THE LEGENDARY SHACK SHAKERS
The Legendary Shack Shakers’ hell-for-leather roadshow has earned quite a name for itself with its unique brand of Southern Gothic and swampy “hillbilly blues” that is all-at-once irreverent, lyrical, dangerous, and fun. Led by their charismatic, rail-thin frontman and blues-harpist JD Wilkes, the Shack Shakers are a four-man wrecking crew from the South whose explosive interpretations of swamp blues, rock n’ roll and hillbilly music have made fans, critics and legions of potential converts into true believers.
Between intermittent hiatuses to work on other projects (including JD’s sideshow banner-style artwork for acts like The Squirrel Nut Zippers and Marty Stuart…plus his two published books The Vine That Ate the South and Barn Dances & Jamborees Across Kentucky), the band is constantly re-inventing and re-mobilizing, much to the excitement of many a Shack Shakers fanatic. Despite Wilkes’ extracurricular projects, the Shakers’ reputation for intense entertainment endures.
On stage, JD has been compared to the likes of Iggy Pop, David Byrne, and Jerry Lee Lewis. The Nashville Scene named Wilkes “the best frontman in Nashville”, while former Dead Kennedys frontman Jello Biafra has called JD “the last great Rock and Roll frontman.” Guitar virtuoso, Gary Siperko (Pere Ubu, Rocket from the Tombs) intones a variety of strains, from garage blues to gypsy jazz, while the rhythm section rounds out with Preston Corn (The Dirt Daubers) on percussion and Fuller Condon (Two Man Gentlemen Band) thumping the upright bass.
Although not necessarily “legendary” upon being named, the band has grown into its reputation the last several years due to their heavy tour schedule, seven critically acclaimed studio albums, and songs that have been featured on television shows such as HBO’s True Blood, CBS’s The Unit , Swamp Loggers, and movies like Julia Roberts’ Duplicity. Past tour mates and fans include Sturgill Simpson, Reverend Horton Heat, Rancid, The Black Keys, Slim Cessna’s Auto Club, and Hank Williams III. Robert Plant is also a noted Legendary Shack Shakers fan, and picked the band to open for him on his 2005 tour of Europe. Plant named the band’s third album Believe as one of his favorite records of 2005. The list of esteemed admirers goes on to include horror novelist Stephen King, who listed “CB Song” as among his iPod’s Top Five in a 2008 Entertainment Weekly article. Such a wealth of devoted, cult-like fans over the years has only added to the mystique that the Legendary Shack Shakers possess, carrying them down the road toward new creative pursuits and intense new tunes.
“Col. J.D. Wilkes lets loose on the (harmonica) like an Old Western mob on a prisoner. Come for a sh*t-kickin’ good time” Pitchfork
“(Wilkes) is the closest thing there is to the Ambassador of Genuine Traditional Southern Culture” ALARM Magazine
“I think JD’s one of those genius guys. I love the fact that he’s experimental. He’s a very creative cat” Billy Bob Thornton
“AgriDustrial (is) a masterpiece of experimental music” Creative Loafing
“It’s f***ing great!” Robert Plant
“Dynamite group” Stephen King
“They’re like the Yard Birds meet the Sex Pistols” Jeff Beck
“(Swampblood is) one of the strangest and thoroughly drawn concept albums of recent times” American Songwriter
ADRIAN + MEREDITH
Always been ones to march to their own drum, Adrian + Meredith make a different sort of roots racket. More Than A Little, finds the pair’s debut putting its own spin on Americana music, roughing up the genre’s edges with the rule-breaking spirit of punk, the vintage twang of old-timey folk, the sneer of rock & roll, and even the frenetic bounce of early Swing and jazz manouche.
More Than A Little brings together two performers who grew up on opposite ends of the musical spectrum. Before meeting his future wife at a show in Washington DC, Adrian was born on the Canadian/Detroit border, raised on rock, punk and soul music, with a carnival barker’s croon and an off-the-wall “clawhammer banjo” approach to playing the acoustic guitar. Meanwhile, Meredith was a nearby Ann Arbor MI native who cut her teeth in the old-time music scene, where she played traditional fiddle and clogged. Those two approaches come together with Adrian + Meredith, a project that honors the traditions of Folk and Americana music while pushing beyond those genres’ boundaries. Produced in East Nashville by Mark Robertson, More Than A Little is being released in part via an innovative partnership with Daniel Lanois’ Canadian streaming company, UpRise.FM.
Adrian was already 10 years into an acclaimed solo career when Meredith made a guest appearance on his 2014 release, ROAM. Since then, the pair’s partnership has grown into a full-time collaboration, with the two swapping harmonies, trading solos, and acting as co-pilots throughout their debut album. Returning from Adrian’s previous record is five-year bandmate Paul Niehaus on pedal steel, while JD Wilkes of the Legendary Shack Shakers and Fats Kaplin of Jack White’s touring-band make guest appearances.
The result is a record influenced by the group’s time on tour, with songs that celebrate the joy of hitting the highway with your romantic partner (“Birthday Cakes,” “Old Midwestern Home”), and examine the darker corners of an entertainment industry that’s rarely, if ever, fair (“Bank,” “Fixer”). Equal parts defiant and driving, More Than A Little is a rallying cry from two road warriors who, after more than a dozen combined years in the music business, are too smart to play by the industry’s rules and too enthralled to turn their backs. It’s a love letter to a new genre of music, and a call to arms for independent artists with true vision.