Big Muddy Records Plans Free Releases From the Vault, Introduces the Groundhogs and Lonesome Cowboy Ryan

The True Sound of St. Louis - Photo Courtesy of Big Muddy Records
Photo Courtesy of Big Muddy Records
The True Sound of St. Louis
Since 2005, Big Muddy Records has been an influential and propellant force in the rock 'n roll underbelly of St. Louis. Operating around the taste of local everyman, Chris Baricevic, Big Muddy has established itself as "an independent record label, promoting authentic American music made by artists in St. Louis, MO." In recent years, the label has released albums from the likes of Casey Reid, Bob Reuter's Alley Ghost, Pokey LaFarge, the Hooten Hallers, and most notably 2011's Mean Scene by the Rum Drum Ramblers.

Equally inspired by soul, blues, and the punk rock aesthetic, Baricevic (who performs both solo and in Bob Reuter's Alley Ghost) is no stranger to the rock & roll mystique of South City. Since having served time in the blues-punk outfit Johnny O and the Jerks, Baricevic has developed an insatiable hunger for rock & roll with soul, channeling it into collaborations with everyone from Catholic Guilt to 7 Shot Screamer's bassist Chris Powers to his most recent project with Rum Drum Rambler's Ryan Koenig and the Groundhogs.

"The name of the band, the Groundhogs, comes from the holiday on which the tape was recorded - Groundhog's day. It's a raw recording that we made on a boombox while getting very drunk. Surprisingly, it sounds great!" Baricevic says. "Ryan branches out into fiddle and I play a lot of piano. We both play guitar and share singing duty. There are ten tracks - a sound collage intro, and then seven originals and two covers (Charley Pride & Fats Domino). It was all made in one night."

In December 2011, Baricevic "relaunched" the Big Muddy Records website, finely tuning the imprint and its appearance to the world. Inspired by the spontaneous Groundhog sessions, Big Muddy is now opening the doors of its vault online, releasing previously unreleased and rare recordings from the entire Big Muddy family.

In an official statement from the recent Big Muddy press release, Baricevic states: "Over the next couple of months, Big Muddy Records will be releasing online EPs as well as full-length records and live concerts via bandcamp. There are recordings from Johnny O & the Jerks, the Vultures, Casey Reid, Lonesome Cowboy Ryan and collaborations from all the Big Muddy family. There will also be a few things that pop up along that way that even I don't know about yet. The recordings will be given away for free."

The first release to be revealed is from Lonesome Cowboy Ryan, compiling various recording sessions and a self-released cassette. Lonesome Cowboy Ryan is the stage moniker of Ryan Koenig (Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three, Rum Drum Ramblers, The Vultures) and channels soulful country twang and at times the heartbroken coo of Roy Orbison.

We caught up with Baricevic to speak about the vault releases, the new Alley Ghost record, and the future of the label.

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