Thursday, January 21, 2016

Drunken Barn Dance - Big Bend EP (out Feb 5)

I want to be there every time any of those guys picks up a guitar… --Scott Sellwood on "Chruches," lead single from Drunken Barn Dance's forthcoming Big Bend EP

It's been nearly three years since we've heard from Drunken Barn Dance. The quintet's leader, Scott Sellwood, has spent the last six years living in New York and California, but his heart will always be in Michigan, the soil from which his songs truly blossomed. Sellwood, despite his semi-itinerant home-base and relative distance from the Mitten, is nevertheless granted access to Michigan's VIP music room, where he meets the minds of Matt Jones, Fred Thomas, Chris Bathgate, Matt Milia and many more, as equals, comrades...hell, brothers. You'll hear him name-dropping those names, along with Tim & Jamie Monger (of Great Lakes Myth Society) and producer/wizard/bass-sage Jim Roll.

Drunken Barn Dance started around the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area back in early 2007. It was around this time that he served his tenure in Thomas' Saturday Looks Good To Me. Sellwood has since perfected his sensibility for rollicking indie-Americana romps and twanged-out tough-n-tumble baroque ditties. He's backed by Roll, Scott DeRoche, Ryan Howard and Greg McIntosh, and they've continued to maintain their sometimes fast and fierce (and occasionally functioning-Bacchanalian) approach to recording throughout the years, including with Big Bend, their latest EP coming out on Quite Scientific Records, Feb 5.

As is often the case, Sellwood has written an exuberant and hyper-endearing love letter to Michigan with their lead single, "Churches." I think it's the most vigorous incarnation of reverence and kicking camaraderie I've ever heard... This is windows-rattling guitar rock with a Rustbelt warbled voice so full of gladness you can almost hear its source ricocheting around the room. That said... the ears of this blogger have heard the forthcoming EP, and I can assure you, you find a wide variety of tunes, including some heavier traipses & jukebox slowdancers and everything in between.

I’m just thrilled that the formula still works and the guys are still down," Sellwood said. "We basically took two years off, far more time and distance from each other than in the past. This was largely due to all-encompassing day jobs, but also other things ranging from geography to family to bad weather. Like with every DBD release, the songs we can successfully record according to the rules are the ones that make it. The others don’t. That doesn’t necessarily make for the most thematically coherent group of songs.

The band knocked out two EP's, said Sellwood, with only a small amount of 'song casualties" left behind. Don't get excited now, but there will eventually be two more DBD EP's coming down the pike.... No official word yet, but you should stay tuned via Quite Scientific for more info. Sellwood is anticipating a summer release.

In the meantime, DBD are headed out on the road next month.

Drunken Barn Dance Tour Dates:
Jan 21st - New York, NY @ Leftfield
Feb 4th - San Francisco, CA @ Hotel Utah
Feb 18th - Detroit, MI @ PJ's Lager House
Feb 19th - Ann Arbor, MI @ Elk's Lodge
Feb 20th - Grand Rapids, MI @ Tip Top Deluxe

" Individually," Sellwood said, " think the songs are among our best. St. Russell is the latest in the line of DBD good-versus-overwhelming-evil songs. 'Churches' is a simple rock song that is propelled forward by our love for the subjects - songwriters from Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti who make our lives better every time they walk on stage. They just also happen to be dear friends. I want to be there every time any of those guys picks up a guitar… Another song, "Celebrate," is the first ever break-up song in the DBD canon. Sellwood admits he's not typically interested in that kind of song, but wanted to create some characters dealing with it. "Always grow, right?" said Sellwodd. "Scott DeRoche had the idea of making it a dirge like Richard & Linda Thompson’s 'Calvary Cross.' Greg McIntosh added the militaristic cadence to the chorus. The combo works!"

Then there's the song "We’re All Much Smarter Than Our Drinking Buddies Believe," which Sellwood considers "... classic DBD and among the better solo folk songs I’ve written. It’s typically spastic and wordy, but hopefully with some purpose."

Spastic. Propulsive. Wordy. But with purpose... That's Drunken Barn a succinct, whimsical whirl!

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