• News

    Posted on April 2nd, 2014

    Written by ken green


    Chuck Mead & His Grassy Knoll Boys Perform ‘The Light Of Day’ on Live & Breathing

    After leading several popular ‘80s cult bands in and around his hometown of Lawrence, Kansas, Chuck Mead landed on Nashville’s Lower Broadway where he co-founded the famed ‘90s Alternative Country quintet BR549. In 2009, he released his acclaimed solo debut album, Journeyman’s Wager, and toured clubs, concert halls and international Rock, Country and Rockabilly festivals with his band The Grassy Knoll Boys.
    Check out the video here: http://liveandbreathing.com/chuck-mead-his-grassy-knoll-boys/chuck-mead-his-grassy-knoll-boys-the-light-of-day

  • News

    Posted on March 19th, 2014

    Written by ken green


    A showman’s life: A stint as music director of an award-winning musical took Chuck Mead to places he never thought he’d go.

    by Joshua Boydston for Oklahoma Gazette

    March 12th, 2014

    Chuck Mead is something of a yes man.

    Across his storied career from frontman of alternative country outfit BR549 to his current days as a solo artist, Mead has always made a point of accepting more invitations than he turns down. That mindset has taken him down a path worthy of the winding narratives laid out in his rootsy, rockabilly-leaning songs.

    It has brought Grammy nominations, tours with the likes of The Black Crowes and Brian Setzer and a role as music director for the Tony Award winning Broadway musical Million Dollar Quartet, inspired by a recording session featuring Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis.

    “It took me somewhere I never thought I’d go,” Mead said. “I said yes, even though I didn’t have a clue how to do something like that. I’d never have guessed it would have been one of the most incredible experiences of my life.”

    Broadway might have been new to Mead, but classic American music wasn’t. As BR549 drifted into an indefinite hiatus in 2006, Million Dollar Quartet proved to be a new gymnasium to exercise that songwriting muscle and historian-like appreciation for all things roots music, highlighted by his deep love of Hank Williams, Bob Dylan, Merle Haggard and Nick Lowe.

    It proved to refuel his creative energy rather than drain it, too. 2009 brought his solo debut,Journeyman’s Wager, followed by 2012’s cover record Back at The Quonset Hut, which features guest spots from Old Crow Medicine Show, Bobby Bare, Jamie Johnson and more.

    Now, Mead — appearing March 19 at Grandad’s Bar — is back with a new album of original works,Free State Serenade, inspired by his roots in The Sunflower State and the folklore he grew up on there.

    “It’s the Kansas of my imagination,” he said. “I just hope people will realize that things do happen out there on the prairie.”

    The tales play out like juicy pulp fiction or Southern gothic noir, visiting subjects as varied as crime, love, murder, UFOs and psychologically devastating personal tragedies. They’re treated with a bracing honesty and eccentric sense of twisted humor that Mead describes as “cathartic.”A song written in tribute to his wife proved to be an impetus for a long list of honky-tonk rock tracks and ballads, the collection acting less as a “heavy-handed concept album” and more as “a book of short stories,” in the eyes of Mead.

    “I swore to myself that I wouldn’t pull any punches. There are certain things you just have to get out there in the stratosphere, and I think I did that in celebrating my home state,” he said. “I learned that it’s good to purge yourself of certain thoughts — good ones and bad — just so people know exactly how you feel.”


  • News

    Posted on March 3rd, 2014

    Written by ken green


    “The range of Chuck Mead’s country, blues and rock sounds here is impressively adroit.” NPR Reviews Chuck’s New Record

    Chuck Mead: Gleefully Sinister Country Serenades

    March 3, 2014

    by Ken Tucker for NPR

    In “Reno County Girl,” Chuck Mead serenades us with a tale about a young woman with whom his narrator fell in love. It’s a loping country song, Mead’s version of cowboy music, but as its pretty melody unfurls, you realize that its scenario is bleak: Mead’s character urged her to leave home despite the objections of her father, and it turns out Daddy was right — this guy leaves her all by her lonesome much of the time. “She knows I’m the kind that likes to ramble around,” he sings, noting that she “suffers through it all with country dignity.” Mead hooks the listener, eager to show us the bleak side of what seemed like a bright scenario. That’s the way he operates during much of Free State Serenade.

    “Evil Wind” sounds initially like a rockabilly boasting song until its details begin to gather around the music. You realize Chuck Mead is singing in the voice of Dick Hickock, one of the two men who killed the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kan., in 1959. That awful crime was made famous by Truman Capote’s book In Cold Blood. What Chuck Mead brings to the tale is an unnervingly spirited, almost gleeful recitation of the crime. Indeed, much of the Kansas that Mead spotlights over the course of this album is the state as a site for wild, illicit or illegal behavior, tinged with humorous eccentricity. There’s a song about a UFO sighting, as well as a tidy piece of Western swing called “Neosho Valley Sue.”

    The song that summarizes this album best may well be its final one, “Sittin’ on Top of the Bottom.” Its barfly narrator howls about his comedown in life — a fall from grace for reasons that are left unspecified, but which have the ring of clanging inevitability. Chuck Mead knows how to give despair a good, wrenching twist.

    The range of Chuck Mead’s country, blues and rock sounds here is impressively adroit. If he sometimes undermines his tragic themes with smart-aleck phrasing and the occasionally obvious rhyme, well, you could hear that as part of his strategy, as well. He wants to lull you into thinking you’re experiencing the kind of songs you’ve heard before, only to leave you as surprised as his narrators about how their sorry lives turn out.


  • News

    Posted on February 25th, 2014

    Written by ken green


    USA Today Premieres ‘Free State Serenade’ – Streaming Now!

    Former BR549 frontman draws inspiration from home state for his new solo set.

    Stream Free State Serenade here: http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/music/2014/02/25/chuck-mead-free-state-serenade-album-premiere/5804391/

    Country singer Chuck Mead may not be in Kansas anymore, but his new album sure is rooted there.

    Free State Serenade, premiering at USA TODAY a week in advance of its March 4 release, draws inspiration from stories the Lawrence, Kan., native associates with his home state.

    Mead has described the album as “Kansas noir,” with songs about the Clutter family murder that inspired Truman Capote’s book In Cold Blood and the Civil War’s Lawrence Massacre. Musically, the album ranges from the acoustic folk of Knee Deep in the Walkarusa to the revved-up rockabilly of Evil Wind.

    Mead has lived in Nashville for the past 20 years, first forming the acclaimed country band BR549 and more recently working as the music director for the Broadway show Million Dollar Quartet. For Free State Serenade, he’s backed by his band, the Grassy Knoll Boys, with guest appearances from BR549′s Don Herron and Old Crow Medicine Show’s Critter Fuqua.

    Free State Serenade is Mead’s first album for Plowboy Records, a Nashville record label founded by former Dead Boys guitarist Cheetah Chrome, author/professor Don Cusic and Shannon Pollard, the grandson of country music great Eddy Arnold.

    Mead will play an album release party March 5 at The Basement in Nashville.

  • News

    Posted on February 21st, 2014

    Written by ken green


    KCUR: All The Songs On The New Chuck Mead Album Are About Kansas

    By  for KCUR


    Chuck Mead left Kansas more than two decades ago when he set out for Nashville and made a name for himself in country music. Now he’s circling back to Kansas, where his career began.

    The first group he formed there, BR549, started out as the house band at Robert’s Western World on Lower Broadway in Nashville, just across the alley from Ryman Auditorium, the original home of the Grand Ole Opry.  BR549 quickly built a huge following playing regularly in the small bar.

    “Finally the editor of Billboard magazine, Timothy Wise, came in here (to Robert’s) and got drunk, said he was going to put us on the cover of Billboard magazine,” said Mead, enjoying a beer at the bar. “He did and that’s how we got our record deal.”

    Several world tours and Grammy nominations later, Mead is ready to release an album based on his recollections of Kansas.

    “The whole record is sort of Kansas noir, I guess,” says Mead. “There’s a song about Quantrill’s raid on Lawrence. And there’s a song about the Clutter murder in Holcomb, Kansas in 1959, made famous by Truman Capote’s book, In Cold Blood. And there’s a happy little romp about me and a bunch of buddies seeing a UFO, while suffering through a certain kind of self-induced mental duress. That’s a polite way of saying it, right?”

    “A little fancy and a little fact,” continues Mead. “It’s all a little dreamy. And you know, let’s face it, Kansas can get scary sometimes.”

    Chuck Mead’s new record is called “Free State Serenade.” It comes out March 4.


  • News

    Posted on February 19th, 2014

    Written by ken green


    Jambands: Chuck Mead on U.S. tour in support of ‘Free State Serenade’ album

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. —  Chuck Mead has announced U.S. tour dates in support of his debut album for Nashville’s Plowboy Records, Free State Serenade, a wild ride of hillbilly blues and honky-tonk. Mead, best known for his work as frontman for BR549, wrote the album based on the stories, legends, crimes and lonesome open roads of his childhood and formative years in Kansas. Free State Serenade was recorded with his longtime band The Grassy Knoll Boys.

    Free State Serenade jumps from jaunty mountain airs like “Neosho Valley Sue,” in which BR549’s Don Herron lends his fiddle to what Mead calls a “coming of age ditty,” to “Sittin’ on Top of the Bottom,” a whip-smart ode to “Sittin’ On Top of the World.” “The Devil By Their Side” is a dark, chugging rock ’n’ roll number about William Quantrill’s murderous 1863 Civil War raid of Lawrence, Kansas.

    Mead co-founded three-time Grammy®–nominated alternative country band BR549, who got their start playing on Nashville’s Lower Broadway before recording seven full-length LPs and winning a Country Music Association Award. With BR on hiatus, Mead formed the Hillbilly All-Stars featuring members of the Mavericks, co-produced popular tribute albums to Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings, guest-lectured at Vanderbilt University, and became a staff writer at one of Nashville’s top song publishers.

    Mead also serves as music director for the hit Broadway show Million Dollar Quartet, currently touring throughout North America to rave reviews. Mead has released two solo albums, Journeyman’s Wager and Back at the Quonset Hut, with the Grassy Knoll Boys. Free State Serenade was co-produced with longtime friend Joe Pisapia (k.d. Lang, Ben Folds Five) and features BR549’s Don Herron and Old Crow Medicine Show’s Critter Fuqua.

    According to Mead, “It’s been incredibly liberating to do all these things I’ve never done before. I’ve already gone from the bars of Lower Broadway in Nashville to the Broadway stage, and the upcoming album is one of the most unique and rewarding projects I’ve ever been a part of. I’m looking forward to where it all brings me next.”

    Plowboy Records’ founders are Eddy Arnold’s grandson and musician Shannon Pollard; author, professor and music historian Don Cusic; and punk legend Cheetah Chrome. Their first two releases include Darker Than Light by Bobby Bare, who was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame last month, and You Don’t Know Me: Rediscovering Eddy Arnold, a tribute album to one of the most influential country musicians of all time, featuring a track performed by Mead.

    Chuck Mead on tour, February-March 2014
    Fri., Feb. 21  KANSAS CITY, MO Folk Alliance
    Sat., Feb. 22  LAWRENCE, KS The Bottlenec
    Sun., Feb. 23  COLUMBIA, MO Mojo’s
    Wed., March 5  NASHVILLE, TN The Basement (album release)
    Wed., March 12  AUSTIN, TX Guitartown/Conqueroo Kickoff 2014 at the Dogwood
    Wed. March 12 – AUSTIN, TX SXSW, Shotgun’s on 6th, 9 p.m.
    Thurs., March 13  NEW BRAUNFELS, TX River Road Ice House
    Fri., March 14  AUSTIN, TX TBA
    Sat., March 15 – AUSTIN, TX SXSW, Saxon Pub, 11 p.m.
    Sat., March 15  AUSTIN, TX Folk Alliance Party, Threadgill’s
    Sat., March 15  AUSTIN, TX Alejandro Escovedo’s Maria’s Taco Xpress party
    Sun., March 16  TULSA, OK Mercury Lounge
    Tues., March 18  BLUE SPRINGS, MO Trouser Mouse
    Wed., March 19  OKLAHOMA CITY, OK Grandad’s Bar
    Thurs., March 20  AUSTIN, TX The Continental Club
    Fri., March 21   ROSCOE, TX The Lumberyard
    Sat., March 22  FREDERICKSBURG, TX Luckenbach
    Sun., March 23  HOUSTON, TX The Mucky Duck
    More dates to be announced soon!
  • News

    Posted on February 5th, 2014

    Written by ken green


    Chuck Mead talks Plowboy Records, his new album, and the Million Dollar Quartet

    Wed, Feb 5, 2014

    by Nick Spacek for The Pitch Kansas City

    As part of our International Folk Alliance Conference preview series, we’re rounding up a bunch of notable acts that are coming to town and chatting about what’s happening in their world. The International Folk Alliance Conference takes place from February 19-23. Details here.

    Chuck Mead is a familiar face around these parts. He grew up in Lawrence, where he was part of the cowpunk quartet the Homestead Grays, before lighting off to Nashville, where he’d rise to prominence as part of roots country act BR549. Mead’s a solo act these days, and has a new album, Free State Serenade, due out soon on new label Plowboy Records, which features among its backers Dead Boys’ guitarist Cheetah Chrome and Eddy Arnold’s grandson.

    There are a lot of topics to cover when speaking with Mead, and he was more than willing discuss all aspect of his career, from BR549′s roots to his work with the hit Broadway musical the Million Dollar Quartet.

    The Pitch
    : How’d you get involved with the Folk Alliance International Conference?

    Chuck Mead: As I’m sure you know, Louis Meyers, who’s the head of the Folk Alliance – he’s the guy who started South By Southwest. I’ve been knowin’ him for years and years. In fact, he reminded me a couple of years ago, down at South By, that a band I had been in years ago called the Homestead Grays had played the first South By Southwest. The second one, too. Actually, it might’ve been just the second one. And, y’know, I’ve played it a whole bunch since then.

    But, I’ve been knowin’ Louis forever, and his motives are very honorable, and he just wants to promote this kind of music. It’s kind of a mini South By, just concentrated on one form of music, which is folk music, and since I play country music, and that’s folk music, it just seemed like something I’d like to be involved in. So, y’know, for quite a few years now, I’ve been part of the Folk Alliance. I just really love what it brings, what it stands for, and I’m just really glad that it’s made its home in Kansas City.

    People don’t think of Kansas City when they think of a music town, but when you really think about it, it’s one of the music towns. I mean … shit, you’ve got jazz and blues alone, let alone the country and folk, which is all in the middle of the country. Even the Beatles came through Kansas City. So, I’m real excited it being there, and so close to my home – hometown, anyway.

    This new record’s being released simply as by Chuck Mead, rather than Chuck Mead and His Grassy Knoll Boys. Is there a reason?

    I wrote 12 songs, but on the vinyl, there’s only 10 songs, because they’re all songs I wrote about Kansas, and my time growin’ up in Kansas. Stuff that I remember from my childhood and things that happened to me personally, and it just seemed like it was a much more personal thing that I wanted to say, and I didn’t want to involve those guys in it. [laughs] In all my little ghosts and nooks and crannies and shit, so it’s just coming out under my name, even though all those guys are still on it. And it really is a band record.

    I’ve heard the new single, “Sittin’ On Top of the Bottom,” and it sounds kind of raw.

    You know, ironically, that’s one of the bonus cuts. It kind of came out a little prematurely. It’s not one of the Kansas songs at all. That’s just one of the songs that I had kind of left over that I wanted to put on a record. So, that’s that, y’know. It is kind of raw, and I wanted it to be. I had that song before – I cut it for my Journeyman’s Wager record, and I really liked this version of it, because it’s my band, y’know? And it is a very drunken, two in the morning, sort of song.

    How’d you come to be involved with Plowboy Records? It’s kind of an interesting collective that runs it.

    Well, you know, Shane Pollard is Eddy Arnold’s grandson, and Eddy Arnold is kind of a larger-than-life country music figure. One of the architects of country music. [Pollard] was trying to get his grandfather’s name out. People know him for his later work – it’s real smooth, he’s such a great singer. But, his early work in the ’40s, that kind of helped define what country music was. He was known as the Tennessee Plowboy, and when [Pollard] decided to make a record company, he wanted to spotlight Eddy Anrold’s early work, so that people remember that it was a very cool thing.

    So, he called up all these different artists – and I was one of them – to do an Eddy Arnold tribute record. It has everybody on there from Pokey LaFarge and me and Alejandro Escovedo, and a number of really great artists to interpret Eddy Arnold songs, just to kind of get his early work back out there, and I think they really pulled it off. It’s really a fantastic record.

    So, that’s how I got involved with them. Then, they called me up again because they wanted me to do a Christmas song for them. So, I recorded an Eddy Arnold song called “Will Santa Come to Shantytown?” That’s how we got a relationship. And y’know, Cheetah Chrome from the Dead Boys – when that Young, Loud, and Snotty record came out, my friends and I wore that record out. So, having him be the A&R guy, really represents the two sides to me: the country side, which is what I’ve always done, since I’ve been playing music professionally – since I was 12 – but, then, I’ve got a rock ‘n’ roll heart. That’s pretty much how it came about, and those guys want to do it right, and for the right reasons.

    What’s your involvement with the Million Dollar Quartet musical?

    I’m the musical director, arranger, supervisor for that show. I just stumbled into that. A good friend of mine – Colin Escott, who’s a great music writer – called me up one day and asked, “Did you ever think about doing musical theater?” And, like … “No. Not really.” He said that he and this other guy named Floyd Mutrux had come up with this treatment for this Broadway musical that featured all that great rockabilly music, but they didn’t want it to get all musical theater-ized, if you know what I mean, with the jazz hands and everything.

    They wanted to make it authentic rockabilly, where people sang and played and acted like their character, which is not an easy thing to do. And so, I came aboard on this thing and it’d been kind of a crazy journey, you know? It’s still running in Chicago, and it’s been running since 2008. We were two and a half years in New York, which was a gift, and we went and did it a year in London on the West End, and the touring troupe is on their third year of touring.

    It was a great chop to learn, making the songs relevant for today without making them lose the spirit of the old rock ‘n’ roll – where anything can happen – but, to actually move the plot along with it, and to insert underscoring in certain places. I learned a whole lot. And, the next step is I’d like to write one, but that’s the selfish songwriter in me.

    Chuck Mead plays the Folk Alliance International Conference on Friday, February 21, and the Bottleneck on Saturday, February 22


  • News

    Posted on January 6th, 2014

    Written by ken green


    USA Today Debuts New Chuck Mead Song

    Premiere: Chuck Mead’s ‘Sittin’ on Top of the Bottom’

    Brian Mansfield, Special for USA TODAY12 p.m. EST January 6, 2014

    “Sittin’ on Top of the Bottom” comes from “Free State Serenade,” due March 4.

    Here’s a little howling hillbilly blues to start your week.

    Sittin’ on Top of the Bottom, premiering at USA TODAY, comes from Chuck Mead’s forthcomingFree State Serenade album. It’s the Nashville country singer’s first release for Plowboy Records, the nascent record label founded by former Dead Boys guitarist Cheetah Chrome, author/professorDon Cusic and Shannon Pollard, the grandson of country music great Eddy Arnold.

    Free State Serenade comes out March 4.

    Longtime country fans may remember Mead from his earlier band, BR549, which released a half-dozen albums between 1996 and 2006. Mead also has released two solo albums, Journeyman’s Wager and Back at the Quonset Hut, and he also served as the music director for the Broadway production Million Dollar Quartet, based on the music of Sun Records.

    Click here to hear the new track: http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/music/2014/01/06/chuck-mead-sittin-on-top-of-the-bottom-premiere/4337719/

  • News

    Posted on September 18th, 2013

    Written by ken green


    FROM LOWER BROADWAY TO BROADWAY: Rochester NY’s City Paper Talks To Chuck

    by Frank De Blase for The Rochester City Paper

    “We’re gonna make sure shit gets broke at Abilene,” promises country singer/songwriter/all-around rambunctious hillbilly cat, Chuck Mead. And though he and his band, the Grassy Knoll Boys, will undoubtedly tear up the joint, Mead is a respectful artist who speaks with an excited reserve when talking about his latest platter, “Back at the Quonset Hut.” It was recorded at what was originally known as Bradley’s Film & Recording Studios, the famed studio that birthed Patsy Cline’s “Crazy,” Brenda Lee’s “I’m Sorry,” and Bobby Vinton’s “Blue Velvet,” among other classic songs. The studio closed in 1982 only to be revamped and re-opened in 2006 as part of Belmont University. Mead recorded this album of country and rockabilly songs among the dust and ghosts, going so far as to incorporate some of the original session musicians and hired guns that worked in the studio’s golden age.

    Mead first burst on the scene with the three-time Grammy-nominated retro-hillbilly outfit BR549. With the band officially on hiatus, Mead has focused on a solo career and producing the Broadway hit “Million Dollar Quartet.” He called from rehearsal to discuss recording in the country-music equivalent to the Vatican, how you always have to include Acuff and Williams, and why there will never be a BR549 musical. Here’s an edited transcript of what was said.

    CITY: How was it laying down a session at The Quonset Hut?

    Chuck Mead: Oh man, it was a pretty spectacular experience. You go into a spot where so much of what you do and what is part of you musically as an artist was created, for most of all hillbilly music — that and RCA studio B —was amazing.

    This seems like a perfect fit for you. Why didn’t you try this earlier?

    It wasn’t open earlier. It was dormant. Years ago when we BR549 changed labels from Sony to Arista, the studio that once was the Quonset Hut was where the art department worked. You could still go and stand in the spot where the singer stood, and it was this weird spot that didn’t sound like any other spot in the room. So Belmont University decided to revamp it and threw a bunch of money into it. And it just so happened that the sound engineering professor was Mike Janas, who had co-produced the first four BR549 records years ago. When I decided I was going to do a classic country record he said, “Why don’t you use the Quonset Hut?” It snowballed from there and I thought instead of just my band, why not get some of the musicians that played on all those old records I was recreating?

    How’d you run them down?

    Well, they’re still working. They’re in the union book. You just call them up and they’ll come play your session for you. It was a complete honor for me to have Harold Bradley and Bob Moore and Buddy Spicher, all those guys… Harold Bradley is the most-recorded guitar player in recording history and the sweetest, most honorable man I know. I love that guy. Having those guys come in and be the backbone on a handful of songs was a tremendous honor and just a total gas.

    How’d you pick the material for the album?

    I picked songs we’ve been doing live. I wanted to do songs that were recorded at The Quonset Hut, too. I know the Hank Williams song was recorded at the old Castle, but that doesn’t count. If you’re making a classic country record, you’ve got to put a Roy Acuff and Hank Williams song on your record. You know what I mean?

    What’s the Chuck Mead spin on the material? How did you make it yours?

    My spin is there’s always just a little bit of rock ‘n’ roll in it, because there was always a little bit of rock ‘n’ roll in those guys. It just wasn’t called that then; it hadn’t completely morphed into the atomic age. And we didn’t do exact replicas of the songs, because it’s ridiculous to match it note for note. We just kind of did it our own way. I think we modernized it. I mean, we recorded it on Pro Tools and bounced it over to tape when we mixed it to get more warmth. It all still went down live. There’re probably three or four overdubs on the whole thing.

    How did you get involved with the “Million Dollar Quartet” musical?

    It was a weird phone call I got in 2005 from Colin Escott asking me if I’d ever worked on a Broadway musical. Then he explained what it was. I knew the songs and thought, I can do this. We started with a little production down in Florida and I just approached it like I was producing a record. I just wanted to make it authentic rockabilly music. Those guys were really up there playing.

    Were you mindful of making it too corny or mainstream?

    I was looking at these guys as a musical legacy. I didn’t want it to get all cheesed out. And I think we achieved that. I think we achieved a very entertaining show that people who go to regular musical theater would enjoy just as much as the people who never go to musical theater who would think, “Hey, that’s a great rock ‘n’ roll show. I can dig that.” I got the bug now; I kind of want to write a musical.

    BR549 the Musical?

    It would be a great musical but I don’t know who we’d cast as Donnie Herron.

    What’s a dream collaboration, duet, or project for you?

    Well now, I’d like to do an old Carl Perkins tune with Paul McCartney. That’d be killer. The Beatles were just a rockabilly band, right?


  • News

    Posted on September 11th, 2013

    Written by ken green


    Chuck Mead – Upstairs at United, Vol. 8

    Chuck Mead – Upstairs at United, Vol. 8
    453-1969 (LP)

    On February 28th, 2013, Chuck Mead (of BR549) recorded Upstairs at United Vol. 8. Chuck graced the sacred space with 6 songs including cherished BR549 fan favorite, ”Opie And Me (Down By The Duck Pond)”. Upstairs At United Vol. 8. is the first of the series to have pedal steel captured to magnetic tape and we hope it won’t be the last. The recording stands as a real honky-tonk throw down that we’re proud to welcome to the Upstairs at United series. Upstairs At United is a series of all analog, direct to tape, live studio recordings, taped above the pressing plant in tribute to the rich historical significance of that space.

    Accompanying Chuck in the classic county romp is Mark Andrew Miller (Upright Bass & Background Vocals), Carco Clave (Steel Guitar, Banjo, Electric Lead Guitar, and Pedal Steel), and Martin Lynds (Drums & Background Vocals).

    Available at your favorite record retailer
    on Tuesday November 5th, 2013!

    Preorder it here. Records will ship on or near 11/5.

    More about Upstairs at United: Upstairs at United is a series of all-analog recordings recorded inside the historic United Record Pressing plant in Nashville, TN. All recordings were captured directly to analog tape under the leadership of mastering engineer Chris Mara of analog recording studio Welcome to 1979, then cut to 12” EP’s at 45 RPM. The records are presented in a Kraft-style packaging that highlights the authentic all-analog approach used in making these records, include session specific inserts with color photos from the recording sessions, and come in archival quality resealable poly bags.

    The purpose of the Upstairs at United series is to release outstanding music recorded in a classic all analog style, and to celebrate the rich musical and cultural history that’s taken place inside this 49 year old building. Established in 1949, the same year the 45RPM record was born, United Record Pressing is still the go to pressing plant for the industry from the biggest of big to four guys in a garage. The doors to its present location first opened in 1962. In response to a then segregated South, United created an apartment above the plant to host the record label executives and artists who were excluded from hotel accommodations due to the color of their skin. This apartment, now called the Motown Suite, is still intact and furnished in its original decor. Adjacent to the apartment is a large space solely dedicated to hosting record release parties and other events for labels and artists. Among the many, it’s believed that this room hosted parties for The Supremes, Smokey Robinson, The Cowsills, Wayne Newton, and a signing party for a 16-year-old Hank Williams, Jr. In addition to existing as a monument to our musical and cultural history, the space upstairs at United Record Pressing continues to host events for artists, labels, and other lovers of music. It is in this sacred space that the Upstairs at United series is being recorded.

    All recordings are engineered by Chris Mara and his analog studio Welcome to 1979 located in Nashville, Tennessee. All recordings were done live directly to ¼ inch analog tape using a sixteen channel vintage recording console and vintage microphones and outboard gear, with no overdubs, edits or audio sweetening. What you hear is music in its most pure form: the recordings capture the end product of the artists together in a single room, complete with all of the enthusiasm, spirit and soul that is the foundation for this great art form.

  • News

    Posted on July 26th, 2013

    Written by ken green


    A Prairie Home Companion Season Debut

    We’re very pleased to announce that Chuck Mead & His Grassy Knoll Boys will be performing at the opening show of A Prairie Home Companion’s 39th season on September 14, 2013 in St. Paul MN!

    Keillor to kick off new ‘Prairie Home’ season

     The Associated Press

    Published: Friday, Jul. 26, 2013 – 2:10 am

    ST. PAUL, Minn. – Garrison Keillor kicks off the 39th season of “A Prairie Home Companion” in St. Paul on Sept. 14.

    Keillor will broadcast the season-opening show live from the Fitzgerald Theater. His musical guest is Chuck Mead of BR549 and His Grassy Knoll Boys.

    Keillor will be joined by the usual “Prairie Home” cast and the Guy’s All-Star Shoe Band.

    Following the show, the annual Prairie Home Street Dance and Meatloaf Supper will be held on Exchange Street in front of the Fitzgerald. The event is open to the public and free, except for the $5 meatloaf supper and a small charge for refreshments.

    Tickets go on sale at noon Tuesday, July 30, through Ticketmaster outlets or in person at the Fitzgerald box office.


  • News

    Posted on June 28th, 2013

    Written by ken green


    Great Falls Tribune Interview With Chuck

    by Jake Sorich for the Great Falls Tribune

    In a way, Chuck Mead is the Quentin Tarantino of rockabilly.

    Mead, like the film director best known for “Pulp Fiction” and “Django Unchained,” has made a career taking classic ideas and putting his own unique spin on them.

    Mead writes and performs original songs that pay tribute to the artists (Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Chuck Berry) he proclaims as the “Mount Rushmore of rockabilly.”

    Mead, a Lawrence, Kan., native, said he and his band, the Grassy Knoll Boys, strive to modernize that vintage sound.

    “(Our songs) are not exact replicas of those old songs, and so, in a sense, we try to make it modern without like, justifying the integrity of the actual style of music.”

    Root Boy Productions welcomes Mead and his band tonight at 8 at the Hideout Lounge.

    In terms of songwriting, Mead said he prefers to write all of his songs himself to ensure the emotions behind them are genuine.

    “When a song has three or four writers on it, now all of a sudden you’re in an orgy, you know what I mean?” he said. “It takes some emotion out of it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against orgies, I just don’t have them. I’m not an orgy guy.”

    Before going solo, Mead was the lead singer of the country group BR549.

    Founded in 1993, the band was nominated three times for the Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. Some of their hit songs included “Cherokee Boogie,” and “Little Ramona (Gone Hillbilly Nuts.)”

    Since BR549 split up in 2005, the members have performed together once already and are scheduled to play together again this year at the Havelock Country Jamboree in Canada.

    Mead said he still enjoys playing with his former band at special events.

    “We did a reunion show last year in Nashville at the Old Crow Medicine show, and it was a great show,” he said. “It was the first time the five original guys have even been in the same room together in 11 years, and it was pretty great. Afterward we all returned to our neutral corners. So now somebody offered us this gig up in Canada. We couldn’t pass up a country festival, so the original five guys are coming later this August, and then we’ll go back to our neutral corners again.”

    Finally, Mead said while he enjoys performing with his old band, he likes where his career is at with the Grassy Knoll Boys. “We’re like a sleek, paired down, little Honky Tonk quartet,” he said.

    Tickets to see Mead and His Grassy Knoll Boys in Great Falls are $22. They are available at the door or online at rootboyproductions.com.


  • Blog, News, Uncategorized

    Posted on June 17th, 2013

    Written by chuck



    Howdy Friends & Neighbors

    It’s been a while since I last wrote. It’s been a busy Spring what with all the touring and Million Dollar Quartet stuff and it’s shaping up to be a busy Summer. I’d like to thank all the people in Texas who have been so good to us. We’re trying to get down there a little more than we have in past years and boy, am I glad of that! Looking forward to getting back down there soon!

    The rest of June I will be out on the road and the trip out west and will go well into July. Please check out all tour dates in the tour section of this site or any of the other social networks in which I have been lurking.

    This past Friday we had a great time with the legendary Billy Joe Shaver at The Exit In here in Nashville.   photo-1


    I look forward to doing more shows with him!

    Keep up with us now – come visit us out west in June & July!

    Peace, Love and Ernest Tubb


  • Blog, News, Uncategorized

    Posted on March 5th, 2013

    Written by chuck



    Hey Friends & Neighbors.

    Tonight I will be included in a tribute to Hawkshaw Hawkins, Patsy Cline and Cowboy Copas – artists that were tragically killed in a plane crash 50 years ago – on the Tuesday Night Opry. Others appearing on the show tonight are Ms Jean Shepard, Riders in the Sky, Mandy Barnett, Terri Clark, Florida Georgia Line and John Conlee. Tune in on wsmonline or 650am WSM!


    Other things in March -

    I also urge you all in the New York City and Alexandria, VA area to catch up with all of us on the Todd Snider Traveling What The Folk Show. Featuring Todd, Elizabeth Cook, Kevin Gordon and myself we’ll be at Irving Plaza in NYC and The Birchmere In Alexandria.

    What The Folk Show

    From there it’s SXSW Time and I have several scheduled performances during the conference and a few shows scattered around Texas to go with them. Check out my tours section on the website.

    Thanks y’all and Peace, Love and Ernest Tubb


  • Blog, News

    Posted on January 29th, 2013

    Written by chuck


    March 8th & 9th



    Join us if you can! Things will get broke!


  • Older Posts Yeah! There are more posts, check them out.