Nashville-based country/Americana outfit Whiskey Wolves of the West released its debut album, Country Roots, today via Rock Ridge Music. With a sound that is something that can only be earned by a thousand nights in smoky bars and a million miles on bald bus tires, the Whiskey Wolves are disciples at what could be the last supper of country music. A concisely focused, seven-track melting pot of an album—with tunes that are high and lonesome, yearning and dark, twangy and gritty and oh-so-satisfying— Country Roots features the dynamic songwriting and performing tandem of Tim Jones (vocals, guitar) and Leroy Powell (vocals, guitar, bass, pedal steel, clavinet, keys, harmonica), two prime progenitors of the new Nashville sound.
“I feel like the music Tim and I do could easily be put side by side with any of it—we’re not shooting to sound like anybody other than ourselves,” theorizes Powell, a first-call guitarist/multi-instrumentalist for noted Music City producer Dave Cobb who’s backed heavy-hitters Sturgill Simpson and Chris Stapleton in the studio, as well as both Shooter and Waylon Jennings. Concurs Jones, a top-cat Nashville singer/player in his own right who’s worked side by side in a band with Carl Broemel (My Morning Jacket) and had Chris Robinson (The Black Crowes) as a producer and tourmate, “I’m proud to say we’re both making the same kind of music now that we did back when we were starting out. It’s the love of a genre that a certain zeitgeist movement may have briefly captured, but we never left it.”
Country Roots fully lives up to the deep-seated expectations associated with its very name, from the genre-busting universality of its lead track “Sound of the South,” to the intuitive harmonic blend that sets forth the analog-huggin’ and vinyl-lovin’ tone of “Lay That Needle Down,” to the modernized down-home duende of the title track, to the brighter vibe of the album’s closer, “#1 (The Ballad of Dallas Davidson).” As Jones clarifies with a laugh, “We wrote that one because Leroy wanted us to be able to say the very first song we wrote together was a number one.”
Making sure every song on Country Roots has a lasting impact on its listeners was critical to the duo, who had prepared more than 20 tracks before whittling down the final running order to the lucky seven we have here. “It’s a nice, short record, like those great old country records that had only ten songs on them that would last maybe 20-30 minutes,” recounts Powell. “That was something Waylon [Jennings] was notorious for doing. Every song counted, and I loved that. It’s not too overwhelming either. You don’t need to hear every song we’ve ever written—just the best ones.”
Their very first show together was at Stagecoach Country Music Festival in Indio, CA in 2016, and their set caught the ears and the attention of Randy Lewis, who wrote of the performance in LA Times: “Whiskey Wolves of the West… turned in a set blending rock’s bristle with country’s storytelling, [full of] songs that course across a broad span of classic country, classic rock, blues and Americana music. …the Whiskey Wolves forge a compelling gumbo…”
Here’s a taste of The Whiskey Wolves:
The Whiskey Wolves plan to tour in support of the new album.
3/21 – Nashville, TN / The Basement East (opening for Gangstagrass)
3/23 – Tupelo, MS / Blue Canoe
3/25 – Paducah, KY / Dry Ground Brewing Co.