It’s happened to all of us. we’re chatting with another person, getting to know each other and then the question “What kind of music do you like” comes up.. At which point many of us are better off reading a thesaurus outloud trying to describe it as we do our best impression of that scene in High Fidelity where Dick is describing the enigmatic Mardie de Salle to Rob “She's kind of Sheryl Crow-ish crossed with a post-Partridge Family pre-L.A. Law Susan Dey kind of thing”... As a non-artist it’s one thing, but applying that pressure to musician’s to describe their work. It's a lot to ask.
but that’s our job here at Americana Podcast and this episode’s guest more than rose to the challenge.
Kam Franklin, is a Houston native and frontwoman for the 7 piece band known as The Suffers. Forming in 2011, the suffers sport an impressive ensemble that lovingly refers to their work as gulf coast soul. a term that actually perfectly describes the sound which can be found within their two-record discography. The Suffers create an expansive, lush air with their music. an array of colorful horn pieces, worldly drum rhythms and Kam’s knockout voice. and talking with kam about her work is enlightening. She is unafraid to describe the root of her abilities, her all-inclusive influences, and most importantly- the pursuit of trying to improve at any given opportunity.
So join us today as our host Robert Earl Keen discusses with Kam Franklin the importance of education, band communication and the music we have to look forward to from Kam as well as The Suffers.
More episodes from "Americana Podcast"
Elizabeth Cook | Jack of All Trades, Master of None
58:24We’ve all heard the common phrase “a master of none” in reference to an individual who is seemingly versatile, flexible, and knowledgeable in their pursuits. Regardless of what they are. We’re not surprised when an artist is an avid reader nor are we shocked when a mathematician takes an interest in subjects like music. The term “master of none” alone, suggests that having multiple interests and being good at them is part of the deal. In today’s vernacular a “master of none” is good at most things but not great at all things. The full phrase though, I feel is of more worth which is “a jack of all trades, a master of none, but often times better than master of none”- in which it is suggested that those who master one task to its fullest extent would be the optimums example. But those who take no opportunity to master anything are below that standard. The value, lies in versatility. A jack of all trades is inherently more valuable than a master of one. And that is because a jack of all trades is able to provide an example for the payoff of multiple skills. We’re fortunate to be working in a genre that encourages a “master of none” premise if you will. It is not an infrequent occurrence to see artists working within in Americana to be delving into multiple projects outside of music itself. Our guest today is a master of none. Elizabeth Cook was born in 1972, and is the 11th out of 12 children and released her first album in 2000. Since then she has made over 400 Opry debuts, hosts a radio show in addition to a fishing show, voices an ongoing character on the show Squidbillies and just always seems to be on the run to her next gig… whatever it may be. So join us today as our host Robert Earl Keen speaks with Elizabeth about her busy schedule, her songwriting, and maybe some interview tips.
Kam Franklin (The Suffers) | The Renaissance Woman in Her Element
1:03:07It’s happened to all of us. we’re chatting with another person, getting to know each other and then the question “What kind of music do you like” comes up.. At which point many of us are better off reading a thesaurus outloud trying to describe it as we do our best impression of that scene in High Fidelity where Dick is describing the enigmatic Mardie de Salle to Rob “She's kind of Sheryl Crow-ish crossed with a post-Partridge Family pre-L.A. Law Susan Dey kind of thing”... As a non-artist it’s one thing, but applying that pressure to musician’s to describe their work. It's a lot to ask. but that’s our job here at Americana Podcast and this episode’s guest more than rose to the challenge.Kam Franklin, is a Houston native and frontwoman for the 7 piece band known as The Suffers. Forming in 2011, the suffers sport an impressive ensemble that lovingly refers to their work as gulf coast soul. a term that actually perfectly describes the sound which can be found within their two-record discography. The Suffers create an expansive, lush air with their music. an array of colorful horn pieces, worldly drum rhythms and Kam’s knockout voice. and talking with kam about her work is enlightening. She is unafraid to describe the root of her abilities, her all-inclusive influences, and most importantly- the pursuit of trying to improve at any given opportunity. So join us today as our host Robert Earl Keen discusses with Kam Franklin the importance of education, band communication and the music we have to look forward to from Kam as well as The Suffers.
Brent Cobb | This Place Called My Life (Anniversary Episode)
1:13:22Hailing from Americus Georgia, Brent Cobb got his start with his first record “No Place to Leave” in 2006, a roots meets red hot chilli peppers- esque album produced by his cousin Dave Cobb. After “no place to leave”, Brent returned to Georgia but moved to Nashville shortly after with the encouragement of singer Luke Bryan- where Cobb then joined carnival music publishing as a regular songwriter. Since then Cobb has written songs for artists such as kenny chesney, miranda lambert, luke bryan, and little big town. In addition to songwriting- Cobb continued to release his own records and received a 2018 grammy award nomination for his album “Shine on Rainy Day”. Cobb's latest album “Keep ‘Em on They Toes” was released september of 2020- and it’s the kind of record that you wish you could listen to for the first time again. in the songs written for his newborn child- Cobb espouses simple advice to not only stay ahead but stay content in one's life. While other tracks break down the difficulty of finding common ground in an ever growing divided social consciousness. With that said, Cobb's delivery remains straight-forward and earnest. The album is solid as any good advice one can receive in life and is backed by beautifully strung instrumentation. There's more on his horizon, so please join us as our host Robert Earl Keen speaks with Cobb about songwriting, the wise words of Shooter Jennings, and the future of Americana music.
Billy Strings | From The Big Bang to Bluegrass
1:07:01Okay y'all… We need to talk about something. at first we only heard about it in whispers or read it in citations or saw the occasional New Yorker comic about it. But now’s it’s been going on for a bit and we can’t ignore the elephant in the room any longer.. Bluegrass music is considered cool now. I know. I'd like to say i’m surprised, but I’m really not. Bluegrass music has a rich and vibrant history, dating back to the early 20th century. It is a genre that encapsulates regional identity, creative freedom, and advanced music ability- while also nurturing a vibrant base of music lovers and players through it’s natural communal education. What it was lacking was a new take, new chapters, new songs being added to the bluegrass biblical canon. The key word in that sentence is “was”. Out of this heartland happening springs forth our guest today- the one and only Billy Strings. Billy Strings music is Bluegrass and beyond. His lyrics reflect a critical understanding of the power and skill of songwriting. His songs often take the time to comment on personal happenings’, his concerns regarding economic and ecological disruptions, and just general musings on life itself. All amplified by the immaculate production of the records themselves. There are moments within Billy Strings albums that arguably border on soundscape due to the inclusion of complicated chromaticism's and lingering sonic intricacies. To try an describe how good he is… its ineffable.
John Craigie | People Remember the Stories
1:03:59John Craigie began his career like many artists of the early 2000’s- playing in coffee shops up and down the coast of California with the occasional intrastate appearances in other coffee shops. during this time, Craigie honed his craft as a songwriter but also took the time to develop a real stage experience. looking to artists he admired such as Todd snider and Arlo Guthrie- John Craigie adopted storytelling as a regular interlude in his set (a facet of performance which remains to this day). his performance has been captured in two live record “Capricorn in Retrograde, Just Kidding Live in Portland” and “Opening for Steinbeck”- two albums that we personally recommend to everyone.These stories are a touching combination of funny and insightful and really open up the barrier between the stage and the audience. John Craigie is stunningly approachable in his demeanor- a personal attribute which extends to his musical identity as well. In 2009, he released his first record “Montana Tale” which exhibited his knack for first-person oriented writing with solid rhythmical acoustic backing. Although there are consistent hallmarks of who Craigie is as a musician across his discography- he is fearless in his creativity. His 9 studio albums over the years cover everything from stomp and holler, collaborative commune to his latest 60’s-esque groove experience “Asterisk the Universe”.
Todd Snider | Never Met a Story(teller) I didn't like
1:12:53Storytelling is as old as communal language itself and songwriters are an extension of the great tradition of sharing experience through words... And Americana music is as loyal to that part of our history as it is dedicated to continuing to share those experiences between artists and listeners. Possibly one of the most talented of those writers working now is Todd Snider. Originally born in Portland, Oregon snider hopped around from place to place at a young age before finally landing in Austin, Texas. After seeing the late Jerry Jeff Walker play, Snider was inspired to also take up music full time. Since then, Snider has created his own unique space within music- developing simple but striking musical arrangements that are punctuated with poignant lyrics. Words and stories that’ll either make you laugh, cry or just think really critically about your place in the world. Writing everything from experiences with drug use, life on the road, to the great American protest song- Todd Snider really is one of the best representations of exceptional storytelling in music.
Waylon Payne | All the Trouble
54:31Waylon Payne's road to country music stardom seemed to be paved with gold. Son of songwriting legend Sammi Smith, guitar player Jodi Payne, and godson to Waylon Jennings.. The pedigree was there and it didn't take long to see that Waylon Payne's way with words and musical ability were also flourishing.. But sometimes life takes us on different paths and we find that our story becomes one fo redemption. Waylon has battled a plethora of his own demons but has regained clarity and has becomeone of the songwriting community's most incredible talents working in the industry. Join us as host, Robert Earl Keen, speaks with Waylon about his upbringing, acting career and his latest record "Blue Eyes, The Harlot, The Queer, The Pusher and Me"
Josh Morningstar | Pullin' Weeds
48:33Originally from Funkstown, Maryland- Josh is a singer-songwriter now based in Kentucky. He’s toured with the contemporary greats including Tyler Childers, Colter Wall, Shooter Jennings, and Todd Snider- and has written hit songs for artists including Cody Jinks and Hayes Carll and is just an overall song-smithing son of a gun. Morningstar only has one album out currently - but it’s the kind of record where its content surpasses sophomore slumps. The manner in which Morningstar interweaves homegrown grit, humor, and heartache with a superman-like knack for rhythm is just out of this world. He’s someone who is not afraid of writing about the harsh realities in life but he’s also unafraid in still choosing to make those realities poetically stunning.So, join us today as our host, Robert Earl Keen, speaks with Josh about his upbringing, songwriting, and cowriting. Also, as an added bonus and a first for Americana Podcast, Josh Morningstar plays two full songs live
Lori McKenna | Always Be Humble and Kind
57:20Grammy-winning Lori Mckenna was born, raised in, and remains in Stoughton Massachusetts. If you’re unfamiliar with her solo career I would personally bet that you’re still familiar with her songwriting. Having penned and/or co-penned songs like Faith Hill’s “Stealing Kisses”, Little Big Town’s Girl Crush, and Tim McGraw’s “Humble & Kind”. Her work has not only rooted itself in every class of Nashville but it has also taken a stronghold hold of her listener’s. McKenna’s songwriting usually depicts the classic images of small-town domesticity, but over the course of the song and her subsequent catalog she is able to explore the highs and lows, the heartache’s and the heroes tales in stories, scenes and images that many of us are familiar with- but, she is still able to shock us in the best way with her brilliant sense of subtlety. https://americansongwriter.com/american-songwriter-podcast-network/podcast-americana/https://www.americanapodcast.com
Milk Carton Kids | Songs, Soundtracks, and Stages
1:38:14Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan have been writing and working together as the Milk Carton Kids since 2011. In that time they have released five records, been included in various small and big screen enterprises and, as of 2018, are the acting hosts of the Americana Music Awards. This colorful history can most likely be particularly attributed to two aspects of their work together: there mellifluous discography (detailed instrumentation and harmonic vocals), and their rapid-fire chemistry. Pattengale and Ryan never fail to riff or build upon what the other has said, and the results vary between sharp insight and comedic banter worthy of Second City. So join us on Americana Podcast as host, Robert Earl Keen, speaks with Pattengale and Ryan on their professional conjunction, songwriting evolution, and the expansion of Americana music moving forward. Americana Podcast is proudly a part of the American Songwriter Podcast Network. Make sure to follow along on Facebook and Instagram for info on new episodes and peeks behind the scenes.