Which Omaha band could play a dive bar one night and to the performing arts crowd the next night? Black Squirrels embody the rich tradition of American country music: old-time, folk, bluegrass, honky-tonk, and even rockabilly. The band's motto is: "City, but not slick; country, but not hick."
Black Squirrels, 2006-2010--now officially roadkill!
Winner, 2008 Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards (OEAAs): "Best Roots/Folk/Country/Americana/Bluegrass" Artist.
Named one of Omaha's "Top 20" bands by The Reader for 2008 and 2009.
Nominated for three 2009 OEAAs: Best Folk/Roots/Americana/Bluegrass, as well as Album Of The Year, and Artist Of The Year.
In 2009 the band has played various local gigs, toured Texas, Kansas, and Oklahoma, and had a mini-tour that took them to Chicago. The group played to over 300 people at the Joslyn Art Museum, participated in "Wild About Omaha," The River City Wine Festival, and played at the Omaha Press Club for Opera Omaha.
On June 7, 2009 Black Squirrels appeared on the long-running (25 years!) River City Folk, which goes out on NPR and XM Satellite’s “The Village.” The episode has been replayed numerous times since then.
Black Squirrels embody many styles from the rich tradition of American country music. However, this is no retro act: Black Squirrels meld a modern, literate twist onto the old forms. A premium is placed on strong, original songs (and a few choice covers), whether it’s a four-to-the-floor barnburner, or a gently swaying waltz.
Black Squirrels have on more than one occasion been described as "country music for people who hate country music." It's also definitely for those who love it.
Black Squirrels were formed by Smith and Sing in the spring of 2006 with the singular purpose of bringing some much-needed roots music to the indie-rock dominated Omaha scene. Williams soon joined them, and they debuted at the Dubliner Pub in September of that year. Tim joined to "round out the sound" in June 2007 just after the band (as a trio) released its first CD.
In 2008 Black Squirrels performed at Rosenblatt Stadium, Earth Day Omaha, The Omaha Summer Arts Festival, Mid-American Music Festival, OEAA Summer Jam, private parties, several benefits, and was one of only four local acts asked by Opera Omaha to turn a poem into a song in conjunction with the premiere of former-US poet laureate Ted Kooser’s "Blizzard Voices."
Black Squirrels garnered the most public votes for the 2008 OEAAs, and claimed the most votes by the academy members and the public for the 2008 OEAA Summer Jam. The OEAA Academy agreed, as the band beat out Conor Oberst (yes, him) to win the "Best Roots/Folk/Country/Americana/Bluegrass" Artist.
Since the release of "Paying For Your Pleasure" in October 2008, the album has been in heavy rotation, including the #1 spot, on UNOMavRadio, the area’s only CMJ-reporting station. The band's music has been played on the radio from Florida to Texas to Australia. The album has garnered praise on both sides of the Atlantic.
For the year 2007, the group was nominated for three (3) OEAAs, including “Best New Artist,” “Best Folk/Roots/Americana,” and “Best Country/Bluegrass.”
Paying For Your Pleasure (2008, Nectar & Venom Records)
Last Of The Ghost Town Gang (2007, Nectar & Venom Records)
Typical set lists span both of the albums:
Somebody Else's Trouble
After I Left You
Mr. Big Bad Wolf
Be Kind, Jesus
I Took Your Name In Vain
I'll Take Those Odds
Hollow On My Pillow
When The Money Ran Out (So Did He)
There are often covers of country chestnuts like: "Tennessee Waltz" and "Jolene." We also have a penchant for making country songs out of trashy pop: "Take It On The Run" (REO Speedwagon) and "Kiss Me Deadly" (Lita Ford).