Few things bring people together like a good meal, and in “Hot Sauce and Soppin’ Bread (Cookin’ and Drinkin’)”, Norman songwriter/musician Brad Fielder and some of his longtime bandmates gather ’round to indulge in the glory of some good southern food and drink.
The decidedly decorous yet mindfully modest video session for the tune dropped today on Brad Fielder’s official YouTube channel, and it hits just the right spot. From the Sunday service attire to the occasional video colorization and handheld edits, there are a nice bunch of subtle details that enhances the gentlemanly leisure of the video series. The first of these (“Travelin’ Junkman Blues”) released last week via Americana UK, and this is the second, which Make Oklahoma Weirder is proud to premiere here.
Watch and listen to “Hot Sauce and Soppin’ Bread (Cookin’ and Drinkin’)” now at the player below.
While not technically the first recording of this song–a couple of live bootlegs and a solo album cut predate this one by a number of years–this video session has to be the most definitive. In particular, it’s the tuba that makes its first appearance here, and it brings a New Orleans flavor that spices up the broth just right. The quartet is rounded out with banjo, fiddle, and brushed snare, all of which play pure and simple like the best of homegrown ingredients. If music could be certified organic, this is it.
It worth noting also that Fielder has typically played “Hot Sauce and Soppin’ Bread” at a quicker tempo, not unlike an overeager appetite ready to dig in after grace is said. In the new rendition, it’s given more room to breathe. The aromas of the song’s greens and beans and whiskey are allowed to fill the dining room or backyard air, and it’s the more casual flair here that makes this a meal experience more suited to conversation between family and friends. For a comparison, listen to the version that appears on Fielder’s 2016 album, The Banjo Tapes, where it’s titled “Cooking & Drinking”.
While on the surface something of a silly number, there’s something inherently poignant in the longstanding tradition of celebratory songs about good home cooking. Sure, some of it is tradition and nostalgia, but there’s also a sense of camaraderie, of unity, and of peace. It’s especially fitting in the catalogue of Brad Fielder.
In his long (and still growing) repertoire, he has proven to be a crusader for the American everyman. His sincere odes to the dreamers and the oppressed are universal, thoughtfully walking the space between poetry and plain speaking. While holding true to his distinctly Oklahoman folk sensiblity, he strives to find the commons of the human experience, and these can often come from the simplest of places. Perhaps none are as simple or as instinctive as a bountiful dinner table, and that’s well worth a high-spirited musical tribute.
For more good times, be sure to catch one of Brad Fielder’s shows later this week, as he’s having three days of performances in a row. Thursday, he’ll be at the Festival of the Arts Main Stage in downtown Oklahoma City around lunchtime; Friday evening, he’ll be an official Norman Music Festival performer at the Bluebonnet Bar indoor stage; and Saturday, he’ll be returning to one of his Norman mainstays of late, Lazy Circles Brewing.