One year ago, The Lowdown Drifters released its sophomore album, the acclaimed “Last Call For Dreamers“. This brilliant LP, reviewed by Country Music France (https://countrymusicfrance.fr/2019/06/10/album-review-the-lowdown-drifters-last-call-for-dreamers/), is a reference for red dirt music lovers.
The country rock band from Stanwood, Washington State, released last week a new song, “Alright“, produced by Tim allen, that is absolutely amazing. And more songs are to come this summer. Formed in 2015, with a debut record released in 2016, the excellent “Wood and Water“, The Lowdown Drifters is a very talented band and it’s an honor to have been able to interview them for Country Music France.
How were The Lowdown Drifters created?
Prior to the creation of the Lowdown Drifters, the members were in two other bands, Trainwreck and the Junior Jones Band, which broke up around the same time. John Cannon attended the last show that Trainwreck played and after meeting several members, bonded over similar taste in music and songwriting and began writing and playing shortly after.
Last year, You released your second record, the brilliant LP “Last Call For Dreamers“. How was the album received ?
Last Call for Dreamers was our time working with producer Malcolm Springer who took the entire recording process to the next level. We approached the album with over 40 songs which were whittled down to the final 13 that made it onto the release which allowed us to strive for continuity both musically and lyrically. Over the past year we have been overwhelmed by the support that the record has received, especially the song Fire in Her Eyes which has over 300,000 streams on Spotify alone. We are very thankful that “Last Call for Dreamers” has connected with so many people and the process and result have only made us want to work harder on future projects.
“Alright” is the first song that the band released since “Last Call For Dreamers”. Can you tell us about its background ?
Alright comes from a dark place. We had been touring and living harder than usual, when I ended up in the ER with heart palpitations from fatigue and everything else that goes along with what you do to make it through some of those late nights. That experience made the reality of the consequences associated with the life I had been striving for really hit home. Sometimes when you love something and want it so badly, you can turn a blind eye to the parts that you hate until they make themselves impossible to ignore. Music can feel like gambling the way it draws you in, getting hooked on the highs and so numb to the lows that breaking even feels like a win. There is a part of the song that talks about the necessity of going into cities to play the music we love and when you do, the business of that life seems to stifle creativity and make it feel like a chore rather than the true opportunity that it is. There is no greater feeling than when we are able to connect with people on the level that only music can in those environments because it creates such a shift in perspective from the rat race to a real sense of emotion. Overall the song encompasses the way that the decisions we make to follow our dreams allow us to get to a place where no amount of time spent or hardships faced deter us from the goal. This is something I think a lot of people can relate to in every walk of life, seeing their aspirations in a realistic light, weighing the costs, and deciding to persevere on. When we began the recording process we were ecstatic to be working with Tim Allen (Brother Band, Shane Smith and the Saints) as the producer and his input and contributions to the project helped shape and mould Alright into the sound you hear today.
“There is no greater feeling than when we are able to connect with people on the level that only music can in those environments because it creates such a shift in perspective from the rat race to a real sense of emotion”
Will “Alright” be part of a new album? When would it be released?
We started the recording sessions that led to Alright in February of this year immediately prior to the COVID shutdown. After completing 6 songs, any further recording (as well as our concert schedule that was funding the recording) were cancelled without a clear idea of when we will be able to resume. With that in mind we decided to release each of the 6 songs we recorded individually throughout the summer with the goal of releasing them as a collection at the end of the year.
Tell us about your main musical references. Who are the artists that you grew up listening to and those you most admire?
It’s always interesting when we go on the road and pass around the auxiliary cord to see who plays what music. From Southern California punk, Southern rock like the Allman Brothers to heavy metal, the influences range far beyond the classic country that may be expected. There are of course the songwriting influences that country couldn’t exist without such as Billy Joe Shaver, Waylon Jennings, and Willie Nelson but also modern day lyricists including John Moreland, Jason Isbell and Lucero.
You performed with a lot of great artists, like LeAnn Rimes, Randy rogers Band, Jason Boland or Parker McCollum. Who are the other artists that you would love performing with in the future?
We have been very fortunate to share the stage with great artists from all across the country and the world, who have been very gracious with their time and advice. Some artists we would love to play with in the future include Ray Wylie Hubbard, Lucero, the Drive by Truckers and Whiskey Myers.
How do you define your music?
While we have always enjoyed playing covers, the main goal of our music was to be able to push the songs that we are always writing and get them heard. Our music is first defined by the lyrics that come from our lives and experiences and then our amazing band and producer Tim Allen turn those lyrics and melodies into the finished product. On “Alright“, we came to Tim with the idea for the song sung over a bleak acoustic guitar and he assembled a dream team of Ben Hussey (American Aquarium, Dolly Shine), Drew Harakal (Cody Jinks) and Jenee Fleenor (Cody Johnson, Blake Shelton) to develop the full sound along with Tim’s guitar playing.
Can you tell us about the country music and red dirt scene in Washington State?
When people think of Washington, their first thought is often times Seattle and the grunge scene that it is known for. The truth is that along with hosting several amazing venues like the Tractor Tavern and Little Red Hen known for country music, there is a great deal of Washington that feels as rural as anywhere in the country. We are very fortunate to have found a home playing with artists, locally and on tour in our area, who are supported by the scene most interested in honest lyrics and authenticity.