On Episode 189, I'm joined by rising country songwriter Erik Shicotte. Shicotte released Miss'ry Pacific, his strong debut EP this past July. During this episode, we talk about the songs and blue-collar nature of Miss'ry Pacific, traveling the US, writing in motel rooms, the emotional weight of Johnny Cash & Patsy Cline, and the peculiar process of remote recording.
This episode's presenting partner is Desert Door Texas Sotol, The Blue Light Live, and Charlie Stout Photography.
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Thomas Mooney 0:03
Hey y'all Welcome back to New slang.
I'm your host, Thomas Mooney. Today's guest is up and comer Eric Shicotte. Eric released misery Pacific, his solo debut EP back in mid July. I'm telling y'all hop on this train right now why you have the chance. There's a lot of promise in Eric's writing and that booming baritone voice of is right out the gate, you're going to be grabbed by those rich vocals. But nestled within those songs are these really great storytellers? I think a natural comparison that is super easy to jump to for Eric's misery Pacific is culture walls, imaginary Appalachia. Now we've all seen a lot of growth and evolution from culture since then, he's not really the same guy as he was back when that came out, which in my estimation, is always a good thing. That's also not to say that imaginary Appalachia isn't a great debut. Those aren't mutually exclusive statements. Which leads me back to Eric and misery Pacific. This is a stronger collection of songs you'll find for a debut. Now he's not searching for Appalachia, like culture was, but what he's discovering are these endless lines of railroad and highway that stretch across America. That's the land that the songs inhabit the songs. They're about those folks who find work and even comfort in those spaces. This is very much an EP of movement. It's transient and shuffling. Its rollicking one moment and grieving the next. And really, it's one of the best surprises of the year. And I can't wait to see what's down the line for Eric as well. Today's presenting partner is our pals over at Desert door, Texas SoTL. If you've been listening to new slang for really any amount of time, you'll know that desert door is one of my all time favorite premium, high quality spirits. If you haven't or aren't sure what exactly a sotol is. I'm going to let you in on a little secret that's going to up the game on your liquor cabinet. For starters, the best reference point that I can point you to is to think about a tequila or a Moscow. Do you feel that Western desert that text is ruggedness? Okay, Soto is like that, but a little bit more refined, smooth and fragrant. It intrigues the palate and offers these hints of vanilla and citrus. There's an earthiness that often sends me right back to my transpac isn't far west Texas roots. There's plenty to love about desert door. For me, it all starts right they're a close second is just how versatile desert door really is. You can go full highbrow and experiment with concocting a variety of cocktails that call for muddling fresh fruit sprigs of time sticks of cinnamon, it's perfect for that world. If you're a little bit more down home, if you've just rolled up the sleeves of your denim Wrangler button up, it's perfect for that as well. If you're just designing something that's short and sweet, it hits the mark every time does adore is genuine and authentically West Texan. It's inherently West Texan. They harvest Soto plants out in the wild and our knowledgeable conservationists at heart. That's obviously something incredibly important to me. They shine a light on what makes West Texas special and unique and worth preserving and keeping it safe from exploitation. Right now, you can find desert door all over Texas, Colorado, Tennessee, and there's budding numbers in places like New Mexico, Arizona, California and Georgia. Best thing you can do is to check out desert door.com to find where desert door is locally. Again, that's desert door.com. If this is your first time listening to new slang, I highly encourage you to hit that subscribe button. New slang is available virtually anywhere that you can listen to podcasts. If you're over on Apple podcasts, leave one of those five star reviews. They do go a long way. And of course new slang is a grassroots endeavor. So telepath till a friend, a family member Whatever the case, go follow us over on Facebook and Twitter, a retweet and share they to go a long way. You can go over and check out the new slang merch store while you're added. That's over at New slang podcast dot big cartel.com over there there's t shirts, shot glasses, stickers, koozies coffee mugs and much more. Check out the Patreon while you're at it as well. And of course all these links they will be in the show notes. Also want to make a quick note about this episode. So Eric, he drove outside town to do this. And he was sitting in his vehicle on a rural road out next to a cornfield and of course As a county sheriff pulls up behind them and interrupts our interview about 30 minutes in. Yeah, there's a first time for everything right. But I mentioned it here, just because we wind up referencing it a few times in the episode. And I want you all to have that context. Anyway, let's get on to the episode. Here is Eric shikon.
Yeah, I guess like the obviously the most natural place to start off is, uh, I guess it's about three weeks ago. Now you released a misery Pacific. And yeah, it was a great little, at least for me a great introduction to, to what you're doing and I just find it a really really fascinating EP as far as the the sound and style and kind of like that ramblin man, kind of the, the, there's a lot of traveling stories and of course, like that kind of really ties into you as a traveler yourself. Take me back to I guess, like, you know, getting the this collection of songs together and and finding that that rambling man that traveling narrative and in kinda know, forming and shaping the the EPA as far as that being kind of one of the, the main focuses
Erik Shicotte 6:22
Well, I guess that's more so inadvertent than anything else. That's just what my song is, are about at this point in my life are the experiences and other things I've gained along the way cuz I've been moving and shaking for for a bit then Am I my 20s here and you know, we didn't really design it to have so much movement and motion in it but Scott house you want cuz I had made a previous small effort at one point, my buddy was dead did a did some recording in his living room. And two of the songs on this EP are actually from the first attempt and that would have been Kansas City and Flint respectively. And my manager at her urging and my guy that produced the record at his urging to he thought we should redo those and that became the concept behind making this and then picking other songs from I guess, you know, if you want to call it a catalog you can and then we threw them all together and yeah, that's the whole thing kind of just keeps moving. Throughout the six tracks there, there's I think only one of them was was written at quote, unquote, home that would be the oldest one which was Flint and that was the only one that I actually wrote in Wisconsin when I was when I was staying. Staying closer to the bone at the time but the rest were all finished in hotel rooms across God knows where and it's it's just been a very prominent theme in my life lately is the fact that my odometer just keeps ticking and all of its you know, on my own wheels too. I don't go on sardine cans on the sky very often so my domiciles seems to be the highway as of late
Thomas Mooney 8:31
Yeah, I've always been a little bit more comfortable driving anywhere then then flying and I don't know I feel like obviously you can kind of you get the lay of the land a whole lot easier that way even though it may take a little bit more time and you know, there's something about just kind of I've talked about this with a lot of people as far as like there's something obviously super American about just going on the open highway and finding something
Erik Shicotte 8:59
you're definitely on to something there I mean with this place is vast It's huge. And you can just see so many things running us that you see the back door of America if you if you seek it out I suppose but I don't know I've always been a huge fan of truck stop diners and and the little things you find along the way the little bits of neon you catch as you pass through a town you better stop and see what's going on in here.
Thomas Mooney 9:32
Yeah, I always love like the truck stop scenes. You know, I my my dad drove a whole lot because he had a trailer company and most of the time I was you know, sitting front seat shotgun with him. And obviously we'd stop in a lot of trucks truck stops and, and diners and cafes like that, and I feel like he just kind of, I don't know, like at the time, I always thought that was boring, you know, but now looking back on Gotta have like that nostalgic feeling for it all. And
Erik Shicotte 10:03
it is a romanticized thing. Yeah, there's there's romance to traveling this, this country. I mean, I'm sure there is plenty to other places too, but I've never nevertheless left the contiguous United States here. And I've, I've based, most of who I am off of that thus far. And it's it is a, it is a romantic thing, the concept, the concept of the great American highway, the great American, West, or southeast, or wherever.
Thomas Mooney 10:34
Yeah, well, and you mentioned, you know, like finishing a bunch of these in motel rooms, I find that real fascinating right there. Because, granted, I guess, like, if you're constantly on the road, with work, that's, that's kind of like the one spot you can find a little bit of time to, to finish a song. I know, a lot of artists, though, they have a lot of time, I guess there's the difficulty of riding on the road, where maybe they collect those songs, or those stories out on the road, but then they they finish them or start writing those songs at home. You know, you mentioned you know, finishing them and starting them out on the road in these, you know, hotel room or whatever the case or even probably while you're working, just kind of thinking about stuff. Do you find that a little bit, you know, just is that come natural for you? Or do you feel like you had a, you know, work at working on songs on the road? Or what, what do you think the case is for you?
Erik Shicotte 11:32
I guess for me at this point, especially, you know, I haven't had to think of it very professionally yet. And hopefully I will. But the songs I wrote because I had to they were they were how I was getting in touch with what I was feeling at the time with wherever I was, whatever I was going through or experiencing or laughing or crying about. And they, they've all come pretty organically thus far. I am intending on kind of sitting down and and getting more in touch with my creative process and figuring out exactly what that means to me. Because that today, you know, I write songs because that's, that's what I had to do with whatever I was thinking about at the time. I haven't really set out with the goal of I'm gonna turn this into a song I'll often have either lyrics you'd like you mentioned, like on the job site a lot of days, you know, you're done bullshitting with the other guys and you're sitting there thinking lyric swimming around and having them think about Hmm, what what kind of melody Can I put that to because a hook or whatever you want to call it will hit me something, something will just latch on in my brain and I'm like this. This has to come out of me soon. So I'd sit down at the end of the day and hotel room or when I had time off, I'd You know, one thing I do, especially when I'm, I guess quote unquote, stationed somewhere. I'm stuck out on a job somewhere and we catch like a week off and the rest of the boys go home, but I'm a little too far away to do it myself. I just drive out fine railroads to take pictures of train tracks to sit next to and there's more than a couple of songs I've written without a bad
Thomas Mooney 13:30
Yeah, yeah, there's definitely obviously the like the title track points to the trains and trains in general. I mean, like that's kind of the the pre precursor to the highway. I can't remember who the rider was. I was listening to a podcast about it. But the guy who wrote the perfect storm I believe he just recently put out a book traveling on on row on railroads and just like walking through this past year, which seems like a if there was ever a time to get out and just walk places during the pandemic I guess. And I find like there's maybe a correlation between the stuff that you're doing and what that book is. I'm not checked it out yet. I've only listened to a podcast like I said, but I can't think of even what the book is I'm This is horrible podcasting, but I don't like it feels like there's this really weird connection as far as you guys probably tapping and tapping into the the same aspects of America. You mentioned that back door that's an interesting take on it. The back door of America or like the backyard, maybe something
Erik Shicotte 14:41
the back porch, the back whatever, it's the stuff you know, you wouldn't see otherwise if you if you didn't take the time to to slow down and glance out your peripherals every now and again. Yeah, there is a there is an energy like that to the railroad. There's so I'm trying to think of a good PC ish way to put it. But you know, in recent years, they've kind of had their balls chopped off to a degree, there's, there's a lot less cowboy ism to it, there's a lot less romance to the rails as, as the big ones become, you know, Wall Street centric. They care less about the the employees and the customers and way more about what the shareholders think. But there is still something to it and and I'd be very curious to check out that book he was mentioning, because there's still exists this this aura to, to traveling, especially here, I think it is very much an American thing. There's no freight system like ours anywhere else in the world. The infrastructure alone, I mean, that used to be an even bigger spiderweb criss crossing states and mountain ranges and valleys and rivers and the plains and whatever else, but I'm, I'm definitely trying to, to, to learn it better and, and try and infiltrate what remains of the, of the romantic railroad of America. I don't know. Yeah, it's just, it's just a recurring theme. And I'm worried that suckers gonna die before we, before anyone saves that,
Thomas Mooney 16:32
that points to a couple things I was actually gonna bring up there. Because so I guess like maybe the, the comparison for other places other other continents is but is like you'll hear people talk about in their 20s going backpacking across Europe or something. To me, that's almost like upper middle class, or like, you got to be kind of rich to do it. If you're just traveling America. I mean, it's very, very blue collar, I feel like anyone can really do that. And so maybe there's some of that tie, which you're really pointing to, in a lot of this, even what you just mentioned, as far as it being kind of, you know, you're a blue collar guy work with your hands. And but you're also you're talking right now about kind of like the the dyeing of that romanticism, right, the dying of the American West and a lot of ways right. And I guess like the a lot of these songs right here, you do talk about the traveling and the the romanticism and I guess, like what I wonder is, do you feel like we were always constantly thinking of like, this is the last generation that's going to be on the frontier? Or do you think like, you know, that there will always kind of be room for for songs like this and, and talking about, you know, essentially the frontier or the American West, even if it's, you know, hopping trains in the 1920s or hopping trains in the 1820s you know, gunslinger style, or, or do you think there's, there's still something like that in modern America,
Erik Shicotte 18:15
there's always gonna be a frontier, it doesn't matter how far gone we are, there's always gonna be something more to explore. But moreso you know, the, the parts that I've come to know and love and the things that I've come to somewhat understand, I'm seeing those get a little left by the wayside more, more so than, you know, there's, it's impossible to ever cover all of the bases and have everything documented, but I just fear that I mean, it extends further than the the romanticism of travel alone, like growing up here in the upper middle West, and, like Sunday lunch and culture, church basement. The I mean, it's had its inherent problems with you know, certain groups getting too excited about some things by truck going by, I apologize. But those little pieces of Americana that that I've grown up with that, that I've become attached to I mean, I guess it's very personal for me is is watching all that, you know, not hearing it in music. I'm not hearing about the Harper Valley PTA anymore, you don't hear that shit. Right. So I think those are dead extends more than that. But there will always be a frontier for someone to, to explore. And, you know, I'm just trying to try to envision what mine is before I completely get distracted by all of the technology and all the connectivity that we have because I think it is important to recognize how big this sucker is, and all the things you can find in between.
Thomas Mooney 20:10
This episode is in part brought to you by Charlie stout photography, Charlie stout has long been a great buddy of mine. And for as long as I've known him, he's always had a good eye, a good eye for ideas for lines and a song. And notably, an eye for what makes a great photograph. Yes, we're gonna roll with that tried and true cliche about a great photographer, having a good eye. But it's cliche for a reason, more often than not means it's true. Right now, I want y'all to head on over to Charlie stout.com. To get an idea of what I'm talking about. While you're at it, go give him a follow on Instagram and Twitter at Troy stout. Right now he has about 50 photographs for sale on Charlie stout.com. With a vast majority of those being landscapes and sky shots of West Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, the American Southwest, if you will, a lot of cacti and clouds, windmills and open roads, sunsets and Stardust, he captures a lot of what I love about West Texas and these dry arid climates. That's mainly that vast emptiness that can really make you feel small, the depth and the way and the intensity, it's all in there. Right now he's doing a special on his prints. Each week, he releases a new photo. And for one week, only that photograph is at a special introductory rate, for just $25, you'll get an eight and a half by 11. That's just about half off the regular price. For 75, you can get a 13 by 19. And for 110, you can get a 17 by 22. After the week, they go back to regular prices, which are still an absolute Still, if you ask me. Also just a pro tip, keep an watchful eye out on his Twitter, he's consistently posting one offs, errors and randoms on there that are for sale that are in the flash sale variety. Again, that is at Charlie stout for Twitter and Instagram. Head on over to Charlie stout.com grab a signed print, buy a record, get yourself some major sounds and some nature shots. Alright, let's get back to the episode. For starters, your your like, not even like one I guess connection away from like blue collar work you are so the the the connection to to do that cut that way alive. And just to inform, you know, listeners, you're an ironworker. So one of those things that me and my buddy often talk about is how often it's these, you know, it's these blue collar guys who have the stories, it's these lower middle class or lower class people who have the stories that either they're the Cowboys or the coal miners or whatever the case, they're the ones who have the stories, but maybe not the the ability to translate that into art, if you will. Well, regardless of art. I guess like, you know, you've probably heard plenty of these stories, even just working and hearing stories from co workers and stuff, but maybe they wouldn't be able to translate that into a song. Do you realize that? And are you have you kind of realized that and understood that? Like, maybe that's something that you need to do? Or? Or has it is it maybe even a little bit more? I don't know organic than that, if you will.
Erik Shicotte 23:49
It's mostly been organic thus far. But as I get deeper into this, I'm realizing you know, I've met so many people with so many stories about who didn't show up to work or who fucked who and you know, what, idiot dropped this on the job or all of these tales from you know, there's so many that are worth telling, and I'm kind of realizing, you know, maybe it's some might be part of the yoke I want to carry that I can translate that because Niners up the EP Eve and that's a song about the some of the erratic behaviors of my co workers on a job set in Wyoming we spent the winter 19 in the 20 they're building a tower and you know, I'm already realizing that I got to translate some of this into music and and I'd say it has been pretty organic and I'm not gonna force anything too hard right now cuz I already got shipped 2030 other tunes that are packed and shipped and ready to be played. So I'm not I'm not terribly concerned about About forcing anything out when when they come, they're gonna come. And I look forward to engaging that process when it does and, you know, calling up my buddies that I used to work with, or whoever I heard the story from and being like, Hey, can you tell me a little more about this time give? What the hell happened? And yeah, Hillsboro, Oregon?
Thomas Mooney 25:23
Yeah, that makes you almost like part journalist right there.
Erik Shicotte 25:29
Well, that's I wouldn't, I wouldn't put that kind of pressure on me. But yeah, I would want to recounted as accurately as I can with, with his, you know, I enjoy creative license, but I also want to make sure it's telling something that's true. That's, that's a huge thing to me. I don't imagination within interpretation, I suppose is big for me.
Thomas Mooney 25:55
Huh? Yeah, for sure. By the way, I have looked up that book. It's a freedom by Sebastian younger. And okay. It's a I'll talk to you the name after this. But yeah, it's uh, it's him and like this a few other folks walking like 400 miles down a railroad tracks. So and it's kind of like these, I think it's kind of a short read, apparently, I think just a little over 100 pages or something. So anyways, yeah, everyone go check that out. I need to check it out myself. But
Erik Shicotte 26:30
so good thing to throw on a coffee table or something?
Thomas Mooney 26:33
Yeah, that's, that's what I was kind of feeling. But going back to what you're saying there, you know, I guess like you're still in this, like this moment of, you know, of the the young songwriter who's Can you know, they're not scared necessarily of running out of stories. Have you? I guess, have you been able to apply any of the, the structure as far as like, you know, trying to write you know, a certain time of day or anything like that every day or a couple times a week? Or? Or is it still in that like you know, just capturing the the magic and then maybe like going back and editing later
Erik Shicotte 27:16
it's way more of the ladder at this point. But I have been thinking an awful lot about you know, sitting down and engaging with it in but I mean, especially I'm off work right now cuz I got a busted Wang, which is terrible timing. Some of the worst timing ever, but it's given me a lot of time to stew on on some of the thoughts in my head, obviously, I can't I can't translate them into melody yet. But I've been thinking about how you know how much is up there and I should really start to try and put put a little pen to paper on some of it and I'll figure out the stuff I do with my hands at a later date. But I think it will be important for me going forward to the squeak some more of that energy out while it's fresh. I don't think that would do anything that really discount the the the organic quality of it, don't call it that but but I don't know I'm still figuring out my process. This is all very new to me. I mean, I played in cover bands for a long time and I've always always been wanting to try and write a song but this is is the first time it's actually turning into something bigger than bigger than I know how to handle
Thomas Mooney 28:37
right yeah, that's right there was it you know, I guess with any kind of artists you're always kind of thinking of you know, putting your own songs out at some point or doing that what was there anyone that like you know, you're playing and people trying to tell you hey that like these need to be recorded or or Was there anyone there's kind of like in your corner just kind of would that stick prodding you trying to tell you hey, this is actually special This is actually necessary. Or, or anything like that, or what's kind of been the case for you.
Erik Shicotte 29:12
There has definitely been a lot of pushing and prodding from people that letter in my in my corner, I guess, you know, you play your stuff for your other friends and play and saying and there I guess I got to a point where I'd heard Oh, that's great man enough that I'd like kind of forgot that. You know, maybe I should do something about it. But I got to give a lot of credit to my manager Brett. And you got to produce the record ash cider for really pushing me to do this and you know, putting putting their weight behind it and telling me Yeah, we're doing this dude, get get your ass in the studio. We're making a record. We're gonna record these songs. And it was really then that push me to take the stick in it you know don't let up Don't let up on the throttle with this and I'm very very glad they did and they've been a world of help Basha has experienced he's worked with Casey and Clayton and Coulter wall and other artists of that nature and he I mean that's how we even ended up on a label we were gonna self release and he did his buddy Adam works Thank you like second Black Country rock shooters label and they were about to hit the button for distro kid and he's like wait one goddamn second let me let me send my buddy here and next thing I know I'm hauling ass across the cross Death Valley on my way to California to make weird wild stuff and ever in a million years thought would be happening to me and and the tunes I write because I you know, it's not to say it isn't for an audience but I up to this point I write for me I write because I hear something or see something or feel something we're believing something. Mm hmm. And and to see that translate into people really rooting for that is fucking weird, man. It's fucking weird. But it's, yeah, go ahead. No, I was just gonna say it's a good kinda weird. It's just I don't know. And I'd seem to tell it again. Answer is Ricky Bobby's, like I'm not sure what to do with my hands. That's where I'm at right now.
Thomas Mooney 31:38
Erik Shicotte 31:40
Oh, shit. Okay, this is real. Holy Christ. What am I supposed to do now? But But yeah, they they pushed me and I've got so many other great friends and and family that were like yeah, dude, do this. Do this make something out of it? I guess I've always had had this voice and I only used to use it for for shocking cashiers when I before I could grow a beard when I was trying to buy cigarettes because it doesn't really fit me doesn't make sense coming out of me, but I got this baritone. I might as well do something with it.
Thomas Mooney 32:16
This episode of new slang is brought to you by the blue light live here in Lubbock, Texas. Blue Light has long been the heart and soul of the Lubbock singer songwriter scene, and has been a home away from home for some of Texas Americana, country and rock and roll's finest over the years. Talk with 99.9% of the Songwriters who have come out of Lubbock and the panhandle at large over the past 20 years. And they'll point to just how integral and necessary the blue light is, with live music and touring slowly but surely coming back spots like the blue light or getting back to their usual ways as well. That means music every night of the week. Do you want to see that schedule? Well, I've got a few options for you. One, go to their socials and give them a follow that is at blue light live on Twitter, at the blue light live on Instagram. And of course, by just searching the blue light live on Facebook, they're consistently posting that week's lineup of shows, as well as those heavy hitters that ought to be on your calendar that are coming up on the horizon. To check out blue light lubbock.com as well. There they have the full schedule, the cover charges, time, any of those specials that may be happening while they're go check out their merge page. They have a wide range of hats, koozies, hoodies, sweaters, beanies, jackets, and so much more. You can of course get all of your merchant age, when you go see your favorite band, take the stage at blue light, just ask the bartender and they will get you all set. Speaking of which, that's another great way of seeing who's playing there. Just go to the blue light. It's at 1806 Buddy Holly Avenue here in Lubbock, Texas. And of course, again, that is blue light, loving, calm. I'll throw a link into the show notes to maybe I'll see you there. Okay, let's get back to the show.
Yeah, man, that's what you're kind of talking about? No, no way is like that imposter syndrome, where you're kind of like, you know, is everyone playing a joke on me? This is weird, everyone, and what the hell I'm doing and it's kind of, you know, it's foreign. It's a foreign feeling.
Erik Shicotte 34:35
It's, it's interesting, but I'm learning to do a little better with it. And, you know, I'm excited to see what I can do with it. not heard of for years when I was doing cover bands, and everyone always thought I could sing pretty nicely and I guess I'm starting to believe them to a degree and I'm just mixing excited to see what I can do with this because I'm already thinking of all the all the covers on want to try and bring out if God forbid, we get, get my hand healed up and I get out on stage because, you know, I like playing my songs I write them for me, but I'm very excited to to explore everyone else's shit to a degree. And I've always enjoyed going through covers of songs I love. Like I my liked songs on Spotify as a mess. There's like a chunk where it's 10 different versions of call me the breeze in a row. And sometimes I run into that, and like I always, I always like to see what kind of spin I can put it, I got a nasty habit of turning double floor time songs into waltzes, which I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. But I'm just excited now that I'm kind of entering this different sphere and this transition into maybe doing this professionally, to see what I can do with that kind of stuff.
Thomas Mooney 36:01
Yeah, that's, uh, you mentioned ash, I've only ran into him one time, and it was here in Lubbock. He was with Coulter at the time. And so I ran into him there. And when I saw his name on the, the, the old liner notes, the the credits here, I was like, Oh, I know that guy. But that's, that's something interesting as far as this EP goes, is, you guys had to do it so remotely. Which it's probably not the most, the greatest of first time experiences cutting an EP, but what was that like as far as kinda, you know, being, you know, in a different place in time than the the band and I guess, like working on that communication know that you guys were on the same page.
Erik Shicotte 36:54
I mean, it was, wasn't my first time in the studio. I got in with one of my, one of the bands I played with years ago, when we attempted to write songs and then realized all of us had very different styles. But this was different cases. Yeah. Where there was no in person cohesion with the the session players and the I mean, we had some great players on this, everyone did a fantastic job. And Aaron Goodrich then did the man I'm pretty a religious but he did God's work with tying this thing together, he produced the band and you know, I'm, I'm fresh on. I'm drain, I'm a new meat. So I don't have the vocabulary to really tell what I'm trying to what I'm trying to hear because I was on a job site in Oregon at the time. When we started this process, we started with the fifth track on the EP silver, because originally we were thinking that might be a single and we didn't know exactly how we were going to play it. But that's the one we started with. And I was way out less than there in Nashville. And I remember Aaron gives me a call one morning, man, it's probably afternoon for him. But I'm on the jobsite and I see the number and I'm like oh shit and so I tell the foreman I gotta go take this call man rolls his eyes at me and I spent 45 minutes just bumbling over my own words trying to tell him what I'm here and what I want to hear out of it and how, how I'd like it to sound but he did a just fantastic job of taking that and, and communicating with the musicians because you know, it's it's way different when you can sit there and non verbally communicate with another musician when you can get in a in a groove or a rhythm with them and you're, you know, there's something magical to that. But especially given that we could not do that, you know, at least with me is what I heard when I started getting the tracks back from him was that they had been able to do that together and also give me plenty of room for my acoustic and my voice because you know, these were none of these were written with the intention of you know, being anything more than just me and a guitar. So creating that cohesive sound was I don't know how he did it but I'm very much looking forward to buying him a beer and sitting down and and thanking him personally for for taking my my bullshit words that I didn't even know how to say and turning them into something that that is beyond my wildest dreams cuz just the way they did it and the the process was chaotic and a little stressful and slow because you know files going back and forth and back For us, and can you bring this up a little? Can you bring that down a little do Do we have any alternatives for this part of this, this guitar, lead, and all of that, you know, it's, it took a while because it has to stuff you could have probably accomplished in three days or sitting in studio for mixing it down to months, but that's just the way it was. And all things considered, given the fact that I wasn't there. And we couldn't just communicate verbally in person. I'm beyond impressed. And it is kind of cool with the, with the remote ship, you can work with anyone, anywhere, at pretty much any time as long as you are willing to find ways to make that communications still happen.
Thomas Mooney 40:52
Right? Yeah, you mentioned that vocabulary, you know, being kind of green on that side, that's, that's always fascinating to me, is relaying what you want to the people who are playing it. And as you kind of said, right there, you know, the the struggle of the recording that way is you know, you turn in five minute conversations into day long conversations. But you know, one of the things that I think is a really beautiful about this is as you said right there like there they left you space because it feels very seamless and you have like the room to really relay the songs as far as like capturing a an emotional aspect of them. And I think specifically like a song like Kansas City like that's very much a you know, you can feel the the heavy the weight of that song in your in your voice. When
Erik Shicotte 41:54
I cry baby, it's on my self pity song.
Thomas Mooney 41:56
Hey, everyone needs a self pity. As I, as I tweeted out today, this was not even in relation to you, but this may fall under outlaw country. So where to where were you? When you first? Where's that song originate from? Kansas City? Yes, sir. Yeah,
Erik Shicotte 42:19
it goes from Kansas City. That was posta. I hesitate to say post mortem, but my heart was flailing and flopping on the ground. At that point in time, I'd had a pretty rough heartbreak at the time, and I was headed west. And my mother, a guitar player and what a band I used to play with the most. He's in Kansas City now. And he's, I think he's about to be in residency. I mean, I've seen this kid drunk as shit on stage. And the fact that he's about to be a doctor is just incredible first stuff, but, you know, every time I go out that way, I make a point of stopping in and seeing him and his and his lady because they're, you know, fantastic people. And so I was running West and I stopped in there, as I was, you know, going through my running through my own tears and driving through. I remember it was winter, I want to say January 2019. And, you know, I was I was gonna go on a little pilgrimage and I was looking at railroads the whole way out but I was aiming for Bakersfield just to you know, see where that ship came from and and I stopped in and I started writing that song on man he's got this nice nice spot in the high rise and you know over oversee most of most of them I don't think it's downtown. I don't remember the exact neighborhood but you can oversee union like the big train depot there. And all these like the big Western auto sign is standing tall. And that song originated from just sitting there and feeling the way I was feeling and smoking a cigarette on his balcony high above I 70 just screaming underneath us. And maybe it was I 35 I don't remember but but it's one of the one on the spots where the interstate goes through a trench and you're just hearing the word of the tires and all the semies coming through and all that shit. And yeah, that was that was when I really started to get in touch with the holistic powers of the highway. I suppose you could say it. And yeah, that one shows a lot of emotion for me. And I don't know, man, I forget the original.
Thomas Mooney 44:39
Just kind of where where that was coming from as far as the he got it. He nailed the question. The
Erik Shicotte 44:48
origin of it. There were a couple of songs that came out of that venture because I took a month off of work and just was like I need to go, I need to go. I need to go. That was I've been kind of stopped working. Working in Wisconsin for about a year I was doing other types of construction and you know, some old shit was coming up to hot man I'm like man I need to I need to get moving It's been too long. I went all the way out to California and spent some time in Texas not that some folks in Austin did the obligatory fucking trip to Luke and Bach which did not end well for me. But I guess that's that's where I learned like corny to them I look like David Koresh which is not something I'm very proud
Thomas Mooney 45:38
Oh man. Yeah.
Erik Shicotte 45:41
Yeah, nobody talked to me for three whole hours and then finally some some big old trucker was like hey look like David crush and then yeah, then I was finally Yeah, I started feeling more at home and and that's how it went for me from there but yeah, man there's a couple other terms that hopefully I'm gonna get to record that came from that that bout of wrestling myself across America, but I don't know man Yeah, you're free to get
Thomas Mooney 46:13
the the talk and David Koresh blues Yeah, that's that's a great I've always you know, obviously being a Texan I've always felt were pretty obviously proud but a welcoming state and that just sounds like the the worst like introduction the index is. Well,
Erik Shicotte 46:33
enough of an intro over and Austin I got pretty used to got used to God. I mean, that's where I found my pretty much favorite gas station is Rudy's because getting them ribs and getting all that meat, just, you know, a place where I can fill up was pretty all right by me. Oh, boy. Hold on Columbia County Sheriff stopping to talk to me because I'm parked out in the middle of the fucking cornfields here.
Thomas Mooney 47:01
I want to break one more time to talk about our pals over at Desert door and offer up a quick Thomas Mooney, cocktail minute, as I've said probably 100 times by now, by no means am I a seasoned mixologist or bartender, but these have been some of my desert door go twos. For starters, let's just go with the tried and true range water. popped the top off the topo Chico, take a good swig. Now pour in some desert door and top it off by throwing in a few lime wedges never fails. This one. It's so simple. It probably doesn't even count. But again, pretty foolproof. do the exact same thing. But get you a Mexican Coca Cola. I guess you can go with a regular one. But you're really cutting yourself short if you don't opt for the Mexican import variety. Alright, here's the change up you've been waiting for desert door sangria. This one is prime for when you have company coming over and you aren't wanting to just be over there making six different drinks at a time. What you'll need is some desert door. Obviously, a bottle of red wine, honey, boiling water, apple cider, apple cider vinegar, some cinnamon sticks, a couple of apples in some time sprigs. I know that may sound intimidating, but trust me it's worth the prep. And honestly, it's pretty easy. For starters, get you a Punchbowl. Add that honey, those cinnamon sticks and the boiling water together. Now you're going to want to stir that all up and let it cool down for about an hour. So remember, patience is a virtue. Once that's done, add some desert door and stir vigorously. Now add the one the cider and the vinegar and continue stirring until it's equally mixed. Now slice those apples up and toss them in. Put in those time sprigs as well. Now you can pour that over some ice and you have a modified sangria chef's kiss. Anyway, those have been some of my favorite go twos as of late. And remember desert door is as versatile as vodka and more refined, smooth, complex and intriguing than tequila. It's rich and balanced. And whether you decide to keep it simple or want to experiment. Desert door is that perfect Texas spirit. There's plenty more recipes over at Desert door.com as well. Check out the show notes for a link. Alright, let's get back to the episode.
Erik Shicotte 49:37
He's leaving. Yes, well, that's a fun part. I apologize man.
Thomas Mooney 49:49
No, no, it's no worries.
Erik Shicotte 49:54
It is not the first time or the last time I will be you know Obviously catered for sitting in the cornfield. I do this a lot when I'm looking for railroads to take pictures or to you know, you're sitting out somewhere waiting, just waiting and watching and, and nervously watching the sky hoping your train is going to come before these clouds roll in or the sun goes down and some county money will roll up and have no idea what to make what you're doing. I'm like, Oh, it's just a hobby, man. I like doing this. Yeah, not up to not up to no good. I'm just waiting. I got a Jimmy Rogers waiting for a train man.
Thomas Mooney 50:32
Yeah, I got a buddy who shoots landscape down here in Texas in Arizona and went on the trip on within one time down to Alpine. And we went through Big Ben and whatnot. And, you know, he just if he sees something he just pulls off to the side of the road right there. And, you know, starts snapping away and finding stuff and we never got caught or never got stopped or anything like that. No, nobody came by but I imagine he he's been, you know, his fair share of a jackal notes. Yeah, just because, you know, people were like, What? What are you doing? And he's like, you know, I got a fucking camera. This is what I'm doing this is
Erik Shicotte 51:14
I've had all sorts I've had like local yokels come yell at me for I mean, it's, that's the thing like, it's legal to like gets protected. If you're on public property, it is well within your rights to take pictures or whatever you want to. Yeah, there's there. I mean, I understand that some people might think that's creepy. And but but you know, especially for the kind of stuff it sounds like your buddy does and what I do like, We're not here for you. Yeah, asshole. I'm waiting for a train. I've been here for two hours, and it's just taking its sweet ass time. Last thing I'm trying to take a picture of is you yelling at me? Yeah. That's not what I'm here for. Trust me. I'm not trying to take pictures of your backyard or whatever the hell you think I'm doing? Bad. Bad cops tell me you know, that railroads are federal property and that it's illegal to take pictures of them. And yeah, I have a hard time just being like a buddy. Yeah. You're a Leo. You ought to know this law a little better than you do, pal. But right.
Thomas Mooney 52:18
I think like that's, it's one of those things where, you know, technically, sure, yeah, it's the technically you know, you don't own your mailbox, the the mail service owns your mailbox. So you can't technically like drop something in someone else's mailbox. But we do it anyways. And it's fine. Like, you don't have to be an asshole about shit like that. Yeah, it's one of those things.
Erik Shicotte 52:46
Like is it really that slow of a news day?
Thomas Mooney 52:49
Yeah, exactly. One of the things that I wanted to bring up that I I'm telling you this is something that I feel like we're very much in the same generation and that's the you you kind of got some some of your music. Inspiration influenced at a early age from video game soundtracks. And I swear like this is a very very specific time in a lot of people's lives. The PlayStation two PlayStation two any kind of sports games you need like the BMX any, any that stuff? Great soundtracks. Yeah, I want you to expand on because your your your choice here is a little bit more left field than most people who are picking like Madden, or like Tony Hawk's Pro Skater.
Erik Shicotte 53:47
I mean, I do remember Tony Hawk's Pro Skater because I used to play that my, my neighbor friend's basement. But uh, personally like, I was never a huge gamer, but I always loved racing games and flying games and stuff like that. So like, she and I can't remember the name but yeah, I I picked up a PlayStation two and like 2008 and up to that point it at all men ps1 are my buddies and 64 so I was I was already behind the times, but yeah, the whole reason I ever fucking learn how to play guitar was PlayStation well, NASCAR 99 Stevie Ray Vaughn scuttle button was the main menu music and that to me that song is just so cool. It's so fast and upbeat and and yeah that I guess I guess yeah, I haven't taken much stock in it myself. But I do have to credit that for for inspiring me to to start making start making music. I don't know man. It's It's a weird concept to wrap your head around when you when you haven't really embraced it fully. But But yeah, that's that that that has been a huge part of our culture. No, I don't I don't I don't see how we you know what year you were born, but I was born in 93. So the exposure to that, whether whether it be my antiquated gaming systems at the time, or, you know, going over to a friend's house and seeing them on their Xbox and never ending down to the halo music, right? That's that expose a whole new generation of stuff that was not just pop music.
Thomas Mooney 55:26
Yeah, the halo music specifically. Like I'm thinking like, Man, that got me probably more into like, some post rock stuff. And some, you know, movie score soundtracks and shit like, yeah, and yeah, I just find it interesting. Because, you know, you can point it back to NASCAR 99 a lot of the the, the origin stories, if you will, of what made you want to pick up a guitar? Or not like these clean stories of? Well, you know, my dad took me in to see Johnny Cash when I was a kid, and he handed me a guitar. You know, there's no no one has those stories. It's always the well, you know, I was playing NASCAR 99 I got obsessed with the Stevie Ray Vaughn. song on there, and I had to learn it. You know, everyone that's that's Everyone's story. It may or may not it's not necessarily not in NASCAR. 99. But, yeah,
Erik Shicotte 56:23
it comes from all over the place, man, everyone's got their own weird little thing that happened that that snowballed into somehow become a musician. Hmm. Whether that ass backwards or not, then I will never, I don't think learn scuttle button because it's just too fast for my feeble fat fingers. But But yeah, dude, it is it got me into Stevie Ray, and in turn, got me into the blues. And in turn, you know, I'd taken piano lessons since I was a kid and I can't read music and I never could figure out how to do that. But six strings came a whole hell of a lot more naturally to me. And my parents, you know, they saw my interest in it. And they're like, here's a guitar. And next thing I know, you know, I'm in a shitty high school band. And I'm doing this and I'm doing that and, and what hell 12 1314 years later, here I am sitting in a cornfield getting accosted by the Columbia County Sheriff's district. Again, having an interview about my music and that kind of shit. It's weird, man.
Thomas Mooney 57:30
Yeah, yeah, the I wanted to bring up that right there. As far as you being raised in Wisconsin, you know, a lot of this music a lot, obviously, a lot of great American music is from like the Mississippi Delta, you know, the blues music and stuff like that. If you look back at like, what Coulter was doing with imaginary Appalachia, of course, like, you know, he's not from Appalachia, he's from Western canadia are Canada, and Canadian canadia. And he's a, he's drawn inspiration from there. I think there's an interesting thing right there that you're doing as well. As far as you know, you're from a very specific place, but, you know, you're being inspired or making music that again, like as I've mentioned, a lot of these are like traveling songs, but I think a lot of that roots is is in that Jimmy Rogers kind of stuff or the the Mississippi Delta Blues aspect to it?
Erik Shicotte 58:33
Well, one wonderful thing about music is it can transcend any border. So,
Thomas Mooney 58:39
um, well, as far as that goes, like, you know, do you feel like you You liked it a little bit more? Because it was from a different place that it wasn't just from that backyard? It was it was maybe not, you know, something that was ordinary to you because it was just common from from all around where you were? No.
Erik Shicotte 59:03
I wouldn't say that quiet cuz, especially up here. There's no real specific niche. I mean, you do have your cliques of music up here. But you know, there's, there's a lot of melting pot type stuff that happens up here and especially playing in the bands I played in when I was younger, like when you have to be a true to form variety band, you have to have elements of all sorts of different pieces and parts of, of music because, you know, there's no one specific thing that people are into here. If you're gonna play a fireman's picnic, picnic, or the county fair, you're gonna have rock bands, you're gonna have country x, you're gonna have shit. We got polka bands here. For God's sake. There's still a market for that. Like it's the allure of The kind of music I've come to, to, to create and enjoy and, and find my vein in is is not because it's from one place or the other. I do love the history of how it came to be and I guess you could somewhat call it the etymology of the language used within these tunes but but that's not why I just have been exposed to so much that I start picking up little bits and pieces from one thing or the other. And I guess you know, I was raised on a lot of classic rock and, and that but the two voices that stick out most prominently from my childhood are Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline. Mm hmm. Like then then then to I mean, I've had to say it a million times, but I'll say until the day I die like that, that shit hit me that that that was the soundtrack to some of my best memories as a child, because we got a little place on the lake, way up north in the woods of Wisconsin and I that that was the soundtrack to my childhood. I mean, just not here. Fleetwood Mac got here pretence and I hear some of the modern shit out here, some Sheryl Crow and whatever, what have you but, but what stuck with me was Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline and, and as I got older and started to figure out who they were and what what that tradition came from, I started you know, actually hearing more country, you know, traditional and, and modern and outlaw and otherwise, whatever you want to call it. As I got older, I started to expand my own horizons in it. And even you know, my old man started listening to more, I guess you can say alternative sources. you'd start here over here in Ray Wylie Hubbard and, and Lucinda Williams and Steve Earle and that kind of stuff. And, and it really, you know, it was never a place I was after it was it was a feeling more so I guess. Yeah. Is that that music makes you feel some kind of way?
Thomas Mooney 1:02:11
Yeah, well, that's what I actually I was gonna ask right there because of the two of the artists that you mentioned. I think like Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline are obviously incredible artists. And I don't have to go on the soapbox talking about how great they are. But one of the things that maybe is underrated about them is they're very digestible, even on like a very, very surface level that if you're a kid, and you're not really reading in the lyrics, or story or narrative, you can still tap into the emotional weight of a song that's being delivered by Patsy Cline or Johnny Cash. So absolutely. I'm guessing, you know, like, that's something that was very, very easy for you to, you know, dive into at an early age and then it was, you know, as years go by, you start to the stories start unfolding.
Erik Shicotte 1:03:09
They do, they do. And, well, the great thing about that is to you know, tapping into that, the emotion that the chats like them could deliver, you know, it even opened the door further to, to discovering more like, I got super into Johnny, as I got into my mid teens, and I bought a box set of the Johnny Cash show. And I'd watch that and I'd see all these artists, you know, I might have a passing knowledge of, but I started to listen, I got way more into Kris Kristofferson. And and that was my first you know, I always knew who Waylon was, but I was I was exposed to I remember watching watching that his performance I think it was a only daddy that'll Walk the Line and like the basis fucks up a little or something happens. And you get to watch live how they respond to that and, and wailings like grinning and laughing and you know, this is way before long hair Waylon and it's just it was it was so cool. And such a such an open fucking door to walk through and start. I mean, that's how I got in touch with Townes. Van Zandt and Steve Goodman, and all just, Oh, God. I don't know, music is just incredibly cool. And the way one little thing can open up a whole world of other stuff for you. Yeah, and there's so much to learn and be found in this and that's just one little corner that's that was just from the Johnny Cash show. And then my weird ass buying it on DVD when I was like 15 years old.
Thomas Mooney 1:04:54
Yeah, well, a lot of that right there. I think there's, I don't know if we're ever gonna be able to go back to that. Era as far as what was happening in country music from, we're gonna go delicious, say loosely 50 to 80 when people were cutting so many records, and what that meant was people were cutting so many outside songs, you know, and if you were like me, which sounds like unlike so many other people, you know, diving into those liner notes, was the way to discover more music, the tap dance and like all the the songwriters, if you will, and that's, that's the kind of like, I don't know, if we're ever gonna be able to go back to that time. Because I think right now, like, in granted, this is this is still a worthy thing as far as artists cutting their own records and own songs. But you know, whenever there's like a song that was cut 1520 times by 20 different artists, you do have these different takes on them. And then of course, you know, you want to go and find that original take whoever that original artists was,
Erik Shicotte 1:06:03
yeah, absolutely. I, I've really enjoyed, especially over the past couple of years is, you know, looking at, like you said, liner notes, the credits who wrote this thing, and how did they do it, and why and figuring out and then, you know, exploring them and the other song and realizing some of your favorite songs were, oh, this person wrote that, too. What how, how's it didn't, I would have had no idea otherwise. And because a lot of my, you know, exposure to that was never really, you know, my folks, they liked music, but they're not, they're not particularly musical themselves. So I never really no parts of the stories behind songs. It's not something they had been so keenly interested in, it was when they were growing up. So I didn't have like that, that backlog of knowledge. And I, you know, it's been a privilege finding that for myself. But you mentioned how, you know, you don't think we can ever go back to that place, I don't think we need to. That's, that's an important piece of history that we got to do, we got to keep track of, but what's exciting now is the availability of information. And, you know, a story is always best told by someone that lived it. But the fact that a lot of this has been, you know, recorded for posterity is, is a, you know, that takes a little bit of the personality out of it. But the fact that it is available moreso to the dare I say masses is I think there's some really cool shit that can come out of that. I don't, I don't necessarily enjoy the fact that everything is mainlined. And you lose a lot of the details along the way, but with the way we've progressed, in technology, and communications, I suppose it's a little inevitable. And the fact that there are a lot of artists, you know, of our generation or younger that that takes stock in the, in the tradition of it all is is very promising. And, you know, that's something I have to smile about, at the end of the day, rather, you know, it's been a worry, too, that we're going to lose it but but I see in all of these, all of these new artists coming out with with this kind of music is that no, it still exists, and it is still alive. And it you got damn it, it's doing pretty well.
Thomas Mooney 1:08:44
Yeah, no, I definitely agree with that. You know, what I? What I think right now, as far as there there is this, you know, this crest of riding a crest of new genuine music that's that's rooted in country and roots and Americana, even though that's a very bland way of putting it. But yeah, there's a lot of really great artists telling their own stories. And that's what i what i love so much right now is that you're finding a lot of artists proud or not necessarily been proud. But capturing where they're from. Very, very regional. And maybe like the throw back of what, what it is even though like, as you mentioned, the the more popular it gets the more mainline, the more, you know, just homogenized into, you know, the most general top layer, if you will. Yeah, but but there's obviously a lot of great stuff happening. So, yeah.
Erik Shicotte 1:09:52
Oh, that's that's one of my hopes is amongst the amalgam of all this crap. You know, there are pieces of True tradition shining through which is which is good, which is good to see. And I know we're gonna lose a little bits of detail but that's, that's the endless march of time and and I am hopeful that you know parts of it will be preserved the parts that are worth preserving will be preserved.
Thomas Mooney 1:10:23
Yeah, I think so as well. Eric it's it's been really great talking with you this afternoon
Erik Shicotte 1:10:31
it's been it's been a it's been an honor hanging out anytime as I appreciate you, you know, bearing with me especially through law enforcement and trucks going by and all this shit but, man, this is cool. I like this. I appreciate it.
Thomas Mooney 1:10:51
All right, that is it. For this episode, be sure to check out misery Pacific, the new debut EP by Eric Shai Scott. Go over and visit our presenting partners over at Desert door, the blue light live and Charlie stout photography, go visit our merch store, check out the Patreon and yeah, I'll see y'all later this week for another episode.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai