Fly Fishing + Music

For me, and I think for a lot of folks, there is a natural and close connection between fly fishing and music. Whether it’s the playlist in the truck on the way to the stream or the live music in the bar after a long, great day on the river, music accompanies much  — not all — of the fly fishing experience. There is, of course, time in the river, when the only music comes from the water rushing over the rocks and the wind in the trees.  This site is about the songs that — I think — are best suited to “before” and “after” parts. We are going way beyond old The Who and Zeppelin CDs (though I do love those too). These are songs that could be, should be, and are being, heard live in the bars and saloons of the great fly fishing towns across America today — places like Missoula, Redding, Anchorage, Bend, Mountain Home, West Yellowstone, Jackson, Asheville, and Truckee.  These songs exist at the intersections of blues music, rock & roll, country, alt. country, folk, bluegrass, and Americana.   These are great songs . . .  - Justin Camp


Fly Fishing Music: {FREE DOWNLOAD} “New Year’s Day” by The Dirty Guv’nahs

Fly Fishing Music

Appropriate for this time of year is the free download currently being offered by The Dirty Guv’nahs. We profiled the Guvs here, when they contributed to the soundtrack to the fly fishing film The Waters of the Greenstone, which was an official selection of the 2011 Fly Fishing Film Tour. (Film still recommended, by the way.)

The Guv’nah’s have only increased their momentum since last we had them on RG. They’ve been selling out theaters and bars and shows at Bonnaroo and SXSW. The band has also shared the stage with folks such as Wilco, Zac Brown Band, Levon Helm Band, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, and Train.

The song here is a demo version, but it’s a … {{ CLICK FOR FULL ARTICLE AND MUSIC }}

Fly Fishing Music: “Weighty Ghost” by Wintersleep

Fly Fishing Music

Three hours east-northeast of Halifax, Nova Scotia, you cross over onto Cape Breton Island. Cape Breton accounts for about 19% of the total area of the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. The island’s largest river is the Margaree River. For a century, the Margaree has been known the world over for its Atlantic salmon fly fishing – the river’s gravel bars offering themselves as spawning grounds for the hard-fighting fish.

In earnest and reverential tones, Damian Welsh — writer for Hatches Magazine — describes his relationship with the big river.

Thoughts and images rush through your head as you anticipate that first trip of the season to the Margarees banks. The anticipation quickly turns into hurried excitement as you {{ CLICK FOR FULL ARTICLE AND MUSIC }}

Fly Fishing Music: “Pastorals” by Jkutchma & the Five Fifths

Fly Fishing Music

Jason Kutchma leads the folk, punk, Americana, rock, gospel outfit Jkutchma & the Five Fifths. Kutchma calls their music “gospel punk with spurs.” Though based in Durham, North Carolina . . . he and the Five Fifths often entertain patrons of the bars and taverns to the east in the Blue Ridge Mountain & fly fishing town of Asheville.

Kutchma’s latest record, Pastoral, was recorded live in an Asheville church sanctuary. Blurt Magazine describes the album:

Pedal steel and organ accompanied these country shuffles and twangy rockers, casting an open road feel to Kutchma’s music and announcing a major new songwriting talent.{{ CLICK FOR FULL ARTICLE AND MUSIC }}

Fly Fishing Music: “Green Rocky Road” by Spirit Family Reunion

fly fishing music

Spirit Family Reunion definitely deserves a place on the Davidson River Playlist — our list of bluegrass/country-focused tunes. These guys strike a new and distinct balance between old and new . . . between established roots and vibrant, new growth. This is a tricky thing to do, but one that Spirit Family Reunion does in its own, unique way. Paste Magazine describes the balance thusly:

Dusty acoustic guitars, wailing fiddles and weeping accordions, with a woozy-yet-skintight rhythm section– and topped off with burr-edged vocals that sound like they’ve been soaked in a Mason jar for generations — it’s the type of music that blurs the line between past and present so thoroughly, and so deftly, that time feels irrelevant.


Fly Fishing Music: “I Will Wait” by Mumford & Sons

Mumford & Sons started in 2007 by playing the streets and humble venues of West London, offering indie folk and bluegrass behind strong songwriting. The four members, Marcus Mumford, Ben Lovett, Winston Marshall, and Ted Dwane, came together around a shared love of roots music. In 2009 and 2010, however, things changed. With the release of their debut album, Sigh No More, Mumford at al. began an adrenaline-inducing ascent. The album hit a cord with fans the world over – ultimately reaching number one in Ireland, Australia, New Zealand; and number two in the UK and the Billboard 200 in the United States. To top things off, Mumford & Sons got to perform with Bob Dylan and the Avett … {{ CLICK FOR FULL ARTICLE AND MUSIC }}

Fly Fishing Music: “120 East” by The Brothers Comatose

Fly Fishing Music

We’re expanding things a bit and adding a new playlist. It’ll have strains of folk, gospel, country, Americana, and rock & roll – as all of the songs on RG do, in one combination or another. The unifying theme for this new list, however, will be bluegrass . . . that wondrous blend of English, Scottish and Irish traditional music and American jazz . . . that singular sound that sprang out of Appalachia in the late nineteenth century, which is now being modernized by some amazing bands.

The new playlist will be called the Davidson River Playlist. The Davidson is an Appalachian river and one of Trout Unlimited’s 100 Best Trout Streams. It’s also the major river near … {{ CLICK FOR FULL ARTICLE AND MUSIC }}

Fly Fishing Music: “4 & 20 Blues” by Jeffrey Foucault

Fly Fishing Music

David James Duncan, acclaimed author of the The River Why, calls Jeffrey Foucault “a living bard and national treasure.” Quite an endorsement . . . especially from an artist the caliber of Duncan. Foucault deserves it though. He’s a unique, talented and accomplished singer-songwriter. “Jeffrey Foucault sings stark, literate songs that are as wide open as the landscape of his native Midwest,” says The New Yorker.

Foucault is also an ardent fly fisherman. He chases steelhead on the Midwest tributaries of the Great Lakes, but the rivers out West have clearly gotten a hold of him too:

When I lived in north-central Wyoming one Fall some years ago I promised myself, sitting on a rock in the Little Horn {{ CLICK FOR FULL ARTICLE AND MUSIC }}

Fly Fishing Music: “1933″ by Southeast Engine

Fly Fishing Music

Adam Remnant and Leo DeLuca grew up together in Dayton, Ohio . . . each soaking in the local indie rock. Later, they both moved East to the college town of Athens, Ohio . . . which sits in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. There they soaked up something a little different – the area’s bluegrass and folk. The blending of those various strains of American music has created a fine amalgam in Southeast Engine, the band that Remnant and DeLuca formed in 2000. The folks at The Onion call it “[p]art wilderness excursion, part history lesson and part revival meeting . . . ”

And, as if we needed more evidence of the connection between great music and fly … {{ CLICK FOR FULL ARTICLE AND MUSIC }}

Fly Fishing Music: {free download} “Hear the Hills” by North Mississippi Allstars

Fly Fishing Music

Brothers Luther and Cody Dickinson and bassist Chris Chew – who compose the North Mississippi Allstars – have a sound and a spirit that embody what we are trying to capture with the Little Red River Playlist . . . the artful mixing of blues with Southern rock with gospel and folk.

Here is “Hear the Hills” from the Allstars. You can grab a free download of the song directly from the band’s website here. It’s the studio version from Keys to the Kingdom. Another version, which is definitely worth $.99 from iTunes, is from 11.11.11, a live album recorded at the Bluebird Theatre in Denver, Colorado.… {{ CLICK FOR FULL ARTICLE AND MUSIC }}

Fly Fishing Music: “Heart in Wire” by Matthew Mayfield

Fly Fishing Music

A Banquet for Ghosts, the new album from Matthew Mayfield, is one of the year’s best. Mayfield is the real deal as a singer-songwriter, having toured with the likes of Needtobreathe, Switchfoot and The Civil Wars . . . but, still, this album came as a (great) surprise.

Mayfield is from Birmingham Alabama. Though only 29 years old, it’s like he’s lived a whole lifetime in the music world. Eight years ago, as lead signer for the band Moses Mayfield, he signed a major deal with Epic Records. Shortly thereafter, though, the group disbanded amid multiple internal and external disagreements. At that point, he struck out on his own and began a productive solo career. “When the band broke … {{ CLICK FOR FULL ARTICLE AND MUSIC }}

Fly Fishing Music: “Payday” by The Wood Brothers

Fly Fishing Music

We profiled The Wood Brothers late last year, right after the familial duo released its recent studio album, Smoke Ring Halo. It’s pretty simple: I am a big fan. Each brother is talented . . . no doubt. They just bring very different talents and very different styles to their music . . . all of which combine into a unique vintage/modern sound. Writing about one of their live shows, these apt words are from the folks at The Register-Guard newspaper in Eugene, Oregon:

Somehow this band manages to fuse Southern rock, American traditionals, New Orleans funk, and Manhattan free-jazz seamlessly, flawlessly, lovingly . . . What didn’t cook, simmered; what didn’t smoke, fried . . . The Woods {{ CLICK FOR FULL ARTICLE AND MUSIC }}

Fly Fishing Music: “Alone” by Trampled By Turtles

Fly Fishing Music

The band Trampled By Turtles is an oft-suggested one from the fly fishermen and women on our What are YOU listening to? page. That is, by itself, reason enough to post about this unique and gifted group. But . . . I also promised to do a post about TbT back when we profiled Dave Simonett’s other musical endeavor, Dead Man Winter. So, here you go . . .

Dead Man Winter is Simonett’s electrified band. (There’s actually a pretty good story behind DMW, which you can read here.) TbT is his acoustic band. Crawdaddy Magazine calls TbT “the real deal, American bluegrass taken to its righteous extreme,” and says that, “the awesomeness just pours out of the … {{ CLICK FOR FULL ARTICLE AND MUSIC }}

Fly Fishing Music: “Home” by Phillip Phillips

Fly Fishing Music

Okay . . . so . . . this is a little bit of a departure for Reel Grease . . . in a way. In another way, it’s not. Bear with me. Phillip Phillips just won American Idol last night. Not the typical artist of focus for this blog. That said . . . everything around here is about discovering great music. One of the songs Phillips did on the show – “Home,” written by Drew Pearson (who’s worked also with Zac Brown Band) – definitely falls into the category. It’s really quite good. Already lots of comparisons to Mumford & Sons. I can’t wait to see what happens when Phillips breaks free of the American Idol apparatus. I … {{ CLICK FOR FULL ARTICLE AND MUSIC }}

Fly Fishing Music: “Old Pine” by Ben Howard

Fly Fishing Music

Ben Howard lives in the town of Totnes, on the west bank of the River Dart. Totnes is in the county of Devon in southwestern England. RG took at look at Devon here and here because of the remarkable convergence of good fly fishing and good music that’s occurred in the area of the West Country. Howard, indie folk singer-songwriter, is one more example of that convergence.

The River Dart begins its run as two rivers actually, the East Dart and the West Dart, high on the wild, upland moors of Dartmoor. The two rivers converge at Dartmeet and become the River Dart proper (or Double Dart to some). The river finishes at the sea, at Dartmouth. Along its journey … {{ CLICK FOR FULL ARTICLE AND MUSIC }}