Sid's merry band of varmints are famous for "whipping up the most lethargic of crowds" thanks to exemplary musicianship and the wittiest stage announcements this side of the Comedy Store, courtesy of indomitable head stooge, Sid, who is also a writer, broadcaster, journalist, solo singer-songwriter, producer, film-maker, Lifetime Achievement award winner at the Premio Ciampi Songwriters Conference in Italy, unofficial Resident Musicologist on Mark Radcliffe's late night show on BBC Radio Two and author of several books, including Million Dollar Bash which was a study of Bob Dylan's famous Basement Tapes. Not only this, he has also been round the world and shaken hands with everybody twice.
Formed nineteen years ago in Los Angeles the Coal Porters were originally an electric rock group centred around native Kentuckian Sid Griffin, the ex-Long Ryder who wrote the hit single 'Looking For Lewis And Clark'. Exchanging a home in Los Angeles for one in London in February 1992 Griffin’s original Coal Porters enjoyed indie chart success in Europe and toured frequently. But when Griffin produced the comeback album of British folk-rock legends Lindisfarne in 1998 he was greatly inspired by that band’s acoustic instrumentation. Upon completion of Lindisfarne’s 'Here Comes The Neighborhood' album Griffin found himself the proud new owner of a mandolin and the acoustic, bluegrass Coal Porters were born. Soon bluegrass music received a very real shot in the arm as the Coal Porter’s roots in punk and rockabilly gave their music an edge and the genre of “alt-bluegrass” was born.
In 2004 they were one of only 13 acts invited to perform at the International Bluegrass Music Association's World of Bluegrass Festival in Kentucky, a richly-deserved accolade, and they have toured throughout the UK, Europe and USA. Their last album 'Turn The Water On, Boy!' was acclaimed as their best yet and received rave four star reviews in Mojo, Uncut, The Sunday Times, Maverick and Word magazines, Bluegrass News and Sing Out!
Their new album 'Durango' is out on Prima Records Ltd., distributed in the UK by Proper and in the USA by Burnside. Produced by the multi-platinum and Grammy-winning producer Ed Stasium (Ramones, Talking Heads, Mick Jagger) in Colorado and featuring contributions from Tim O'Brien and Peter Rowan, it promises to be the most exciting and innovative album of the band's career.
Recorded during two fruitful weeks in the mountains right outside the Colorado town which gave the album its name this is the fourth and best "alt-bluegrass" album by ex-Long Ryder Sid Griffin's outfit, The Coal Porters. This highly anticipated follow up to 2007's 'Turn The Water On, Boy!' is a clear country mile step forward. Featuring the amazing fiddle of Carly Frey, the virtuoso banjo of Europe's best five string picker Dick Smith, the songs and mandolin of writer/author/broadcaster Sid Griffin and the production of the legendary Ed Stasium (Ramones, Smithereens, Belinda Carlisle, Jeff Healey Band) 'Durango' is without question one of the choice musical highlights of the year.
The Coal Porters are:
Sid Griffin - (Vocals, mandolin, harmonica, autoharp)
Neil Robert Herd - (Vocals, guitar and sporran)
Carly Frey - (Vocals, fiddle)
Dick Smith - (Vocals, banjo)
Andrew Stafford - (Upright bass)