Frank Gutch Jr: Thank You Music (and other reasons I love the indies); Digital Streaming Heats Up; New Albums of Note; and a Note…


But before I begin passing out (No, wait!  There is more!) awards and kudos to those who made a huge difference in my attitude and my life, let me point you all to a problem we in America (including the hat— that be Canada) should embrace— the media.  Not that the media itself is the problem, but (as pointed out by Roxanne Tellier‘s DBAWIS column of just two days ago) how we have allowed politics to destroy it.

Roxanne, through links and Cliff’s Notes-style summaries, took Canada to task, running down the disassembling of CBC by the conservatives, who these days can’t seem to do anything but tear things down.  She could have done the same for the US of A and its once sacred institutions of radio and television, now handed to asshats like Clear Channel and Rupert Murdock by a system totally disengaged from the power that the media still has, even though no one claims to watch or listen.  Because we down here know, evidently for a Supreme Court fact, that corporations know better than the people what the people want and need.  Without going on a month-long rant, let me just point to Roxanne’s column (which you can read here) as a starter for those who really care about the future of the control of the media.  And those of you who say media no longer matters, let me point you to the many fads and fashions of today.  And the short attention span of the public.  And let me point out that the Internet, whether you like it or not, is part and parcel of the media, by definition.  Ignore at your own peril.

Thank You Music (and thank you, No Small Children, for “Music Thank You”)…

It was a dark and stormy night and the streets of Portland were wet with the foul sweat of fog generated by the Willamette River, a toxic and slow-moving mist which made it difficult to breathe and burned your eyes, so thick that you drank it.  I was headed toward Slabtown, a known hangout for ne’er-do-wells and lowlifes whose slime trails disappeared in the darkness even under the full moon.  I was there to see three nectarious ladies power the amps rambunctious in an attempt to draw blood from the various orifices of the bodies who braved the night.  No Small Children they were, and No Small Children they weren’t, instead, three vivacious chicks (their word, not mine) anxious to lay down the law.  And let me tell you, they laid it down with a vengeance.

That was one of many nights I have been thankful of my music-producing friends.  The Children and I talked little that night, but that was more my choice than theirs.  One thing I have learned about bands on the road— they are tired by the time they finish their sets (and after NSC’s, you could understand why) and they are anxious to find peace.  I didn’t think I needed to socialize with them much.  I was there and I was there to see them and they were obviously appreciative.  At one point during their set, their guitarist, Lisa, pointed to me and dedicated a song to me because she felt we shared something special, then they tore into Music Thank You, a rocker with a chorus straight from a joyous heart.  Lisa and I didn’t need to know one another to know one another.  We were linked by music.  She knew it and I knew it.  So with a nod toward Lisa, Joanie, and Nicole (No Small Children), I have decided to acknowledge a few friends I have made through music.

Tom House is one.  You can read about Tom’s new album at the bottom of this column, but let me tell you about ol’ Tom.  He is a folk artist of some distinction, misplaced in time as far as the music business is concerned, but slinging lyrics about the swamp and the backwoods and the devil and the mountains like he’s lived three lifetimes and remembers the details of all three.  To listen to his songs, you would think him a whiskey guzzling, cigar chewing, two-fisted fighter married to a ogre of a woman hellbent on the destruction of all that is holy, and you would be wrong.  Tom lives his music on the inside and did do battle with the bottle, but life is pretty much on his terms now and he would fight only if attacked.  Tom and I have discussed music and the current music industry and we have an understanding.  Good music is good and bad music is still music, so what the hell.  We share a great love for Jimmy Martin and a few other musicians and I am thankful for his presence in my life.

I had the pleasure of working with David Bullock and Phil White when I was putting together the story of Fort Worth band Space Opera and just missed Scott Fraser, who was very ill when the project got started, as well as Brett Owen Wilson, who had left us a few years previously.  David and Scott were reluctant to talk, having been burned by so-called journalists who had been somewhat ruthless with the material provided, let us say, but they did.  I received a couple of emails from Scott before he became too ill to respond to questions.  Phil was having his troubles with health at the time, too, but was more than willing to talk.  And David— well, let us just say that we learned to work with one another.  Space Opera was more than a band to the guys.  They really considered themselves a band of brothers and while hammering one another within the confines of the band, would rally around when forces threatened from the outside.  Researching and writing their story was a roller-coaster ride of epic proportions.  They were characters, were the members of Space Opera, and musicians of the highest caliber.  Along with The Juke Jumpers, they were my introduction, in-depth, to music it seemed only Texas could produce.  David Bullock, by the way, has a new EP (I think) on the way.  I’m chomping at the bit.

I am a Cowboy fan of the first water.  I loved that band which was, alongside Pure Prairie League, the real cornerstones of my soon-to-be massive country rock collection (think 1970-’72).  I tried to find the various members of the band over the years, hoping to find information about the band and possibly music which had evaded my purview.  Thing is, the Net was not as cooperative then as it is now.  It was damn hard finding information on people who were not plugged into computers.  I can’t remember who I contacted first, Bill Pillmore or Scott Boyer, but I finally made contact.  Over a short period of time, I found all  of the original members of Cowboy and interviewed them.  This was a good seven or eight years ago.  I want to write their story.  Some friend I am.  I should have written it years ago.  Some guys are your friends even if you never meet them.  Pete Kowalke, in fact, had been living in Eugene when I contacted Pillmore.  I trucked down to Junction City one night to see him play.  The guy can still play.  He even gave me a CD of tracks he had recorded over a handful of years— sixteen of them, I think there are.  For that alone, I love this writing gig.  Kowalke now plays under the name Peter Giri, the last name stolen from his son.  I guess he got tired of everyone misspelling Kowalke all the time.

To prove that it is really a small world, I ran into Kirsti Gholson‘s “demo” CD (I call it her self-titled album) thanks to a $5 sale at CDBaby some time ago and fell in love with a track titled Strange and Marvelous.  I mean, I liked the album but was consumed by that one track.  Through a site called the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange not long after, I came across an album by Tom Mank & Sera Smolen.  I didn’t think much of it until I started listening in earnest (I was scheduled to review it) and was blown away when I saw Kirsti’s name as a backup singer.  Turns out, Tom knew Kirsti from his work in music whilst living in Ithaca.  For that reason alone (though the music helped), Tom and I became friends.  Kirsti and I have established a relationship as well.  Both Tom and Kirsti have honored me with song outtakes and special listenings.  Kirsti, in fact, sent me a CD-R of her then soon-to-be-released album The Summer I Stopped Whining which she recorded under the name Little Green Blackbird, with special handwritten (and drawn) CD cover.  I love that album.  We share more than music, too.  Kirsti is very active in animal rights.  Maybe I am not as active, but I support the cause.  I think if we should do testing on any animal, it should be politicians.  Obviously, the Koch Brothers have been doing it.  You just can’t see the electrodes attached to their pea-brains.

Once again, let me repeat that no band to come out of the grunge era in Seattle impressed me as much as did Son of Man.  I worked with the drummer and recently became acquainted with their bass player Nick Hornbuckle through his work with John Reischman & The Jaybirds (he traded in his bass for a banjo for that gig).  I recently went to Portland to see SoM lead vocalist Tal Goettling perform with his new band, Lavacado.  Don’t tell me things don’t happen for a reason.

The point is, I have so much to be thankful for I feel guilty.  I have demo CDs and cassettes in my collection I would never discard for any reason.  I have friends I can contact at the drop of the hat— music people, music junkies, music makers.  This Thursday, I am going to spend some time being thankful for that and more.  I think I will even pull out some of those demo discs and take another listen.  Those are special.  Those people are special, too.  I am a lucky man.  Take it away, Ray…..  Did I mention that I know Ray, too?  Damn, life is good!

Digital Streaming Taking Hit…

no_spotify-300x166What the hell have I been saying for the past few years, ever since Spotify made its entrance into the US market?  Same thing a whole string of musicians and music people are now saying.  Digital streaming sucks.  Digital streaming is bad for music.  Digital streaming takes money out of the pockets of the people who are the very foundation of the streaming structure.  Sure, now that Taylor Swift has taken her stand, ears are cocking to hear the noise.  Like DBAWIS‘s Jaimie Vernon told us all back when Swift first made her announcement, the only real chance the music has against digital streamers is if the big guns pull their music.  Because, truth be told, the little guy is a fly on their corporate asses— in their case, their heads.

All of a sudden, because it was Swift, sites lit up all over the world, supposed experts pointing out this and arguing that, everyone who evidently had an opinion now willing to share it because, of course, the vast majority had not really been paying attention, either.  Beyond Swift’s announcement itself, the arguments were much the same as had been happening within the music circles for a few years, focusing on the whys and wherefores of the industry itself.  The thing is, the industry is not what it used to be so half of those arguments, at the very least, were moot.  Many strayed from the core, trying to figure out why Swift made the move in the first place, as if that even mattered.  Some have continued, picking apart the industry-which-is-no-more, looking for the magic formula to explain Swift’s (and other musician’s) moves.



The one thing I haven’t heard (except from a handful on the bottom side) is that we need to go back to the beginning.  We need to start from scratch and restructure the rules and regulations so that corporate gets its fair share and no more.  So that companies like Spotify and Pandora and all of the others riding on the backs of musicians do not get to just hijack the music to sell Amazon tablets and smart phones.  So that there is a new and fair structures for musicians and songwriters, the very reason that these companies can stream for profit in the first place.  It’s not brain surgery, sports fans.  No one in any of those streaming companies have any real right to the music— not really.  Just as the major record companies have no real rights to hand over their catalogues to the streamers.  Technically, you might argue that.  Ethically, you can’t.

Why do I and so many other people care?  Because the precedents set by and for the record industry (before it became “music industry”) should not override the fairness factor.  Record companies are right up there with major league sports in grandfather clauses which protect them from the real world.  Regulations written by idiots in past eras and still on the books, but should not be.  The present major music corporations are predators and parasites and should be defined as such.  If they weren’t, musicians like Aimee Mann and Bruce Springsteen and a slew of others would not be suing them.  And winning.

Truth be told, if you accept the way the industry has been run over the decades, you would be hard pressed to make headway against what is.  What you have to do is to start from the foundation and imagine what can be.  It is the only fair way.  And it is logical.  If music corporations wish to have a say, let them open their books and explain the fairness, and not the second set of books every one of them have hidden in an attempt to fool us all.  The real books.  They won’t, of course.  That’s only one of many reasons I mistrust them.


But, hey, back to Taylor Swift.  I reprinted my first couple of columns about Jon Gomm‘s pulling his music from Spotify a few years ago.  I also reprinted my column regarding Gomm’s refusal to play on the UK’s embarrassingly mediocre American Idol remake, X-Factor.  These were the first real shots across the bow of the Good Ship Music Industry that I noticed, long before The Voice embarrassed themselves by asking Jason Isbell to appear and were turned down and Swift made her announcement.  Taken from earlier columns, here was my introduction to the inequities of streaming.  If you’ve already read this, you can skip this part.  Those of you who haven’t may find it interesting, if only for the musicians and their stances.

There Is Something Rotten In the State of Spotify…..

When it rains it pours and shit is pouring down on Spotify lately and not just from anti-corporate commandos.  If you read this column, you might remember my first attempt at trying to figure out the positives and negatives of Spotify.  I wrote that column because it was premiering in the States and I had no concept of what it might do for or against the independent artists I support.  I referred to them as an 800-pound gorilla and I do not apologize for that.  When any multi-million dollar entity steps in anywhere to the fanfare of the various forms of mainstream media, red flags go up in my head.  Over the years, I have learned that the “present business model” is more than likely a more pleasant way of saying that they’ve found a new way to fuck someone.  After all, they always say, it’s just business.

Well, that is certainly not what musician Jon Gomm thought.

“The return on plays is tiny,” Gomm wrote to me, “a miniscule fraction of a penny for each play. People can listen for free, which I am all for, but you’re better off providing that facility on your own website or so people are in the right place to make a purchase if they choose to. (Note: Spotify does not yet sell downloads through their site in the States)

“The biggest problem for me is that the major corporate labels have, as I understand it, bought up what amounts to a majority stake in Spotify, so they potentially will be paid whether their artists get paid or not.  I, as an independent artist, have made a decision to not be part of the mainstream industry for many reasons— artistic, financial and ethical— and the last thing I would choose to do now is to help fund them or legitimize them.  Indie artists on Spotify lend it a coolness, a cachet and a sense of ‘giving back’ to struggling artists whom sites like CDBaby and bandcamp support.  Spotify does nothing towards deserving that as far as I can see.”

So did that start a stampede toward the exit doors at Spotify?  Not exactly, but many independent musicians are pulling or refusing to place their music on the site.  In an article written by James Holloway and posted here on Nov. 24, 2011, the question was Is Spotify Fair To Artists?.  The most glaring example that it was not was that Lady Gaga, for a million plays on the site, was paid a mere $167 dollars (Euro).  Unconfirmed, of course.  Spotify stayed strangely silent as that ridiculous figure made the rounds on the Net.  Was it true?  According to the article, “speculation in the media since has put the actual royalty paid per play between $0.0013 and $0.002, which would mean $1,315 – $1,855” was actually paid.  Is that fair?  Many people look at the amounts paid through licensing for music venues and radio and say hell, yes.  Those do pay less.  What they don’t understand, though, is that there is a difference.  The music at venues and on radio are not recyclable.  You cannot go back to that station or back to that venue and hear the same music on demand.  Does it make a difference?  Of course, it does.


You have, with Spotify, instant access to their entire library of music (and they say, in the future, videos).  You can program your own station, so to speak, and that is what the public is learning to do.  It is not a crapshoot like radio.  It is not controlled by a manager of a bar.  You hold the magic button that brings the music to you.  Pretty cool, huh?

Again, Gomm doesn’t think so.  He likes the idea of listeners choosing his music, but, on Spotify, at what cost?  If he gets the magnificent sum of even $0.002 per listen, what is he gaining?  Or losing?  Obviously, he loses the one thing he treasures most— control.  By keeping his music on the site, he gives all control to Spotify (well, within the boundaries of the agreements made by that company).  All control, as regards that site.  That is something he chose not to do.

Consider that Gomm is relatively new to the music game.  He is not, like Cowboy and Springsteen and Bob Segarini tied to the major label system.  The majors can hand Spotify anything it has.  Will any of those bands or artists see any return beyond mechanical royalties, if that?  Chances are, no.  The majors have hidden behind their “we own you until you pay us back” mantra for decades.  It is the backbone of their continued existence.  Every format change and new digital subscription system needs the majors.  There is an umbilical cord between them.

Of course, The Copyright Act of 1976 will change that, right?  No.  The labels are at the present time challenging that act and hope to defeat it and, anyway, it only applies to music from 1976 on.  All of the music recorded before then?  Owned in perpetuity by the labels and their owners.  There does indeed seem to be, beneath the surface, something rotten in the state of Spotify.

Here’s a red flag.  Spotify, like the major labels, have refused to give access to their records.  Contracts with the labels and with the sites which supply the music for them to hock (like CDBaby, etc) are, for all practice and purposes, in absentia.  They toss around numbers, yes, but until outside sources can verify them, are they viable?  Hell, I could tell you that I’m paying you a certain amount, but without verification the numbers mean nothing.  Record labels have kept their books closed for decades.  Musicians have tried to gain access just to find out how much they still owed against chargebacks (fees charged for tours, recording, etc).  They haven’t been given jack shit.  Why should we believe the new gorilla in the room?

It’s not all about royalties, either.  This past weekend, Australia’s Hannah Gillespie posted a question regarding the placement of her songs on Spotify.  She is independent and not major label and was told her songs were available through the site.  She wondered how.  Is there possibly an implied contract within the CDBaby world which allows them to place her music without her knowledge?  Has Spotify been grandfathered in to the usual basic contracts which promise to sell downloads and physical product at an agreed price?  And if so, are musicians and labels notified?  That is a question which should be addressed if it has not been already.  I mean, I absolutely hate Wal-Mart.  I hate the idea of Wal-Mart.  If I do not want my product to be sold by that company, should I not have the right of refusal?  I think Hannah thinks so.  (By the way, Hannah’s latest album, All the Dirt, is a freaking monster of an album.  Do yourself a favor and check it out)

Editor’s Note:  It has since been pointed out that there is an opt-out clause for streaming rights, something of which Gillespie may have been woefully unaware.

Sigh.  You do not know the anguish I experience over such things.  I have watched musicians get the shaft ever since I started buying records back in the fifties and I hate it.  Without the music, the major labels and the new digital subscription sites would have nothing!  And yet they claim everything.

The latest grumblings from the underbelly comes via down-under’s Bill Jackson and ex-Seattleite Andrew Davenhall (The Diving Bell).  Jackson struggled with uninstalling Spotify this past week and had to visit Yahoo to find out how.  He wrote (on Facebook):  “It ain’t ever too late!! – after hitting the ‘Deny’ Keychain pop-up a hundred times with no success, I found out it was harder to trash this program than just trashing the Application… so here’s the instructions if you need them to uninstall via the Library Folders in your Mac” at which time he posted the link to the answer he found on Yahoo Answers.  Now, ol’ Bill is a pretty mellow guy and you can bet that if he’s getting pissed at the way Spotify programmed their application so that you could not uninstall it easily, there is a reason.  Bill’s reaction is pure metaphor for Australia’s head of Spotify finding a kangaroo head in his bed (for those who are movie-challenged, think The Godfather).

Davenhall, main man behind the rock group The Diving Bell, had a similar problem and posted about it not a day later than did Jackson.  His Facebook post looked like this:  “When Spotify elected to open itself (assuming it was the most important application) on my dock, it took several flushes before I could send it swirling down the Internet.”  When I asked him if I could repost his comments in this column, he replied “Affirmative.  I deleted Spotify.  I thought to myself, ‘How fucking arrogant to not only auto-activate a music app (at whatever volume) before my browser but then make the user scramble to shut it off and put it away so the browser could fly.  Who the FUCK do these door to door SALESMEN think they are??? GOODBYE MR. SPOTIFY!”  Man, remind me to never piss him off.

Here’s the thing.  If Spotify is this golden child we were led to believe, why all the hidden secrets and computer-generated folderol?  Why claim to be the savior and yet embrace the tenets of the devil?

A few of my good friends use Spotify religiously.  It is their equivalent to radio, as I said before, and a downright wonderful thing as far as they are concerned.  The question is, at what cost?  And at whose cost?  When I first began investigating Spotify, I saw positives and negatives.  Since then, the boat has tipped toward the negative.  Part of it is me, I know, and my continued distrust of anything corporate (Corporations are people, my ass!  The Supreme Court can shove that ruling between their cheeks!).  Part of it is the lack of transparency all corporate structures within the music industry share.  Part of it is my unending faith in music and the people who create it.  A lot can be said for doing things for the right reasons.  Musicians will kick the industry’s ass every time on that score.


There is one thing Spotify and outfits like them will never do.  They will never kill the spirit of the music.  The music is in our hearts and our souls, a place they will never be able to reach, as much as they would like to.  Support your musicians, local and otherwise.  And please, support live shows.  Live shows are the backbone of the indies these days and they need your support to keep going.  Know what I found out?  They’re fun!  So much fun that I now have a running list of musicians I want to see and their tour schedules to make sure I don’t miss them if they come through Oregon.  You might consider doing the same.

These thoughts are brought to you by the gallon of coffee I drank this morning.  Caffeine:  My Drug of Choice.

I left the last paragraph in for the humor.  See?  I’m not a total asshole.  Well, maybe when it comes to digital streamers.  They remind me of Republicans.  They tell you they’re all for you until they win the election or you sign the contract.  Then they shit all over you.

Jon Gomm— A lesson learned?

You’ve never heard of Jon Gomm?  Well, you bloody hell will!  Of all of the artists fighting to break out of the white noise, Gomm is one of the few who will make that leap. Has made it, actually.  After all of the attempts to turn people on to this amazing musician, it took one article in a major UK paper and Simon Cowell to do it, but Gomm is now on his way to being the next big thing.  I can see him cringe at that because he is not an overblown ego attempting to conquer the world.  He is a simple musician who finds himself sucked so far into the musical vortex that he could not find a way out if he wanted to.  He is fascinated by guitar and music.  He has been experimenting for years.  He is an adventurer!  Writers have been saying that for quite awhile now and yet few paid attention.

It will seem like it happened overnight, but it didn’t.  Gomm worked his ass off (and still does so as I type).  He, like so many others, struggled to gain respect, fought for every gig (so many of which drew so few) and clawed and scratched his way to where he is.

Where is he?  On the cutting edge, of course.  He displays an affinity for guitar like you can’t believe and has videos to prove it.  He records for himself but plays for the people.  I get the feeling that nothing thrills him more than turning a room of non-believers into fans (and that is just what he has been doing).  He even went to fans for help designing his new website (the old one evidently did not fit his vision), allowing them to call the shots.  Gotta love that sense of democracy.

I tried to tell people about Gomm but no one listened.  I said, hey, this guy is worth hearing, evidently to an empty room.  I mentioned him to friends and wrote a review which only relatives and a few friends read.  I’m proud of that review.  I got it right.

I contacted Gomm when I saw that he had pulled his songs from Spotify and wrote a segment of a column around that rejection.  It was worth writing about.  For Gomm, it was a matter of ethics.  Sometimes life can be so simple.

I laugh because I now know that all it takes is a “fuck you” to Simon Cowell and all people like him to get attention.  Okay, Gomm didn’t say “fuck you” to his face, but he might as well have.  In not so many words, Gomm simply said “my music is not for sale— not to the likes of you”.  Gomm didn’t do it for the fame.  He did it because that is who he is.  Simon Cowell embodies everything both of us hate about the music industry these days— greed, ego, pomposity, that basic Nazi attitude toward the arts.  Cowell survives and thrives on the backs of a public so easy to lead by the nose you no longer need nose rings.  I do think that he actually believes his shit doesn’t stink.  And he is an idol.  Mothers rank him right up there with Jobs and Gates.  *Shudder*  If you can’t see what is wrong with that picture, you must be blind (or heartless).

Those videos?   He’s got plenty.  If they don’t dent your head, there is no hope for you.  Be forewarned, though.  If you love guitar, it is that potato chip you can’t eat just one of.  If you love guitar, you’ll be hooked.

I was, obviously.  Gomm is a musician’s musician when it comes to guitar.  More than that, he’s a good man.  He knows right from wrong and tries to choose right at every instance.  This is one of the guys Swift is following.  At least, as regards Spotify.  May the bastards in the black hats (that would be the digital streamers) be put in their rightful place.  Behind the artists who make the very product which is the trough out of which their riches are gained.

Let’s stop debating the situation.  Let’s wipe the slate clean and build from the ground up.

New Albums of Note…

Man, have I got a couple of great ideas for  Christmas presents!  And I will have more before the end of the year.  But these two— man, oh man!

Paige Anderson & The Fearless Kin are back with a vengeance and a fourth member as little sister Daisy joins the Kin on dobro.  Foxes In June, the new album, shows growth and a maturity though there is still space to grow.  The familial vocal sound is there along with an even wider  instrumental push, and the songwriting?  What can I say?  Mighty fine.  Yep, mighty fine.  I am assuming that Paige wrote most of if not all the songs (her work on the EP, Wild Rabbit, was exceptional) and I was most impressed with her use of different harmonic structures which are just far enough off the beaten path to make them almost spine-chilling at times.  A big pat on the back to the production team on this puppy (I unfortunately do not have the information in front of me) who put just enough echo on certain parts to take the band away from their vocal bluegrass roots and make them universal.  Those moments are priceless, to my ears, and are handled beautifully.  Favorites right off the bat are Enable, which utilizes a backwoods fiddle sound to distraction behind upbeat rhythm and an eerie but haunting background chorus.  This song relies more on vocal arrangement than anything on the EP.  The title track is downright spine-chilling, the vocals spot on and the dobro a definite plus.

Actually, thanks to the band’s step forward on many levels (especially vocally), I can safely say that this is one of my real favorites of the year.  For people who love acoustic and especially vocal bluegrass music.  I love these kids.  The disc hits the streets this December 2nd and if you act now and preorder, you can receive a print of one of young Daisy’s works of art which are pretty damn exceptional.  That is one talented family, for sure.  Here is a link to their website.

Tom House sent me a disc which caught me totally off-guard.  It is a recording of a live performance and is titled Live at the Cobblestone, June 30, 2014 and let me tell you that if you think you know deep folk and don’t know Tom, you don’t know deep folk.  Charlottesville musician Keith Morris of Crooked Numbers fame turned me onto House a couple of years ago and I have not been the same since.  I don’t know if you have read my telling of That Dorm Guy in previous columns, but had House recorded back in the sixties when I attended college, House’s albums would have been in his collection.  Just to recount the company his albums would have been amongst, TDG turned many of us onto early Simon & Garfunkel, Tom Rush, John Fahey, Robbie Basho, early Stones (the R&B Stones), Phil Ochs, and Bob Dylan when he was just a folkie.

House is a storyteller as much as a musician and his heritage is mountain grown.  When I heard his earlier Winding Down the Road album, I was taken by not only the music and songs but the song titles.  Tracks with titles like Whiskey Sings Like Angels, Pappy Closed the Book, and Paradox With Suitcase, I knew instinctively that it was something special.

Now, here’s the thing.  Tom isn’t selling these— not really.  He printed up a small quantity and told me that he would ship them within the US for $10, shipping included.  From himself.  You can order the CD by writing Tom House, POB (that stands for post office box, kids) 120661, Nashville TN 37212.  That’s Tom House, POB 120661, Nashville TN 39212.  You might want to check out his albums on CDBaby, too, especially the aforementioned Winding Down the Road.  It’s a beauty.  Oh, and if you order the live CD, be sure and include your email just in case Tom needs to contact you.

Music NotesNotes…..  I use Randy BurnsSong For an Uncertain Lady as an example of folk/psych all the time, it having that certain vibe which captures the genre to a T.  It was released in the late-sixties and has a feel which captures that era.  So when Portland, Oregon’s Lindsay Clark posted her song Rake, I was surprised.  If I was a radio DJ, I could put the two songs back-to-back in a set and I think very few would know that they were decades apart.  Both have that surreal aura about them.  Here is a link to Lindsay’s Soundcloud page.  Some fine stuff there, including Rake


Frank’s column appears every Tuesday

Contact us at

DBAWIS ButtonFrank Gutch Jr. looks like Cary Grant, writes like Hemingway and smells like Pepe Le Pew. He has been thrown out of more hotels than Keith Moon, is only slightly less pompous than Garth Brooks and at one time got laid at least once a year (one year in a row). He has written for various publications, all of which have threatened to sue if mentioned in any of his columns, and takes pride in the fact that he has never been quoted. Read at your own peril.” 

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