XPN Welcomes: The Weeks & The Apache Relay

"If my Southern heart's still pumping blood/I'll bury my money in the mighty Mississippi mud," sings The Weeks' Cyle Barnes on Dear Bo Jackson's "Brother In The Night." "If my Southern lungs won't let me breathe/I'll wait for the cicadas and I'll let 'em push it out for me."

With that powerful verse, The Weeks stake a claim as heirs to the timeless tradition of Southern rock. Dear Bo Jackson, the Nashville-based band's Serpents and Snakes debut, sees them enriching their already well-seasoned sonic stew with the classic flavors of soul, R&B, funk, and heavy boogie to fashion a forward-facing sound all their own. Big brass, lush strings, and twangy pedal steel have been fused into their distinctive sludge pop, with Sam Williams' greasy guitars and the highly charged engine room of bassist Damien Bone and drummer/Cyle's brother Cain Barnes now officially joined by keyboardist Alex Admiral Collier. Throughout the album, songs like the aforementioned "Brother In The Night" and the exuberant title track see Cyle Barnes rending his throat raw as he testifies dramatic and truthful tales of modern Southern lives, always full of hope despite often punishing circumstances.

"The South is a different beast than the rest of the world," he says. "We've all been aged and worn in a very fine way because of it. I think even if we didn't want to write about the South, it'd still come out in our songs."

Born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi, The Weeks came together in 2006 and instantly came to define the sound of Southern Rock in the 21st Century – their grunge-powered, high-octane anthems rich with a bottomless Delta soul far deeper than the boys' teenage years would suggest. Like any great rock 'n' roll outfit worth its salt, The Weeks played as often as humanly possible, with countless club dates across the Southeast and tours alongside such like-minded acts as Local H, North Mississippi Allstars, and the one and only Meat Puppets. Their extraordinary energy and outsized performances – not to mention a series of well-received independently issued releases – earned them a fervent fan following and ultimately, a deal with the like-minded Serpents and Snakes Records.

By summer 2010, it had become clear that sleepy Jackson could no longer contain the mighty Weeks. The band left their old Mississippi home for the bright lights of Nashville, and, as Williams says, "it's been non-stop ever since." Serpents and Snakes reissued the band's second full-length outing, Gutter Gaunt Gangster, earning them reams of national applause, including Amazon.com naming the collection among its top 10 "Outstanding 2012 Albums You Might Have Missed."

Where that album – like all The Weeks' previous recordings – was recorded fast and on the cheap, the band opted to take a more leisurely tack in making its follow-up. They spent six months at pre-production, resulting the most fully articulated demos of their career. When time came to record the album proper, their search for a producer led them to Paul Moak, a Grammy Award-nominated producer/engineer/mixer and perhaps most importantly, a fellow Jacksonian.

Our shoes are tattered and torn, but our feet are dry. As for our places in history, we will run naked through your streets before we sit decorated in your halls.

The Apache Relay

The Apache Relay was formed by chance in a Nashville college dorm when Michael Ford Jr. (vocals, bass) met Mike Harris (guitar, vocals). Ford Jr. happened to be looking for some musicians to help perform his own music live, when he heard about Harris’ newly formed band, The Apache Relay. Ford Jr. hired the trio, which also included Brett Moore (keys, guitar, mandolin) and Kellen Wenrich (fiddle), to back him at a show and it was immediately evident that the four musicians had a unique chemistry and were on to something special.

The four-­piece released their debut LP titled 1988 in 2009. Produced by Doug Williams, (renowned for his authentically raw approach with the Avett Brothers) the record was lauded by Paste Magazine as one of “The Eight Most Auspicious Musical Debuts of 2009”. The band’s ability to effortlessly blend acoustic sounds with ferocious rock anthem elements only hinted at the band’s capabilities.

Capitalizing on the initial success of their debut with relentless touring, The Apache Relay honed their sound and released their sophomore album American Nomad in April 2011, in the US, via indie stalwart Thirty Tigers. Produced by Neilson Hubbard, the collection of modern roots-­?rock tracks encompassed the eclectic range of influences the band meshed so well; a tinge of Bad Brains, some Suzuki training, jazz lessons, a lot of Beatles’ listening, a knowledge of traditional mountain music, a worship of Phil Spector and the love for the complex but accessible layers of bands like Arcade Fire. A few months later, Ford Jr.’s brother, Ben, joined the band as rhythm guitarist and supporting
vocalist. The brothers had been harmonizing and playing together since the age of 12 and 13, so it was a natural fit.
Since the release of American Nomad, The Apache Relay, who round out their live show with the addition of drummer Aaron Early, have continued their regiment of non-­?stop touring, amassing a fervent fanbase and performing over 100 dates in 2011 alone, including coveted spots opening for Grammy nominated Mumford & Sons, and a breakout performance at Bonnaroo Music Festival. 2012 will see the band continue to tour in support of American Nomad including stops at SXSW, Canadian Music Fest, and Newport Folk Festival. The band’s first Canadian release, American Nomad EP, will be available through Dine Alone Records on March 13, 2012. The EP includes selected tracks from the band’s previous US full-­?length release.
“They've got kind of an Arcade Fire meets boys raised on gospel and Bruce Springsteen approach to what they do, and they're called The Apache Relay. They're a fantastic live band.” -­ Huffington Post

“The Apache Relay’s second album, American Nomad, is an excellent effort from a musically skilled group with evident appreciation for the rich, layered brand of American rock ‘n’ roll that pays homage to the road...” -­Indie Shuffle

Shelly Colvin

Some artists make a choice to pursue music, and some are just born into it. As the daughter of a music minister, talented singer-songwriter Shelly Colvin absolutely falls into the latter category.

Learning to sing harmonies and performing onstage with her parents before she even started kindergarten, music was a constant, integral element of her early life. This foundational framework translates to an impressive musical finesse that can be easily felt on her upcoming debut album Up the Hickory Down the Pine.

Mixing a relaxed, seventies country rock vibe with sweeping, breathy vocals that fall somewhere between Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt and Hope Sandoval (Mazzy Star), Colvin creates an inviting sound that is both reminding and refreshing. Not content to use her early influences as simply a destination point, she showcases her creative momentum with the melodic shuffle of "Holding Steady," the quiet heartbreak of "The Staying Kind" and the banjo-fueled pulse of "Pocket Change."

$12.00 - $15.00

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XPN Welcomes: The Weeks & The Apache Relay with Shelly Colvin

Friday, May 23 · 9:00 PM at North Star Bar