40 Stitches Later
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40 Stitches Later

Lansing, Michigan, United States | SELF

Lansing, Michigan, United States | SELF
Band Americana Rock

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40 Stitches Later, an Americana/Alt-Country outfit from Lansing, offer up some good North-Midwestern twang against a bleak setting of unemployment and everyday blue collar struggles on their new CD Rust Belt Never Sleeps. The title of the record is a nod that’s setting the bar a bit high, fellas, but the images behind it seem appropriate. The characters and stories are dark, but it’s not always sunshine and smiles in the 21st century Rust Belt.

At times reminiscent of The Flying Burrito Brothers, like on the opening track “Ballad of Blackman Township” and at others channeling Bottle Rockets (“Unemployment Blues”), 40SL have embraced some strong influences. They’re strongest material is delivered in minor keys and slower tempos. Those tracks (“Parkersbug, WV”,”Die Tool Maker” for example) seem to flow with a bit more authenticity, provoking images of the slow-moving days and biting winds of rural Michigan Winters. The more upbeat material has its moments too – “Vacant Lot” is catchy with its Tom Petty cadence verses and octave guitar vamps, and the title track ironically invokes Mr. Young himself.

The dying art of making a record might be rare in this age of iTunes and YouTube, but Rust Belt Never Sleeps is a balanced collection of well written songs that are more like chapters in a book than individual stories. You’ll enjoy the transition from one to the next, even when the lyrics of some hit a bit close to home. We all know someone – or might be someone – who has lost their job at the factory, has a bit too much to drink sometimes, or ought to try to spend a bit less time at the black jack table. This is life in the 21st century Rust Belt. - Motor City Rocks


Discography

Rust Belt Never Sleeps (2012)

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Bio

40 Stitches Later is a rock band from mid-Michigan. Originally formed in 2003 under the name “Certified Angus” and with a revolving rhythm section, the band performed several shows throughout Michigan mixing some original material with a bunch of Replacements and Neil Young covers until the winter of 2005. However, “life” sort of got in the way and the current members went on an indefinite hiatus, keeping in contact but never really collaborating on any projects or shows. In November 2010, the band got together to rehearse new material for the recording of a full length 10-song concept CD titled “Rust Belt Never Sleeps”. Tracking started in April 2011 at Sonic Landscapes Studios in Jackson, MI with Jimmy Shellberg taking on production and engineering responsibilities of the new project. In August of 2011 tracking was complete with final mixing and mastering completed in November of 2011. The band plans to release “Rust Belt Never Sleeps” in January 2011 and perform shows in support of the new CD throughout mid-Michigan. Members of the band include Tony Moreno on rhythm guitar/vocals, Gary Rosner on lead/rhythm guitars, Mark McKay on bass guitar/vocals, and Russ Morse on drums. They are managed by Kevin “the Finn” Lundquist of Finn Worldwide.

Rust Belt Never Sleeps

“Rust Belt Never Sleeps” was written and assembled as a concept album reflecting the feelings, hardships, and resilience of Michiganders throughout the Great Recession. Although a sobering reflection, it is intended to reveal the angst and fear of unemployment, underemployment, broken families, and the abuse of various vices to cope with the hard times. In contrast, the title track is meant to leave the listener with a feeling of optimism and the character to “never quit” despite poor economic conditions. The basic rhythm tracks and lyrics for nine of the compositions were written by Tony, while Mark contributed the basic idea for Unemployment Blues. From there, each member of the band provided their own individual musical contribution to the recording. In addition, Jimmy assisted with several arrangements on the CD and suggested the use of a keyboard to give several tracks added depth. When it came to recording, the band was looking for a crisp, raw, unpolished basement or garage sound. Tony mentions, “We wanted to come across on the CD like you would hear us in the basement…we want the listener to literally feel the fear, desperation and anxiety of what people are living”. To help get this attitude across, the entire project was recorded with analog tape (except for Tractor Lounge ) with Jimmy encouraging Gary’s guitar to give the tracks mood and color, and keeping Mark’s bass and Russ’ drumming tight.

Sound

When asked what we sound like it’s hard to answer. We don’t define our sound as falling into any one particular musical genre, but this is where our age helps and doesn’t hurt us. Sometimes rock, sometimes country, sometimes blues, but most the time a mix of many different styles and multiple influences from all the band members. Tony adds, “For me as a songwriter I’m looking for an Uncle Tupelo/Paul Westerberg sort of vibe, but I really like the Foo Fighters and Arcade Fire too…” Throw into the mix that Gary’s a big Keith Richards fanatic and Mark and Russ can play so many different styles, we still have a hard time telling someone what it is”. According to Russ’ daughter, “it’s kind of like “emo” and “country” all mixed up”. Ok.