In wake of tragic tour death, posthumous LP from beloved Americana artist Porter due Oct. 20 (ft. members of Drive-By Truckers & Centro-matic)

Porter & the Bluebonnet Rattlesnakes‘ Don’t Go Baby It’s Gonna Get Weird Without You
*Out Oct. 20 on Cornelius Chapel Records*

“A colorful, amazing human being.” – Times Daily

This Red Mountain, is the record some musicians hope to make even once during their career—not just because of the unique family ties the musicians share on the album, but the quality of songcraft festooned with emotional rawness and bleak realism.” – No Depression

“Reveals the story of a man’s lowest lows and the difficult journey back to peace and perspective while living his life on his own terms.” – American Songwriter

I had real high hopes for my first listen of This Red Mountain. It delivered and then some … run don’t walk to pick this one up. – Hear Ya

“Alt-country album of the year.” – Beat Surrender

This Red Mountain is a subtle stunner … among the year’s best.” – Routes & Branches

“Stretches and contracts with angst & fatalism that can only come from those of us who grew up in face of all the beauty and ugliness that the South can show us. The only difference is Chris Porter’s songwriting cuts through B.S. straight to bone.” – Mod Mobillian

On October 19, 2016, tragedy struck on on I-95 in North Carolina when beloved Americana artist, Chris Porter, and his bandmate Mitchell Vandenberg, were killed in a van crash on their way to play a show in Baltimore. Long before his budding solo career, Porter had been an adored staple of the Americana scene, touring all over the country with his bands Some Dark Holler, The Back Row Baptists and Porter & the Pollies.

Chris Porter, 1980-2016. Photo by Alex Hooks.

Prior to his death, Porter—along with an all-star cast of musicians including producer Will Johnson (Centro-matic, South San Gabriel, Monsters of Folk), former Drive-By Truckers bassist Shonna Tucker, Chris & Eleanor Masterson (The Mastersons, Steve Earle) & John Calvin Abney (John Moreland, Samantha Crain)—had just finished writing and recording what would be his swan song, Don’t Go Baby It’s Gonna Get Weird Without You. The album is the follow up to Porter’s acclaimed solo debut, This Red Mountain. Now, with the help of his friends and family, this brilliant posthumous record from Porter & the Bluebonnet Rattlesnakes is slated for an Oct. 20 release via Cornelius Chapel Records.

“I think Porter wanted things loose and wanted things to rock a little more on this record,” says friend and producer Will Johnson. “He was ready to turn the guitars up a little more and let the band be the band.  He’d experienced a great deal between This Red Mountain and Don’t Go Baby—he’d settled into Austin, toured relentlessly, had fallen in love again, and experienced the difficult loss of his dog just a couple months before the sessions. I can only guess he wanted this record to represent a clear-eyed document of the road traveled since This Red Mountain, and a look at whatever the road ahead might have held for him. There was a lot going on.”

The first track to surface from the album, contemplative mid-tempo rocker “Shit Got Dark”—presumably about trying in vain to break free of the chains of your hometown—takes on a deeper, almost chilling significance in the wake of Porter’s untimely death…

Shit got dark, whole town fell apart
The place that healed your heart began to die
Shit got tragic, goddamn he almost had it
They say this town is magic when you’re high

Is there something in the air that makes ‘em go so young in Alabama
Well I might have to question all the reasons that I run
Count the stars and stages on the walls that hold up Birmingham
Try to live ’til next year, when I come

Well I got low, how was I to know
Wrapped around me slow and burned like fire
Did I get past it, or did I just outlast it
Or am I next to go from darker times

Is there something in the air that makes us grieve so long in Alabama
Standing strong for our grandfathers’ sins
Folks head west and do their best to leave the place they come from
Wind up going right back home again

Shit got dark, whole town fell apart
The place that healed your heart began to die
Shit got tragic, goddamn he almost had it
They say this town is magic when you’re high …

“Porter survived a lot of heartache in his short life and I think you can tell on this album,” says, Porter’s fiance, Andrea Juarez, who—along with several of Porter’s closest musician friends—was instrumental in making sure his final album would see release. “He was tired of touring, tired of hustling and not making it. He was tired of Austin turning into nothing but high-end condos and $7 dollar tacos. But he loved his music, and we loved each other. Our game plan was to get the album out, get married, buy a house in Nashville and split time in Austin.

“I’ve never heard a guitarist play the guitar like Porter did. He had this way of stroking the guitar strings as he played—I can close my eyes and see him do it and hear it. He was so damned proud of the songs he wrote on this new album. He’d always been a part of something—The Stolen Roses, The Back Row Baptists, Porter & The Pollies, Some Dark Holler—and then the previous album he made with Bonnie Whitmore’s help. Don’t Go Baby was truly the first time he stood alone and he knew that. He was ready and he put his heart and soul in it.”

After the album’s Oct. 20 release on Cornelius Chapel Records, there will be a pair of album-release shows in Porter’s two former hometowns, where his life will be celebrated by his many musician friends, who will be paying heartfelt tribute. The first, in Austin, Texas, is scheduled for Oct. 21, and the second, at Syndicate Lounge in Birmingham, Ala., will be Nov. 4.