TPR#93 Cornell Hurd

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Jun 252012

Cornell Hurd talks about the elements of western swing and being inducted into the Cow Town Society of Western Music’s Hall of Fame. He tells the story of his first bands in high school, how Leroy Van Dyke’s “Walk On By” got him interested in country music and how we considers himself to be a “direct linear descendent of Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen.” He also says “I saw Dan Hicks in a white sport coat with two girls singing ‘How Can I Miss You When You Won’t Go Away’ and I knew that’s what I wanted to do.” Cornell gives us a peek at what it was like trying to promote your music in the pre-internet era of 1977. And he wraps up singing the praises of the Broken Spoke, “the last of the great Texas Dance Halls.”

Cornell Hurd

TPR #93 – Cornell Hurd – Interview and Music (MP3)

Audio MP3

Show Notes

Cornell Hurd web site

The Broken Spoke

Interview Recap

Cornell Hurd talks about western swing band music. Cornell Hurd’s been inducted into the Cow Town Society of Western Music’s Hall of Fame. So he knows a thing or two about western swing music. He says that western swing is an amalgam of styles. He notes that Bob Wills borrowed from the blues, borrowed from Mexican music, borrowed from big band music. Cornell Hurd says that in Texas it’s all really about whether you can dance to it or not.

Calvin notes that he’s got a good crooning sound on several tracks and asks Cornell Hurd if he is trying to sound like Raul Malo. Cornell Hurd laughs and says he takes that as a compliment but no, he’s not trying to sound like Raul. Cornell Hurd says he is more comfortable than he used to be singing in lower registers and some of the songs on the CD are in lower keys, so that might be what makes it sound like he’s crooning.

Cornell Hurd talks about how this collection of songs came to be. Cornell Hurd says that a year a go the band found them without a weekly gig. His engineer, Allen Crider, suggested they start working on a new set of songs so Cornell and Allen met every Thursday for a year writing and arranging these songs.

Cornell Hurd set us “The Bad Girl I Keep In My Heart.” He says it’s a story about a guy who has an affair with a woman. He realizes after it was over that there was some good in it even though what they were doing was wrong.

[Calvin plays “The Bad Girl I Keep In My Heart” from Drop In On My Dream.”]

Calvin asks Cornell Hurd about the first time Cornell Hurd played on stage. He say it was 1964. He played drums in a surf band, playing songs like “Pipeline.” That was the time that the Stones and the Who were big. But the song that got him interested in country music and playing guitar was “Walk On By” by Leroy Van Dyke.

Cornell Hurd tells the story of the first band he put together and played guitar in. That was in 1968 for a senior talent show at his high school. The band was the Milpitas Submarine Band and Cornell Hurd tells the story about the joke in the name. The band only played one song on stage, but he was one of the guitar players and it transformed him from being a nerd to being one of the cool guys at his school.

Cornell Hurd talks about his college era bands also. One of the bands was the Rag Brothers. The bass player in that band was Frank Roeber who ended up playing with him for 37 years. The Rag Brothers was largely inspired by Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks. Cornell says. “ I saw Dan Hicks in a white sport coat with two girls singing ‘How Can I Miss You When You Won’t Go Away’ and I knew that’s what I wanted to do.”

Cornell Hurd talks about how he read about a band called Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airment in Rolling Stone, “which was a cutting edge publication at the time.” He went to seem the band play at a bar in Berkely and eventually switched schools so he could be near the band and the music scene there ate the time. Cornell Hurd says he prides himself on being “a linear descendent of Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen” because “they put Hank Williams and Elvis Presley on the same page for me. Cornell says that’s why his band is not afraid to play a rockabilly song followed by a western swing song. Cornell Hurd says he has a tribute record to Moon Mullican, “the king of hillbilly piano,” and discusses the story of the Berkeley scene in the liner notes of that record.

Cornell Hurd tells his vision of having a band show up at a gig and do three sets of three different styles of music. They’d play a set of Fifties music, then a set of hard-core country, and close with a set of 30’s era swing. The band name he was using for the 20’s era music was called The Mondo Hotpants Orchestra. The other two “bands” didn’t pan out. But the Mondo Hotpants Orchestra eventually morphed into the Cornell Hurd Band. This was in about 1977.

Cornell Hurd talks about what bands did back then to build a following. He says they relied on newspaper coverage, flyers, posters, word of mouth and the occasional air play on the radio. He tells the story of knocking on the door at a radio station late one night and the DJ auditioned their record right then and started playing it on the radio. Cornell says that would be impossible today because all the music is programmed.

Cornell Hurd sets up “Whiskey Drinkin’ Women.”

[Calvin plays “Whiskey Drinking Women”]

Cornell Hurd tells us why the Broken Spoke is his favorite place to play. He says it’s the last of the true Texas Dance Halls. He says it’s all about “real man and woman dancing.” He says the owner’s daughter has dance lessons early in the evening.

Cornell Hurd sets up “The Old Part Of Town.” He says it’s about wanting to live in a simpler era.

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The Taproot Radio Podcast is copyright 2011 by Taproot Media. The music and interviews in this episode are used with permission of the artists. The Taproot Theme music is called “Meltdown Man” by Derek K. Miller of The episode as a whole is copyright 2011 by Taproot Media.


If you have any feedback for this episode or any other episode, please send mail to




TPR#92 Chelle Rose

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Jun 182012


The Taproot Radio Show is getting a new name, web site, and show format. We’ll still have the same great interviews and the same hand-picked, road-tested american music. But  the show will now originate from the Americana Music Show web site.  For the next few episodes, the show will continue to be available on this site, this site’s RSS feed, and will continue to be available on iTunes under the name Taproot Radio.

chelle roseOn episode 92 of the Americana Music Show, Chelle Rose talks about growing up in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina, writing a song to pacify the ghost of her boyfriend, hearing Malcolm Holcombe play live, why she’s drawn to minor chords, how she learned to depend on herself in her musical career, the thrill she got working with the McCrary sisters, and the preacher that inspired her song, “Rufus Morgan.”

TPR#91 Bob Woodruff

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Jun 082012

Rick Cornell interviews Bob Woodruff. They talk about how Bob Woodruff’s Lost Kerosene Tapes came to be published by Sound Asleep Records and why these songs were never released by album’s previous label. Bob and Rick discuss the Byrds influence running through all three of Woodruff’s albums. And Bob Woodruff gives a special shout out to a singer he’s worked with in Los Angeles who’s now in Raleigh.

TPR#91 Bob Woodruff – Interview and Music (MP3)

Audio MP3

Show Notes:

Bob Woodruff on CD Baby

Interview Recap:

Rick Cornell, on his Dirty Laundry show, starts the show talking about “one of the best surprises of 2102” being the releases being Bob Woodruff’s album, The Lost Kerosene Tapes, recently released by Sweden’s Sound Asleep label.

[Rick Cornell plays “Hat Full of Rain”]

Rick Cornell welcomes Bob Woodruff on the phone from Los Angeles. Bob Woodruff talks about the New York City scene for country music in the “early 90’s,” when Bob first started recording country and country-rock. Bob Woodruff says it wasn’t a big scene, but there were a few bars that played music including The Rodeo and CBGB’s. Bob says the first C in CBGB stands for country music.

Rick Cornell says when Bob Woodruff’s first record came out it was a couple of years ahead of the wave tht came later. Bob Woodruff’s first CD Dreams & Saturday Nights, came out in ’94 and the No Depression magazine, the milestone of the scene didn’t come out until ’95. Bob Woodruff talks about his band from the 80’s called The Fields, which he says he dragged kicking and screaming in a country direction in the mid-80’s. Bob Woodruff says he was not impressed with the MTV culture of the time and that he was drawn to the song writing of Elvis Costello and T-Bone Burnett.

Rick asys at least one track of Dreams & Satruday Nights was from The Fields. Bob says about half the album was music that was supposed to be on The Fields next release on Restless records. Bob Woodruff tells the story of how they got a deal with Restless by sending them an unsolicited casette tape. Restless said later that was the only time they signed a band from an unsolicited tape. Bob Woodruff says that their album for Resltess never gor released because the company went bankrupt during the recording.

[Rick plays “Brand New Blue” from The Lost Kerosene Tapes.]

Rick Cornell asks if there is a Byrds influence on “Brand New Blue” and on The Lost Kerosene Tapes. Bob Woodrusff says yes there is a Byrds influence. Bob Woodruff says that the songs on Dreams & Saturday Nights and Desire Road were originally targeted for coutnry radio so there is more of a Byrds influence on those records than on the songs on The Lost Kerosene tapes. Most of the songs on The Lost Kerosene tapes were part of a demo deal they had with Interscope records.

Bob Woodruff tells the story of how The Lost Kerosene Tapes came to be released. Jerker Emanuelson of Sound Asleep records had a freind in France who had somehow obtained one of Bob Woodruff’s demo cassettes and shared with him. Jerker Emanuelson had been trying to track Bpob Woodruff down for several years. So the friend in France happed to see a news story writen about Bob Woodruff in the Houston Chronicle which was later also published on The Huffington Post. The friend in France reached out to the journalist from the Houston Chronicle to find out how to reach Bob. And eventually, they all met and Sound Asleep Records agreed to release the record.

Bob Woodruff sets up “Whiskey Heaven” from The Lost Kerosene Tapes. He says this is one of the last tracks that The Fields ever recorded. It’s one of the more country songs the band ever wrote. And for whatever reasons, it never made it on an album.

Bon Woodruf gives a shout out to Jeanne Jolly. Bob met her in Los Angeles and she has sung harmonies on several of his songs. But now she is back in Raleigh and is playing gigs around town includeing the Berkeley.

[Rick plays “I’m Staniding Here With Standing Here With Both Knees On The Ground.” from Dreams & Saturday Nights”

Bob Woodriff says he’s doing some more recording and is about half way through making a new album. He says his current songs are a little more R&B influenced than his past work. Bob Woodruff says his music has always been a combination of 60’s rock, country, and R&B. He says sometimes one genre comes more to the front than others and right now R&B is comeing to the front.

[Rick Cornell plays “Every Day I Have To Cry” form Deisre Road.]

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The Taproot Radio Podcast is copyright 2011 by Taproot Media. The music and interviews in this episode are used with permission of the artists. The Taproot Theme music is called “Meltdown Man” by Derek K. Miller of The episode as a whole is copyright 2011 by Taproot Media.


If you have any feedback for this episode or any other episode, please send mail to

TPR#90 Moot Davis

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Jun 012012

On episode 90 of the Taproot Music Show, Moot Davis talks about why he had to go to New Zealand to start work on his new album, Man About Town; why he’s a suit and tie kind of country singer; and the importance of being in control of your own destiny.

Moot Davis

TPR#90 Moot Davis – Interview and Music (MP3)

Audio MP3

Show Notes:

Moot Davis web site

Interview Recap:

Moot Davis made a name for himself with some honky tonk CDs from several years ago.

Moot Davis talks about starting from the other side of the world to get this CD started. He says that in 2007, his seconmd CD, Already Moved On had come out.  He says he was burned out from living on the road and was struggling with his record label. So he moved to New Zealand for about half a year.  Moot Davis Lived in Wellington and “had a blast.” After a couiple of weeks of “not fighting with anybody” he could finally get back to writing some songs.  Moot Davis says he wrote about 80-85 percent of what’s on the current CD, Man About Town.

Moot Davis sets up “Rags to Rhinstones.” Moot Davis says he was carrying that phrase around for a long but wasn’t having much luck writing a song with it. But a friend of his in Nashville was going through a career nose dive. This friend had been a high flyer and now he was getting kicked out of all the bars. That served as a real-life inspiration for the song.

[plays “Rags to Rhinestones”]

Moot Davis talks about the vocal style on that track and the CD. Mot Davis says that while they’ve been on tour he’s been hearing people say that he soundslike Roy Orbison.  Moot Davis says that Orbison is certainly enjoyed his vocie. Moot Davis calls Roy Orbison’s voice “almost angelic” and he didn’t think of it as something he could ever attain. So he liked that sound but it wasn’t a vocal style he ever deliberately tried to emulate. As far as the crooning goes, Moot Davis says his voice matured over time and that’s part of it.

Moot Davis talks about the backing band. The CD was produced by Kenny Vaughan who is sort of Marty Stuart’s right hand man and guitar player in the Fabulous Superlatives. Kenny Vaugn also plays guitar on Man About Town. Chris Scruggs plays lap steel and pedal steel. Harry Stinson is on drums. Paul Martin plays bass. Also featured is fiddler Hank Singer, who plays with George Jones.

Moot Davis says it was kind of an intimidating line up. Moot Davis says with that band you don’t do a lot of rehearsing. Moot Davis got together with some locals and made demo recording. He sent the songs to Kenny to help pick out the songs that went into the CD. Other than one or two meetings with Kenny there was no rehearsal. Everyone just showed up at the studio. And on the first day they had Elizabeth Cook there as well to do a duet.

Moot Davis sets up “Fade To Gold.” he says when he was a child, his family used to take weekend trips to Pennsylvania. For the whole trip, his Dad had only one cassette tape that he played over and over. On one side it had Dylan’s Desire. And on the other side it was the Greatest Hits of Roxy Music. This song is sort of a melding of all that.

[plays “Fade To Gold”]

Moot Davis talks about how he’s more of a suit and tie kind of country singer. Moot Davis says when he first got started he was in acting and was in plays that traveled around the country and Europe. When he first started doing music he was a very poor musician. So when he got up on stage in those early days he says he needed a buffer between him and the audience. And so the  suit and tie kind of became his armor. Moot Davis also said that the Hank Williams image was also part of his early act. Also there was a movie called Honky Tonk that has Clint Eastwood in it. That movie plus the Hank Williams image are the two things that gave him courage to do those early shows. Moot Davis says that the suit and tie is not some sort of “retro-creep” thing, he also says that the suit and tie does command some respect. He discovered at an early age when he was trying to get into bars as an underaged minor that if you wore a suit and tie people treated you completely different and that has remaind true through all stages of his adult life.

Moot Davis talks about getting hsi songs placed in movies and TV shows. He says other than the traveling, its been the best part of his career. He says he’s up to about 20 placements now. His first placement was a song called “Whiskey Town” in a movie called Crash that went on to win the Oscar for Best Picture. He got to the Premiere and all that stuff. Moot Davis says it’s a real, emotional thing when you’re in a movie theater watching the movie, people you recognize on screen and you hear your song come one.

Moot Davis sets up “Queensbury Rules.” Queensbury Rules are the old British Boxing rules whith stuff like don’t kick your opponent when they are down. Moot Davis then parlayed that into a love song.

[plays “Queensbury Rules’]

Moot Davis talks a little bit about the bind he got in with his previous label and how he got started with his own label. He says he doesn’t have anything but good things to say about the people on his previous label. But he says that the problem was he wasn’t in control of his own destiny and that has to be in charge of his own decisions and make hsi own mistakes. Moot Davis talks Paul W Reed who is a business man from Texas who followed his career and went into business with him to create their label. Moot Davis talks about he admires Reed’s willingness to put hsi money where his mouth is.

Moot Davis talks about the advice he’d give to new aspiring artists. He says that when he was getting started with his previous label, he had a lawyer and his father helping out. But the label brought things to a head  and pressured him to sign up so they could get a tour going. So he signed a contract. So his advice to artists is to not be easily bluffed or pressured into agreeign things you don’t want to get into.

Moot Davis says they are on tour right now, doing a string of shows in the US. Then they are doing a summer European tour then a Canadian run. They are also shooting for more placements in film and TV. Moot Davis also says he’s has admired Lyle Lovett’s career and would like to try to work with him in the future.

Moot Davis says that he’d like put more emphasis on roots rock on the next CD to broaden his horizons and not make the same album over and over again.

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The Taproot Radio Podcast is copyright 2011 by Taproot Media. The music and interviews in this episode are used with permission of the artists. The Taproot Theme music is called “Meltdown Man” by Derek K. Miller of The episode as a whole is copyright 2011 by Taproot Media.


If you have any feedback for this episode or any other episode, please send mail to