Ted Roddy – Turning on a tear
Ted Roddy likes his country music with a lot of soul. The Tearjoint Troubadours, his latest band, cover songs by such writers as Donnie Fritts and Dan Penn, whose song catalogs are saturated with soul. Tear Time, Roddy’s first collection of new material since 1995’s Full Circle (as Teddy & the Talltops), is packed with one soulful groove after another, each topped with a dollop of twang.
Roddy says the reason for the five-year gap between records is that he was just waiting for the time to be right for his new band to record these songs. The Talltops were retired in 1996, and he formed the Tearjoint Troubadours after taking a regular Monday night gig at Ego’s, an Austin bar known for its retro-lounge ambience.
“I decided that, instead of throwing together another Talltops, which for me, had kind of run its course, I wanted to try something with a new approach,” he says. “We ended up playing at Ego’s every Monday for about three years.” In the middle of that run, a couple of Roddy’s songs appeared on a compilation called The Edge Of Country. The disc also included songs by Susanna Van Tassel produced by Austin guitar player Jim Stringer. Roddy liked the way those tracks sounded and contacted Stringer about recording some demos.
The six tracks they cut at Stringer’s studio were the seeds for what became Tear Time. The Troubadours have been a loose collection of players who play in other bands as well. Stringer wasn’t playing with Roddy at the time of the original recordings, but he is now, while also fronting his own Austin Music Band and playing guitar with Roger Wallace.
Scheduling sessions for players with similar commitments proved a stumbling block to finishing the album, as well as ever-present financial considerations. “The big reason it took so long was because of money,” he acknowledges. “We were doing it ourselves and we were trying to do it right. It also took a while to figure out who was gonna put it out. Some people were interested but couldn’t get behind it ultimately. So we decided to do it ourselves,” on Stringer’s Music Room label.
“My main goal was to put out a good record and sell enough of them to take the profits and turn it into another project,” Roddy continues. “Doing it on my own it makes that process a lot easier.”
From “It Hasn’t Happened Yet”, the uptempo shuffle that opens the album, to the energetic rocker “Hillbilly Rocket”, to a tropically tinged take on Dallas Frazier’s “Border Of Mexico”, to the full-on rockabilly closer “Pick Up And Move On”, Tear Time has been polished to a bright shine from many nights of sweat and beers.