J Roddy Walston & The Business

The third album from J. Roddy Walston & The Business, Essential
Tremors borrows its name from a nervous-system disorder that’s long
plagued the band’s frontman. “It’s this condition where my hands
shake―sometimes not at all, but sometimes pretty bad,” says
singer/pianist/guitarist Walston. “I’ve referenced it throughout all our
records in some way, but it made sense to be more open about it on
this album, which is partly about owning and embracing your
weirdness instead of letting it hold you captive because you don’t even
want to talk about it.”
For J. Roddy Walston & The Business―who formed in 2002 in Walston’s
hometown of Cleveland, Tennessee―embracing weirdness means a
mumble-out-loud celebration of that great and terrible burden of being
human. Forcing the oft-clashing worlds of art and rock-and-roll to make
nice, the band (including guitarist/vocalist Billy Gordon, bassist/vocalist
Logan Davis, and drummer Steve Colmus) deals in a scrappy yet
sublime sound that honors both their Southern roots and punk spirit.
On Essential Tremors, J. Roddy Walston & The Business builds off that
formula with a mix of heavy hooks and elegant melodies revealing
their affinity for artists as disparate as Led Zeppelin, pre-disco-era Bee
Gees, The Replacements, Randy Newman, and the Southern soul
outfits that once populated the Stax Records label. Co-produced by
Matt Wignall (Delta Spirit, Cold War Kids) and Grammy-winning
producer/engineer Mark Neill (The Black Keys) at Neill’s own Soil of the
South Studios (a Valdosta, Georgia-based facility where J. Roddy
Walston & The Business were the first to ever record), the follow-up to
2010’s much-acclaimed self-titled sophomore album also finds the
band crafting lyrics that ultimately serve as a secret language to the
initiated listener.
“It seems like most bands write for either the animal side of people or
for the side that’s more in tune with the spirit or even just the psyche,
but we tend to just smash all those things together,” says Walston.
“It’s like we’re writing religious songs for the animal side. We’ve got
songs that feel like party songs but if you look at it closer, it’s
something more cerebral. So for the people who want to dig in and
connect all the weird crosswires, the song can turn into something
else.” And because J. Roddy Walston & The Business is practiced in the
art of subversion, he adds, “these are songs you can get away with
listening to around ‘the straights.’ The danger is in what lies behind the
codes and the prose, and how gently they unravel once you’ve
digested them.”
Endlessly shifting from snarling and stompy to warm and soulful—and
often encompassing all of the above within the same note―Essential
Tremors opens with “Heavy Bells,” a powerhouse lead single that starts
out breezy then gives way to a blistering chorus that threatens to rip
Walston’s sweetly ragged vocals right open. The album amps up that
brutal energy on songs like “Hard Times” (an epic anthem built on a
mercilessly driving bassline) and “Sweat Shock” (a track that comes off
like dance-floor war cry for Native American metalheads), while
“Marigold” keeps it blissfully catchy and “Black Light” offers a
glammed-up bedroom boogie that could be the soundtrack to a
metaphysical seduction scene. Even when turning tender (such as on
the heart-on-sleeve serenade “Boys Can Never Tell,” the harmonysoaked
“Nobody Knows,” and the album-closing stunner “Midnight
Cry”), Essential Tremors burns with a raw passion that’s nothing short
of glorious.
Releasing their debut EP Here Comes Trouble in 2002, J. Roddy Walston
& The Business relocated to Baltimore in 2004 after Walston’s thengirlfriend
(and now wife) began studying opera at the Peabody
Conservatory of Music. Along with putting out their first full-length
album (2007’s Hail Mega Boys), the band devoted the next few years
to earning a reputation as an incendiary live act that devotees aptly
liken to “AC/DC fronted by Jerry Lee Lewis.” Along with touring with the
likes of The Black Keys, Lucero and the Lumineers, J. Roddy Walston &
The Business have brought their joyfully chaotic performance to such
festivals as Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits, and Bonnaroo. Melting all
manner of stereotypes into an as-yet-unnamed breed of New
American, each performance finds hipsters hugging Teamsters and
sweating till it hurts, and art-school cynics and metalheads screaming
out every lyric in some gorgeously desperate attempt to connect.
There seems to be a competition between the band and the crowd as
to who will give more each night.
While their frenetic live show remains a key element of the J. Roddy
experience, Walston is careful to keep his songwriting process separate
from touring. “I think it’s dangerous to write songs when you’re on the
road, since you’re so out of touch with the normal, natural human
condition,” he says. So before developing songs for Essential Tremors,
Walston waited until he’d settled into the home he’d purchased in his
newly adopted city of Richmond, Virginia. “I’ve sort of drifted back
down South again,” says Walston, who names classic Southern writers
like William Faulkner and Flannery O’Connor as major influences on his
own writing. “I don’t think our band or our music is particularly
Southern, but our sense of storytelling and use of language is very
much aligned with a more Southern way of life.”
Defining J. Roddy Walston & The Business as an “American band, just
as much as Creedence Clearwater Revival or Big Star or The Pixies
were all perfectly American at the time they were coming out,”
Walston notes that the Southern lifestyle serves as an infinite
inspiration for his music. “It’s my experience that Southerners are fully
interested in the worlds of philosophy and science and spirituality and
nature, but with a take on life that’s softer and slower. The south has a
pace that’s based on patience.” And in creating Essential Tremors―as
well as its cryptic cover art, which Walston describes as “like if
someone broke into my house and took a picture of something they
maybe shouldn’t have seen”―J. Roddy Walston & The Business sought
to encapsulate that richness while maintaining a certain air of mystery
and mysticism. “It’s not about some sort of Skull and Bones thing of
gaining access to an inner circle of high society,” he says. “It’s about
feeling an intimate connection with these weird secret worlds that are
the legs holding up the table of what seems like a normal, average,
everyday American life―but that most people might not even know are
there.”

Rock-quartet Taddy Porter sprouted their blues-steeped roots and crunchy classic rock foundation in Stillwater, Oklahoma, with branches that have begun to stretch far beyond their native territory. Since October 2007, Andy Brewer (lead vocals / guitar), Joe Selby (lead guitar / backing vocals), Doug Jones (drums) and Kevin Jones (bass) have been collaborating to create timeless, undeniable songs that have found fans across the country.

The band formed through a series of unplanned events, fateful, chance meetings and familial ties. Doug and Andy, the forefathers of Taddy Porter, met at a party through a mutual friend and found an instant spark and likeminded philosophy. Originally conceived as a two-piece, Doug's brother Kevin joined the duo shortly thereafter, quickly proving himself to be more than a nepotistic addition. Andy's guitar teacher, Joe, was invited to check out the band and immediately fell in with the burgeoning band's style, rounding out the Southern rock sound.

As opposed to pursuing the predictable major label path, but still imbued with the ideals of the rock star dream, playing THEIR music for the masses, Taddy Porter has found believers in Primary Wave Music, who's CEO Larry Mestel shared, "Simply stated, we love this band. While we have purposely stayed out of the record business for the past three years, Taddy Porter's music and live performances are so compelling, we knew we had to do both recording & publishing deals with the band." The band rapidly put finishing touches on their self-titled debut album, produced by multiple Grammy winner Skidd Mills.

Released on June 29, 2010, Taddy Porter is filled with tracks that are reminiscent of the qualities that made classic rock thrive in its first incarnation. Lead single "Shake Me" is an energy packed anthem that according to Andy, "Once people know the words, all you gotta do is dance." The track "Long Slow Drag" is a big ballad that Doug shares, "Lyrically, everyone can relate to it. We have all had to leave someone at some point in time, and this is about enjoying the time you have." The song "Big Enough" as Doug offers, "…is like medicine. Love has its ups and downs, so if you think you can handle it saddle up and let's try. I like this song because it just flat out says what most people are thinking. Don't waste my time, and if you think you can handle me then I am willing to give it a try." Joe adds, "It is one of my favorite tracks on the album. It has a weird time signature in the intro, 11/8 for all of you keeping score. The first line of the chorus is 'Let's try love,' which pretty much sums up our message as a band."

With the world at their fingertips, and dreams within their grasp, the four band members are unbelievably grounded. In discussing their thoughts and goals for the future, the band stays humble in asserting their joy in simply sharing their music with their fans. Doug admits, "Playing music is why we started doing it in the first place. Having someone appreciate what you have worked hard towards is amazing. We love going to the merch booth after the shows, and meeting the people that keep us on the road. Playing live doesn't require a lawyer or any other facet of the business side of being in a band. You can just let loose and do what got you there in the first place." Joe ascertains, "I've always said that if I get to board a plane and travel the world with my guitar, then I have made it. Entertaining people along the way is everything." Taddy Porter has had multiple opportunities to mingle with fans and wow them with their musical prowess, touring all over the United States with artists such as Slash, Finger Eleven and Saving Abel.

The Family Business

The Family Business is a rock n' roll band that dabbles in a multitude of genres, drawing as much influence from American blues and folk as they do from 70's stadium rock. No matter what your musical taste, this band will make you move.

$12 adv / $14 dos

Tickets Available At The Door

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J Roddy Walston & The Business with Taddy Porter, The Family Business

Wednesday, September 11 · 8:00 PM at High Noon Saloon