Brian Waldschlager
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Brian Waldschlager

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | INDIE

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | INDIE
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"Brian Waldschlager writes Southern alt-rock songs filled with twangy guitars, except that his taste and vocals veer toward rockabilly, and he's more goodtime humorist than late-night philosopher.

So when Waldschlager means mostly to have fun - "Take A Ride," "Down There," "Right Now" - he succeeds. The more thoughtful "Touch of a Dove," with backing vocals by Dolly Parton, is a marked success, and his clowning homage to another Knoxville obscurity, Todd Steed's "You Must Be From Nashville," is a fitting end to his beginning." - Grant Alden - No Depression Magazine


"Brian Waldschlager can be considered a contender for the title of the Yank version of Dave Edmunds." - PJ O'Connell - Miles Of Music


"You might immediately recognize Brian Waldschlager's name from his participation in the country rock supergroup The Brooklyn Cowboys.

On this solo recording, simply called Waldschlager - but previously released in 2002 under the title Down There - he presents a big, twangy, rockin' roadhouse sound that bears hints of retro Southern and pop rock at every turn. He defines the sound of each song with acute consideration.

And while he captures a new feel for each tune, there's a clarity and continuity that holds it together. The disc opens with the Texas-style rockabilly/boogie of "Right Now" and is followed by the fuzzy electric Delta blues of "Third World Waltz" - not actually in 3/4 time.

And with a punchy drawl reminiscent of ex-Georgia Satellite Dan Baird, he puts himself through a vocal workout on the swaggering, Stones-y roots-rocker "Down There". "Red Clay & Limestone" allows him to explore the languid depth of cosmic country, providing a tasteful break before bringing back the big guitars.

Georgia Satellites and Dolly Parton producer Richie Owens manages this tight recording which features a guest vocal from Parton on the energetic, twelve-string graced "Touch Of A Dove".

Noteworthy is the sole cover tune which closes the disc, the biting "You Must Be From Nashville", penned by Knoxville's Todd Steed."
(Kleartone Records) - Roots Highway


"It seems that Waldschlager's years in the trenches of the underbelly of the music industry has yielded a mature, world-weary quality that just can't be manufactured by an upstart.

Rather than being a flash in the pan, he is in it for the long run, and has the chops to prove it." - Metro-Pulse


"Brian Waldschlager has long understood the connections between the wild-eyed country of Roy Acuff's early recordings and the slamming rock of Alex Chilton.

In and of itself, that's not such an uncommon understanding. The uncommon part comes when Waldschlager puts that stuff together and arrives at an amalgam of Rolling Stones-ish strut and country-ready storylines."
- Peter Cooper - The Tennessean


"Singer Brian Waldschlager slinks across the stage like a cheetah, while his band ground out the musical approximation of an arrogant sneer." - Nashville Scene


"If you ever have a chance to see Brian Waldschlager perform, you will undoubtedly see an artist who appreciates the groove that only music can put down your spine. He cannot help himself but to move his feet. Neither will you. He has a knack for stirring his audience to get in step with the beat.

Chemistry is a perfect example of the variety and endless rhythm that exists inside his brain. It’s heavy on the Americana influence (i.e. “Little Damsel”, “Tenderless”, “In One Ear”, “Last Ditch Effort”, “Out Of Their Heads”) with a dash of Alt. Country (i.e. “5 Year Town”, “Cold Steel Look”) and a touch of Alt. Rock (“Gimme A Girl”, “Chemistry”).

I have heard BW referred to as “The Mick Jagger of Nashville”. I think that’s an accurate analogy but not just because of his stage presence. Like Mick, BW has too many influences to afford himself only one genre of music to create and perform."
- Alathea Johnson - Moozikoo


If a book of Knoxville rock 'n' roll history was ever compiled, Brian Waldschlager would merit at least a chapter of his own. For around 20 years he has been in the trenches of the music world, going through quite a bit of evolution along the way.

In retrospect, the disparate pieces of Waldschlager's musical puzzle all make sense. He first came to the attention of the local music scene as the singer for a few punk bands including the 5 Twins, the first lineup of Smokin' Dave and the Premo Dopes, and then as the frontman for Wh-Wh with local art-rock guitar virtuoso Terry Hill.

After the breakup of Wh-Wh around 1987, Waldschlager split town to take residence in the thriving Minneapolis scene, winding up at a rock 'n' roll crash pad where he was roommates with (among others) a young Courtney Love. The Minnesota experience didn't result in hoped-for success, and Waldschlager ended up back in Knoxville, going to college, and taking an interest in a more rootsy sound.

College didn't pan out either, and after singing for Boogie Disease and The Dirtclods, Waldschlager again relocated, this time to Nashville. Since moving, there have been plenty of the expected highs and lows of life in the music food chain. But Waldschlager has stuck it out and is thriving at present.

After a couple of years with the Nashville alt.country also-rans Five Bucks, Waldschlager and his mates decided to part ways around a year ago. The machinations of the music industry just ground down what could have been a popular and exciting band. Though he is also involved in two other projects (The Walter Eagan Band and The Brooklyn Cowboys), Waldschlager is now focusing his musical effort on a his own material. His first solo effort, Down There, is just out on local imprint Disgraceland Records, and he will be rolling into town soon to play a show at Patrick Sullivan's.

Though alternative country is a buzzword being passed around by Nashville music biz types, Waldschlager is somewhat leery of the term to describe his present sound. "I really like to keep the description simple," he says. "I mean, it's just rock 'n' roll music with a mix of all the influences I grew up around. You could say there are elements of country, folk, and rockabilly in there, but it's still a rock 'n' roll band with drums and guitar amps.

"I have to say that it's gotten cool to be considered alternacountry in Nashville at this point," Waldschlager continues. "Some folks that have been in the mainstream or were shooting for mainstream success, they're starting to gravitate toward that terminology, saying, 'I'm a Steve Earle fan too.'

"When you talk to the major labels, they're always saying that they want [in a singsongy voice] 'something new, something fresh, something edgy.' But really, they're scared to death of anything like that. It seems like the best artists here are the ones that not many people know about."

Yes, life in the country music capital has changed Waldschlager's outlook, but his current sound really is a culmination of the varied sounds of his life as a musician. Imagine The Replacements, Elvis Costello, and Buck Owens jamming together on a hot night at the Longbranch Saloon, and you'll have a general idea of Waldschlager's sound.

Though he's been through of his share of rocky times chasing the music dream, Waldschlager is pragmatic but not bitter. "It seems like it's been a long time coming for me to finally get some kind of CD out of my own," he says.

"This is the big push for me and I feel like it's something I probably should have done a long time ago.

"Down here [in Nashville], you sometimes keep getting these carrots dangled in front of your face, and that can hold you up in terms of getting your own stuff done. Those are the kinds of things that really stalled out the last couple of projects I was involved with... kind of like chasing carrots that never materialized.

"I feel like I'm standing here with this music that I've lived with for this whole decade, and now I'm just gonna put it out by myself," Waldschlager continues. "It's kind of a small, baby step: I've got this much money and I'm gonna put it out in whatever capacity I can arrange on my own. As a friend of the same stuff you would do for your very first band."

Apparently, the Nashville experience has suited Waldschlager just fine. After six years, he feels at home there. And even though his solo album Knoxville label, he's found his place in Nashville's proverbial big pond.

"I like coming back to Knoxville to visit my old friends and all that, but I really like it down here in Nashville," he says. "It still feels like this is the place I need to be. I've seen a bit of how this town works and I'm not so sure that I fit into the machinery down here. But there are a lot of other people here who are in the same boat. I just think I get more done down here.

It puts me in a situation that forces me to do more. There's a lot of jaded - Nashville Scene


It would be nice if they could save a little space somewhere for Brian Waldschlager on that new Old City mural commemorating Knoxville's music history. The former frontman for bands including Boogie Disease and the Dirt Clods helped create the Old City's first and best original music scene with his Knoxville-bred roots-rocking sound in the '80s and '90s.

Waldschlager will return to his old stomping ground with his Nashville-based backing band Saturday night at Patrick Sullivan's. The show will celebrate the release of Waldschlager's CD, "Down There," on Disgraceland Records.

Waldschlager and I cranked out Ramones covers on the Strip in 1980 when we were both in high school and in the country-punk rocking band 5 Twins. We both sought brighter lights; I headed for New York and he headed to Minneapolis.

By the late '80s, Waldschlager was back in Knoxville hooking up with one of this area's greatest transient guitarists, Preston Rumbaugh, fronting the rockabilly-ish Boogie Disease for half a decade. They soon morphed the band into the Dirt Clods.

Taking a pocketful of Clods with him to Nashville in the summer of '94, Waldschlager continued to influence both the Knoxville and Nashville music scenes. As the other Knoxville boys fell by the wayside, Waldschlager kept going.

"We got a fairly steady lineup but couldn't play a gig," Waldschlager says. "Every time I'd book one, the bass player or drummer couldn't do it ... after three to four gigs I was getting frustrated."

Teaming with Sevierville-area producer and guitarist Richie Owens and some stable musicians in '97, his band recorded a CD as Shinola and soon caught the attention of many Nashville label reps as well as Owens' cousin Dolly Parton.

Parton snagged the entire lineup to record and support her album "Hungry Again," and none of the Shinola boys were starving in Nashville for anything other than gigs of their own.

"This seemed to have two lives, the band Shinola with a little buzz but still on ground level here in Nashville," Waldschlager says, "and when the Dolly thing started happening, it seemed like we started making decisions on who we were going to get to manage us, who we were going to get to book for us, and it seemed like we were running scatterbrained in which direction we wanted to take musically."

Too cool for an indie deal, too rock 'n' roll for Nashville, Shinola changed its name to 5 Bucks, though Waldschlager's slick studio work seemed doomed to remain in the can ... until now.

The looser lineup now includes Shinola guitarist Bob Ocker and Knox-to-Nashville transplant bassist Billy "By Gawd" Mercer, drummer Brad "Iodine" Pemberton and Nashville cat Joe McMahan, and Waldschlager says the time is right to put out the long-awaited CD and get on with business.

"There have got to be people that are going to like this," he says. "We're not inventing the wheel -- this is just rock 'n' roll music with a Southern flavor, and people are going to like it or not, take it or leave it."

Although he's gone solo, he still doesn't intend to go so low as to become what's been known in Nashville as a one-hit "hat."

"It's not that easy with the definitions of country these days," he says. "To me, Springsteen, Neil Young or Tom Petty -- that's great country music."
- Shannon Stanfield - News-Sentinel


"East Tennessee's Waldschlager howls like young hillbilly Creedence." - Music Row Magazine


Discography

"Down There" (2005)
"Waldschlager" (2006)
"Chemistry" (2007)
Digital singles are for sale.
Terrestial radio play on Americana, Roots, college, and alternative stations.
Streaming audio play via MooZone and other providers.

Photos

Bio

Brian Waldschlager got into music during his sophomore year of high school. Jilted by the jock world, he careened into the arms of rock & roll, never looking back. The Clash, The Ramones, Elvis Costello and Iggy Pop jolted him out of the "hair-band" mainstream, and following the usual litany of cover bands, he made his first tentative forays out of Knoxville.

It was there that Waldschlager started fronting bands with older players and writers that picked up on his charisma and natural talent. After four years of some college and flogging the local music scene, in 1987 he found his way to the Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul), living for a while in a big old band house which was frequented by the likes of The Replacements and Husker Du - and whose many residents included Babes in Toyland and Courtney Love.

"That's where I started getting an idea of what kind of music I wanted to do," recalls Waldschlager. "I wrote a lot of stuff when I was in Minneapolis, a lot of it born of homesickness and more reflective of where I was from." It was during this time that he came to his musical senses - those of a storyteller of the South.

"I started to really appreciate Southern roots music," recalls Waldschlager, "and specifically Tennessee music - everything from Appalachia's Roy Acuff and the Crazy Tennesseans to Memphis' Alex Chilton and Big Star. That diversity has been a real force behind what I do."

Returning to Knoxville, Waldschlager put together The Dirtclods, who soon became a popular regional act that regularly performed between 1992 and 1995. Garnering a great deal of label attention along with being voted Knoxville's Best Rock Band Waldschlager, as lead singer of The Dirtclods, was recognized as "Knoxville's Best Male Vocalist" over a two-year period.

With the help of Grammy award-winning songwriter, Lucinda Williams, in the mid-1990's Waldschlager hooked up with veteran Nashville producer and rock guitarist Richie Owens and electric/acoustic guitarist Bob Ocker, as the band Shinola, which was later renamed 5 Bucks. The trio also appeared on Dolly Parton's 1998 record Hungry Again.

Owens, whose rock credentials include production of two Dolly Parton albums, platinum with the Georgia Satellites, and R.E.M., heads a list of Nashville critics impressed by Waldschlager's efforts.

"Waldschlager's a regional story teller, just like Bruce Springsteen bears the heart and soul of blue collar New Jersey," said Owens. "His roots-rock creativity was inspired by the Bohemian atmosphere surrounding the Knoxville [art/music/literary] scene."

Robert Lougue of Nashville's music publication Tag, described Waldschlager's music by saying, "[h]is songs echo performers like Eddie Cochran, Tom Petty, and Dave Edmunds, but they are distinguished by a voice that rings with the earnest beauty of a choirboy at one moment and the woozy menace of a drunken hillbilly at the next." He praised Waldschlager as "a solid songwriter, an eccentric traditionalist and eloquent storyteller."

Besides Owens, Parton, and Lucinda Williams, Waldschlager has had exposure to country notables such as Walter Egan (who is famous for, among other hits, the 1978 pop hit "Magnet and Steel"), and Buddy Cage who replaced Jerry Garcia in New Riders of the Purple Sage when the late rock icon returned to the Grateful Dead.

Waldschlager has performed and recorded with Egan and Cage as the alt-country band The Brooklyn Cowboys, and can be heard on their album, "Dodging Bullets."