“There’s little traditional about Churchwood’s irreverent blues, thank heaven. It’s rude, literate, bilingual, unpredictable and addictive.” Austin Chronicle
“…this lot should come with a government warning. They are dangerous, exciting, and their debut album sounds like it fell out of the rock’n’roll tree, hit every deranged blues branch on the way down, and got up spitting and snarling to go spread its mad dog message to the people.” Americana UK
Think there’s nothing truly new under the full moon shining down on the Delta crossroads where blues music was proverbially born? Well, think again and listen up. On their 2011 debut album, Churchwood “found its groove near the Dadaland exit off Highway 61,” according to the Austin Chronicle. Now with Chuchwood 2, the visionary quintet extend and intensify their potent musical mojo with 10 intoxicating swamp water shots of truly 21st Century rocking blues that’s “dense and nasty, literate and mean,” says Lone Star Music. With the CD hitting stores February 19th and vinyl arriving in April, Churchwood will play a flurry of Texas shows before heading to the Midwest in support of “2”, with dates coming soon.
Listen to Churchwood here: http://soundcloud.com/western-publicity/sets/churchwood-2
The bracing sound on the group’s second outing defies easy classification yet, as attested above, inspires vivid description. Yes, it’s blues as deep as the Delta roots of Johnson, Skip James, Mississippi John Hurt and Big Bill Broonzy who inspired guitarist/co-founder Bill Anderson to initially attack the six strings of the guitar as a teen, later to land in Austin and first play with seminal post-punk pioneers Poison 13. One also feels the lysergic musical expansionism of Captain Beefheart and Nick Cave, the growl and groove of Howlin’ Wolf and the big bouncing Bo Diddley beat, plus a poetry slam between the French symbolist and American Beat poets fueled by absinthe and hashish within the lyrics of singer/co-founder Joe Doerr – a poet, college professor and veteran rocker who first made his mark in the early 1980s as Kid LeRoi in the long-running Texas roots music powerhouse The LeRoi Brothers.
Churchwood is the dream band for longtime musical compatriots Anderson and Doerr, who first united in the 1980s Austin group Ballad Shambles that morphed into Hand of Glory, praised by Trouser Press as “a diverse and exciting quartet” and “strikingly potent band… mixing up cowboy rock, blues, Doorsy atmospherics and more with confidence and creativity.” Their two albums on Skyclad Records are now prized collectors items, and a chorus of those in the know rightly credit Hand of Glory with presaging the grunge rock sound that became the next big thing right at the time the band ended its run in 1992.
In time Anderson circled back ’round to his original inspiration, the blues, but with an itch to refract the style’s down-home origins through a contemporary prism and update it for the digital age. “I was on this Captain Beefheart trip where I listened to him all the time, and it made me want to play blues music again, but not the tired old one-four-five shuffle,” he explains. Doerr was again his perfect vocal and lyrical foil. They rounded out the band with bassist turned drummer Julien Peterson, bass player Adam Kahan and guitarist Billysteve Korpi, forming a ferocious ensemble. The response to Churchwood didn’t take long, Saustex released their debut and caught the attention of LA’s music supervisors, “Rimbaud Diddley” landed in the critically acclaimed biker saga Sons of Anarchy season before last.
The band is now on a mission to relaunch the blues to the deltas of Mars and solar systems beyond, forging futurist roots for as long as it takes to fulfill their yin/yang goal of bringing it all back home while at the same time throwing the music out into the cosmos. “We can continue making records at this rate forever,” Doerr says of Churchwood’s creative fertility. “We always have ideas for songs.” So listen up now, lest you get left behind the curve. After all, as the Austin Chronicle reassures, “This is one rabbit hole you won’t mind falling down.”
Churchwood Live (More dates coming soon):
Fri, Feb 15 San Antonio, TX The Mix* w/ the In & Outlaws, Chablis
Sat, Feb 16 Austin, TX The Hole in the Wall*
w/ the Hickoids and Chablis
Sat, Feb 23 Austin, TX Antones Record Shop* (3pm)
w/ Hans Frank “El Gallo”
Wed, Mar 13 Austin, TX Cash American Pawn (4:30pm)
SX Parking Lot Party
Fri, Mar 15 Austin, TX Dog and Duck Pub (time tba)
Sun, Apr 21 Austin, TX Scoot In – Pocket Fishrmen Fish Fry
Sat, June 8 Chicago, IL The Hideout w/ the Waco Brothers