HigherGround Music
Whiskey Myers

Whiskey Myers

The Wans

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 7:30 pm

Showcase Lounge

South Burlington, VT

$12 advance | $15 day of show

This event is all ages

Whiskey Myers
Whiskey Myers
It would be an understatement to say that a lot has happened since Whiskey Myers was last in the recording studio. Over two whirlwind years, the gritty Texas band hit #1 on the iTunes Country Chart with their breakout third album 'Early Morning Shakes,' earned raves everywhere from Rolling Stone to USA Today, and toured the US and UK relentlessly, slaying massive festival crowds and sharing stages with Lynyrd Skynyrd, Hank Williams Jr., Jamey Johnson, and more along the way. You'd be forgiven, then, for expecting things to work a little differently this time around when the band reunited with acclaimed producer Dave Cobb for their stellar new album, 'Mud.' But as it turns out, success doesn't change a Southern gentleman, and they don't come any more Southern than Whiskey Myers.

Fueled by larger-than-life performances honed tight from countless nights on the road, 'Mud' finds the band scaling new heights of songwriting and musicianship, with searing guitars, soulful vocals, and indelible hooks. While their approach to the music and humble, hard-working attitudes may not have altered, there have been developments in the Whiskey Myers world, most notably with the arrival of new faces. For the recording sessions, the band's five founding members—Cody Cannon on lead vocals and guitar, Cody Tate and John Jeffers on guitars, Gary Brown on bass, and Jeff Hogg on drums—fleshed out their sound with the addition of fiddler/keyboard player Jon Knudson and percussionist Tony Kent, who are both now full-time members.

"They bring a great energy, and I think it's really helped our sound and makes the band more versatile," explains Cannon. "There's less room onstage now, but sometimes a family grows."

A glance through Whiskey Myers' lyrics will show you that Cannon is a man who chooses his words carefully, so it's little surprise that he describes the band as a family. The tight-knit group's roots stretch back decades into the red dirt of East Texas, where Cannon, Jeffers, and Tate first began playing together before rounding out their initial lineup with the addition Hogg and Brown (who is Cannon's actual cousin). They built up a rabid local following on the strength of their 2008 debut album, 'Road Of Life,' and then notched their first #1 on the Texas Music Charts with their 2011 follow-up 'Firewater.' It was 'Early Morning Shakes,' though, that introduced the rest of the world to what Texas already knew. The album cracked the Top 10 on the Billboard Country Chart, a remarkable feat for a fiercely independent band and a testament to their rigorous DIY work ethic and endless supply of passion and drive. Esquire called them "the real damn deal," while Country Weekly said they combine "greasy Southern rock riffs with countrified songwriting and Texas grit for something wholly unique," and Playboy dubbed them "the new bad boys of country music."

Even in the face of their rapidly-growing profile and expanding lineup, the band found they were able to pick up exactly where they left off when they returned to the studio for 'Mud.'

"We don't want a high stress situation, and we don't want to feel uncomfortable while we're recording, because we want to make sure everybody can get into their creative mode," explains Brown. "Dave has a laid back attitude as far as making music and that fits right in with the way we work. His ear is similar to ours and he has the same kind of vision for what the music should sound like."

What the music sounds like is raw, visceral emotion: pride, faith, desire, defiance. The songs on 'Mud' are stories of ordinary men and women standing up for their families and honoring their roots. Home is sacred ground for Whiskey Myers, not just a plot of land, but rather the cornerstone of an identity worth dying for. Fiddle-led album opener "On The River" steps back to frontier times when the struggle for survival was a daily one, while the epic title track promises a home-foreclosing banker "Ain't no man gonna take it away / Because it's deep down in my blood / So step across the ol' property line / And you'll die right here in the mud." "Frogman," written with Rich Robinson of the Black Crowes, follows a Southern man halfway around the world, as he risks his life to defend freedom and fight terror in the Middle East as a Navy Seal, and the Darrell Scott co-write "Trailer We Call Home" finds the beauty in simple things, concluding, "Times get tough but love is strong / Here in this trailer that we call home."

"Where you come from and where you grew up influences your music a lot," says Cannon. "As a band, we don't go into the studio with any preconceived theme. You just sit down and you write and the songs come out naturally."

As a result, Whiskey Myers' music fits neatly into no genre. Sure, it's heavily influenced by country music ("My first record was 'The Pressure Is On' / Ain't it funny how your life can change with a song" Cannon sings on "Hank"), but the band credits everything from Alan Jackson and Waylon Jennings to Led Zeppelin and Nirvana as inspiration. "Some Of Your Love" channels old-school soul, while the bright, punchy horns of "Lightning Bugs And Rain" flirts with Rolling Stones swagger, and "Good Ole' Days" captures a stripped-down, folky vibe, as the whole band sat in a circle singing together live. It all adds up to what Cannon perhaps describes best as "no frills, no bullshit rock and roll."

"The equipment we used on the recording process for this one was really important to the sound, too" he adds. "Dave has these amazing old amps and we recorded everything to tape for the first time. The piano was from, like, 1904 or something, and I don't think it's been tuned since. Little things like that make a big difference. It sounds authentic when you actually use the real, old gear."

In the end, there may be no better word for Whiskey Myers than authentic. This music is in their blood, and it flows as naturally from them as a spring feeding a mountain creek. While a record this good is sure to send their (lone)star rising higher than ever before, you can rest assured that success still won't be changing this band any time soon. They make music they're proud of that celebrates where they come from and makes people feel good. As far as they're concerned, that's all the success anyone could ever ask for.
The Wans
The best rock & roll doesn't have to be heady or pretentious—it has to hit you square between the thighs. The genre's name was always a feverish, rollicking euphemism for sex, and too often these days, that base, primal essence of what once made it so great is diluted to the point of powerlessness. Nashville band The Wans are a potent antidote to this lack of passion—a pure, concentrated shot of life-saving adrenaline stabbed straight into the flatlined heart of rock & roll.

Singer/guitarist Simon Kerr, bassist Thomas Bragg and drummer Mark Petaccia craft epic, unapologetic rock anthems with instantly memorable hooks built to last. Now gearing up for their third release, the new EP Run Baby Run, they've grown into impressive songwriters—not necessarily in the tradition of Bob Dylan or Leonard Cohen, but in the way a band like Led Zeppelin was able to uniquely fuse unforgettable guitar lines with wailing rock vocals, ushering in an era where it was impossible to separate song from performer

"We're basically a gang of pirates," Kerr says, "roaming from city to city and hoisting up our flag." But it's not just '70s stadium rock The Wans are pillaging. They also dabble in turn-of-the-Millennium garage revivalism a la The White Stripes and The Vines, and—above all else—'90s grunge, channeling Alice in Chains and Soundgarden in a way that incinerates the memory of every shitty nü-metal band those two pioneers inadvertently spawned, rewriting history as the space-time continuum branches off circa 1995, going in a different and much more fulfilling musical direction.

"Being in the band and knowing Mark and Thomas for this long inevitably translates to the songs," Kerr says. "When we're writing, we can be vulnerable. It's almost as if we're of the same mind, even down to the subconscious level. We're definitely coming into our own and finding our sound."

The hard-touring Wans have been on the rise for a while now, playing major festivals like Austin City Limits, Forecastle and Hangout Fest, and sharing bills with Pearl Jam, Beck and Queens of the Stone Age. They recorded their 2014 LP, He Said She Said, with Grammy-winning producer Dave Cobb (Jason Isbell, Sturgill Simpson, Chris Cornell), the acclaimed record landing them press at USA Today, NME, Consequence of Sound, Flavorwire, The AV Club and more. Not


only that, the band's music has been featured everywhere from major motion picture Point Break and TV shows like Nashville, Longmire and Necessary Roughness to a powerhouse commercial for BMW's 4 Series Gran Coupe, which was soundtracked by the band's muscular riff rocker "Black Pony."

The Wans' new six-song EP, Run Baby Run, was produced, recorded and mixed by Vance Powell (Jack White, Arctic Monkeys, Red Fang) at Sputnik Sound in Nashville using all vintage analog gear. The songs were fresh going in, a month old at most, and had only been played on acoustic up to the point they were recorded, so there was a lot of sculpting in the studio, the band experimenting with arrangements and instrumentation, adding Moog synths to sweeten a few of the tracks.

Run Baby Run is chock full of the two essential elements Iggy Pop once said were required to make real rock & roll—sex & danger, as many of the songs are vignettes and meditations on the band's wild, wanton encounters during a heavy season of touring. But the EP also takes some key inspiration from a less obvious place. "I was listening a lot to Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly, and it really blew me away," Kerr says. "I think some of the vocal rhythms on Run Baby Run—the way they flow, the lyrical cadence and delivery—were influenced by Kendrick in a big way."

After four years together, The Wans radiate a rare kind of closeness and camaraderie that comes through their shared experiences on the road, where they strictly adhere to old rock & roll sage Cowboy Jack Clement's mantra—we're in the fun business. If we're not having fun, we're not doing our jobs. "That's the mentality we try to bring to it," Petaccia says. "We do our best to have a good time and capitalize on all the energy while we're out there, so we can turn around and put it right back into the songs."

With all of the rock & roll icons we've buried this year, it's high time the next generation of would-be heavy hitters steps up to the plate. It's a calling that is not lost on The Wans. "When Bowie died and released Blackstar earlier this year, it really affected us," Kerr says. "We ended up thinking a lot about exactly what it is that musicians do. With The Wans, we're more committed than we ever have been to leaving behind something of value. Something that—30 or 40 years down the road—will still have an impact. We aim to leave our mark."
Venue Information:
Showcase Lounge
1214 Williston Road
South Burlington, VT, 05403
http://www.highergroundmusic.com/