Ronnie Fauss plays tracks from Built To Break & talks about the Dallas Red Dirt scene, his regular joe vibe & keeping in touch with his old life.
Also on this episode, new blues from Steve Earle & The Dukes, R&B from Chuck Prophet, southern rock from The Plott Hounds, a brand new ballad from James McMurtry, a track from the Bob Dylan basement tapes, new music from Joe Pug, rock & roll from Victor Krummenacher, and alt-country from The Highballers.
- You're The Best Lover That I Ever Had / Steve Earle & The Dukes / Terraplane / 4:07 (preview) (read the review)
- Chuck Prophet - "Dirt" (Andre Williams) / Various Artists / While No One Was Looking: Toasting 20 Years of Bloodshot Records / 2:34 (preview) (read the review)
- Southbound / The Plott Hounds / Rum River Rising EP / 4:39 (preview) (read the review)
- You Got To Me / James McMurtry / Complicated Game / 5:24 (preview) (read the review)
- Ain't No More Cane ((Alternate Version) Take 2) / Bob Dylan & The Band / The Basement Tapes Sampler: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 11 / 1:58 (preview) (read the review)
- Burn and Shine / Joe Pug / Windfall / 3:33 (preview)
- If You Won't Break My Heart, I Don't Stand A Chance / Victor Krummenacher / Hard To See Trouble Coming / 4:02 (preview)
- Fire And Smoke / The Highballers / The Highballers / 3:47 (preview) (read the review)
About Ronnie Fauss
Ronnie Fauss interview recap
The Dallas Scene
Calvin notes that Ronnie Fauss is from the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area and asks him where are the good spots in the area for hearing twangy country rock. Ronnie Fauss says it’s a spread out scene. He notes the “Deep Ellum” are in downtown Dallas and the 7th Street area in Fort Worth as being great areas for music venues. He also cites the Kessler Theater in Dallas as one of his favorite places to play.
“I’m Sorry Baby That’s Just The Way It Goes
Ronnie Fauss sets up, “I’m Sorry Baby That’s Just The Way It Goes.” He says, “It about the holiday season. Not exactly a happy song although if you don’t pay attention to the lyrics you might think it is. It’s kind of a jangly upbeat thing that tells a horribly depressing story underneath it.”
[Calvin plays “I’m Sorry Baby That’s Just The Way It Goes” from Built To Break by Ronnie Fauss.]
Ronnie Fauss give a shout out to Sadler Vadden (Jason Isbell & the 400 unit, Drivin & Cryin’) for his guitar work on that track.
The Line Up
Calvin asks Ronnie to run through the line up. He lists Sigurdur Birkis as producer and drum player. He notes how the albums start with him taking a collection of songs to “Siggy” and they put the arrangements together and lay down the drum tracks. They then head to Tennessee where they work with a bunch of musicians including Sadler Vadden on guitar and backup vocals. David LaBruyere on bass. Devin Malone is also on guitar. Ronnie notes that his last album was a little more country and so on this album, they got two guitarists and asked them to write guitar parts that played off each other so it ended up being a full on rock & roll album. Chris Tuttle plays organ, accordion, and piano. Megan Palmer plays fiddle. Jenna Paulette also sings on the album. Camille Cortinas also provides vocals on the album.
That Regular Guy vibe
Calvin notes that Ronnie Fauss manages to maintain his regular guy persona with a family and bills to pay and everyday life to take care of, but at the same time he manages to write great rock & roll songs. Calvin asks how he manages to keep in touch with that rock & roll vibe. Ronnie Fauss laughs and says, “Everyone I know had gigs on New Year’s Eve and I was at home playing Clue with my kiddos, so I’m not exactly living the rock & roll lifestyle in that sense. But one reason I started taking songwriting seriously and starting to make records is when we had our first kid I didn’t want to lose myself in that. I wanted retain something that kind of just for me. Still a creative outlet or whatever you want to call it as opposed to stopping that part of my life.”
Ronnie Fauss goes on to say, “I’ve been such a music fan for so long. The 90’s alt-country scene was my gateway drug into all this with Whiskey Town, and the records that Wilco and Son Volt, and the Old 97s did. That got me really into it. And that turned me on to Steve Earle and Lucinda Williams. And that turned me on to John Prine. So I’ve been this intense consumer of this kind of music for years and years. When I started to make it on my own all that was in my so what came out was along those lines.”
Ronnie Fauss sets up “Old Life.” He says, “I’ve had this one for a couple of years. I wasn’t sure what to do with it because it doesn’t have a chorus. And that drove my producer crazy when I brought all these songs into the studio. He said, ‘There’s no choruses on any of these things.’ And I said, ‘Man, that doesn’t matter. If it’s a good song it’s a good song. You don’t need a chorus just to have a chorus. ‘Cause then you’re just taking up space.’ So that was the deal on this song and he was arguing with me on how to present it. My idea was this could be a song where all those people I mentioned to you a few minutes ago, Megan on the fiddle, Christopher on the organ, And a fella named Eric McNeil, in my live and in Dallas, he did some overdubs for us.Eric on the pedal steel them Sadler and Devin on the electric guitar. I told Siggy, ‘Look we’ll sing what we have and then we’ll get out of the way and let all these people shine. We’ll give everybody a part where we just throw it to them and see what they come up with. The song was written when we found out we were pregnant with out third kid … That moment when we found out the third one was coming was pretty overwhelming [laughs]. Because we didn’t really plan on that sort of thing. It’s been amazing. I got a son out of it and he’s my best friend. He’s three now. So it’s been a good thing. But that song was written right when it happened and its this theme of the overwhelming feeling of providing for your family and what it means for your everyday life.”
[Calvin plays “Old Life” from Built To Break by Ronnie Fauss]
The Rhett Miller influence
Calvin notes that Rhett Miller seems to have been a long term influence on Ronnie Fauss’ music and on this record in particular. He says “[The Old 97’s] are kind of the patron saints here in Dallas, in terms of this alt-country sound. They’ve been so influential and one of the cool things about Dallas, well Texas is known for having a Texas thing or a Red Dirt type of sound. Here in Dallas there’s so many great Americana or alt-country bands that tap into that rock & roll ethos when they are playing country music. We’re a bunch of people who grew up listening to Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson and then we listened to rock & roll music when we were teenagers. And when you grow up you kind of merge them together. Well no one encapsulates that more than the Old 97’s. Their influence is huge and it had been on me too. The guys in Slobberbone kind of got me started making records when I first started recording five or six years ago. Slobberbone came out of that old 97s scene. They toured with them a lot. Both of those bands, showing how you can start here in Dallas and develop a unique sound that doesn’t sell out and make great music and have a lot of success has always been a huge influence on me. And people had said that when listening to my records they picked up on that influence. But on this one song, “18 Wheels” we just had the idea that this would be a cool opportunity because it tells a couple of stories and it’s a truck driving song. So it would be a good opportunity to get involved somebody else that has a recognizable voice and could come in and take some guest vocals. And I said there would be no one better for both symbolic reason and a sound reason than Rhett Miller. So I had known him and his brother Ross for a long time and I shot him the rough track and he said he’d love to. They were coming through town on a show And they had an off day and we did. It was that fast and easy. And it was a real treat to hear him singing one of my songs.”
[Calvin plays “18 Wheels” from Built To Break by Ronnie Fauss.]
Americana Music Show Podcast Info
- Subscribe by email, by iTunes, Stitcher, or by RSS. It’s all free and you won’t miss an episode.
- Visit the episode list to listen to past episodes.
The Americana Music Show is podsafe and copyright 2015 by Taproot Media. The music used on the show was submitted for promotional purposes and is used with permission. This show is free for personal, noncommercial use only. See the notices page for more info.