"The broadcasters bought off the FCC/ big oil's got the EPA" - Everybody's Workin For The Man - Kevin Welch.

Kevin Welch has good reason to be in shock on the eve of his sixth Australian tour - the death of controversial DJ Captain Midnight.

The DJ, real named Roger Schutt, scored international infamy when fired from a radio station for locking himself in the studio after being ordered to shorten his play list.

Schutt, 73, was arrested for his protest and was inspiration for Rex Bob Lowenstein - a song written by Welch's good friend Mark Germino.

He was also a stimulus for Welch's song Everybody's Working For The Man that is on the latest Welch-Kieran Kane studio album You Can't Save Everybody.

Welch wrote the vitriolic social comment tune after large multi-national corporations bought chains of American stations and slashed music play lists.

The duo enjoyed healthy radio exposure when they began recording two decades ago but became radio victims after launching their independent label Dead Reckoning.

"It's pretty disturbing, an ongoing thing," Welch, 50, told Nu Country TV in a call from his Nashville home.

"It's happening in all areas of the media. It's pretty scary. Artists are not played on mainstream radio unless they have a record company willing to buy the radio time with advertising."

But Welch says there is salvation for independent musicians.

"Satellite radio in the U.S. is providing an outlet for country music and other genres," Welch added, "it's really supportive and starting to impact."

Multi-instrumentalist Kaplin joins Kane, 55, and California born but Oklahoma raised Welch on their latest tour.

Kaplin has played on all Welch and Kane's recent albums and is promoting his debut instrumental solo disc.

"Fats played with Tom Russell for eight years," Welch added.

"Mike Henderson told me who he was. We ran into them in Switzerland when we were watching Tom and the band playing. I made two records for Warners and he came down and hooked up with Dead Reckoners. He played on very record of mine since then - he has an instrumental album that is bringing to Australia to sell."


"We try to find the peace through war/ although it's never worked before/ if we want peace we've got to start/ to heal the hurt in every heart." - Just Like That - Kieran Kane-John Hadley.

Kaplin, who shares New York as his birthplace with Kane, has been a focus of many discs released on the singer-songwriters' Dead Reckoning label.

He featured heavily on You Can't Save Everybody that has been re-released with eight bonus live tracks cut in Australia.

Fats grew up in a Manhattan apartment and played on albums from 17 and honed his skills on fiddle, steel, accordion, mandolin and guitar.

Kieran Kane, Fats Kaplin & Kevin Welch
photo by Mark Montgomery

Kaplin mixed work with country blues guitarist Roy Bookbinder for the Blue Goose label with a stint as a craps dealer at 21 in Las Vegas.

Californian born one time New Yorker Tom Russell - an Australian tourist - recruited him for his band in the mid eighties.

They recorded and toured extensively before Welch lured him to Nashville to join his Overtones that also featured Mike Henderson, Glenn Worf, Harry Stinson and Kieran Kane.

It was after Welch had released his first two albums on Warner in 1990 and 1992 - both have been re-released by Dead Reckoning.

Welch also cut Life Down Here On Earth (1995) Beneath My Wheels (1999) & Dead Reckoning family disc A Night Of Reckoning (1997).

He also recorded fifth solo album Millionaire with The Danes, and cut a live disc with The Flood after they teamed with him at Gympie Muster.

Kaplin's belated Nashville arrival landed him session work with many major artists.

They included Australian visitors Buddy Miller, Kelly Willis, Garth Brooks, the late Waylon Jennings, Tractors, Mavericks, Suzy Bogguss. Manhattan Transfer, Pure Prairie League, Nanci Griffith, Jason & the Scorchers, Peter Rowan and Paul Burch.


Ron Davies
Death is no stranger to Welch on his Australian tours.

He learned of the sudden passing of song writing mate Ron Davies at the start of his 2003 tour with The Flood.

Davies, 57, died of a heart attack so Welch and Kane included his song Dark Eyed Gal - a hit for Nitty Gritty Dirt Band - on You Can't Save Everybody.

And Welch joined a celebrity cast on the Davies tribute disc, produced by his sister Gail - architect of the Webb Pierce tribute disc Caught In The Webb.

"Gail recorded a tribute record to Ron with all kind of people," Welch revealed.

They included Mandy Barnett, Jeff Hanna and singing spouse Matraca Berg, Vince Gill, Steve Earle, Alison Krauss, Loretta Lynn, Guy Clark, Neko Case, Crystal Gayle, Jim Lauderdale, BR549 and Gail's son Chris Scruggs.

"Dolly Parton also sang one. There were a lot of other big names. So I went in and sang a beautiful song of his - one of my favourites called Innocent Eyes. I don't think it has been recorded before, as far as I know. I played with Gail in my very early days in Nashville. Had it not been for Gail hiring me as a guitar player I might have gone back on home to Oklahoma. I had just about had it - I had been around here for maybe three years. I was flat broke and I had a baby. I was just getting really fed up. I had a song recorded by Roger Miller and maybe a couple of others. I was going to leave and then Gail hired me as a guitar player - I owe Gail a lot."


Welch has written songs with and about his son Dustin and daughter Savannah and has recently been performing live with them.

"Dustin has got a very cool but slow moving project down in Austin with a guy from the Meat Puppets," Welch added.

"Claudia Scott (Welch's partner) and I have also been in Austin. Dustin and I are still writing together. We have written half a dozen new songs so far. Dustin and I'll each record some of the stuff on our own albums.

He has also been playing with me on live gigs - he often plays banjo and resonator guitar with me from time to time."

Welch, Dustin and Savannah recently performed at the Chip off the Old Block concert at the Texan Union Ballroom in Austin to raise funds for the Sims Foundation to help musicians and their families pay for low cost psychiatric help.

"We just did a really interesting show in Austin - parents and kids," Welch added. "There was Ray Wylie Hubbard and his son Luke aged about 10 and Eliza Gilkyson and two of her kids. Reckless Kelly - who have several generations of performers organised it. Jimmie Dale Gilmore and his son Colin Gilmore also played."

Welch, Kane and Kaplin kick off their tour at Meeniyan Hall on Friday September 25 and headline Port Fairy, Brunswick and Blue Mountains Folk Festivals.

CLICK HERE for our Gig Guide for full details.

CLICK HERE for previous Welch stories from the Diary on October 30, 2003.
and November 9, 2003.

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