Planking in Zion National Park

Family hiking vacation, April 2018: athletic, outdoorsy family from South Carolina, with minimal desert hiking experience (56 miles in Grand Canyon). Regularly mountain bike, run, day hike, kayak, and lift weights. Physical preparation: just altered our normal routes to include more hills and stairs with our packs.

Let’s start with the lesser parts of the trip, to end on a high note, so to speak.

Emerald Pools (Upper & Lower): People, man. They suck. Especially parents who are about my age. They’re the worst…and their kids are the biggest brats. Imagine the most spoiled group of kids having a meltdown…


When I was in preschool in the early 1970s in Atlanta, GA, our babysitter attempted to sexually assault me and threatened to kill my parents if I told them. He groomed other children over time, and later sexually abused them in front of me. I immediately told my parents, even though he had again threatened to kill them if I told.

When my parents went to the police with the information, they were told that there was no crime committed because no adults observed it happening.

The abuser’s father then harassed my mother and made threatening phone calls to her…


Boo Ray Sea of Lights now on vinyl

Boo Ray recently released Sea of Lights on vinyl, the debut release from Kindercore record pressing in Athens, GA. With a fresh mastering for vinyl and successful showcase at AmericanaFest 2017, Boo Ray and his band continue to tour the US with his distinct brand of Jerry Reed-inspired rock and roll. He’s a heckuva picker and performer and just as laid back and easy-going as you could imagine, laughing at his own jokes because they’re funny.

Catch the podcast below, or in the iTunes and other links.

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Originally published at countryfriedrock.org.


After decades working in corporate radio, print and digital media, and PR, I’ve developed a few tips for independent musicians to increase the likelihood of gaining media coverage.

At the AmericanaFest 2017 conference, I mentored several songwriters in quick ten-minute sessions. Everyone should have access to the #PRoTip nuggets of wisdom, so spread the word!

From the Twitter thread, where I summarized my advice:

Here was my #ProTip advice during the @AmericanaFest #mentoring sessions this year. #AmericanaFest #mentor

Target audience: DIY musicians w/out teams, cold-pitching national digital music outlets. #PRPitch #PR #AmericanaFest

  1. Do your homework. Has the publication covered music…

Drivin N Cryin Mystery Road 2017 Re-issue. Click to pre-order. Out 10/6/2017.

It’s crazy and weird and fantastic to have bands I snuck out of the house to see (R.E.M. and Drivin N Cryin) continue to matter to music fans so much that their albums get re-issued. I’m pretty sure I’ve told y’all the story of not getting hired at a Columbus, Ohio, radio station in the late 1980s when the Program Director asked me who my favorite Atlanta band was and I said, “Drivin N Cryin.” He said, “I only know one song from them, and I don’t like it. Too country.” I ended up working at that station anyway by…


You know those holiday barrel donation drives your grocery store or school does for your local food bank? Well, those are amazing, and here are some tips you might not know from a long-time insider volunteer.

Did you know that a human volunteer checks every single item donated in those huge barrels? Yep! Every. Single. Can.

Because we spend a lot of time with those items, we come to have a specific love or disdain for the little things, like:

  1. Expiration dates. Every single container is inspected for “Best By” dates, which vary from product to product. A best by…

Photo by Stacie Huckeba

I decided to do a quick podcast update from my 3 favorites at AmericanaFest 2016. Lots more video to come, but here’s a taste of my favorite band that I did not previously know: Ladies Gun Club (Sally Jaye/Sarah Roberts). I also dug a #CFRalumni band that I had never seen play live and the band all my music friends most-suggested to me. Tons of great music all week!

Listen for a feature on Ladies Gun Club soon.

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Broke Back Band: Allen Thompson’s Brace Yourself

Allen Thompson Band‘s new album, Brace Yourself, is still kept under top-secret guard, but the stories leading to the title seem surreal. Thompson and band mate, Clint Maine, both broke their backs in separate accidents within a month of each other. The following year helped them expand their sound and get weirder, as they describe. Thompson called on a slew of music friends to contribute to the record, including the first single, a duet with Elizabeth Cook, “Long Time Thinkin’,” out now.

Always know about your new favorite band by clicking your…


Golden Eels popped onto my feed because of our mutual music preferences on Bandcamp. Their songwriter, Neil Golden, has played on records for several Athens, Georgia, bands, ranging from the Elephant 6 legends, Elf Power, to The Glands and #CFRalumni, Shonna Tucker & Eye Candy. Periscopes in the Air leans toward the psychedelic pop sounds of Golden’s earlier collaborations, yielding a completely DIY record that suits long commutes and pleasant workday distractions.

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Originally published at countryfriedrock.org.

Raw Automated Transcript this week on country fried…


Kevin Gordon‘s latest album, Long Gone Time, continues his thoughtful, critical examination of reconciling your love for family with deeply held incompatible beliefs. Country Fried Rock previously featured Gordon following his album, Gloryland. Gordon again recorded with his friend and frequent guitar player, Joe V. McMahan, and funded the album with a personal twist on crowdfunding, detailed in our conversation. We recorded this program in our AirBnB in East Nashville during AmericanaFest 2015.

Buy Kevin Gordon’s music here.

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Originally published…

Country Fried ROCK

Musicians tell their stories. Interview podcast & music radio show. Tweets by host, Sloane Spencer, who likes coffee & loud print shirts.

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