Texas Dust Meets the Bull Moose Party: Nathan Evans Fox & Jackson Grimm on High Plains Morning

Jan 7, 2020

Nathan Evans Fox and Jackson Grimm serenaded the High Plains today (and my boots match JG's shirt).

Today was a good one, folks. Thanks so much to Jackson Grimm and Nathan Evans Fox for stopping by High Plains Morning today and serenading the HPPR region with their dear and dusty tunes, even if they were hardly caffeinated enough for live public radio. If you’re in the Texas Panhandle, don’t miss their show TONIGHT (January 7th, 2020) at Starlight Canyon Bed & Breakfast (100 Brentwood Rd., Amarillo). Doors open at 7p; show starts at 7:30p. Donations accepted, and they suggest $15 per person. BYO, tell friends, and come enjoy a night of live folk from two Tarheel masters of the genre. You can also check out Jackson and Nathan on Facebook.

Click the link below to hear the full interview and in-studio sets:

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MORE ABOUT THE ARTISTS:

Nathan Evans Fox is an Americana songwriter and musician born in Glen Alpine, NC. Growing up immersed in country, rock, bluegrass, and hymns, Fox synthesizes his musical roots to produce a sound all his own. He has been writing music, playing fiddle and guitar, and collaborating with other musicians for over ten years. Recently his song-crafting prowess has been recognized by the Songwriter Serenade and Wildflower! songwriting competitions including a 1st place victory at the Eddie Owens Presents Annual Songwriter Shootout in 2018. Fox’s lyrics confront the difficulties of his cultural and religious heritage with quiet grief, incisive anger, and an unexpected wit. Above all, he is a storyteller whose narrative landscapes are at once familiar and strange. He has written, produced, and performed two full-length albums: Home (2017) and Texas Dust (2018). Currently, Fox is premiering songs from his upcoming album, Kindness, set to be released in 2020. Fox recently moved to Nashville with his best friend/wife Elizabeth and their dog Maisie.

More about Texas Dust: In this album Fox settles into the dry want of the Texas landscape. “I lost my taste for poetry, picked up my taste for gin” he sings in the album’s opening lines, signaling the tone of melancholy longing for “an eastbound wind” that pervades much of the album. Fox considers how the weight of religion and displacement from home both found and confound his place in the world and reflects on the inescapable thread of his family history. The title track “Texas Dust” explores how previous generations were shattered after coming back “from a foreign war,” while “St Louis” expresses anxiety about losing aging family members while living far away: “Pray my next trip to Carolina ain’t with black suit and tie.” Fox maintains his wry sense of humor even when “Texas tries to annex his smile.” In traditional bloody ballads like “Corn Whiskey” and country-infused love songs like “Quicksand,” both his lyrics and fiddle riffs prove he is dynamic storyteller. “Great Sky” pairs Fox’s steady vocals with danceable organ lines and effected mandolin to produce a surreal sense of elation. Lindsay Foote’s harmonies add warmth and depth to the album, while Mike Connor’s bass lines anchor its rhythms. The final track, “Kindling Bridges,” brings together all the images that have formed the bones of the album – corn whiskey and dust, dusty bibles and pious kin – to conclude that there “Ain’t no starting over, ain’t no picking up pieces that were handed to me already broken.” Album design by Elizabeth Kelley.

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Jackson Grimm is a folk singer-songwriter &  multi-instrumentalist that marries folk-pop melodies with the lonesome sound of traditional Appalachian music. He’s based out of Asheville, NC. His music invokes the sounds of Appalachia and pays homage to the new scene of folk music. In a region with a strong music culture, it is no surprise that Grimm's songwriting is representative of his musical birthplace: Asheville, NC. Grimm studied Traditional Music at Warren Wilson College under the tutelage of great players like Wayne Erbsen and Kevin Kehrberg. He also studied guitar, banjo, mandolin, and singing with the Western North Carolina music master, Josh Goforth, who also produced Grimm’s debut album, The Bull Moose Party (2019) – which reached the FOLK RADIO charts as a TOP 10 ALBUM in the Spring of last year. Grimm also plays extensively as a sideman for his father, singer-songwriter Tim Grimm. Touring with Tim has taken him to over 20 states in the US and 7 countries in Europe (Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, & England). He has appeared on, written songs on, and co-produced the last two Tim Grimm albums. Jackson has also shared the stage and played with singer-songwriters Ben Bedford, Krista Detor, and Jennie DeVoe. Grimm also accompanies the Montana singer-songwriter, Old Sap.

More about The Bull Moose Party: Jackson Grimm’s first full-length album is centered on storytelling and transcribing raw emotions into a highly irresistible musical form. It is very much a ‘band’ album, as both instrumentally and vocally, he shares the spotlight with his band members that he met at Warren Wilson College in North Carolina. Jackson plays mandolin and guitar and is joined by Eli Winkenwerder (banjo), Colin Martin (guitar, mandolin) and Jake Yochem (bass) with producer Josh Gosforth adding fiddle and guitar. Their music combines elements of country, blues, swing and straight up bluegrass. You can visualise the cinematic landscape as the music stomps, flows and mingles with singer and songwriter Jackson Grimm at the heart of the pulse. His songs are about belonging, fear, love, self-doubt, heartache and desolation; darkness versus light and escape—especially escape in this darkly underground mix of hangovers, anguished love, mournful blues and lonesome country. The unique blend of classic country sounds, back porch blues and stomping scrapyard bluegrass, creates a sound that's both familiar and compelling.

The opening “Appalachia Calling” shines a light not only on Jackson's vocal chops, but also his talent as a soulful, southern songwriter. With three-part harmonies and catchy chorus Jackson and his pals have sculpted a unique sound that gives a new voice to a traditional inspiration. A prime example of his genre-blending and bending is the bluesy Middle American Blues, then he steps boldly into traditional country with “If Not For You.” It pulses with mournful mandolin and banjo, sawing fiddle, a steady rhythm section, and sorrowful vocal harmonies rounding out the good dollop of poignancy, heartbreak and melancholy. Very jolly stuff!

Listen to the opening strains of “Tulsa” and be transported to a lonesome highway, the endless fields stretching out ahead. A fast, exhilarating, unpredictable ride, each verse follows another like the stretch of blacktop between exits, resolving in a chorus that’s breezy and uplifting without unsettling the song’s downhearted lyric. Far from maudlin … it keeps on moving, headlights on, until the last note. Jackson Grimm is entirely convincing while performing straight bluegrass (“Last Train Home”) or a more complex hybrid of the same (“I’d Hold You (But I Don’t Wanna Hold You)”), employing plenty of Southern-fried vocal grit. Dusty with some shimmer, “Evangelina” is a forlorn lament of regret. If you shut your eyes and hum along, you’ll find yourself walking along the banks of a river, a few miles from home, kicking stones thinking about life as you ruminate.

This album walks the genre lines of country, bluegrass and rootsy Americana with ease. With one foot planted firmly in Appalachian music culture and the other always expanding and evolving, Jackson Grimm and his band have created a unique sound ready to be embraced by music fans old and young.