Michigan Rattlers Album Release Show

Michigan Rattlers Album Release Show

Al Scorch

Thu, September 27, 2018

9:00 pm

The Hideout

Chicago, IL

$12.00

Tickets at the Door

Michigan Rattlers
Michigan Rattlers
Lifelong friends and deep-north natives, musical group Michigan Rattlers play heavy-hearted folk-rock with an aching dose of Midwestern nice. Graham Young (guitar), Adam Reed (upright bass), and Christian Wilder (piano) began writing music and performing together in their Northern Michigan high school.

“Petoskey is a small place. Beautiful, but secluded. It’s hard to start a musical career in a place where there are more deer than people.”

Still, they regularly played every bar, cafe, and stage in town, developing a musical
chemistry informed by the likes of AC/DC, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Bob Seger, and more.

After a few years apart, Reed and Young settled down in Los Angeles, recorded a short demo, and began playing locally. The demo found its way into the hands of super-producer Johnny K (Plain White T's, 3 Doors Down), and they cut the bulk of their first EP at NRG Studios in just one day.

"My favorite music is recorded that way," continues Reed. "You get in a room, plug in, and cut songs live. The energy of the recording comes directly from the physical performance, and it puts the listener into that specific time and place."

This self-titled Michigan Rattlers EP attracted glowing reviews from No Depression,
Bluegrass Situation, B3 Science, and Rolling Stone, who named the band one of their “Ten New Country Artists You Need To Know” in 2016. They spent the rest of that year and much of the next touring in support of this release.

In September 2017, Pianist Christian Wilder was added to the band’s lineup. Now a trio, the group headed into the studio to record their newest EP, Wasting the Meaning. Comprised of three cover songs, the project was conceived as a way to explore deeper into the recording process and pay homage to some of their favorite songwriters.

Currently, the group is hard at work recording their first full-length release. It is slated for release in the summer of 2018.
Al Scorch
Al Scorch
Stormy, husky, brawling, City of Big Shoulders.” – from “Chicago” by Carl Sandburg

Al Scorch grew up in Chicago, with its storied history of corrupt power at the top and righteous fighters and big dreamers at the bottom. From the town that gave the world characters like Studs Terkel, Upton Sinclair, and the anarchists in Bughouse Square, Scorch adds his voice to the choir with the enthusiasm and charisma of a Maxwell Street preacher. He eyes the prize of that ever-elusive promised land that’s worth scrapping for, wherever or whatever it may be. With a stentorian bullhorn of a voice, he exhorts, not with a holy book in his hand, but a banjo and guitar. He’s a messenger and a conduit, a believer that a soul-stirring song will march you forward.

Balanced on wedges of punk, old-time string band, American and European folk, and soulful balladry, Al is an entertainer, road warrior, storyteller, and one helluva musician. His second album and Bloodshot debut Circle Round the Signs is built on a sonic framework sharing an intersection with the Bad Livers’ lawless next-gen take on traditional country & bluegrass, and Black Flag’s burn-it-all-down revolt and breakneck tempos. From the train-hopping tale of “Pennsylvania Turnpike” - updating steel rails to concrete ribbons - to the shout-along, late-night lament of “Insomnia” (“I toss and I turn in my bed every night/ I'm sober but my mind’s as high as a kite”), the aural dexterity is thrilling.

Woody Guthrie’s “Slipknot” gets a complex, Western swing cum prog-grass treatment, led by the angular fiddling of Felipe Tobar, that would make acoustic thrash godfathers Split Lip Rayfield grin demonically. And “Want One” blazes down the dirt track with a Stanley Brothers fireball energy driven by Scorch’s clawhammer banjoing, and the it’s-safe-to-laugh-now adventure of meeting an intensely inebriated fan while busking across the country.

But Scorch is far more than lightning for lightning’s sake. Through 10 songs of high wire musicianship, debilitating despair, wild-eyed hope, and sharp-elbowed views of social (in)justice, he deftly maintains a balance of precise touch and texture, pop catchiness and frenetic intensity. That Minutemen inspired “jam econo” vibe embracing the freedom of art and community as long as you’re working hard and bringing your friends along for the ride?… Yeah, that’s here too.

He shows a keen ear for the Mekons’ trans-Atlantic roots and marries it to the Avett Brothers’ big stage sound on “Lost At Sea.” Likewise, there is depth in the song’s lyrics during the cliffhanging, real-life narrative of a best friend almost dying when the HMS Bounty sank in Hurricane Sandy: “When I heard of the wreck my heart left my chest/ tears came rolling down/ the same sun shone through the window/ I thought of a world without you around”

DIY show shakedowns parallel a down-and-out-on-Clout-Street message (“Every bossman is on another bossman’s take/ There ain't no free man except the one you make”) on the vaudeville-via-Eastern European klezmer door-kicker “Everybody Out.” With its bittersweet imagery and mournful harmonies, “Lonesome Low” goes beyond the blue grass and into the deep woods. While the elegiac french horn in “Poverty Draft” wouldn’t sound out of place if it was played in a WWI trench, nor would its message of the poor being the tools of war (“The fight for freedom pays more than minimum wage”).

A punk rock banjo-wielding John Prine or Billy Bragg, Al Scorch writes for the everyperson. Through his acrobatically poetic politics, hopeful tales of love lost (“Love After Death”), or cathartic takes on urban chaos (“City Lullaby”), he pens rowdy campfire stories, calls for action, and draws the epic from the ordinary. Celebrate, right a wrong, or find your path and go for it. It's heavy shit, but so is life.

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Venue Information:
The Hideout
1354 W. Wabansia Ave
Chicago, IL, 60642
http://www.hideoutchicago.com