Hosted by Aaron Perlut, the Load Out Music Podcast features intimate conversations with emerging and established musicians, recorded at the Gaslight in St. Louis.
Season 2: Singer Songwriter Paul Thorn Packs a Punch
Unless you closely follow the Americana music circuit, the name Paul Thorn may sound more like an elegant fashion brand rather than one of the more distinctive singer-songwriters out today. But the Mississippi-raised Thorn – a former championship caliber professional boxer who once fought the great Roberto Duran – has one of the more unique styles today blending blues, folk, funk, gospel, country and rock that pack quite the punch. Think Lyle Lovett with a voice more along the lines of Marc Cohn. Thorn is the son of a preacher whose uncle was once a pimp, and he brings a tangible passion to everything he does – you feel it in our conversation. There’s an intensity behind every word, every thought, every feeling. And it makes for a compelling conversation with Paul Thorn. Enjoy.
Season 2: BJ Barham of American Aquarium Visits The Load Out
There is a remarkable intensity that seems to surround B.J. Barham, the frontman for the fast-rising alt-country band American Aquarium, wherever he may be.
Whether walking across a parking lot lost in thought, responding to critics on social media, sitting down for an interview after a soundcheck, doing a meet-and-greet with fans, joyfully gliding across the stage with his acoustic guitar, or thrusting his head towards a microphone and belting out deeply personal and introspective lyrics with unbridled ferocity – that intensity is unquestionably a part of Barham’s spirit and colors everything he does.
In the latest episode of The Load Out Music Podcast, I speak with Barham for what was perhaps one of the most raw and candid conversations of our first two seasons.
As always, we cover quite a bit of ground over some 45 minutes. We delve into Barham’s founding of American Aquarium while attending N.C. State in his hometown of Raleigh, North Carolina; the revolving door of a lineup between 2008 – 2017 that was largely driven by his over-the-top drive and past alcohol use in which he would drunkenly tell bandmates they were “replaceable”; his songwriting process and deeply personal lyrics covering topics like the evolution of southern culture, critics who suggest he should refrain from weighing in on political issues, love-lost and substance abuse; we look at a few of the band’s records including its latest – a record of covers of ‘90s country hits called “Slappers, Bangers & Certified Twangers, Vol 1” – and much, much more.
So sit back and enjoy an intense conversation with B.J. Barham, the frontman who named his band American Aquarium after the Wilco song, “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart.”
Season 2, Episode 5: Rev. Peyton and his Big Damn Band
Josh Peyton was a high school homecoming king, wears only sleeveless shirts, is a Kentucky Colonel, an ordained minister, once worked as a hotel desk-clerk, has arms like tree trunks, and leads a band that plays 250 dates-a-year when not locked down during pandemics. A man with all of this girth needs something, well, girthy. He needs something big. So that’s what Peyton did in forming and driving The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band.
Veteran road warriors, the Indiana-based Big Damn Band is a rather accomplished country-blues act with 10 albums and one EP to their credit. They've also toured worldwide and played notable stages such as Bonaroo and the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, among many others.
In this episode of The Load Out, we speak with Rev. Peyton (his mom calls him "Rev") and discuss the his upbringing and passion for music, talk about his longtime partnership with bandmate and wife "Washboard" Breezy Peyton – "The Miss Elizabeth of Country Blues” – and examine how he overcame the adversity of being told he’d never fret a guitar again with his hand into becoming a lifelong musician and more.
So sit back and enjoy this exciting episode of The Load Out Music Podcast.
Season 2, Episode 4: Devon Allman Understands “Not Everyone’s Going to Like You”
When Devon Allman was 20 years old, he was playing a gig at one of the largest outdoor venues in St. Louis, his hometown, and the reception was not what he had hoped.
The son of Rock and Roll Hall-of-Famer Gregg Allman – a principle architect of American Classic Rock – Devon discussed his frustrations and fears with his mother, Shelley Jefts. She calmly reminded him that, “not everyone is going to like you.”
That guidance helped Devon put the pressure of being the son of one of the great rock music icons behind him, which is easier said than done. Since then, he’s built a sturdy career with several solo records and in bands like Honeytribe and the Royal Southern Brotherhood – traversing across the globe and entertaining millions.
But in 2018, when he formed the critically-acclaimed Allman Betts Band with fellow Allman Brothers Band offspring Duane Betts and Berry Duane Oakley, Devon finally felt like he was home. As he put it to me on the latest episode of The Load Out Music Podcast, he had spent "20 years couch surfing and finally bought a house."
Allman Betts released its first record, “Down to the River,” in 2019. Then in 2020, the band released its follow up effort, “Bless Your Heart.” Both albums were well-received and Allman Betts’ following continues to grow as COVID restrictions being to lift and the gates prepare to bust wide open for live music once again.
Devon digs deep discussing his career, meeting the father he met for the first time at age 16, the music that hooked him into becoming an artist, and his hopes of using his new record label to launch one star annually until his days are numbered.
So listen up. Devon Allman has a lot to say.
SEASON 2, EPISODE 3: Outlaw Funk Rock With Sam Morrow in The Load Out
Last time out we had Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Chris Hillman of The Byrds visit. For episode 3 of season 2, we pivot to one of the most talented emerging artists going -- Sam Morrow. He's part of the LA outlaw country scene and delivers a uniquely funk-drenched blend of rock, country and funk. We explore his story -- from growing up in Houston singing in churches to escaping drug addiction in New York and finding a home in Los Angeles. It's a great conversation with a talented player.
"King of Country Rock" — Byrds and Flying Burrito Brothers founder Chris Hillman — Visits Load Out
“The man who invented country rock.”
Those are the words of the late Tom Petty about the most recent guest on The Load Out Music Podcast.
One would guess that if you co-founded a band once called the “British Beatles;” if you started another band named for delicious burritos that can fly and is considered the first ever country-rock band; and if you had a string of hit songs stretching from the 1960s through the mid-90s – that you might think you’re kind of a big deal. Right? Not if you are Chris Hillman.
Yes, you might not know his name. It may not drop off the tip of your tongue. But it should.
Hillman was enshrined in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991 after a 30+ year career in the Byrds, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Manassas, Souther-Hillman-Furay, McGuinn-Clark-Hillman, The Desert Rose Band and simply as Chris Hillman.
Now 77, Hillman is not only the author of a remarkable career in music, but the excellent autobiography, “Time Between: My Life as a Byrd, Burrito Brother and Beyond.” The book retells and reflects on his professional and personal journey, a lifelong discomfort with being thought of as the “king of country-rock music,” the dark despair of dealing with his father’s suicide, stealing Levi’s from May Company, kicking people out of bands and being kicked out of bands, the drugs- and alcohol-fueled implosion of the legendary Gram Parsons, his love affair with his wife Connie, a deep spiritual relationship with God, riding horses, hanging with David Crosby and Stephen Stills and more.
For those interested in the history of popular music and the spur in the road where country music diverged down the duel pathways of pop country and outlaw country – it’s an episode of The Load Out Music Podcast that is not to be missed.