Big Tobacco Company – Alternative Progressive Metal from Ohio

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Image courtesy of Big Tobacco Company

When opportunity and access to the appropriate hardware of the trade allows, I like to go on a whim and speak with random bands and artists.

On one memorable occasion, I was connecting with an Icelandic MOR band (Dikta) and within the week their interview with me was on radio in Canberra. I had some lovely chats with their management in LA as well.

So it was that in March, I connected with Bobby Ullmann from Big Tobacco Company on Twitter. My intention then was to do it almost guerrilla interview style and have it up and available within days.

Here we are in May, and apart from one hour of power in the Belmont Public Library, New South Wales, this is the first time I’ve sat using a computer and keyboard in more months than I can rightly remember. #peripatetic

Enough about my technological challenges.

Big Tobacco Company come from Cincinnati, Ohio and their sound has the sort of raw, rough edge that you might expect coming from people who live on the southern edge of the cold and forbidding waters of Lake Erie. Or it would be if I got the name of the city right, because that’s Cleveland that’s on Lake Erie.

Ok, I have no idea about American geography. I have Google Maps. I’m just guessing that if you’re that far up the country, it’s going to be colder than balls – except for maybe a week or two in July and August.

High tech interview setup at St Marys Rugby League Club, NSW, Australia

As is my wont, I did minimal research before our interview. Some might call this ‘laziness’; I prefer ‘living in the moment, all spontaneous and shit’.

No, seriously, it’s served me well in the past to not know too much about the interviewee before diving into a stack of questions, guided more by their responses than any predetermined views about the music, the genre, and the band’s ethos.

And so it was with Bobby. My surprised responses are genuine.

Big Tobacco Company have a new self-titled album out now, and you can listen to tracks and buy them individually or en masse via their website.

On a stunning, clear, late summer lunchtime in St Marys in far, far western Sydney, Australia I pulled up a pew in the rugby league club and had a great chat with Bobby. Here ’tis:

You can follow Big Tobacco Company on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bIgtoBacCocoMpaNY/

Fun fact: WordPress informs me this is Overheard Productions’s 200th post on this website. Well, break out the creaming soda and vegemite Jatz crackers! 🙂

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[Audio Interview] David M McLean, Skinny Devil Music Lab and Lexington Music Awards

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Image courtesy of David M McLean

David M McLean is yet another of those prolific musical entities that are the engine room of independent music. You know the sort of person who slogs away in the foreground and background, tirelessly making things happen and ensuring the world is a music-filled and art-filled place to live, breathe, and hear.

A writer, composer, guitarist, producer, teacher, and possibly most front-brain right now, the brains* behind the Lexifest music awards for Lexington, Kentucky.

* Refer to the audio for how the brains and brawn of this event are distributed and attributed.

Late last year, I spoke with David as he sat in his truck with his cell phone somewhere on a cool Lexington KY evening. We spoke so long that my intention was to break the interview into two parts. However, after a series of technical gremlins and many edits later, I’ve whittled this down into the one sound file.

Part of the editing leaves the back end of our chat slamming like a door in a stiff breeze, so apologies for my abruptness!

I’m looking forward to hearing about Lexifest 2017, and here’s hoping the blizzards stay away from town in the run-up this year!

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Image courtesy of David M McLean

[Audio Interview] Michael Johnathon talks about the Woodsongs Front Porch Association and Gathering

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The Woodsongs Front Porch Association (WFPA) is an amazingly and elegantly simple creature.

Based in Lexington, Kentucky and the brain child of Michael Johnathon, singer-songwriter and 36 other titles, it’s spreading its tendrils across the USA and the world.

I’ll not steal any WFPA thunder by block copying and pasting here – yet, but please follow the links, and your rewards shall be many and bountiful.

The Cliff Notes, as MJ would say: it’s a cheap-as-chips member association which opens everyone up to a world of information, resources and networking, and opens its arms and invites the world of art and artists in to share, share, share. Stop, collaborate and listen!

On Friday 23 and Saturday 24 September 2016, the WFPA is holding its second annual Gathering in Shaker Village, Pleasant Hill, Kentucky – see main picture for all the salient details of the wheres and whens.

Full details at www.songfarmers.org

It’s the how much that’s the real news story here. And it’s a good, good news story at a time when good news stories are pretty gosh-darned thin on the ground.

Choose your preference: click on a hyperlink or click on the audio file link below, and listen in as Michael explains WFPA and the Gathering in his signature succinct, clear, resonantly-voiced vocal stylings (even over the tech equivalent of two cans and a 9063 mile piece of string!)

ENDS (for now, but really it’s just the beginning!)

Some basic notes for the interview… which I never referred to!

 

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Image courtesy of www.songfarmers.org

 

[Audio Interview] Melissa Deaton-Johnathon’s Tribute To The Luke Bryan Memorial Car Park

Image courtesy of Melissa Deaton-Johnathon of PostMan Records. Photo by Michael Johnathon.
Image courtesy of Melissa Deaton-Johnathon of PoetMan Records. Photo by Michael Johnathon.

 

At the time of recording, this was still something of a developing story, as the ripples from a fairly large event snafu were still rippling outwards.

The press stories from Lexington Kentucky can tell the story better than a middle-aged music press writer from Sydney can. But put simply, there was a Luke Bryan concert at the Talon Winery and Vineyards in October 2015 that probably needed a better risk management plan. To say the least.

Risk: half or more of the audience stay stuck in traffic at the time the concert starts, throughout the concert, after the concert, and as late as 4am the next morning.

Likelihood: high.

Severity: parody songs are written in the event’s honour.

Image courtesy of Rick Deaton
Melissa Deaton-Johnathon. Image courtesy of Rick Deaton.

And so it transpired.

Continue reading

Interview: Rick Nestler (USA)

Image courtesy of Rick Nestler
Image courtesy of Rick Nestler

Interview with Rick Nestler (USA)

at 2013 Illawarra Folk Festival

Posting this one up just a little bit late in the piece, so hopefully late is better than never.

I had the pleasure of talking with a number of interesting locals and visitors to Australia at the 2013 Illawarra Folk Festival back in January, and Rick Nestler was one of those.

It was a classic piece of going in cold as I knew little more about Rick than his name and how to pick him out of a line-up. However, as is often the case, the interviewee was interesting, obliging, funny and articulate.

Hear Rick talk about skiffle, jug bands, and yes, we talked about ukuleles.

Rick performing at the Illawarra Folk Festival:

Kim Churchill — off to tour USA and Canada

Image courtesy of Kim Churchill
Image courtesy of Kim Churchill

Kim Churchill has a few more shows to go in Australia before he heads off to USA to join the tour of one Stephen William Bragg (aka Billy Bragg).

At the Cobargo Folk Festival in February, Kim Churchill was the recipient of my vicarious joy at this news, and we spontaneously had a chat, leaning on someone’s trailer, outside a venue, out in the open — which was a bit of a mistake because as I now know: don’t try to do these things in a flukey, swirling breeze.

I’m sure you’ll cope. Muggins here did the best he could with the sound balance.

Kim’s remaining Australian dates:

Thursday 14 March — Beav’s Bar, Geelong (Vic)
Friday 15 March — Thornbury Theatre, Melbourne (Vic)

Saturday 16 to Sunday 17 March — Blue Mountains Music Festival, Katoomba (NSW)

Dom Flemons — my personal hit of the 2013 Illawarra Folk Festival

Image courtesy of Dom Flemons
Image courtesy of Dom Flemons

Dom Flemons — the real deal

I’m one who normally shies away from imported phrases and clichĂ©s — until that phrase or word or even that clichĂ© is the most appropriate and resonant to unpack whatever notion or feeling or thing (a technical term, beg pardon) you want to get out there.

Case in point: I arrived at the Illawarra Folk Festival roughly 20 hours before I’d planned, on Thursday night. And when I surfaced on Friday morning, with one eye open, one eye closed, and a third eye tied behind my back for safe-keeping, about half a dozen people then independently proceeded to tell me, and of their own volition bailed me up, tied me down, roped me off, and press-ganged me on board the good ship Dom Flemons.

“Maaaaaate, you gots to see him!”

When I did indeed see him, I kid you not: I was spell-bound.

I was not alone by a long chalk.

The Miners Camp venue was full to over-flowing x 2, and everyone was spell-bound for the duration. When even many young children around the age of four or five even stopped their fidgeting and drawing with crayons for a song or two — well, that’s a fairly good barometer of the appeal of a performer.

Before that performance, and the packed out stage at Slacky Flat Bar the next day, I took just a few minutes of Dom’s time, high above the dog track in the grandstand on Friday morning, to have a chat.

I present that interview: live, uncut and un-fiddled with. No editing or anything.

The typed out wordification will be along later this week.

If you are only roughly within a quarter turn of the earth’s orbit away from anywhere Dom is playing on this tour, just get there.

Like I said: the real deal.