Jordan Hook and Joey Berglund two uber cool busking musicians who became friends in 2019 and teamed up to be the supergroup Baxter Elkins. Hailing from Los Angeles the duo bring sunshine and extraordinary banjo, fiddle, guitar and saxophone playing with harmonies and vocals that many other musicians would kill for. Just watch their Gems on VHS submission ‘Judas‘ to understand what I’m talking about.
Making music that seems unmarketable to regular country music labels is the way that makes Baxter Elkins truly stand out from all the usual music that comes out of the Nashville music factory. Their album ‘Hard Times and Hootenany’s‘ which was released in November 2020Is an absolute delight they breathe life back into traditional music with a slick sense of humour running through it. One of the absolute classics is ‘15 years of bliss and a quick death what else can a man dream of?‘.
Baxter Elkins also submitted their entry to the NPR Tiny Desk Contest and if it wasn’t for the teeniest tiniest confusion about time zones I’m sure that they would have won the contest.
One of the bands absolute classics is ‘Werewolves‘ a song that he wrote for Halloween for a radio show I chose the collaborative efforts that Joey and Jordan bring to Baxter Elkins. Growing up Jordan was influenced by Townes Van Sant and Willie Nelson and this explains how a surfer became hooked into country music and Joey explains how in a city of 10 million people country music still has a place in Los Angeles. Is this eclectic mix of traditional and new that both artists bring to their philosophy of music.
The boys begin touring on Sunday 13th June 2021 at Lake Tahoe and continue across Nevada, Wyoming Pagosa Springs and Utah. For full details of venues and dates go check out their website or their Instagram page. Seriously what are you waiting for check out the music and if you can see them live!
Click below to hear the podcast from CloudwatcherUno featuring Baxter Elkins. Also streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Podcast Addict or wherever you listen to your podcasts.
Coleman Williams has country-western music bubbling away in his DNA while also bringing the energy and excitement of punk rock sensibilities to his music, his lyrics and ethos of his strange band.
“Music to me is like a way to communicate to anyone and anything even if you can’t understand each other. Music is the Universal language”.
CloudwatcherUno and Coleman talk about how every living thing responds to the frequency of music and if you just search on the Internet you’ll see cows loving music, the subtleties and complexities of the English language and literature. And how the written word is his true love and how he combines that with music. Using his music to express his views on love to other people.
Doc Watson’s music can transport Coleman through the power of musical time travel to his childhood running around barefoot and fishing with his friends. Music especially live music whether it be in a basement or a concert it is one of the best things that the young Coleman enjoyed and it is that joy that he tries to bring to his music. About a month ago Coleman got to experience some live music at a La Honda Records event with the Local Honeys, Vincent Neil Emerson and Riddy Arman.
Coleman’s music almost always has two versions this stripped down version and the band version and this is how he sees himself as a country artist who is willing to experiment and branch out. An artist is an artist and it is unfair to pigeonhole artists into categories dreamt up by marketing teams of big monolithic music labels. Artists shouldn’t have to apologise for trying to branch out into rock or metal or punk when audiences only see them as country music artists.
Coleman knows that he will have made it as an artist when he gets to play with artists that he loves, respects and idolises and then can collaborate with those singers and songwriters to produce music that is unique thrilling and experimental that delights audiences around the world. Being respected by his peers and the music scene now he will know that he has made it in this world of music.
Coleman loves his father and deeply respects his grandfather and especially his great-grandfather and wants to be an artist in his own right who is related to all the amazing musicians in his family but is known for the music he wants to produce and showcase to the world. If you haven’t realised by now Coleman’s great-grandfather is Hank Williams, his grandfather is Hank Williams Jr and his father is Hank III.
Coleman’s song ‘Son of Sin‘ It is his calling card to the music world that he is his own artist and not just a relation to one of the greatest country western legacies that still resonate today in 2021. Coleman’s forthcoming album and music will be a country record with elements of other music genre’s.
Coleman talks about how Hank Williams is still not a member of the Opry. Hank Williams has been synonymous with the country music institution. Williams remains a former member of the Opry. It’s a mistake that has continued to be made for the last 60 years. There are many organisations that pay reverence to the name of this classic country-western artist but show a lack of respect by their lack of action or monetisation of the Williams name.
More and more in this age, tradition and respect mean nothing and the all mighty dollar and disneyfication of what was supposed to be music in all it’s rich and varied history has been left behind. Coleman talks about this and how music is no longer the main reason for tourists to come to Nashville. Born and bred in the city, Coleman has seen with his own eyes all the changes generally for the worse that has taken over the city that he loves.
Coleman’s mission as he sees it is to help country and western music grow through the influences of other genres so that it doesn’t wither and die and country music needs to grow and change. Artists like Coleman are leading a renaissance in what it means to be a country and western artist in 2021.
Coleman is looking forward to performing with his strange band in the summer and autumn and perform in front of fans scratch that actual fans instead of just online shows. Long may Coleman and his band continue to make music that excites and brings joy to fans across the world.
Click below to hear the podcast from CloudwatcherUno featuring Coleman Williams. Also streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Podcast Addict or wherever you listen to your podcasts.
Nick Shoulders is the whistling, yodelling, guitar picking, mouth organ playing and bird calling superstar of the Ozark mountains. It was a privilege and a joy to spend time with my hero and get to talk about all the joys and happiness that is music as broad to not only me but to legions of fans across the world. Nick takes the sounds of yesteryear and melds them with the heavier rhythm of todays music.
A saving grace for Nick in these Covid times has been connecting through the screen and connecting through the ones and zeros of the digital world. Playing country music has allowed Nick to connect with history in a real tangible way and a tradition of music which is larger than any musician and play ‘Grandpa Music’ and take what’s compelling about the music and make it his own. The lines between what is Folk Music and Country Music get blurred and the artifical barriers created by marketing teams of the music industry quickly dissolve into nothingness when you hear such songs as ‘Snakes and Waterfalls‘, ‘Black Star‘, ‘Rather Low‘, ‘Bound and Determined‘, and ‘Turn On The Dark‘.
Learning to warble from one set of grandparents, having a fiddle passed down to him from his other grandfather and having the wide open spaces to practice his vocal skills and fiddle playing has turned the young Nick Shoulders into a virtuoso instrumentalist. Moving to New Orleans Nick cut his album ‘Lonely Like Me with Mashed Potato Records and got his buddies to play the instrumental parts and the result is magnificent. One of the outstanding tracks on that album is a old Elvis Presley song ‘Black Star‘ a song that was a favourite of David Bowie and soon was a favourite of Nick’s as well.
In New Orleans Nick was a drummer for hire and played with Sabine McCalla and his metamorphosis to singer songwriter was complete with his album ‘Okay, Crowdad.’ The artwork for all the albums is doe by Nick himself as he is a painter and illustrator and these talents are further showcased in his new album ‘Home On The Rage‘. The blonde Mardi Gras haircut has now become synonymous with Nick’s musical persona as has his collaboration with fellow Ozarkian and family member in a distant way Willi Carlisle. Gems on VHS, Western AF and others have catapulted Nick into the public consciousness with their ‘Vidjas’ (Videos) that capture the essence of this musical genius.
For our audio pleasure Nick Sings acoustically his warm up song ‘Irene Goodnight‘. Take a moment and just listen to a little slice of heaven.For the future Nick will be travelling and paying shows across the states and even across the Atlantic to England in the autumn.
Click below to hear the podcast from CloudwatcherUno featuring Nick Shoulders. Also streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Podcast Addict or wherever you listen to your podcasts.
Sabine McCalla has a voice that is the lovechild of Nina Simone and Etta James. Yes, that would be impossible but if you could, then ladies and gentlemen, Sabine is the artist who is that golden child. Growing up in New Jersey, Olympia, Washington, Asheville, North Carolina but her heart was crying out to live in a place that has no winter and this is where we find her on the CloudwatcherUno podcast at home in New Orleans. We talk about the back story about her video ” Baby, Please Don’t Go” with WesternAF which was filmed with friends Casey Jane Reece-Kaigler, Sam Doores and Gina Marie Leslie during the Folk Alliance convention, its how I was introduced to her beautiful voice.
Sabine’s 2018 EP ‘Folk‘ is full of the first couple of songs that she wrote out of her journals, memories of her first days of New Orleans and is her tales of her heartbreak. New Orleans just started to influence Sabine spiritually, mentally and musically.
We talk about the influence of her sister Leyla McCalla but also how the tone of her music is more inspired by the Appalachian mountains, americana and artists like Janis Joplin and The Beatles, Whitney Houston, Nina Simone, Mowtown, The Supremes and even Rod Stewart. Sabine has played at the Newport Folk Festival and Brooklyn Americana Music Festival.
Music has been the saviour for Sabine and singing on her covered porch has made it possible to record music at a safe social distance. For the future Sabine has a lot of ideas for collaborations with other artists but will focus on recording her own music. I can’t wait to hear the next chapter in Sabine’s musical journey.
Click below to hear the podcast from CloudwatcherUno featuring Sabine McCalla. Also streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Podcast Addict and wherever you listen to your podcasts.
Brandon Padier sits down with host CloudwatcherUno as they talk about the inspiration behind his albums ‘Brothers Of The Flood‘(2020), ‘Rock and Roll Heart of Gold‘ (2019) and ‘To God Be The Glory‘ (2018) such songs as ‘Once Again (I’m Alone)‘ ‘The Hardest Thing‘ and ‘To God Be The Glory‘ his musical history of being in the band ‘Adopted Kids‘, and how being the guitar player led to him becoming a singer. His musical influences such as The Beatles, Jason Isbell, Neil Young, Tom Petty, The Band and The Grateful Dead are evident in the songs that he has released.
For a self confessed introverted personality Brandon comes to life when talking all things music, art and culture. Taking that first step into song writing was only natural after having written the songs themselves. we talk about how music is a universal language and his love of playing instruments such as the piano and trombone and especially those that challenge him especially the fiddle and the sitar.
Brandon is working on his new album and is being influenced by The Byrds, Wings era McCartney. The songs for this album are akin to tackling life in these pandemic times and universal concepts of isolation. The magic will be turning these simple concepts but turning them into something incredibly profound.
Click below to hear the podcast from CloudwatcherUno featuring Brandon Padier. Also streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Podcast Addict and wherever you listen to your podcasts.
Darling West are the cosmic folk duo hailing from the land of Norway who have released Spelleman-winning (Norwegian Grammy) album ‘Vinyl and a Heartache’ and such hits as ‘Rolling On’, ‘Traveller’ and ‘The Sweetest Tune’. Host CloudwatcherUno sits down with artists Mari and Tor Egil Kreken to talk about their music, gorgeous lyrics and phenomenal harmonies and melodies. In the podcast Darling West perform live acoustic versions of ‘Rolling On’ and ‘Loneliness’ and there’s also the album version of ‘The Sweetest Tune’ that starts the show.
Darling West started life as folk trio with very dramatic thoughts on how they would be a band and ended up more into cosmic folk territory with electric guitars, drums and the banjo. Tor plays claw hammer style banjo like his Appalachian heroes of the US. Darling West’s sound started out as an interest in old fiddle tune time songs with mountain folk vibe similar to the music from the film ‘O Brother Where Art Thou?’ It was a jumping off point for the band to start their exploration of building and writing their songs.
The last EP ‘Interpretations’ explores their love of pop tunes through a country landscape. The music on the EP brings them joy and that translates to the listener when they hear the tracks ‘Don’t Start Now’, ‘Pamela’ and ‘Bulletproof’. It’s a way of expanding their audience’s expectations of the band. It was a challenge to find the tenderness within the original lyrics and the almost harsh production style and reimagine with a much softer gentler interpretation.
Darling West also bring their sound to life by showcasing their music through their Friday Sessions cover videos available on YouTube and Instagram. They bring the joy of their music by collaborating with fellow artists such as Hayde Bluegrass Orchestra. The ‘Friday Sessions’ started out as a response to the duo experiencing the lockdown in Norway and not being able to go out but still wanting to connect with their fans and audience. It’s a lot of work learning a new song every week and then record it flawlessly as a live video to such a high professional standard. Don’t expect the sessions to continue forever though as the duo need to work on releasing their own original music.
One of my favourite songs from the album ‘We’ll Never Know Unless We Try’ is ‘Home’ written by Tor Egil with Mari in their family’s cabin and was a song that just came out so easily and encapsulates the cosmic folk catalogue of Darling West. You can feel the influence of Gillian Welch in the lyrics and it sounds like poetry put to music.
The duo have adapted as well as they can to having to put touring to one side and have now been able to focus on the Friday Sessions, their songcraft and building a nice home for themselves to create an atmosphere conducive to blossoming their creativity. Without the pressure of trying to make a Darling West record has enabled them to explore different genres, sounds and musicality.
Growing up Tor Egil started off wanting to play football but that obsession was overtaken by learning to play the guitar while listening to his older brothers record collection. In junior high school reading about musicians playing their instruments and touring with their bands, Tor Egil knew this was going to be his life. When Mari and Tor met 15 years ago, Mari didn’t even play an instrument. Mari always enjoyed singing and her father always sang as a way to relax. There was always country music on the radio. After 7 years together Mari also wanted to become a part of the musical community in a real way and bought her first mandolin. It took a lot of practice before Mari felt that she had the sound she wanted from her instrument and could call herself a musician. It was all worth it as the duo have released four albums showing their incredible virtuosity, skill and range in producing stellar music.
Mari and Tor Egil don’t right formulaic music or middle of the road tunes for them there is no formula that they stick to. They want to keep their music as alive as possible and act as a homage to the Norwegian mountains. Speaking metaphorically if they found themselves in lifeboat having to recue their songs then they would save ‘Darling West’, ‘Vinyl and a Heartache’, ‘Someone Like You’, ‘Rolling On’, and River.
Darling West are at the forefront of the Nordicana music scene and bringing their own twist to the traditional Americana/ Appalachian music that’s been produced and being released. Their music is full of guitar, banjo and pedal steel which envelops the listener transporting them to a mythical country and western world. Going forward the duo want to focus more on their own song writing and they have more time to really record the songs they want in the style and production that showcases their music the best. A new album will arrive and when it does you know it’s going to be fantastic.
Click below to hear the podcast from CloudwatcherUno featuring Darling West. Also streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Podcast Addict and wherever you listen to your podcasts.
James Steinle is a kindred spirit, a spirit that fills your ears with warmth and wonder. In this first episode of the New Year get ready to really listen to a singer whose voice reaches out from the darkness of the ether to transport you to a magical land. A land of music that runs parallel to ours but echoes the long lost songs of yesteryear. His lyrics and songs sound like lost songs from childhood or something that was on the radio when you were growing up but in fact was released in 2020. In this most horrendous of years music has been our saviour and one of those knight errant taking you on adventures is a boy who grew up in Saudi Arabia, lived in Germany and has now gone back home to South Texas.
CloudwatcherUno sits down with James to talk about ‘Cold German Mornings’ his album released in what conventional A&R thinking would be a complete non starter but for James it made perfect sense when else should you release an album that has songs set in snowy Germany than in winter? The album itself is full of gems that sparkle in the night sky, these are not filler songs but ones that have been polished with care and attention, so that a professor of song writing would mark this album with distinction.
We talk about his thinking behind such songs as ‘ Three Dark Kings’ in which James effortlessly switches between his western cowboy drawl to German. Even though you might not know it is being sung and subtitles would be welcome they aren’t necessary as the feeling and music carries you along with this nativity set song.
Then you have ‘Ein Schnapps, Ein Bier’ a song that wraps its way around your consciousness to make you get up and dance and has so infectious a melody that you’ll be singing it in the shower in no time. Then we switch direction again when we listen to ‘The Lusitania’ about the tragedy that befell this ship and the consequences it had not only for those who lost their lives but for the world as it was the catalyst for ensuring that America joined the western powers in WW1 and bring about the defeat of Germany.
On the album James gets to sing with Juliet McConkey whose voice complements his on so many levels. The couple also join forces on the video for their version of “Christmas on the Line” by Michael Martin Murphey.
Other topics of conversation range from he who must not be named who is currently in The White House, to Gun Control, The reality behind The Bluebird Cafe and it’s lack of authenticity and how to reach a global audience for your music in the age of a pandemic. For more of what we discussed you’ll just have to listen into the podcast! So what are you waiting for an invitation? Go listen to James’s music even better go buy his music because we most certainly want more unique melodies and songs from a one of a kind Texas artist.
James has also just released a new song ‘The Ballad of Wan Hu’ to kick off 2021 in style. It tells the trueish story of the Chinese astronaut Wan Hu and his attempt to leave the earths atmosphere on a chair propelled by 47 rockets!
Click down below to hear the podcast from CloudwatcherUno featuring James Steinle. Also streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Podcast Addict and wherever you listen to your podcasts.
Dalton Mills soul sparkles so brightly you’ll need sunglasses to go with a Hazmat suit. An exceptional lyricist he’s captured the lives, loss and heartaches of the disposed. Like a later day Chekov or Tolstoy he sings about the lonely souls in society, those who have fallen through the safety net and then kept falling with no end insight. His self titled album ‘Dalton Mills’ explores the stories of those who don’t register on the mainstream, who aren’t able to voice their pain and longing in a world where increasingly they are becoming ghosts.
In this podcast we get to listen to two acoustic songs from Dalton they are ‘Tornadoes’ and ‘Mountain Call’ from his majestic album. A labour of love for over a year and a half from taking the songs in lyric form and then with the help of friends, recorded in the back of a record store. The album was recorded just at the cusp of the pandemic, any later and we wouldn’t have such songs out in the world.
Coming from rural Kentucky from the small town of Middlesboro, (a city that’s built in a crater!). Dalton has seen his fair share of those who’ve been affected by drugs, mental health issues and those who’ve been abandoned by their families. Not one for happy songs, Dalton expresses more affinity for songs touched by darkness and damaged people, damaged people are often the most dangerous. They know how to make hell feel like home. Dalton follows in the footsteps of his musical heroes Townes Van Zant, Guy Clark, John Prine in writing and performing songs that matter and connects with an audience who want more than just manufactured pop songs.
Picking up a guitar as a high school student has led Dalton down this path of musical greatness. For the last 5 years Dalton’s been writing songs of a phenomenal calibre. One of the bleakest songs ever put to music is ‘Last Goodbye’ a tale of a bedridden soul, who has lost all hope and waiting to see if he will perish at the hands of his carer. It’s a song that will stay with you hours after you’ve heard it. Go listen to this sensational artist who brings words and stories from the darkest corners of humanity to life.
Click down below to hear the podcast from CloudwatcherUno featuring Dalton Mills. Also streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Podcast Addict and wherever you listen to your podcasts.
Born in the USA but brought up in Denmark, J.Tex (Jens Einer Sørensen) grew up listening to Bluegrass music while other children were dancing to Abba. CloudwatcherUno sits down with J.Tex from his home in Copenhagen where we talk about his childhood, travelling to Tennessee as a teenager, his amazing tattoo’s, busking on the streets of Italy, driving trucks on the Faroe Islands and all the while honing his skills and his sound to produce a sumptuous album called ‘Neon Signs & Little White Lies’ from the Heptown Records label.
This is his seventh album and is simply the nest. The album was recorded in Lund, Sweden with the production skills of Tommy Tift. The album was recorded on the same analogue mixing board which produced the hits for ABBA. With this album J.Tex wanted to capture the sound of that live music experience to his audience. Recorded in the studio over three days the music truly captures the electrifying magic that is J.Tex. Jens describes how his songs grow and develop from practice sessions to live performances. Music is his job 24/7, 356 days a year. In this podcast we get to listen to ‘Way Down in The County’ and two acoustic tracks ‘I Told You So’ and ‘Broken Rose’.
J.Tex mixes Americana, Country, Bluegrass and Roots music and influenced by Doc Watson, Norman Blake, Mississippi John Hurt and Lightnin’ Hopkins. Jens music is a melting pot of sound, riffs and melodies that invoke an era of music that is far from the music that comes out of Nashville now. It connects with your soul, mind and body to make you smile and get up and dance.
Click down below to hear the podcast from CloudwatcherUno featuring J.Tex. Also streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Podcast Addict and wherever you listen to your podcasts.
The Spellemann (Norwegian Grammy) award winning Sweetheart have just released a new self titled album ‘Sweetheart’ released by the label Mother Likes It Records It’s a phenomenal achievement for this band and one that places them on the music map. Sweetheart are John-Arne Gundersen and Anne Mette Hårdnes and hail from Norway. In 2003/4 Sweetheart was a three piece collective and then more of a country rock band. After a 14 year absence in 2018 the band was reformed into a more melancholic sounding band that currently tugs at your heart strings that carries you along into a different universe full of longing and memories of what could have been.
The new self titled album ‘Sweetheart’ explores the sense of missing something or someone. The songs feel like poems brought to life by the intense ghostly vocals that lay open the human condition.
We get to hear the acoustic version of ‘Leaving for Stockholm’ which describes the true life experience of what it feels like when someone you love leaves to travel away from the family home. We also hear the acoustic track ‘Can We Make It Out Of Here Alive’ a song that could be an anthem for 2020. There’s also a favorite of mine ‘The Pines By The River’ that opens the podcast.
Being a musician was always a childhood dream for Anne Mette and one that she always wanted to follow through into adulthood. Meeting John-Arne has focused her energies with his in producing an album that channels her beautiful voice to full effect. The turning point for John-Arne was listening to the album ‘Heartbreaker’ from Ryan Adams.
Click down below to hear the podcast from CloudwatcherUno featuring Sweetheart. Also streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Podcast Addict and many other platforms.