not to say anyone is wrong for that that’s just the nature of the beast. Radio stations have to sell ads to keep the lights on. They have the seemingly impossible task of staying true to their format but appealing to as many people as possible. People get mad at radio stations if they play a song that that person doesn’t think belongs. That’s bizarre to me. Just.. don’t listen to that song? I don’t like calling myself an artist but I’m sure not a business man. That’s why most people reading this think you’re interviewing the guy from the Lawrence Welk show, But there’s always good music to listen to.  Mainstream or not.  I’ll check out Drew Kennedy though. 

FTM: Oh you know who he is; he asked me to tell you to stop texting him asking to open his shows all the time. It's getting awkward for everyone. Next question: Are you working on any new music? 

Larry: I’m always writing. I have plenty of songs for a new album I just haven’t had time or money to record. And with the covidteen going on I have no idea what everything will look like when shows start up again. 

FTM: You didn’t have to go on for so long. I don’t really care, it’s just something I have to ask since this is a music blog. But since we’re on the subject, will you be doing any boyfriend country songs?

Larry:  I don’t know what that means. 

FTM: Nobody does. Hey, it’s bizarre that I’ve “known” you online for over 15 years and I still don’t know your favorite N-Sync member. Care to elaborate?

Larry:  Timberlake is the only one I can even name.  

FTM: Who are some of your favorite songwriters these days? 

Larry: Other than the standards, Lori Mckenna is just unspeakably good.  I keep expecting to move on from my Isbell fanboyness but he’s just such a great writer. The writing BJ did on the new AA record is so good. Courtney Patton is better than most. So are Jacob Furr and Gabe Wootton. Mike Ethan Messick.  Jackie Darlene for sure. 

FTM: Again, don’t actually care. Did you watch Tiger King? That was some crazy sh*t.

Larry:  I did. It was sad. 

FTM: I see you’re still not going to come out and admit that you were the fake Cowboy Troy troll on that Americana message board we used to frequent. Why is that? 

Larry:  I think the record will show that the Cowboy Troy user had better spelling and grammar than me. 

FTM: Okay, I think this has gone on for long enough. I’m as bored as you are, if not more. Let’s do the lightning round! Do you have a Larry Hopper face Covid mask on your merch site?

Larry: yes. It comes in the shape of a shirt and you have to DIY your mask. 

FTM: That’s a missed opportunity. Alright, favorite flavor of Swisher Sweets?

Larry:  I don’t use them because of poisons. I need to stay healthy so I can overeat for longer. 

FTM: That’s a hoax. Tobacco is grown from the earth, so it’s healthy. Bigly. Do your research. Next question is multiple choice: Are these times A)uncertain B)crazy C)troubling 4)frowsty?

Larry: Can I put “exhausting” as a write in answer?

FTM: If Sam Hunt asked to cowrite a song with you, what color would the Land Rover you bought with the royalties be?

Larry:  I don’t think you can buy a Land Rover with royalty money anymore.  I might could get me an old Isuzu trooper. 

FTM: Jay or Jeff?
Larry: Jay

FTM: No, I meant Jay Cutler or Jeff Garcia. Read the room.

Larry:  Jeff Garcia from the Grateful Dead?

FTM: You don’t know soccer at all, Lawrence. Who is the coolest celebrity you’ve ever met?

Larry: Henry Winkler 

FTM: Ayyyy! Favorite Juice WRLD song?


FTM: That is an acceptable answer. What’s the first restaurant you’re going to sit down and eat at when it’s finally safe again?

Larry: Somewhere with chips and salsa 

FTM: You thought that was going to be a trick question, but these are very serious. What is the highest number of feral hogs that has ever run into your yard?

Larry: 28-48

FTM: When you’re writing a song: lyrics or music first?

Larry: Lyrics 

FTM: Another serious question! I’m getting good at this! Spell “Thibodaux.”

Larry: Thibodeaux. I learned that from an episode of King of the Hill.

FTM: I was talking about the city in Louisiana and with this being an email interview, I gave you the answer and you still missed it. Anyway.. if you were doing a big nationwide tour, what particular food or drink would be on your tour rider?

Larry: 4 fried chickens and a coke. 

FTM: Alright, now it’s the requisite time in a Farce the Music interview when we give you the opportunity to speak poorly of mainstream country. If you don’t say something funny, pithy, or meaningful here, you may lose legions of fans. No pressure.

Larry: jokes on you, I don’t have legions of fans. 

Mainstream Country is awful but so is a lot of other stuff. I just don’t listen. I don’t care what they’re doing. It’s not for me. I am not their target. Honestly the only reason I even know the names of most of them is because of Farce The Music, haha. And it’s just name recognition. If I’m in a store and mainstream country is playing it lets me know that I still am not interested, but that’s the extent of how much I think about it. I don’t like most Jazz music, so I just don’t listen to Jazz music.i don’t have to make shirts about how much I hate it.  I used to get worked up about what they were calling country music but labels are for the masses and the record execs. Something I work hard on reminding myself, and I wish more people understood: you don’t have to have an opinion on everything. In the time of this constant barrage of new information or media or whatever, we feel like we have to know about it all and have an informed opinion on every single thing. Just pick a few. I just choose to not care, as you can fell by the massive paragraph I just wrote on the matter.

FTM: So much for “lightning.” What do you think the water from inside a waterbed would taste like?
Larry: Pall Mall cigarettes and bad decisions. 

FTM: Possibly. It’s just something I’ve been wondering about. Okay, last question: Would you rather have a sack full of punch or a punch in the sack? 
Larry: I really said I wasn’t going to do another one of these interviews. 


Apr 14, 2020

Life Blood Sold: A conversation with Dr. Jim Miller of Western Centuries

By Kevin Broughton

In an age when independence is idolized and every person seems to be seeking his own lone wolf career path, Seattle-based roots band Western Centuries believes that the way forward is better together. Collaboration, inspiration and mutual admiration are what Cahalen Morrison, Ethan Lawton, and Jim Miller cite as the heart of their newest project, Call The Captain, the band’s third album, out on Free Dirt records and available wherever you purchase fine music. You can also find it at the Western Centuries store.

Western Centuries continue to evolve and mature. After two critically acclaimed albums – 2016’s Weight of the World and 2018’s Songs From The Deluge – the band’s follow-up features a new sound, a slightly tweaked lineup and a new level of songwriting prowess. Morrison and Lawton still take turns on drums and acoustic guitar. Thomas Bryan Eaton joins the band on pedal steel. But the core of the band is still the troika of writers/singers, each member of which brings his own distinctive skill set.

Morrison’s tracks have a Western feel and flavor. Lawton’s sweet, near falsetto vocals provide a soulful undercurrent. Miller spent 20 years with roots/jam band Donna The Buffalo and never wrote or sang a song. His growth as a writer and ongoing vocal confidence continue to impress.

Western Centuries tackle several complex and controversial issues on the new album – pipelines through Indian reservations and land-grant battles in New Mexico in the 1960s and 1970s to name a couple – but do so without preachy condescension. The topical issues don’t overshadow what the band has come to be known for: elite writing, poignant three-part harmonies and excellent musicianship and production.

It was great to catch up with Jim Miller, PhD – FTM’s official lepidopterist* -- right after his much-needed vacation in mid-March. He was quite expansive on that subject, as well as those of meeting Jim Lauderdale at the place Dylan went electric, and the non-need for a captain on a ship of titans.

So, how was your vacation?

It was…good. We went to a Wilco show.




There’s an egalitarian feel to this album, a real sense of balance. Twelve songs, four each by you, Ethan and Cahalen. In fact, they go in that order throughout the record: one from you, one from Ethan, one from Cahalen. Tell me about the mechanism of selecting tracks; I assume each of you comes into the recording process with his own batch of songs?

We do. And for this batch, we had toured with [playing] a lot of them; some of we had played on tour just a little. And some we had never played live, we just had a pretty good idea of how they’d go and worked it out in the studio. We do come [into the studio] with a pretty good feel, yet are open to any suggestions the other guys have when it’s time to record.

When you write a song you never know how it will sound with a band, unless you’ve played it with a band already. So you need to have some flexibility: “It might sound better with a chorus there,” or “a bridge might work here.” Or you add an intro that you just hadn’t thought of. That stuff just kind of evolves; you know what I mean?

Yeah. Is “Call The Captain” an ironic nod to the collaborative nature of y’all’s dynamic?

It is, because we feel we’re a ship without a captain; we’re out at sea with three guys and the rest of the band as well. We don’t have a real front man, so there’s no one guy in charge. It’s also a line in one of Ethan’s songs [“Every Time It’s Raining”].

Y’all recorded Songs From The Deluge in Lafayette, and there was a discernable Zydeco feel on certain tracks. For Call The Captain, you chose a studio in Nashville. There’s a distinctive sonic difference, though I wouldn’t necessarily call it the “Nashville sound.” There’s a soulful vibe to a lot of it. What were y’all going for in terms of sound, or feel?

I’m…I’m not…(pause) I’m the wrong person to ask that.

When I’m in the studio – and I’ve been in lots of settings, all kinds of settings – it depends on what you’re going for. Do you want an acoustic record or a rocking record? I’ve done all those things over the years. But I really don’t go into a studio setting with a firm idea about “the sound I’m looking for.”

Cahalen and Ethan, I’d say, have more of a set idea in mind. I’d say it’s like I have the least, Cahalen’s in the middle, and Ethan the most idea – pre-studio – of what we have in mind. Each person has a different approach when it comes to the recording process. And I’m the loosest of the three. I’m maybe…not as perceptive sometimes. I don’t always hear subtle differences. I just know what I like and what I don’t. But again, you’re talking to one of three writers. And each person has his different way of perceiving that. Which makes it fun, actually. It’s the fun part of this experiment we have, and in the studio it becomes very apparent, these differences in personality at play.

I just want the groove to sound good and the vocals to sound good. That’s what I’m going for.

You know in terms of and overall sound, though, this is Nokosee’s first time playing electric bass in studio. The first two records he played standup bass. So this opened up all kinds of tonality options for him and us. It makes the songs – for me – well, you have a broader base to work from, a broader pallet. Because a lot of people don’t hear the bass, but it’s the grounding of the whole sound.

So that was a big thing, I guess. Bill Reynolds, one of our producers, is a bass player.  He had a vision for the bass parts. So that’s probably a lot of what you’re hearing in terms of a tonal difference. And that’s something that gave us all some confidence along the way.

Makes sense.

“Heartbroke Syndrome” was the first single released from the new record, a song about someone who’s been through a crushing personal loss. You dealt with the loss of your parents in the final stanzas of “Wild Birds” on the last album.


I wonder if you’d elaborate a little on the story behind “Heartbroke.”

Ah…it’s a little…a little hard. It’s a friend of mine whom I’ve known…40 years?  Anyway, she’s my age-ish. And she had a granddaughter die at 2 ½. Just overnight.

Oh, man.

Literally overnight, one of those things, and there was just no reason. I still think they don’t know the reason. This little girl just died in her sleep. It was one of those losses that was so huge for my friend…her body didn’t respond for a while and she ended up in the hospital. She was so shattered. And that’s how that song came about. 

It’s a song that’s hard to write. And I tried…I tried to end with an uplifting feeling.


Sort of, we’ve got each other, we’ll get through this together.

“But everything will flow right, we’ll gather back home. Lay down the dirt, our bodies renewed.”

Yeah. A semi-uplifting note, anyway.

There are several songs about heartbreak and loss, and some tragic – but not necessarily well-known – events. Would you say there’s a theme, or a common thread that ties the record together?

Hmm. It’s hard to find a common “theme” for the way we write our music, because we do so much of it in isolation. Those guys live in Seattle. I live in New York. So we only see each other when we’re going out on tour, or recording, or other special events or whatever.

There’s no intention, I’d say, in creating a thread. If there is one, I’d say it’s the times we’re living in. That’s such an overwhelming part; you can’t really get away from it. And I think that’s partly what you’re sensing. I have these “topical” songs. I don’t know if you’ve picked up on it…

Oh, we’re gonna get to that, in just a second, I promise.

Ha ha. But Cahalen did, too and Ethan did, too. We all did. But I attribute that to the crazy f*cking times we’re living in.

Y’all touch on some heady issues in your songs this time around: social/cultural, religious and political. I know this because of the detailed liner notes. What’s cool about it, in my opinion – and as someone who probably doesn’t share a lot of the same views – is that…I had to read the liner notes to get the full depth of it. There’s a level of nuance and subtlety that a lot of artists forsake these days, in favor of a skillet-to-the-face approach. (Other than “Space Force.” You don’t really hide the ball on that one.)

Well, the three of us really like that. Because the subtlety of the songs makes you have to listen to them a few more times. You’re not necessarily going to get it the first time around. And I think that’s cool.

It’s very cool. I’m just wondering if the nuance is a byproduct of the quality of the songwriting, or if there’s ever an intra-band discussion about the need for subtlety. You know, “Maybe we don’t need to hit people over the head with this?” Or is it more of an organic thing?

I guess it’s more organic. It’s more organic. And I think the music we all listen to has more of a subtle message. And our music comes out that way because that’s what we listen to. The stuff that smacks you in the face, it doesn’t last very long. Some songs, you may have a heck of an impact in the short term, but those songs don’t hang around very long. And all of us have quite an appreciation for music that’s been around for quite a long time. So that’s the hope.

Except for “Space Force.” I like that one because I hope it will be gone soon. Hopefully, we’ll never have to play it again, you know?

We’re getting to “Space Force” here directly.

Ha. But you know what I mean? Your favorite music, it doesn’t matter when it was written or what it’s about! You just know that there’s some emotion in it that you’re drawn to. And it could have been written in 1963 or 2013. It doesn’t matter. And that kind of approach, I’d say we emulate.

Topical, but not exactly temporal?

Exactly. I like it.

Let’s talk about “Space Force,” my favorite track. Jim Lauderdale sings harmony, then lead on the final verse – in addition to singing harmony on “Heartbroke Syndrome.” What’s the connection between you and Jim?

Many years ago when I was in Donna The Buffalo, we had played the Newport Folk Festival in Rhode Island. He was on tour with Lucinda [Williams] for the Car Wheels record. And we were there just drinking vodka from the bottle and throwing a Frisbee, and Jim walked over and said, “Who are you people?” [Laughs] And somehow or another he just latched onto us. Out of that grew a friendship, and I’ve been friends with him throughout.

That song is funny because after I’d written it I thought, “This sounds like a song Jim Lauderdale could have written.


And so as we were recording it I got the idea of calling him up and saying, “What do you think about maybe singing on it?”

He had never heard it before. But Jim is like super-pro studio guy. He’s unbelievable. He shows up, hears it three times, you hand him the lyrics, and he does his part. You’re like, “That’s very convincing!” [Laughs]

Surely he and Mr. Miller will have you on the Buddy and Jim Show.

Well, we’re trying. We need to do that. You know, those shows are harder to get on than you would imagine. Even though we know them, it’s weird. I think that show is done out of Buddy’s home studio.


And Buddy Miller, he doesn’t know us; he’s probably never heard of us. And Jim is doing so much stuff it’s unbelievable. So getting in to focus for something like that, as much as we’d love to do it, is difficult.

The concept of a “Space Force” is low-hanging fruit for a timely, satirical song, but it works like a charm. It’s cartoonish – I kept thinking of “Space Ghost.”


There are references to 2001’s Hal and Bowie’s “Space Oddity.” Did this song write itself? It sounds like it just poured out of you.

Yeah, it sort of did. If any of my songs on this album wrote itself, it was this one. And I don’t have songs like that. I wrote it in – what are we in, 2020? – yeah, I wrote it in 2019. And the concept of a Space Force – it’s such a joke. I’m like, “This isn’t even real.”

And I’ve become such a news junkie that when I read about it I say, “Space Force? What is the freaking job description for that?” So I started writing this thing down – and the other part about it is…Well, I was in Donna The Buffalo for a long time, and I liked the way that they wrote songs based on a chord progression that just keeps rolling. You know what I mean?

Oh, yeah.

So that was the other part of it. I wanted to write a song based on a chord progression that just keeps going and going and going, which is super- Donna The Buffalo-ish. So, those are the two things that came together. And the words just popped out. But it’s not a song, I think, that’s timeless or anything. But hopefully there won’t be an actual Space Force, and the song will just freaking go away!

But at least it jams.

It does jam, yes.

And it does sound like a Donna song, now that I think about it.

It does, and that’s cool. We’re not Donna, we’re Western Centuries, but we succeeded in turning a live song that jammed into a studio song that jams. The thing about Western Centuries is, we want to be a really good live band. And we’ve got a lot of room to grow in that regard. I think it’s a lot of fun to go see a band and not really know what’s going to happen. When I go see a band, I don’t want to see them play it like the record; I already have the record! That’s what’s fun about being risky.

*So, yeah, Dr. Miller is the only lepidopterist we know. Bet your blog doesn’t have one.


Call the Captain is available now on Bandcamp, Amazon, Apple Music, etc.


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