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An Interview with Riley Etheridge Jr. PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Jordan Knight   
Tuesday, 11 November 2014 00:00

Etheridge will be doing a three night run with Leon Russell, which begins in Knoxville at The Bijou Theatre on November 17, 2014, and continues for two nights in Nashville at The City Winery. This will mark the second time these two have gotten together on tour.

“This is actually my second time being on the road with Leon, I’m happy to say. Last spring, Leon had a new record come out right about the time my new record, ‘The Straight and Narrow Way,’ came out.” Etheridge said. “His management folks and the people at Rock Ridge music, the label I’m on, knew each other and started talking, and we did twelve dates.

“We started in Ithaca, NY and ended up in Lacrosse, WI. We had a great time being on the road with him and when they asked us to do these three dates, we jumped at the chance to go back out with him. We feel like we’re going to have a bit of a reunion with the guys in the band,” he said.

“Even As We Fall” is one of the highlights of the album. The driving force of the horns and funky, swinging, dance feel will land you right in the middle of a street parade on a warm afternoon.

“That’s a New Orleans rhythm section and that’s a New Orleans horn section, so you’ve got good ears. You actually hit on what the key was for us,” Etheridge said. “I was working with my producer Wendell Tilley and co-producer Shane Theriot. When we were looking at the final set of songs that we had, we really started thinking about who would be the best rhythm sections for the way we heard the songs working out.

“We actually did some of the songs there in Tennessee, in Nashville. The stuff we felt that was more Memphis groove oriented, we tracked there in Nashville with Greg Morro, Michael Rhodes, you know, great Nashville rhythm section. We’re all from Louisiana originally. I’m from Baton Rouge, Wendell is from Baton Rouge, and Shane is from New Orleans. My two biggest records were predominantly done in New Orleans,” he said.

“We knew there were songs just like ‘Even As We Fall’ that we wanted to do in New Orleans, because we wanted that groove. There were a couple of the songs, like ‘She’s Only in New York’ and ‘Maze’ that we wanted something different on in particular,” Etheridge said. “We wanted, if we could get him, the legendary drummer, Jim Keltner (John Lennon, Ringo Starr, George Harrison and The Traveling Wilburys to name a few.)

‘He has a very clean way he approaches songs. We made a list of party songs to take to him, knowing we’d probably only get him for one day. So we went to Los Angeles first, specifically to capture those songs with Keltner,” Etheridge said. “He just did an amazing job with everything we wanted. Then we came back to Nashville and New Orleans to finish it off. We built it around the rhythm sections is the short answer.”

Musicians always remember their first instrument, the thing that first got their feet wet. “It’s a heart breaking story. My Dad had a friend who worked for Fender. Before I could really play guitar I was a drummer. In 1974, he gave me a sunburst Fender Telecaster custom,” Etheridge said. “Back then it would cost you a couple hundred bucks. I couldn’t really play. I was in bands at that point, so some of the guitarists would show me things.

“Later on when I went through a Jimmy Buffett phase, I said I need an acoustic guitar. It was the worst financial decision of my life. I traded it for some no name acoustic that I don’t have anymore. Check out what the 1974 Fender customs are worth on the web now, $2,500-4,000, and what beautiful guitars they were. I probably owned it for five years before I made that fatefully bad decision. I couldn’t take an electric guitar to the beach and sing to the girls at Myrtle Beach. It seemed like a good move at seventeen,” he said.

“Many talented singer/songwriter/guitarists started on the drums, before switching to guitar and the front man position. When I was a little kid I loved what I heard of The Beatles and I loved that band, The Monkeys, a corny TV show, but they had some pretty cool songs. I wanted to be a drummer.

“ I don’t know what it was about Ringo that attracted me specifically to the drums. I got my first drum set and started taking lessons when I was nine or ten. I still play a lot. It’s not my first line of defense, but I play pretty regularly,” he said.

“I think you learn something rhythmically that can carry into anything. I do remember when I was learning to play guitar and my friends would struggle with strumming patterns, but I thought why is that hard? I think a lot of it would be the background you have rhythmically.”

When asked about his first time playing live, Etheridge said “I think it was playing ‘Little Drummer Boy’ at a Christmas pageant in Colombia, South Carolina.”

“The Straight and Narrow Way” was released March 18, 2014. It is full of falls from and rises to redemption, yet throughout it remains positive. “I think the positivity comes from a genuine place. I do feel fortunate in my life. I feel really fortunate to be making records. I feel fortunate to have two, almost grown, children,” Etheridge said. “We’ve all had our ups and downs, and I’ve definitely had my share. In my own personal life, I am at a place where I am grateful and feel fortunate. That specific song, I don’t write a lot of truly autobiographical stuff, but both my girlfriend and I have been through divorce and have been together seven years. That phrase, that we feel like we have a second chance, is something we both take seriously. I just do my best to not mess up.”

Getting to be on the road is always full of adventure. Strange and wonderful new things are always presenting themselves. “Musically, the first thing that comes to mind is if you do a YouTube search on Cayamo Cruise 2013, ‘The Weight.’ It’s a seven day Americana festival at sea on a Great Norwegian cruise line boat. On the last night they did a tribute to Levon Helm who had passed away,” he said. “In that tribute, I got to do ‘Ophelia,’ which was a rush to be a part of that, but then we closed that night with ‘The Weight.’ If you watch, there is everybody who participated that night, including Shawn Colvin, Richard Thompson, Joan Osborne, Sean and Sarah Watkins of Nickel Creek, all of who are some of my musical favorites. And there I am sharing the microphone, singing the choruses with them, and Sarah ended up on my record. I still look at that and think I can’t believe I was a part of that. And Levon was a drummer too, so there you go.”

An Interview with Tom Nguyen of The Tontons PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Jordan Knight   
Sunday, 02 November 2014 11:26

The Tontons are almost set to get a short touring break. They have been going hard for the last seven years; the first two years criss crossing Texas, and most recently all over the world. Their smooth, soulful sound has been drawing attention from everyone, including every major publication, for quite some time now and with no signs of slowing; the band is set to hit New Orleans for the Voodoo Music and Arts Festival 2014 ( on Sunday, November 2nd. Many of you will be familiar with their singles, “Golden” and “Never Never” off their “Golden” EP and “Veida” and “Kid Cemetery” off their 2014 release, “Make Out Kings and Other Stories of Love.” Recently we caught up with bassist Tom Nguyen to discuss high school, Red Bull and snowcapped mountains in the summer time.

The ability to look back and laugh at your past endeavors is really the only way to go forward. “It was in high school. (Laughing) I think I was a freshman, like in a talent show. Somewhere out there is a video of this and I hope it never surfaces. From what I remember, I don’t think any of us were in tune. It was pretty awful. I believe we did a cover of something. I already know it’s going to be awful. (On his first instrument) It was a knock off Gibson Explorer and it was yellow. I didn’t know anything about guitars except some friends were getting into it and it sounded like crap. At first I thought it was just me, but it was the combination of myself and the guitar. “

“Make Out Kings and Other Stories of Love” covers a lot of ground, literally. It is written from the road, about the road and all the ways it can play on the individuals as well as the band as a whole. (On “Veida“) “Originally it was about the band and it still sort of is. We had been touring for so long and jumped straight into the studio with half a record, trying to write the rest of the record in the studio. The song is about us not getting along after being around each other for so long that it got to the point like, ‘are we all still friends? Is everything cool?’ (On the road)Honestly it becomes all a blur. We’ve been out for so long. The thing that sucks is that there are some things that you don’t appreciate that much. It takes a while for it to sink in. I was just here and here and here and these are all big cities. I was able to see all these amazing landmarks. We were at Niagara Falls on this last tour and I had never been before. We went really quickly. We were kind of short on time. We did it and left and then we kind of forgot we went to Niagara Falls. Some nights you’ve just got to get on the road or early the next morning. Some cities you don’t even get to see. ‘How was this city?’ I don’t even know. I know the venue and where we ate, possibly, and that’s about it.”

Interview with J.P. Miller of Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ethan Murrell   
Friday, 31 October 2014 14:13

When there are only 34,000 people in a town, its pretty easy for word to get around. Now, there are a lot of awesome shows that I tell my friends about, and this is definitely one of the ones Im excited about. My friend at school told me, that he heard about this band through the grapevine. That made him curious. So what is it about this band that has everyone in such uproar? Head over to YouTube and see for yourself. I like the music, but there is something more to what is making the campus so excited for this show. We talked with JP, the guitarist for the band, and he told us, We had a song that we used to play where people in the crowd would always take their clothes off and get up on stage with us and dance. They would do cartwheels and dance and just go crazy. Were sold. We dont need to hear anything else. Thank you, have a good day.

Yo Mamas Big Fat Booty Band formed in 2002, but its not the same band today that it was back then. JP told us, Me and Al Al (Sweet Nasty Ingram), the bass player, are the only two from the original band. I feel like since then, we have really evolved from just a party band to really caring about the sound of the music more.

Fishbone Halloween Show Preview PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Jordan Knight   
Tuesday, 28 October 2014 20:32

Halloween is upon us and so many things are happening that it feels like you would literally have to have ghost like abilities to get to all of them. We will be down in New Orleans again this year covering Voodoo Music and Arts Festival 2014 and heading to several of the late night shows. On our list of things to do, Fishbone’s late night set at The Joy Theater with special guests March Forth Marching Band, The Scorseses, DJ Quickie Mart, Eric McFadden and Nigel Hall on Halloween night is a must. These legendary ska rockers fit so well with the funky vibe of the city and with all the sit ins, there is no way that this won’t be mind blowing. Tickets can be purchased at

For those of you unfamiliar with Fishbone, they are a ska, funk, soul influenced rock band that has been going strong for 35 years. Their first major tour was opening for The Beastie Boys, though they have come a long way since then. Despite several changes in lineup, Fishbone pushes forward in a constant movement, always seeming to gain momentum. In 2011, “Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone, a documentary highlighting the bands many achievements over the years was released, promptly winning several “Best Documentary “ awards all over the world. The film is ranked at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and was nominated for a Golden Tomato Award, an achievement that is almost nonexistent with any film.

Recently the band released a 5-track EP titled “Intrinsically Intertwined” and is once again on the road showcasing their insanely large catalog (17 albums). They will also be performing at Voodoo Music and Arts Festival on Halloween night at 6:30 pm in addition to the Joy Theater show later that night. You can still get your credentials for Voodoo at For all things Fishbone, check out


J Roddy Walston & The Business @ Ziggy's in Winston Salem, NC on Nove. 4 PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ethan Murrell   
Monday, 27 October 2014 10:20

The girl behind me and I were rocking out so hard that we accidentally head butted the sh*t out of each other. I started to apologize but she just laughed and gave me a hug. Thats when I knew it was real. After that, I played six different air instruments, began to sweat profusely, and heard the guy next to me proclaim that he ejaculated 3 times already”…and that was only half way through the show.

This is what I wrote about the last J. Roddy Walston and the Business concert I attended. Saying that Im excited to go back would be an understatement. J Roddy stole the festival, not just the show, at the Rhythm and Roots Festival in Bristol this year and I made myself a promise that if I ever had a chance to go see them again, that I would throw caution to the wind. I told myself that I would skip class, steal a car, or kidnap the president to see these guys. Low and behold, J Roddy is coming to Winston Salem on November 4th. Id walk if thats what it took.

You are probably wondering why Im so enthusiastic about these guys. Well, Im not going to just shower you with statistics about how J Roddy is winning all sorts of awards and is becoming ridiculously popular, because, thats not what theyre about. J Roddy is about the feeling you get when you watch. A J Roddy show is an hour that you can put life on pause. Better yet, just Tevo it, you can get back to that later.

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