Podcast: Tunes & Tumblers Take It on Down to the “Old Town Road”

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Every other week, Anthony Kozlowski pens the Atwood Magazine column Tunes & Tumblers, pairing new and classic albums with cocktail recipes. He quickly found however that drinking alone is a sad business. So he invited his friends Pedro Isaac Chairez and Ryan James into a recording booth to aid in mixing delicious drinks and to discuss the music that they all love. Strap on your headphones and enjoy a cold one on us. 

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On this week’s episode, the gang got their horses in the back to discuss Lil Nas X’s worldwide smash “Old Town Road.” Though recorded a whopping three months ago, the phenomenon was only beginning.
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Hard to believe that at the beginning of 2019, no one had heard of Montero Hill — better known by his stage name Lil Nas X — Trent Reznor had never penned a #1 hit, and Billy Ray was the least famous Cyrus. What a simpler time it was. Now you’re a lucky minority if you can leave the house without hearing someone claim to have the horses in the back (and if you just read that sentence, your incident clock has reset).

Three months ago, “Old Town Road” hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for the first frame of an ongoing fourteen week reign. And the Tunes & Tumblers crew pounced. A track that seemingly grew from the petri dish of the internet, “Old Town Road” has since seized the world in a way that few songs previously has. As it approaches “Despacito’s” all-time record, it seems like now is the time to carve into its cultural footprint even more than when our crew gathered around producer Drew’s coffee table.

Country and trap weren’t always a sure-fire combination, even with the recent bottle rocket of Blanco Brown’s “The Git Up”. In some ways, it still seems like the oil and water or ammonia and bleach mixture that will puncture ear drums “Friday” style. But hearing Hill’s affected twang over Nine Inch Nails banjos tickles a sweet spot smaller than the Death Star’s exhaust port. Toss in Bill Ray Cyrus’ trademark achy breaky drawl during the bridge and its hard to believe society even existed before this song burst into being.

Likewise our resident mixologist Pedro stirs up a similar pairing with this week’s drink, a black velvet. Guinness and champagne sound like they don’t mix on paper, but fans of Irish pubs and Ivy League frat parties know that they make the perfect bittersweet accoutrement for that day-drinking soirée. If you want one of your own, Anthony sketched out the full recipe in his accompanying column, but Pedro would like you to know that it was 100% his idea.

But podcasts aren’t meant to be read. Tune in to hear about Ryan’s near conversion to Islam, why Pedro likes “thank u next” more than “7 Rings,” and about Anthony’s seedy past stealing Cowboy Troy CDs from his swim team friends.

Since this episode is another product of a distant past, some of the details are sadly out of date. Lil Nas X still hadn’t released his debut EP (which is more genre-bending fire in case you wondered), nor had he come out as gay in the most Internet-appropriate way imaginable:

Ryan also makes an astute prediction about “Old Town Road” spawning copycats, which we’ve seen in the form of “The Git Up” at the very least.

There’s also a lot our merry men aren’t able to discuss in the pod’s strict running time. For further reading on country music’s racial gatekeeping, check out this piece in the Huffington Post. And for the dubious Ringer piece our gents continually quote, judge for yourself here.

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Lil Nas X and a Black Velvet


Tunes & Tumblers is just getting started. Fill your glass and dive into our growing back-catalog on SoundCloud. Please binge responsibly.

If you find yourself curious about any of the songs discussed, be sure to check them out on the episode playlist below:

Have your own idea for a Tunes & Tumblers pairing? Let us know in the comments, or hit Anthony up on Twitter.

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Anthony is an audiophile who’s made a career out of constantly wearing a set of headphones. When he isn’t recording sound on movie sets, you can find him at an LA coffee shop dumping his thoughts into notebooks or taking up space at a concert. He once went to culinary school because he was bored, and is in a perpetual struggle to keep his houseplants alive.