Turns out that the Pacific Northwest is a bubbling cauldron of activity in the folk music world. Leading this vibrant community of square dancers and bluegrass fanatics, The Water Tower Bucket Boys have a unique vision of traditional music in a brand-new century. They know the roots of the music inside and out and have stayed up through many an all-night back-porch picking party playing tunes until dawn. This is mighty refreshing in a world full of indie bands picking up banjos and ukuleles to evoke some rustic authenticity. These boys actually play and understand the music.
But don’t forget that they’ve been raised on raging punk music just as much as Tommy Jarrell, and half the band are pursuing jazz degrees in university. Put that together with the wanderlust of youth that has carried them throughout Europe and across the US, and you get their wildly eclectic, borderline-ADD vision of folk music dominated as much by internet memes and YouTube mash-ups as old 78 recordings and toothless fiddle masters.
The Boys just completed their third album, Sole Kitchen, recorded and produced by Mike Herrera of Tumbledown and MxPx. Sole Kitchen features 100% original songs and tunes, all drawn from the band’s travels through the West Coast and Europe, busking on street corners, playing festivals and jamming with everyone they met. Songs like ‘Fromage’ and ‘Telegraph’ show off The Water Tower Bucket Boys’ wholly original version of psychedelic traditional music (psych-trad), while instrumental tunes like ‘London Breakdown’ and ‘Blackbird Pickin’ at a Squirrel’ show just how fast and hard The Boys can play. But this is a band whose feet are firmly planted in the topsoil of American roots music, and they can just as easily write a song like ‘Heaven’ that sounds like an old Bill Monroe spiritual, complete with traditional harmonies. This is what makes the music of the Water Tower Bucket Boys so refreshing: their roots in the music run deep enough for their new tunes and songs to have real meaning and real vision. It’s a vision of folk music in the 21st century, a vision that carries the same credo that folk has always carried: real music for real people.
UK TOUR • AUGUST-SEPTEMBER 2010
Thursday 12 London Bonanza presents (It’s) Countrier Down South @ The Rest Is Noise, Brixton
Friday 13 Guildford The Boiler Room
Saturday 14 Liverpool The Zanzibar Club
Sunday 15 Quorn The Sunday Saloon @ Quorn Village Hall
Tuesday 17 Sheffield Whippoorwill @ The Green Room
Wednesday 18 Leeds Foxes & Convicts @ Milo
Thursday 19 Farnham The Mulberry
Friday 20 Upstreet Kent Folk & Bluegrass Club – The Boathouse @ The Grove Ferry
Saturday 21 Bristol The Old Duke
Sunday 22 Watford The Horns
Monday 23 Sarratt Owlsworld Acoustic Session @ The Old Barn, Cock Inn
Wednesday 25 London The Old Queen’s Head, Islington
Thursday 26 Brighton The Prince Albert
Friday 27 Glastonbury The Assembly Rooms
Sat/Sun 28/29 Headcorn The Small World Summer Festival
Wednesday 1 London What’s Cookin’ – Upstairs @ The Sheep Walk, Leytonstone
Friday 3 Castletown, Omagh Appalachian & Bluegrass Music Festival – Ulster American Folk Park
from Thurs 9 – 11 Belfast Open House Festival