Tied To The WheelWashington Post review of the album
Mastered at Air Show Mastering, Boulder, CO
For Louise Kirchen & Julia Kirchen. Thank you for your boundless support, encouragement and love.
Thank you Johnny & Jack for your soulful grooves, on and off the set.
Special thanks to Jana Castle, Segrid Pearson, Betsy Kirchen, Harold, Pam, Carly and Cal Kirchen, Harold W. Kirchen, Herb Prout, Bill and Susan Penn, Audie and Lesley DeLone, Blackie and Vicki Farrell, Deb, Lindsey, Darrell, Larry, Bruce and all the HighToners, Mark and Jill and Pucci Media, Clay and A llene Blaker, Curt and Therese Gaines, Jack and Mary Smith, Peter Bonta and LeeAnn Nelbach, Jeff Covert, Larry Gershon, Tommy and Sandy Detamore, Joe Wilson and NCTA, Phil Marsh, Jeff Crespi, Rocky Roberts, Jerry Douthett, Mike Schriebman and Washington Area Music Association, Jeff Campbell and Hungry for Music, Charles McCardell, Ted Smouse, Jeff and Ann Mayfield, Kay and Shel and the Sunset Grille, the Grillbilly Nation, Alan and Chris and The Grandsons, Mark and the Lustre Kings, Phil Doran, Mike and Apple Music, Gary and Michael and the Birchmere, Mark and the Half Moon BBQ, Steve and Jane and the Iota, Tom and the State Theater, Chuck and Poe's, all the Richmondites, Joe and Joe Barden pick-ups, Jay and Vintique, Mark and Carlson Amps, Susan Bendinelli and Studio Slips, Dr Z Amps, John Pearse Strings, CLE Drums. Thank you Cub Koda, Doug Sahm and all who smoothed the way for us.
This is dedicated to the memory of Chestine Kirchen. I can still hear her singing.
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Bill's Comments on The Songs
(expanded from CD version):
1. Truck Stop at The End of The World - Post nuclear holocaust Diesel-Billy epic. Co-written with fellow road warrior Commander Cody upon surviving a decade or so of cross country mayhem. This is the world as seen through the eyes of the denizens of Diesel Beach, the truck stops of this big ol' funky land. A late entry on the album, once we opened her up, she rolled right into first position.
2. Quit Feeling' Sorry For You - Western Swing from the pen of yours truly and my wife Louise. This expresses our conviction that no matter how strenuous the rigors of life on the road, it still beats working. In fact, a great many people we meet claim they would trade their stock options for an opportunity to ditch the nine to five and take up where Bob Wills left off. We recorded this and 4 others at The Site just down the road from Ranch Nicasio where back in the day Naomi Judd waited tables and my band the Moonlighters played Western Swing with Bobby, Audie, Blackie and others too numerous. Naomi corroborates that her and Wynonna's first public appearance was sitting in with us and singing Working Man Blues and San Antonio Rose.
3. Roll Truck Roll - Classic Bakersfield by Tommy Collins. This is the title cut on a Red Simpson record, the first truck driving stuff I ever heard. It also featured Nitro Express and Truck Driving Man, and is still one of my all time favorite albums. I sang this song in the sixties, and never having been to California, thought the lyrics were “gotta go down, 'yonder' summit is closed”. The light bulb didn't go on 'til we crossed the pass at Donner Summit on the way into California.
4. Dim Lights, Thick Smoke - Undiluted Honky Tonk. It was written by Joe and Rose Lee Maphis and made a hit by Flatt and Scruggs in the '50's. Joe was a giant in the West Coast country scene from the '50's on. His influential guitar playing appeared on Johnny Bond's Hot Rod Lincoln in 1961, early Ricky Nelson cuts and about every other country record of the day. I learned electric guitar trying to copy his licks. Guest vocalist Dudley Connell is the lead singer with the Seldom Scene and one of the very finest I know. Besides duetting with me, he graciously looked the other way as I tried to filch some of his extra cool vocal chops.
5. One More Hour of Blues - This and the next cut are by the mighty Blackie Farrell. I met him in 1969 when I went back to a girl's apartment to reclaim the Hank and Merle albums that I'd left a couple of months before. I was going up the stairs for 'em just as he was heading down with 'em under his arm, and after some circling and sniffing, we've been fast friends ever since.
6. Tryin' to Turn Her Memory Off - Austin “Audie” DeLone took us to record at the The Site studio in the hills of Marin Co. California, looking down on the buzzards circling below us. The view was so uplifting that when Keith Richards used the studio he sent an advance crew in to cover the windows with tin foil and duct tape. We soldiered on as best we could with the view intact and the (prehumous) ghost of Keith lurking about. This is one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite writers, Blackie. I must have cut at least a dozen of his tunes starting with Mama Hated Diesels in 1972 and including Rockabilly Funeral, Sonora's Death Row and Red Cajun Girl.
7. Hillbilly Truck Driving Man - Clay Blaker, a fine song writer, surfer and singer, and his wonderful wife Allene have hosted us many times at their home and bus. Clay has written truck loads of excellent songs ranging from early George Strait hits to recent LeeAnn Rimes and Barbra Streisand cuts. Clay and I got to pickin, grabbed a-holt of an E chord, and this is what come out. We cut this, Roll Truck Roll and Poultry in Motion at Tommy Detamore's Cherry Ridge Studio in Floresville, TX. That's the inimitable Tommy on the steel guitar.
8. Tied to the Wheel - Writer Joe New (Soul Cruising, The Heart Is a Muscle) came by to help us record his truck driver's lament. It's soulful ways hauled it around to the front cover and parked it in the title slot.
9. Prison Band - Also by Tommy Collins. I heard it on an early Merle Haggard record during my first foray into blood and guts country music. I've never been the same. At the time, in Ann Arbor MI, I knew no one who hailed from Pocatello or dragged a pretty mean bar.
10. Poultry in Motion - Truckin and Pluckin. The Swingin Chicken. Pullet Pluckin Time in Texas. Teles in the Henhouse. The Choked-up Chicken. Fowl Play. A true story.
11. How Mountain Girls Can Love - Drummer Jack O'Dell and bassist Johnny Castle and I crisscross the country on the trail of the lonesome twang. Our trio format affords us a wide range and flexibility thanks to their tremendous instrumental and vocal skills. I (as you should too) shudder to think what life would be like without them. Jack's on the lead vocal and Johnny's up on his hind legs for the high part.
12. Just like Tom Thumb's Blues - My man Austin DeLone is the best piano player I know and extremely dangerous on guitar and vocals and anything else he puts his mind to. He was my partner in the Moonlighters and introduced me to Nick Lowe. Audie has done this song for years, and I'm afraid I've lifted his whole approach, take-off and landing. Reminiscent of the sought after frightful racket that Audie and I get when we do this together, guitar amps adjusted with a simple sweep of the forearm, knobs rotated to their full rockwise position.