Red Mouth decends from lofty heights to spend a couple hours in the tent with the OmegaLab crew.

Posted: June 19, 2011 by mandoblues in Mando Guests
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This coming Monday, June 20, Muscle Shoals artist Red Mouth will be recording a Mando Blues show in the tent.

His bio reads: Eric “Red Mouth” Gebhardt was born in Vernon, TX, however, the family wound up in Florence, Al (one of the four cities that make up the Shoals area, home of Muscle Shoals Soul) by the time he was nine years old. Most would think that the Muscle Shoals Sound would have started invading his soul at this time, but it was not to happen like this for Red. He bought his first guitar at age 14 and took lessons for a year. “Lessons just devolved into me having my teacher write out tab for Ramones and Misfits songs.” Red’s first band, the hardcore Riot City Carnival, released one cassette tape titled Nowhere is Wonderful (1997). After a couple years of playing around the south east they disbanded. Eric started the Throwaways with good friend Jon Mitchell shortly there after. “Jon was the one really turning me on to stuff. The Voidoids, Suicide, The Dolls, The Stooges, The Velvets and so on.” He was also following the lineage of these bands back to the blues giants such as Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and his much loved Son House. The Throwaways released a 7″ record on High Society International Records in Hamburg, Germany (1998) and a compilation CD on Go Zombie Records (2000).

However, growing rather tired of the small and very tight knit musical community of the Shoals, Red replanted himself in Central Florida. “My time in the Shoals was kinda like Punk Rock High School. My time in Orlando, that was Rock’n’roll College.” The Studdogs came together around 1998 and, according to some, terrorized the Orlando music scene for the next 5 years. “We were nuts and all of us went mad by the end…some got it and some didn’t but by the time I left we seemed to be one of the biggest acts around there. At least that’s how I remember it. Those brats got in Playboy after I left!” The Studdogs released three albums, Free Admission/No Cover (1999), Dancing On Tabletops (2001), and The Gospel According to… (2002). The latter was released on the L.A. based Orange Recordings. But alas, disagreements on musical direction and the ever present madness drove Red out. “I wanted control over my music. I no longer wanted to compromise for what I’m sure we all felt was some sort of musical integrity. They wanted one thing and I wanted another. So I came home to the Shoals.”

Home was the perfect place to clean up his act and get his mind back on music. No longer being just a punk, Red holed himself up in his parents dingy basement and wrote and recorded his first solo album, Blues $1.49lb (2004), which covered a far wider musical landscape from blues to folk, country to rock, and of course, some punk rock. The record was also well received overseas in Europe. Blues in London hired him as a jounalist, their man in Alabama. Estonia seemed to have an affinity for the blazing red bearded Alabama boy as well. After paying a new set of dues at open mic and songwriter nights around the Muscle Shoals area Red started to develop a live sound. Many musicians would come to help him with his second record, but namely it was local psychedelic-pop guru, Cody Gaisser who helped to bring Red’s sound out for Sir Red Mouth (2007). Though this record was still an experiment in all the genres that Red was interested, the live Red Mouth show was a little more present, and the songs were starting to come together, and they were getting much better. Gaisser took up playing floor tom with Red, and the duo (sometimes a trio with Donovon Creamer on bass or Tyler Hannen on harp) hit the road and played all over the south east and out west and back a few times. After laying down percussion tracks for a future album, Cody left his support role for Red’s music to concentrate on his own projects. Back on his own, Red commissioned his Dad, a minister with a passion for photography and carpentry, to build a portable porch if you will to amplify his stomp. With a bass drum mic underneath and a tambourine bouncing around on top, the sound was described best by dear friend Whitney Evans as sounding like listening to you neighbors disco through the walls. Red continued work in his home studio but was offered a very good deal to record an album with the regionally infamous Lynn Bridges (now in Oxford working with the Fat Possum crew). Grabbing occasional cohorts Bryan Farris for lead guitar and Brian Connor (of Satan’s Youth Ministers) on washtub, the trio banged out eleven songs in three days for Red’s third release Saint Red Mouth (2009). Many of the songs on this record are first and second takes and only three over dubs (two backing vocals and one organ track). This is (so far) the closest representation of Red Mouth live and a must listen for anyone interested in his work. However, after revisiting the recordings from his home studio, Red decided he wanted to release these versions as well and this summer should see the release of The Old Original Saint Red Mouth Blues. Six songs are on the previous Saint Red Mouth, but in very different arrangements. However, there are three previously unreleased songs on this upcoming album notably “The Letter Blues” featuring a beautiful and bone chilling lead vocal by immensely talented Leslie Woods.

After all these years of touring and playing in all of Red’s projects, his first trip to Europe came in 2010 with a trip to Switzerland for a showcase in Geneva followed by the Blues Rules Underground Blues Festival in Crissier. After that came a nine date tour of Estonia. Only a few weeks after Red’s return home, a song and video recorded in collaboration with Estonian Andres Roots went to #1 on Estonian National Television. It stayed there for three weeks and in the Top 7 for seventeen weeks. They are second in line for title of longest run on the chart. Red is currently gearing up for his return to Estonia and this tour will be spilling over to Finland and Latvia. I asked Red what his plans are from here, he replied “To run till my battery dies.”

Red is my favorite artist. I invite you to find out why for yourself. Take care – Glen Piston 2011

This will be a night to remember for sure.  You can hear it Wednesday night, June 22nd on 107.1FM WRFN, Radio Free Nashville, or at http://www.radiofreenashville.org, the public radio app for Iphone, or the SAP audio setting on Comcast Channel 10 in Middle Tennessee.  Repeat broadcast again on Ssaurday, June 2th.  Good Times!

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