If the name Vincent Neil Emerson, or VNE as he’s called on most social media, isn’t familiar to you yet, hang on to your hat and be ready to get a lesson in good timin’, honky tonkin’, straight outta Texas, country music. His new album, Fried Chicken and Evil Women, has already garnered 360k streams on Spotify, to 56k listeners, in 70 countries since its September 13th release date. And from listening to the album numerous times myself, and the online buzz, I doubt that he’s done picking up fans any time soon.
Vincent spent the last 8 years performing his music live and landed himself on a variety of stages with some amazing contemporaries in his genre of music. I called VNE to talk about his career and asked if this new label, La Honda Records, or this years social media buzz, had been helping grab some new fans. He humbly replied, “We did a couple tours with Colter Wall and that really helped us out a whole lot. We did a couple tours with Charlie Crockett, The Turnpike Troubadours, and a couple other folks that, when we tour around, people come out to the shows.”
Speaking of his tour with Colter Wall, I mentioned that I saw his performance on Jason Momoa’s YouTube channel On The Roam from last January when he was shopping a label for the record. Travis Blankenship (Rural Sultan on his social media) is his manager. I asked how that came about and how he ended up on La Honda Records. VNE said: “I met Travis touring with Colter and while we were out on tour, I asked Travis to be my manager. At that point he was helping me shop the record and we didn’t find a good fit for us so Travis started La Honda records so we could put out this record.” And man am I glad that they did.
The 10 songs on the album cover all the bases of everything that you want to hear in classic country while also being completely fresh with that VNE signature style of songwriting. The first 3 tracks “25 and Wastin’ Time,” “Willie Nelson’s Wall,” and the title track “Fried Chicken and Evil Women” are all uptempo, Texas swing at its finest. They all 3 have great lyrics and subtle touches of humor that permeate the album as in the opening lines of the song “Willie Nelsons Wall” that go ” I’m high as a fly on Willie Nelson’s wall and I can’t remember where I am at all. And I don’t know where my mind has taken me. My boots in my hand and my hat on my feet.”
VNE can also tug at the heart strings with tunes like “The Bad Side of Luck” and “Dade County Jail,” which are the only 2 songs that are slow paced ballads. Both songs are self deprecating and written from the point of view that the main character just can’t catch a break, but also realizing that it’s his own damn fault. It’s completely refreshing to hear that much of his music written from that viewpoint and I find the songs have real life texture that you can both relate to and also empathize with.
“Cactus Blossom Special” continues the album with some classy musicality from the entire band as they each seem to take a turn around the dance floor. And while I’m a fan of all the songs on the album, “Devil in my Bed” may just be my favorite. Featuring some very crisp acoustic guitar playing and a flurry of both electric guitar, and pedal steel, it reminds me of the guitar legends I grew up with like Roy Clark or Jerry Reed.
The album was recorded at Niles City Sound in Fort Worth, Texas and produced by Austin Jenkins, Chris Vivion, and Josh Block. VNE said that he got a bunch of local Fort Worth guys together to record that include Kirkland James on bass, Simon Flory on upright bass, Beau Brauer on Drums, Steve Hammond on keys, Burton Lee on Pedal Steel, and John Wallace on Electric guitar. Vincent of course handles all the singing, as well as guitar playing, and wrote all the songs on the album himself. As a photographer myself I would be remiss to not also mention the fantastic album photography by Little Jack Films and the wonderful album design by Ridin’ High Productions.
The album is available on iTunes and you can also grab a cd directly from his website, Vincent Neil Emerson, or from La Honda Records. His tour schedule is available on his site as well and that is one show that I will catch as soon as he’s within driving distance. Follow him on his various social media pages and keep an eye out for what is next fro this singer songwriter whose sure to continue making his mark on the country music scene.