From Rock Hall-of-Famers to Grammy winners and emerging artists on the cusp of greatness — The Load Out Music Podcast is hosted by singer/songwriter Aaron Perlut of Atomic Junkshot and features intimate, long-form conversations with music artists.
Season 3: Legendary Jam Band moe. Visits The Load Out
Jam band culture is a thing unto itself that drives passions that are perhaps hotter than any other music fandom. And the the list of legendary jam bands is well known: the Grateful Dead, the Allman Brothers, Phish, Widespread Panic and more. One of the great American jam bands is moe. out of Buffalo which as been praised for its musicality and appeared at Woodstock '99, opened for Allmans and The Who, performed at Radio City Music Hall and at Bonnaroo Music Festival five times and more. On the most recent episode of The Load Out Music Podcast, we welcome in moe.'s Al Schnier and Vinnie Amico.
Season 3: Legendary Singer-Songwriter Steve Forbert Joins the Loadout
Welcome back to another episode of the Load Out Music Podcast. We’re thrilled about our guest this week, Steve Forbert, whose first four albums charted on the Billboard 200, and in, 1979 he had a huge hit with “Romeo’s Tune.” A native of Meridian, Mississippi, his 2004 record “Any Old Time” was nominated for a Grammy award for best traditional folk and his songs have been recorded by Marty Stuart, Keith Urban and Rosanne Cash and more. He has a terrific new record out now and we welcome Steve to the podcast.
Season 3: Happy to “Be in That Crowd” -- Americana Music Pioneer Jeff Hanna of NGBD Reflects on Those Around Him Rather Than His Career
Coming down the homestretch of Season Three of The Load Out Music Podcast, we settle into our new digs in one of the great music venues in St. Louis – The Old Rock House. Most important, we welcome yet another Grammy Award winner in Jeff Hanna, founder and longest serving member of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.
In the 1960s, the Detroit-native landed in Long Beach, California, where music was being transformed. The sounds of folk, rock, country, bluegrass and blues were being blended in from San Francisco to Los Angeles into what is today considered roots, Americana or alt-country. But it was the bands at that time, in that place that were doing it – The Byrds and Flying Burrito Brothers (both led by past guest Chris Hillman), Poco, Emmylou Harris, New Riders of the Purple Sage, The Buffalo Springfield, Linda Rondstadt Crosby, Stills and Nash, the Grateful Dead, Joni Mitchell and, of course, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.
Hanna started hanging out at McCabe’s guitar shop with a cast of characters that would shape the alt-country movement: Les Thompson, Jimmie Faddon, Ralph Barr, the legendary Jackson Browne and other founding or future members of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (NGDB) such as former Load Out guest John McEuen.
NGBD’s first big hit was a cover of Jerry Jeff Walker’s “Mr. Bojangles.” But when the legendary Earl Scruggs and Doc Watson agreed to record with NGDB, it set in motion a recording effort in Nashville akin to The Band’s Last Waltz documentary film and album. It was released in 1972 as Will the Circle Be Unbroken, which is in the Grammy Hall of Fame as well as The Library of Congress. Rolling Stone called the first record (there were ultimately three), “The most important record to come out of Nashville” and a 2004 ZAGAT survey called it “the most important record in country music.”
True to form, Hanna just downplayed it and instead applauded those around him.
“I think most of just felt like, how lucky are we get to make records,” he told me. “It was such a communal project.”
All along, Hanna – in and out of NGBD – has succeeded. From the NGBD’s start in 1966 to its 1985 country number one song "Modern Day Romance,” followed up by the smash hit "Fishin' in the Dark" in 1987. The song Hanna co-wrote with Marcus Hummon and Bobby Boyd in 1994, "Bless the Broken Road," won a Best Country Grammy Award for Rascal Flatts in 2006.
Most recently, Hanna and NGBD – now featuring Hanna’s son Jaime on vocals and guitar – has taken on another American institution near and dear to their hearts in Bob Dylan’s songbook. Dirt Does Dylan, a ten-track album highlighting some of the gems from Dylan’s vast catalog, was just released with stellar cuts of songs like “It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry,” “Forever Young” and other Dylan hits.
Throughout our conversation, Hanna spends most of his time heaping praise on everyone in his circle but himself. From his longtime NGBD bandmates to his wife Matraca Berg and son, contributors to Circle like Levon Helm, producer Ray Kennedy and others – Hanna’s intention is summed up in how he described the experience of recording Will the Circle Be Unbroken.
“I’m so happy to be in that crowd.”
Please enjoy the latest episode of The Load Out Music Podcast with founder Jeff Hanna of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.
Season 3: Gregory Dwane is More Than Just a Sideman for Alanis Morissette or Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls
The furniture-making country of little Trinity, North Carolina, is not where one generally presumes an ultra-liberal, New York City-living, music-lifer hails from. But there are exceptions to every rule, such as Gregory Dwane, our most recent guest on The Load Out Music Podcast.
In the 1990s, Dwayne left small town life and headed to New York where he began playing in punk bands and ultimately producing music. His long and winding trip the through the industry would steer him back-and-forth between New York, LA and Trinity; through an unexpected turn as a young father and years of alcohol abuse, joining Alanis Morissette’s road crew, working with Dave Navarro and Macy Gray, major label record deals and helming production on two solo records for Amy Ray of The Indigo Girls.
But Dwane – who looks like he came straight out of central casting for a sage Jedi knight – persevered. His friend Michael Fitzpatrick of Fitz and The Tantrums introduced him to the healthy paychecks of jingle writing, which he took up for some 15 years.
“It’s a hard way to make a living,” he said of writing commercial music. “…a fully produced song practically every day for 15 years.”
But Dwane burnt out so he left the music industry altogether and took up fine art painting. Ironically, the change in focus helped inspire him back into music.
“If anything, I probably liked music more after I quit,” he said.
During the pandemic, like many of us Dwane found he had plenty of spare time on his hands. He dove into Kacey Musgraves’ album “Golden Hour,” rediscovered Waylon Jennings’ record “Ladies Love Outlaws,” and found his personal archive of old demos – some of which were over 20 years old.
The result was released last Fall when Dwane dropped his solo debut – a self-titled, alt-country record that is reminiscent of Kris Kristofferson at the height of his powers. The songs are reflective of a man searching for balance and understanding, acknowledging life’s tough lessons and joyful experiences, contemplating male fragility, social consciousness and opening up about his past wounds and traumas.
On June 24, Dwane delivers Act Two – a seven-song record entitled “XX” which comes on the 20th anniversary of his sobriety and largely speaks to his addictions.
Gregory Dwane is certainly no sideman any longer. So dig in and enjoy a great conversation with him on The Load Out.
Season 3: Legendary Little Feat Pianist Bill Payne Finds Political Climate “Frightening” But Takes Solace in the Band's Community
In the late 1960s, Lowell George was playing rhythm guitar in Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention when Zappa suggested George leave the band. There are conflicting versions as to why: Zappa believed George was too talented to be a backing player, he did not like the drug references in George’s song “Willin’,” or Zappa didn’t appreciate George’s fondness for pot.
Regardless, George left. He connected with Roy Estrada, who had played bass in the Mothers of Invention, drummer Richie Hayward and keyboardist Bill Payne. The foursome became Little Feat, one of the most distinctive and influential bands in rock history; while “Willin’” would become one of Little Feat’s most recognizable songs.
As bands often do, that Little Feat lineup evolved and expanded, lasting about a decade and producing a series of critically acclaimed albums. In 1979, George dissolved Little Feat due to artistic differences with Payne and then died of a heart attack later that year at age 34.
“I never quite understood Lowell’s reticence to jazz,” Payne told me on the most recent episode of The Load Out Music Podcast. “I don’t know, maybe he was ahead of us or we were behind.”
Payne relishes all that was, and remains, of Little Feat – Lowell George included. He loves that people of all stripes still pack into music venues to see the band play, grooving side-by-side to the sounds of Little Feat songs like “Dixie Chicken” or “Fat Man in the Bathtub.” Yet, he’s deeply concerned with what’s occurring in American culture.
“When you walk outside the concert hall, I find it tougher to hold a conversation with people that don’t appreciate voting rights,” he said. “What’s happening with this country and the world is beyond frightening.”
Payne feels like when Little Feat plays music, however, “all those lines disappear.”
Like Jeff Beck on guitar or Freddie Mercury’s vocals, Payne is revered for what he can do on the keys. His work on the barrelhouse blues piano and Hammond B3 organ is legendary – considered one of the definitive rock-and-roll piano greats along with Leon Russell, Elton John and several others. Payne is so respected, in fact, that he has worked with a who’s who of music elite including The Doobie Brothers, Phil Lesh, Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Brown, Carly Simon, James Taylor, Robert Palmer and the list goes on and on.
About a decade after George dissolved Little Feat, Payne reformed the band with holdovers Paul Barrere, Sam Clayton, Kenny Gradney and Hayward. Craig Fuller seamlessly slid into the lead vocal role and the band released Let It Roll in 1987. The album went on to become an instant success, earning Little Feat its first No. 1 hit on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, becoming certified gold and reviving interest in the band’s early works. Payne said Little Feat has always an “elastic” idea and its success – from 1969 to this day – remains a product of the band’s musicianship.
“I think it’s a direct correlation to the music,” said Payne. “It connects because of the music. Yes, we miss Lowell. Lowell was a defining and distinct voice…When it works, it works because people can grasp what the idea of what that music was and is.”
More than five decades after starting Little Feat, Payne is also the last man standing. He is the only original band member still with the band.
During our conversation on The Load Out, we cover a lot of ground over about an hour. Payne and I discuss his astonishing career in-and-out of Little Feat, reflections on George dissolving the band, the various incarnations of the group, Payne’s love for making music and sadness for those who’ve passed, as well as his concerns regarding race and politics.
We also zero-in on perhaps the only missing piece from Little Feat’s 50-year resume: Sitting on the outside looking in at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – a remarkable hole for the group Led Zeppelin
Season 3: Unconventional Singer-Songwriter Jamie Lin Wilson Discusses Her Authentic Musical Journey
Despite being surrounded by the music of countless great female country singers growing up – Lorrie Morgan, Reba McEntire, Patty Loveless, Dolly Parton and others – Jamie Lin Wilson did not see herself pursuing a career in music.
As she noted to me on the latest episode of The Load Out Music Podcast, there were “so many great, strong female artists that I really latched onto.” Yet, the fame that often accompanies playing music in front of thousands was a deterrent.
“I would love to be a singer but don’t want to be famous,” Wilson said. “I’m good at math so I’ll become an engineer.”
That was the thinking and thus the path she found herself on – working towards an engineering degree at Texas A&M.
Then came that one week when she was 19. Wilson went to see The Dixie Chicks (now The Chicks) and lead singer Natalie Maines took time to play a solo acoustic version of “Cold Day In July.” Wilson thought to herself, “Hey, I could probably do that.” Later in the week, she went to the Cow Hop bar where she caught Susan Gibson, who ironically wrote “Wide Open Spaces” – a huge hit for the Chicks.
Wilson was hooked. The math-nerd engineer was now going to be a singer-songwriter. But her long and winding music industry journey has since been anything but conventional.
The Sealy, Texas-native cut her teeth playing open mic nights in College Station, then joining the local band the Sidehill Gougers. She eventually left the Gougers and was put together with an all-female group that became The Trishas. They built a unique chemistry, transforming from a collection of singers and players into an actual band. They ultimately found themselves opening up for the likes of Todd Snider and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band as well as touring the country with infant babies in tow.
Despite their success, however, The Trishas collectively made choice to disband. They had their own priorities, and in Wilson’s case, it revolved around life raising a family with husband Roy while playing music on her own terms.
Yes, she wanted to tour and make records. But needed to do things like coach her daughter’s softball team and “stay married.”
In addition to the numerous three-named Texas singers, these are among the many topics we dive into on the latest episode of season three of The Load Out Music Podcast. At the end of our conversation, it was clear that what’s most important to Wilson is being present for her family despite making a living as a touring musician, while remaining true to herself, her values and her rural roots.
“I am on my own timeline,” she told me. “I’m a small town. I’m sitting in a ‘60s trailer next to a dog pen next to my husband’s shop. I tell stories of people who are rural.”