Thank you kindly for taking a look at my website! I work hard to deliver genuine music about genuine people, and I'd love to hear what you think. You can listen to several tracks on this website, or, better yet, flag me down at a show and experience the real thing. Thanks again!

Revolution summer has dawned! 

Howdy cowpunk fans,

The sun has risen on Revolution Summer, and it’s our time to shine! We're all set for cowpunk  to take over the streets, the stages and the hearts of music lovers everywhere with a spirit of rebellion and the raw energy of punk rock.

Fred Love and the Bakersfield Brawl are leading the charge with a slate of upcoming summer gigs. We've got a few more summer dates that we're not quite ready to announce, but mark your calendars for these confirmed shows:

  • June 15: Cornbred, Ames, IA
  • July 6: Alluvial, Ames IA
  • July 11: Shiny Top Brewing, Fort Dodge, IA (Fred solo)
  • Aug. 9: Wheatsfield, Ames, IA

We can’t wait to see you in the crowd, sharing the passion and the rugged independence that defines cowpunk. Let’s make this Revolution Summer unforgettable together!

Stay rebellious,

Fred Love and the Bakersfield Brawl

Meat Puppets II is a cowpunk hall of famer 

Let's talk about the legendary album ‘Meat Puppets II,’ released on SST in 1984. 

This Meat Puppets gem ranks highly on my list of great cowpunk albums and has influenced my musical sensibilities pretty heavily in recent years. The album blends country twang with punk energy and psychedelic experimentation, all set on the desolate landscape of the Arizona desert. The Meat Puppets also played what was probably the best show I ever saw at DG's Tap House (RIP). 

Check out “Lost” and “Climbing” for key tracks with heavy country influence. 

And you can’t really talk about this album without mentioning that Kurt Cobain loved it and included some of its songs on Nirvana’s legendary ‘MTV Unplugged in New York’ record (and even invited Meat Puppets members Curt and Cris Kirkwood to play during the performance).

I’m gonna give ‘Meat Puppets II’ a spin tonight, and I highly recommend you do the same. You won't regret diving into this impressionistic masterpiece of weird cowpunk goodness!

Do you have thoughts on ‘Meat Puppets II?’ What other records deserve to be in the cowpunk hall of fame?

"Off Again" now avilable to stream! 

BIG NEWS! My new song "Off Again" is available to stream on Spotify and all other major music platforms STARTING TODAY! The song tells the story of a star-crossed cowpunk romance with an unhappy ending. The Bakersfield Brawl and I recorded the song in Ames at the Spacement, making this tune a truly DIY, all-Iowa effort. I'd be eternally grateful if you gave it a listen, added it to your favorite playlists and shared it with all your punk rock and hillbilly friends.

The Cowpunk Demo 

HEY I’VE GOT NEW MUSIC FOR YOU – and I want to get it to you in the most cowpunk way possible.

My bandmates in the Bakersfield Brawl and I recorded three songs at the Spacement, a recording studio in Ames run by my good friend Bryon Dudley. We laid down our take on two country classics and then recorded a brand-new original titled “Off Again.” The result is roughly nine minutes of electrified hardcore hillbilly music that we’re calling the Cowpunk Demo. 

You can listen to the entire demo on my Bandcamp page, and “Off Again” will drop on Spotify and other major streaming services next month. I’d be grateful if you took a little time to stream the new songs and let me know what you think. 

But, for the crusty cowpunks out there who want to get their hands on some physical media, I wanted to do something special for the first official release from Fred Love and the Bakersfield Brawl, something I’ve never done before that pays homage to the punk traditions that inspired this project. 

Years ago, it was customary for punk bands to record demos and make copies of the songs on cassette and distribute them by hand. These tapes often featured hand-drawn DIY art and other personal touches. In a world of mass-produced and priced-to-own consumerism, demo tapes stand out as something special. They were keepsakes and calling cards for those with a personal connection to the band as well as a means of distributing recorded music. Naked commerce took a backseat to personal connection and viral, low-fi dissemination. DIY artists elevated flimsy pieces of disposable plastic into authentic works of art. What could be more punk? 

With that in mind, friends, let me introduce you to Fred Love and the Bakersfield Brawl’s Cowpunk Demo on cassette! I dubbed and numbered each of these tapes myself on an old boom box in my basement. I’m going to send out a few to friends, and then I’m going to make the rest of the tapes available to anyone who wants one free of charge, so long as my very limited supply holds out. 

So how can you get one? Just ask me, really. I’m going to try to make as many as possible available for free. Comment on this thread or send me a Facebook Messenger note. Talk to me at a show or ask me if you see me in person. If you live in the Ames area, I can deliver a tape to you in the Cowpunk van. If you live further afield, I’ll cover the postage cost if it’s not too exorbitant. I have no idea what kind of demand exists for something like this. It’ll be first come first served, and if people actually seem to want these things, I might decide to charge something for them at a later date. I dunno. It’ll be an experiment. 

My guess is most folks don’t have access to cassette players these days. If that’s you, please do stream the songs on Bandcamp or your streaming service of choice. Honestly, you’ll get better sound quality via streaming than I can manage on these cassettes anyhow. 

But if you’re looking for something a little more authentically cowpunk, get your hands on one of these tapes. Supplies are limited!

Join the underground! Come to Nostalgia In Reverse! 

Listen up, my friends, because I’m going to make this as simple and direct as I can. 

Everyone can – and should – make music. It is not the sole domain of major record labels. You don’t have to have millions of dollars or access to the finest recording studios in Los Angeles or Nashville. 

If there’s a thesis statement that connects all of my musical endeavors over the last 20 years, it’s that normal folks with jobs and kids and responsibilities are perfectly capable of making interesting and vital art. Fame and industry backing are by no means prerequisites. In fact, those things often hinder the production of quality music. 

With that in mind, have you heard about Nostalgia In Reverse, the music and comedy showcase scheduled for 6 p.m. this Saturday at Ames City Auditorium and the Angry Irishmen? 

Ames indie label Nova Labs organized the event, and it exemplifies the DIY spirit that I’m talking about. Virtually all the musicians and comedians appearing at Nostalgia In Reverse hail from central Iowa. The lineup features folk, blues and Americana. It features jazz, hip hop and psychedelia. And there’s sure to be plenty of laughs. 

Something for everyone, all for a measly $5. 

Nova Labs has released more than 150 projects and produced numerous live events since its founding in 2013. My buddy Bryon Dudley of Strong Like Bear runs the operation out of his home, where he’s also built a recording studio. I’ve released several projects on Nova Labs, going all the way back to the Colt Walkers album in 2015. I fondly remember folding and gluing the CD cases for the album by hand in Bryon’s living room, just like my DIY hero Ian MacKaye once did when he established the legendary indie label Dischord Records in 1980. 

Nova Labs is independent. It’s innovative and weird in ways mainstream entertainment almost never is. And it’s punk af. 

I get so inspired when I think about communities of artists making their vision into a reality with nothing but their own creativity and determination, free from the constraints and conventions of popular taste and production. Nova Labs and events like Nostalgia In Reverse represent a creative spirit that runs counter to so much of our consumer-driven culture, which usually seeks to foist disposable and plastic music on the largest possible audience. 

Sometimes that’s ok. But there’s a lot to be said for appreciating music as part of a smaller audience.  The connection is often far stronger, and the art is often far more daring. 

If you weren’t planning on going to Nostalgia in Reverse, consider this your wakeup call. Make art. Go to your friends’ shows and share their work. Join the underground! 

Hope to see you Saturday night!

October 2021 update 

Howdy, friends! 

It’s been quiet around these parts the last couple weeks, so I thought I’d provide a short update on what’s going on with my musical endeavors. After the long pandemic-imposed hiatus, I played something like 14 shows in a little over four months between June and the first week of October, which is about as busy as I like to get. After all, I’ve got a full-time job at the university and a family to take care of. 

I love rocking and rolling, but it’s only one priority among several really important things I’ve got to fit in my life. Performing in front of live audiences these last few months was a huge blessing after many months away from the stage, but booking shows and hauling gear is a lot of work. So most years, once the cold weather starts to set in, I intentionally cut back on gigging and give myself a breather. Now, if you’re planning an event and you’d really like to have me play, please do get in touch. There’s a good chance I’ll say yes. I’m just not putting a lot of time and energy into booking shows right now. 

So what am I doing? 

I’m writing some new songs, and I’m making plans to do some recording this winter. I’ve been experimenting with defiling my act with a little punk-rock attitude the last few months, and it feels like this is the musical direction I was always supposed to go. Tossing honky tonk, Americana and punk into a blender makes for a mighty strong concoction. It’s probably not for everyone, but it pulls together a lot of musical influences that have meant a lot to me throughout my life. So expect whatever new tunes I write and record the rest of the year to sound like cowpunk. To get a sense of what I’m talking about, check out the cowpunk demo I recorded a few months ago on my Bandcamp page. You’ll find a couple Bakersfield classics alongside one of my most recently composed original songs. 

I’ve some big ideas that I’d like to turn into reality in 2022 so please keep your eye on this space.  I hope to see you down the road a ways.

(Photo by Jody Thompson)

The Nine Days EP 

Iowa singer-songwriter Fred Love has announced the June 12 release of a new five-song EP recorded entirely in his basement. 

The Nine Days EP showcases a songwriter facing up to the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on his family, mental health and career almost in real time. Rather than wait until the crisis had passed to get into a proper recording studio, Love decided to try his hand at recording the set himself on his laptop computer. The effort resulted in an immediate and unvarnished Americana record animated by Love’s commitment to creativity and the DIY ethic. 

Most of the recording took place in the first half of May 2020. Love composed three of the five songs featured on the EP as a direct result of his experience during the pandemic. The songs center on the strain of sheltering in place with his wife and two young children but are also balanced by moments of gratitude and love. 

“My wife and I started working from home soon after the first outbreaks in the United States,” Love said. “That means we’ve been balancing our jobs with schooling our 8-year-old son and taking care of our 3-year-old daughter all at the same time. It’s been a major challenge, but we’re also thankful that we’re still healthy and have jobs that allow us that kind of flexibility. All those thoughts came through in the lyrics of the EP.” 

“Wapsie Crescent Moon,” the EP’s third track, finds the narrator longing for a simpler time, before the fear and strain of the pandemic, when excitement meant sneaking down to the Wapsipinicon River at night to meet a high school sweetheart. And “Nine Days,” the fourth track, explores Love’s thoughts on Easter Sunday falling in the middle of a deadly viral outbreak.  

Love performed, recorded and mixed the EP on his own with the powered mixer and microphones he uses for live shows and the recording software on his MacBook Pro. Bryon Dudley, a veteran Ames musician and owner of the Spacement recording studio, mastered the finished songs. 

Love said he admires the DIY ethos and fierce independence of pioneering punk and alternative acts, and that spirit inspired his approach to The Nine Days EP

“Bands like Beat Happening, Black Flag and Minor Threat never needed big recording budgets or top-of-the-line equipment to make compelling music,” Love said. “I hope this EP can find a place in that same DIY tradition.”    

Two songs from the EP, “Wapsie Crescent Moon” and “All To Myself,” are available on Love’s Soundcloud page. The entire EP will drop on digital streaming services on June 12.  

Fred Love is a veteran of the central Iowa Music scene. The Nine Days EP is his first official release since his solo debut album, 2017’s Lily of the Valley. His previous band, the Colt Walkers, released one full-length album, Trail of Blood and Broken Hearts, in 2015. Love currently lives in Ames.  

The Nine Days EP track list: 

How My Life Was Saved 
All To Myself 
Wapsie Crescent Moon 
Nine Days 
The Fifth of April


“After 20 years of pickin’ we’re still alive and kickin’ down the wall…” 

“Footlights,” one of my favorite Merle Haggard songs, showcases an older and wiser Merle lamenting that his career as a traveling musician has left him with no true sense of home. The decades of hard living have taken their toll, and he’s tired.  “I’m forty-one years old, and I ain’t got no place to go when it’s over,” he sings. 

Yet his commitment to the music remains. Maybe that’s due to his unshakable passion for the art form, or maybe it’s just because he doesn’t know what else he’d do with his life. In either case, he’s bound to keep going. “Tonight we’ll kick the footlights out and walk away without a curtain call,” he sings defiantly. 

I’m nearly a decade younger than the narrator in Merle’s song, but I can relate to that same feeling of weariness. Two kids, a full-time job and a mortgage to pay every month will do that to you. But, like Merle, I keep playing music because I can’t imagine myself stopping. The music’s power over me is too strong. 

This is all just a long way of saying that, after taking a few months off from gigging, I’m returning to the stage this spring and summer for a full slate of shows, beginning with Saturday, March 24 at Fat Hill Brewing in Mason City. Part of me wonders if maybe I’m a touch loony to keep gigging with everything else going on in my life. But, as another great country singer once said, I’ve always been crazy but it’s kept me from going insane. 

Even though I haven’t played a show since October, I’ve been following a fairly rigorous routine of playing guitar and learning new songs to add to my solo sets. I hope my shows in 2018 will give a more complete sense of the scope of country music, from the direct and wondrous folk songs of the Carter Family to Hank Williams honky tonk to the outlaw spirit of Waylon and Willie. Plus healthy servings of rock and blues to go along with it. 

Check out my schedule, and please make plans to join me for a show or two in 2018. And if the spirit moves you, you can help me kick a few footlights out.


2017 has been a hell of a year for me, gang. 

To name just a few highlights:  I released an album, joined forces with my musical soulmates for a rowdy street dance to celebrate my hometown’s 175th anniversary and played at the governor’s mansion in Des Moines. And my stunningly beautiful wife gave birth to my equally beautiful baby daughter, which is far and away the most momentous development of 2017 for me and mine. 

All this rocking, running and diaper changing has left me pretty tired, so I’m dialing back the gigging for a few months through the end of winter.  But don’t worry. I’ll be back at you soon. In fact, I’ve already begun booking for spring 2018, and I’m thrilled to announce I’ll be at Fat Hill Brewing Co. on March 24, which will be my first-ever gig in beautiful Mason City. I’m also making an effort to learn some old folk tunes that I’ve long admired, and I’ll try to post some videos as time permits. ‘Railroad Bill’ tops the list. 

And if you start missing me too much, you can always listen to “Lily of the Valley,” and it’ll be almost like I’m right there with you. 

As always, thanks to everyone who came to shows, listened to my tunes or bought some merch in 2017. There are few feelings as rewarding for me as when someone connects with my music. Keep it punk rock, gang, and I’ll see you soon. 

PS. Here’s a picture of my spawn, the main reason I’m taking some time away from the stage and staying close to home. Can you really blame me?



The new album is ready for your ear holes! 

As you can see from the photo of my devilishly handsome son, I’ve got physical CDs that I’ll be selling at all my shows for the rest of the summer. The album features some killer cover art and design by Melissa Lanphier, and the best way to admire it is to track down a copy and hold it in your hands. If you can't make it to a gig to buy a CD, you can order one through Nova Labs, one of the scrappiest and most eclectic DIY record labels in existence.

But, if streaming or downloading is your preferred method of musical consumption, I’ve got you covered there too. You can hear the album on Spotify, iTunes and virtually every other online music platform you can think of. Click here to check it out on Spotify. Honestly, I don’t really care which method you pursue. If you take the time and give my album a chance, that’s all the reward I could ask for.

Thanks to everyone who has helped and supported me over the last year as this album went from vision to reality, especially my wife Liz. I couldn’t have done this without you. 

'Lily of the Valley' is available now, and I hope you enjoy it! 


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