POF presents . . .
All Them Witches, Handsome Jack
2720 Elm St.
Dallas, TX, 75226
This event is all ages
All Them Witches
By most fifth LPs, the band’s sound is pretty set. Parameters established. Refinement
dissipated. You get a to-formula execution of what’s worked in the past. Fair enough. All
Them Witches go a harder route.
In 2017, the Nashville four-piece offered what might’ve otherwise become their own
template in their fourth album (second for New West), Sleeping Through the War. It
brought a larger production value thanks to oversight from producer Dave Cobb (Jason
Isbell, Shooter Jennings, etc.), found them using choral vocals, expanded arrangements,
bigger sounds than anything they’d done before.
They could’ve easily fallen into a pattern of watered-down clones of that record. Easily.
So naturally in a year they’ve thrown it all to the Appalachian wind, turned the process
completely on its head and gone the other way: recording in a cabin in Kingston Springs,
about 20 miles outside of Nashville on I-40, with guitarist Ben McLeod at the helm.
Self-produced. Take that, expectation.
The result, mixed by Rob Schnapf (Beck, Elliott Smith, Kurt Vile), is the most intimate,
human-sounding album All Them Witches have recorded and another redefinition of
who they are as a band. Introducing keyboardist/percussionist Jonathan Draper to the
fold with McLeod, bassist/vocalist Charles Michael Parks, Jr., and drummer/graphic
artist Robby Staebler, All Them Witches’ ATW isn’t self-titled by mistake.
It’s the band confirming and continuing to develop their approach, in the devil’s boogie
of “Fishbelly 86 Onions,” the organ-laced groove and masterful flow of “Half-Tongue,”
the build of “HJTC” and the fluid jam in closer “Rob’s Dream.” You can hear it in the
mellow patience of that last track, never lost but always wandering, and in “1st vs. 2nd,”
where they turn from a frenetic shake to some purposefully metal-ish riffing while still
holding onto gut-tightening tension.
And what do they do with that? Some overblown payoff? Hell no. They cut it short, drift
into noise and then dig into “Half-Tongue” ahead of the moodier “Diamond,” which,
true to its name, seems to turn any light that touches it into a prism. This is a band who
delight in the exploration, in finding new rules to break, and in continually learning new
ways to do so.
ATW is a reaction to being a “bigger” act. To playing bigger shows, bigger tours, etc.
From the sustained consonants in Parks’ vocals, to the sleek basslines that play off the
can’t-sit-still-won’t-sit-still swing in Staebler’s drums, to McLeod’s commanding slide in
“Workhorse” and drifting melancholy at the outset of “Harvest Feast,” ATW is their
laying claim to the essential facets of their identity.
And most crucial to that identity is its shifting nature. All Them Witches didn’t get to
this point by resting on laurels, and if anything, the urgency of these tracks – fast
pushers and sleepy jams alike – is among their greatest strengths.
It’s a rawer delivery, as stage-ready as the band itself, and it captures All Them Witches
in this moment. Is ATW who they’ll be tomorrow? Who the hell knows? Check back in
and we’ll find out together. That’s the whole idea.
All Them Witches:
Robby Staebler - drums, percussion, loops
Charles Michael Parks Jr - vocals, bass, loops
Ben McLeod - guitars
Jonathan Draper - keys, percussion
Some people call it a vibe and some people call it a groove. We call it boogie soul. It’s the sound of HANDSOME JACK on their new album “Do What Comes Naturally”.
Produced by Zachary Gabbard of the BUFFALO KILLERS and featuring Bob Nave (of the legendary Lemon Pipers) on hammond organ, among others, the music of this album seamlessly flows through deep dark mid-tempo boogies, smoky upbeat burners, and soulful feel-good rockers all with a natural ease.
HANDSOME JACK hails from Buffalo NY and began as a blues garage rock band. After high school they moved out of the garage and developed their sound into a natural soulful boogie that remains rooted in raw blues. They’ve shared the stage with The Sheepdogs, Blue Cheer, Gov’t Mule, J. Geils, The Hold Steady, and Robert Randolph to name a few.
$15 (tickets available at the door)