SCOTLAND BARR and the SLOW DRAGS
Style: Americana / Alt. Country / Folk Rock / Psychedelic
From: Portland, OR, USA
Defying contemporary music trends, Scotland Barr and the Slow Drags do not fit neatly into a “scene,” nor do they care to. Instead, they play gritty, melodic songs that float somewhere between an old school 60’s/70’s folk rock aesthetic and a contemporary alt-country, Americana furnace blast. Barr’s disturbing yet comfortable boozy vocal style and emotionally incisive songwriting sit front and center, flanked by a 6 piece outfit that can deliver weepy grooves, jangly tin-pan alley pop, suicidal ballads, garage rock, grinding two-steps and near psychedelic opuses, all while sounding like a true band. Acoustic guitar, pedal steel and keyboards tangle with overdriven guitar; four part harmonies recall the Beach Boys and the Band; full throttle drums irreverently confuse country and rock. Their style can be reminiscent of Steve Earle, Elvis Costello, the Pogues and Pink Floyd, all within a single song. With influences ranging from Merle Haggard to the Flaming Lips, their sound undeniably borrows from the classics, draws from their contemporaries and crosses many borders - yet remains distinctively their own.
Their new CD, All the Great Aviators Agree, was released on May 20, 2008. More up-tempo and band-oriented than their singer/songwriter oriented debut, Legionnaires' Disease, this CD is a substantial benchmark in the evolving work of Scotland Barr and the Slow Drags.
•All The Great Aviators Agree (released May 20th, 2008) immediately hit both the Euro-Americana charts (#13) and the Free Form Americana Roots Chart (#19)
•Played SXSW 2008 (BDC showcase)
•Played MusicFestNW (Portland, OR) 2007 & 2008
•Picked up for European distribution by Sonic Rendevous/Benelux
•"Aviators" received a stellar review in the final hard copy issue of NO DEPRESSION magazine
•Highly successful 6-1/2 week spring tour in support of "Aviators"
•Live appearances on HOLLYWOOD PREVIEWS, ROCK REMEDY (Vlaze T.V./L.A), PARK CITY T.V. (Utah), KINK-FM RADIO (Portland, OR)
•Legionnaires' Disease debuted at #29 on the Roots Music Report radio airplay chart (the biggest indie radio chart in the world), reaching #17 for 5 straight weeks. The album shared the charts with such artists as Ray Lamontagne, John Hiatt, Rodney Crowell, Southern Culture on the Skids, Jackie Greene, and Alejandro Escovedo.
•Burnside Distribution - Picked up for national distribution by Burnside Distribution Corporation
•Regularly featured on KINK FM’s Local Music Spotlight and hundreds of college/indie and podcast radio programs worldwide.
•Legionnaires’ Disease produced by Rob Stroup (Baseboard Heaters, The Imprints) at 8 Ball Studios, Portland, OR.
•Guest appearances on Legionnaires’ Disease: Derek Brown (The Eels), Rich Lander (Richmond Fontaine, Telephone & Floater), Skip VonKuske, Chris Robley (The Sort Of’s), Rachel Taylor Brown, Marilee Hord, and Steve Wilkinson (Mission 5).
•Regularly placed on the Euro-Americana Chart throughout 2006.
•Played 200 shows in 2006/2007/2008 without tour backing.
•Selected to participate in the nationally acclaimed Deep Roots Project
•Selected to participate in the Armed Forces Entertainment program
Scotland Barr - lead vocals, guitar
Bryan Daste - pedal steel, theremin, backing vocals
Chris Hubbard - keyboards, backing vocals
Zach Hinkelman - lead guitar, backing vocals
Merrill Hale - drums
Jordan Korach - electric bass
Legionnaires' Disease (Sep. 2005) - LP
All The Great Aviators Agree (May 2008) - LP
We Will Be Forgotten (Winter 2009) - LP
No Depression -
[+ Show ]
You would think, judging by the luckless, 100-proof subjects on this album, that Scotland Barr has s...You would think, judging by the luckless, 100-proof subjects on this album, that Scotland Barr has seen the underside of the bar and the soul-crushing side of relationships far too often to have retained a sense of humor, let alone to have enough unpickled brain cells to recall more than a blurry kaleidoscope of disjointed disasters. Yet All the Great Aviators Agree, this Portland, Oregon, sextet’s second disc, is chock-full of near-cinematic, often hilarious details served up with self-deprecating charm via Barr’s rugged, Tom Russell-esque rasp.
There are countless memorable couplets citing wife-stealing, flat-chested women and naked waltzes, plus wry descriptions, from the Vatican (“It’s a lot like they all say – it’s big”) to some of the most loveable, laughable losers in recent memory.
Barr’s stories, tunes, and vocals would be more than enough to sustain a crackerjack solo act, but it’s all backed up by a fluid, fluent combo boasting ace chops and well-placed harmony vocals. The Slow Drags’ sound – highlighted by Chris Hubbard’s rippling-water piano flights and the deft guitar interplay between Zach Hinkelman’s electric and Bryan Daste’s pedal steel – seems weighted toward country-rock, but the overall flexibility and collective catholic tastes recall the heyday of British pub rock.
LA Weekly - "colorful boozy tunes"
[+ Show ]
Puns aside, Scotland Barr’s music is perfect for bars. On his new disc, All the Great Aviators Agree...Puns aside, Scotland Barr’s music is perfect for bars. On his new disc, All the Great Aviators Agree, he serves up colorful boozy tunes about meeting “a flat-chested girl in a Flat Head bar” who “stole [his] wife”, spending “one more drunken
Christmas in ... jail” and apologizing because he “drank all the wine and killed all the roses.” The nicotine-throated Barr prevents his bar-stool odes from being watered-down Bukowski through his spirited (and varied) roots-rock sound, ably abetted
by his trusty, talented band, the Slow Drags. Bryan Daste’s pedal steel and Chris Hubbard’s piano bring the honky-tonk and roadhouse (respectively) to Barr’s apologia “Dirty Old Waltz,” while Zach Hinkelman slips some Allman Brothers–like guitar licks into “Fall Hard.” The rousing saloon sing-along “Juanita,” a disc highlight, sounds like the Pogues heading for Mexico.
A veteran of the Portland, Oregon, scene, Barr knows that it’s good to have a shot of rock along with the tears in your beer.
"...enough to make Steve Earle jealous."
[+ Show ]
"When music touches me, I am generous with my compliments. This is enough to make Steve Earle jealou..."When music touches me, I am generous with my compliments. This is enough to make Steve Earle jealous....sure to get onto the Euro-Americana charts."
"Music that punches the heart..."
[+ Show ]
Music that punches the heart like a fist with brass knuckles. Barr and the boys should feel proud of...Music that punches the heart like a fist with brass knuckles. Barr and the boys should feel proud of producing something some great bands never pull off: An attractive, wholly listenable album that hits all the right chords with powerful, painful and beautiful accuracy.
"..Pain and truth."
[+ Show ]
"...Overflowing with raw, rough and tumble reality that made me feel the pain and truth with lyrical..."...Overflowing with raw, rough and tumble reality that made me feel the pain and truth with lyrical grit and presentation in a class of it's own , which is saying a lot considering all the quality music that I receive.
"..Dropping the bile on the table."
[+ Show ]
" Scotland Barr and the Slow Drags make roots music with an uncompromisingly independent spirit. Wi... " Scotland Barr and the Slow Drags make roots music with an uncompromisingly independent spirit. With a sandpaper voice that's far from pretty enough for country radio, Barrs not writing for a top 40 demographic; he's spilling his guts, dropping the bile on the table."
"Lyrical and musical heights"
[+ Show ]
"The first five tracks on this CD are so strong that it makes one wonder why the group has not been... "The first five tracks on this CD are so strong that it makes one wonder why the group has not been picked up yet. Roots rock rarely achieves the lyrical and musical heights that Scotland Barr and the Slow Drags reach here."
"..Dark nights, lonely places.."
[+ Show ]
" Scotland Barr and the Slow Drags is not your typical rock band, for one thing their lead singers v..." Scotland Barr and the Slow Drags is not your typical rock band, for one thing their lead singers vocal chords sound if they were marinated in a gravy of whiskey and chewing tobacco...Barr and the Slow Drags offer impressions of dark nights, lonely places and flashes of love affairs gone awry. Taking in their music is like dragging on a Clint Eastwood hand rolled cigarette at the bar of a dangerous saloon."
"Emotionally charged and well played"
[+ Show ]
"Music to commit suicide to" Imagine a dilapidated double-wide trailer, a rusted Ford truck grow..."Music to commit suicide to"
Imagine a dilapidated double-wide trailer, a rusted Ford truck growing out of scrub brush like the hulking carapace of some giant insect, a hound dog so old and tired it doesn't bother to bark at strangers anymore, a stop sign riddled with buckshot that's what Scotland Barr & the Slow Drags sound like.
SAD TO THE BONE
Scotland Barr & The Slow Drags bring their sparkling lamentations to Frog and Peach on Oct. 2.
The Oregon-based sextet rolls through SLO Town in support of their CD Legionnaires' Disease, playing Tuesday, Oct. 2, at Frog and Peach.
Working within the Americana/alt country/folk-rock genre, the group plays literary-minded lamentations of lost loves and lives. This is some depressing shit, but so emotionally charged and well played you're happy to go along for the bumpy ride through the great American depression highway.
Led by Scotland Barr frontman, guitarist, and songwriter the band has little trouble shifting from maudlin crying-in-your-whiskey ballads to barn-burning honky tonk, but they rarely let up on the dark subject matter. Musically, the backing band is top notch, featuring Pat Munson (bass), Chris Hubbard (keyboard, backing vocals), Bryan Daste (pedal steel, backup vocals, sax, theremin), Nick Kostenborder (drums), and Zach Hinkelman (lead guitar).
Barr's vocals have a boozy nonchalance, and the four-part harmonies on some songs recall the Beach Boys and the Band. Formed in 2004 as a studio project, it quickly became clear to the session men that something special was going on. If you're in the mood for some brutal songs that offer "insights into the darker side of the human condition" and explore the "bi-polar nature of beauty, love, hate, hope, addiction, and shattered dreams," this is your show.
"Shane McGowan once upon a time in the West!"
[+ Show ]
In the liner notes of Scotland Barr and the Slow Drags' Legionnaire's Disease, there's a quote attri...In the liner notes of Scotland Barr and the Slow Drags' Legionnaire's Disease, there's a quote attributed to Charlie Parker: "Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom. If you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn." Listening to Barr sing about watching his life from the bottom of a glass so he doesn't have to think about tomorrow — or about the girl he always loved when she cried — you get the feeling the guy's been through some shit. Dude's lived it, and it comes out of his dust-soaked vocals, which recall Shane McGowan once upon a time in the West, minus the drunken slurs. While Barr and company hail from Portland, Oregon, it sounds like they spent five years in Nashville honing their country chops before taking the southern route — with swings through Texas and Arizona — back home.
3 solid hours of original material, more with covers added.
Set List :
Don't Get so Heavy
Dirty ol' Waltz
Venice These Days
When You Cried
Count on Me
Rasputin and Me
5 Years in Nashville
Washing Over Me
Dirty Old Town (traditional)
A Woman's Way
Okie from Muskogie (Merle Haggard)
Wear Your Love Like Iron
Heart of Rome
Wounded Horse (XTC cover)
What I Like
The Garvey Blues
Benton City Compromise
We Will Be Forgotten
Heart Floats On
The Night Hank Williams Came to Town (Johnny Cash)
Powder Finger (Neil Young)
There are no upcoming dates at this time.