Nov 7, 2017
It’s hard to over-state the importance of Norbert Putnam to Southern music. As a teenager he was one of a handful of guys who built the legendary recording scene in Muscle Shoals from scratch. Working with a young Rick Hall and Tom Stafford, plus some fellow musicians, they figured out how to make records and then how to make hit records. And they made history. Then Putnam and several of his studio musician colleagues moved to Nashville and ushered in a new era when a swirl of genres from soul to rock and roll mingled with and drew from the country recording scene that was already well established. Putnam produced important music for Joan Baez, Dan Fogelberg, Jimmy Buffett - and he played for years in studio and on the road for Elvis Presley. He’s a figurehead and a great storyteller.
Jon Langford meanwhile grew up in Wales but made his name as a founding member of The Mekons, an influential underground band that laid the groundwork for the country punk and alt-country movements. Besides songwriting, which he’s done prolifically as a solo artist and collaborator in many bands including the Waco brothers and the Pine Valley Cosmonauts, Langford’s been an admired painter. He’s most famous for his graphic visions of the conflicts inherent in and around country music. His work has been shown widely around the US and the UK and a couple years ago, he was asked to do the feature art for the Country Music Hall of Fame's Nashville Cats exhibit. There, he met Norbert Putnam, who invited him to come to Muscle Shoals to make a record. It’s title: Four Lost Souls.
With guest interviewer/producer Gina Frary Bacon.