2014. The Beginning: In order for The Bluefields to be born, certain stars had to align. For starters, Joe had to move back to his native Nashville and reconnect with his buddy, Warner, whom he had not seen or spoken with in well over a decade (as teenagers, Joe and Warner had become friends during Nashville’s fledgling punk scene). Once reunited, Warner would need to introduce Dan to Joe (Dan and Warner were on hiatus from touring abroad in Dan Baird and Homemade Sin) and, let’s face it, the three would need to “click.” Fueled by an almost instant camaraderie, this newfound band of brothers went to work in Joe’s basement studio that they dubbed the “underground tree house” and in the winter of 2011, unwittingly began writing what would become their debut album Pure. “First, I had to get over the fact that two of my favorite musicians were sitting on my couch,” says Blanton. “These were my contemporary rock heroes that were nonchalantly strappin’ on guitars in my basement.
We wrote everyday that first week. Ideas flowed freely and we attacked them like rabid dogs. I remember thinking that the second song we worked on (Flat Out Gone) came out so fast and powerful that if it were a car, it would be a black ’67 Shelby GT Fastback! I literally had dreams of songs inspired by something Warner or Dan had inadvertently said the night before. The next day we would take those ideas and burn through them in the studio.
We were on fire.” “A typical day (or night) in the Underground Tree House might go something like this,” says Baird. “I might come in with a Neil Young-ish chord structure that I’d been saving for years. Having no idea where the music and lyrics would end up, the three of us would simply start talking about our lives. The lyrical direction for Lay It on the Line began when Warner blurted out, “God cut me a break” based on something he was recalling from his past.
As a matter of fact, that song has The Bluefields blueprint all over it…Starting in one direction, taking a sharp left turn, then jerking as hard as possible to the right, only to return to center without losing an ounce of emotional continuity.” The Music: Expressive freedom permeates The Bluefields’ three sensational albums; Pure, Ramshackle and Under High Cotton, recorded in Nashville, at the Underground Tree House. Hodges recalls, “I was almost defiant in my desire for the band to push the envelope stylistically and not come off sounding like ‘Joe and the Scorchallites.’ As we started writing Pure, Dan introduced me to the secrets of JPOT (Jimmy Page Outdoor Tone) which really got the creative juices flowing. We began exploring a lot of different tunings and twelve strings and songs like Repair My Soul and Bad Woman Blues just seemed to come naturally from this process.” When asked about how their process has evolved from Pure to the writing and recording of Ramshackle, Blanton added, “The writing process was amazingly fast and natural and since we know each other so well, we’re completing each other’s sentences. We all had great ideas and with the addition of Brad, were able to work them up as a band.
We also know more about what The Bluefields mean to us as a band and creative forum. We kept our anything “good” goes approach and Ramshackle is a prime example of this spirit. When Warner brought in a ukulele, Dan and I didn’t bat an eye. In fact, I believe we had the same “evil grin” response.
Ramshackle is righteous rock and roll fun…period!” Blanton also stated, "The making of Under High Cotton was unique in several ways. Dan wanted to record a new Homemade Sin album and suggested that we take a page out of the Nick Lowe/Dave Edmunds/Rockpile playbook. Basically we wrote a bunch of songs and then sorted them out according to which ones fit Homemade Sin's or The Bluefields style the best. The whole process was very fluid and organic." Hodges adds' "We had more time between the writing and the recording of Under High Cotton so we used it to be more experimental regarding guitar tones and instrumentation.
Even though we stayed true to our "why not" approach to trying new things, we also utilized the "less is more" philosophy. It's amazing how powerful and emotional music can get when only the most important elements remain." Blanton delivers the majority of the lead vocals on the band's three releases. He brings an unabashed fearlessness to the projects as his voice instinctually navigates between “straight up, in your face” rock to swampy blues deliveries to punk rock primal screams…all with an unapologetic southern accent. Dan Baird’s vocals are just what you hope they’ll be…Dan Baird vocals! Time has served to make this distinctive rock voice better, grittier, “rawer” and well…even more timeless.
And when he and Joe switch up and Dan takes the lead on Belong and Lay It On the Line (from Pure), it “hits the spot” and instantly renews your faith in the rock ballad. Add to this concoction, the trailblazing guitar work of Warner E. Hodges and you better hide the matches! Hodges’ signature gunslinger style of playing can go from the genre bending American roots rock that he and the Scorchers are credited with inventing, to monster riffs raging like a Tasmanian devil teetering on the edge of chaos…and all in the same song! Drummer, Brad Pemberton, with nearly a decade in the Cardinal’s and over 50 albums recorded to his credit, is just what the doctor ordered! No matter what musical back road The Bluefields travel, he drives the groove home with power, grease and precision. Studio and writing chops aside, these boys know how to bring it when the lights go down. Each known for their electrifying presence on stage, one can only describe the combination as a force of nature. Fans (or “Bluefielders” as they call themselves) have been heard commenting that attending a Bluefields show is like watching a rock and roll clinic…being “schooled” in all things rock; from songwriting and live execution, talent and showmanship, to bone rattling, mind jarring, head banging rock intangibles. In many ways, the story of The Bluefields is like that of a perfect storm…“an act of God,” if you will.
In an unpredictable world, it seems somehow perfectly logical that these guys should meet, that they should form a band, convene in an underground tree house, create stellar music and inevitably turn out a brand of rock and roll that could not have been prevented by the exercise of foresight and caution and for which no one can be held responsible. Official Website: The Bluerields Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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