Green Mountain Rebels
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Green Mountain Rebels

Eau Claire, Wisconsin, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2004

Eau Claire, Wisconsin, United States
Established on Jan, 2004
Band Americana Blues

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Reviewed by Carson James

The Green Mountain Rebels/If It Don’t Shine

There are moments during If It Don’t Shine where it becomes a struggle trying to categorize the Green Mountain Rebels as either country or blues. On “Sweet Salvation” and “Long Gone Soldier,” there seems to be no doubt that this is a real classic country band, when the genre classification still had meaning and garnered respect. In other words, the Rebels display their love for Patsy Cline, Waylon Jennings, and Johnny Cash. But then there are cuts such as “Free Them Blind,” “The Sweetheart Dance,” and “Sunrise (East Winds Gonna Blow),” which finds these lads chin-deep into the blues.

Does it matter?

Only if you’re a purist, and I pride myself on an open mind. Besides, country and blues have been borrowing from each other since the beginning. (And the combination of both resulted in the birth of rock & roll as we know it.) The Rebels are the latest to join the Americana scene, and they’re also among the most invigorating. If It Don’t Shine is balls-out roots rock with no commercial compromises and studio pop polish. The country and blues dishes these Rebels cook is no fake stuff; it’s pure hard liquor, ready to swallow and spicy enough to burn your tongue. Recommended, you mean? Son, if that isn’t an order to purchase this immediately, then you haven’t been raised properly. - Hellhound on my Trail


When you hear the name Green Mountain Rebels, your imagination is probably conjuring up some hillbilly combo. In that case, you'd be half-right. The Green Mountain Rebels certainly sound authentic when they draw upon that classic country sound; however, they also go beyond Americana cliches and sink their feet wholeheartedly into the blues, a combination that shakes the shack with whiskey-fueled, God-fearing passion.

Oddly enough, the Green Mountain Rebels' biggest influence may well be The Doors. Jered Shaw's throaty baritone captures theatrical flair and midnight drama of Jim Morrison, especially on the title cut and "Sunrise (East Winds Gonna Blow)". Hearing a roots-rock group with such a soulful, fiery singer is quite a surprise. Normally bands like these play it safe with bland Southern twangers. Not the Green Mountain Rebels.

The Green Mountain Rebels are in the love with the blues as much as country. "Free Them Blind" and "The Sweetheart Dance" are soaked in vintage blues. Shaw's scorching harmonica on "The Sweetheart Dance" will literally make you sweat. But do I hear X and Velvet Underground influences in the first track? David Koenig's shambling riffs on that one reflect the droning days of the Velvets so eerily that you nearly expect Lou Reed to begin talk-singing.

A female vocalist, Elizabeth Christianson, gives a delightful feminine touch to this boys' club. She duets nicely with Shaw on "Rock 'n' Roll Son".

Author: Adam Harrington - Whisperin' and Hollerin'


The Green Mountain Rebels/If It Don't Shine

The Green Mountain Rebels hail from Wisconsin which, to my knowledge, hasn't actually been a wellspring for Americana. Or even rock and roll. (What's in Wisconsin anyway?) Being outside the hip indie supermarkets of the U.S. has enabled the Green Mountain Rebels to do their thang, tossing together various past and present outlaw musical styles without a pinch of hesitation. The Rebels are certainly, rebellious, faithfully rooted in classic country and roots music yet unafraid to toss their blues and punk aspirations into the mix.

The title cut and "Sunrise (East Winds Gonna Blow)" have the guilty fingerprints of listening to the Doors too much. And it actually makes for a pretty exciting development because I've never heard the Doors with a Southern rock edge before. The wonderfully titled "Shotglass on the Dashboard" is lusty and intoxicating while female vocalist Elizabeth Christianson on "Sweet Salvation" and "Rock 'n' Roll Son" adds sexiness and longing to this cowboy ranch.

Thanks to the Green Mountain Rebels, if anybody asks me about Wisconsin, I can think of something besides the Packers.

Author: Brooke Curtis - Independent


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Bio

Meeting in the spare rooms and on the back roads of Eau Claire, Wis., in the spring of     2004, David Koenig (guitar) and Jered Shaw (vocals/guitar) developed a friendship using two guitars and conversation over drinking cans of beer. With help from their heros like the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Zeppelin and Muddy Waters, Koenig and Shaw established the basis for what would become their new adventure: the riotous Green Mountain Rebels.

The songwriting process was rapid and burgeoning. Both Koenig and Shaw had been nesting on songs, riffs, lyrics and basic structures from before they met, clearing a path for a successful collaboration. During the latter part of 2004 the writing process produced songs like “The Sweetheart Dance”, "Down & Dirty Blues" and “12th and Vine” that would mature and become staples of their live setlists.

Within that same period, a band was assembled to strengthen the delivery of the songs, sidestep the singer/songwriter channel and surge toward the power of a 5-piece. Chuck
Caldwell (drums) and Matt Staudenmaier (bass) were enlisted to protect the basic principles of the newly constructed music by driving the rhythm section. Susan Renee-Thiede fittingly shared vocal duties with Shaw, bringing a forceful and spirited dimension that balanced well with Shaw’s gritty Wisconsin delivery.

The live Green Mountain Rebels experience was a high-energy, beer-drinking, back-country
dancing, gathering of rock and roll, in it’s rawest sense: country-based blues with attitude.

In the summer of 2005, the Green Mountain Rebels won a fan-voted contest sponsored by Lienenkugel’s Brewery that sent the band to Milwaukee to play the Harley-Davidson stage at the Summerfest festival: a big stage offering a big sound to a much larger audience.

In the winter of 2007 the Rebels recorded their first full-length album, If It Don’t Shine. With some regional touring and internet-based marketing, the album found critical acclaim, labeling the record “down home, front porch, country laced, blues infected roots
rock that's stripped of pretension and glows with sincerity” and “rebellious, faithfully rooted in classic country and roots music yet unafraid to toss their blues and punk aspirations into the mix.”

2008 and into 2011 proved to be a reorganizing time for the Rebels as family and careers required more attention. But, Koenig and Shaw remained linked and retained their musical communication in an effort to revive the Rebels for another attack with added spirit and allegiance.

By 2013, the Rebels were once again ready to record, but this time, as a stripped-down three-piece. The songs were disassembled and revised to their simplest form: guitar and vocals. The EP “Headed Home” was recorded over a weekend in the dells of Wisconsin during the heart of winter.

In August 2015 The Rebels released a new EP entitled, “Move On,” the first full-band studio recording with the original core members. This most recent release has Jered Shaw, David Koenig, and Susan Renee-Thiede reworking four of their classic songs and adding a new baby to the bunch, “Slow OnYou.” Opening with a riff stolen straight from Rich Robinson’s guitar case, this new track melds the salty-drawl of Shaw’s voice and the sweet glow of Renee-Thiede into a heaving love ballad.

Nothing worth doing is ever easy, and that includes the development of this EP. The recording experience turned gruesome following a hard drive crash and most of the recordings lost. But with patience, positive attitudes and the benefit of producer/engineer John Swamy, the trio picked up the pieces and turned a little extra studio time into the polished “Move On” EP.

The EP’s title track profiles the energy of the band through bruising harmonica, potent vocals and a passionate groove, one that provides both the stamina and ideal rhythm for chopping the nights firewood. Rounding out the EP are “Sweetheart Dance”, “Down and Dirty Blues” and "Sweet Salvation." The swampy, harp-laden blues of “Sweetheart Dance” outlines a stormy relationship that erupts into a passionate exchange of hostility between vocalists Shaw and Renee-Thiede. With the gas pedal on the floor, "Down & Dirty Blues" is a rousing acoustic based rocker that accents Shaw’s vocal grit and spotlights Koenig’s rhythmic leads. Then there's the opening track, "Sweet Salvation." The soulful country ballad sets the scene on a moonlit front porch for lead female vocalist Susan Renee-Thiede to proclaim, "If it don't matter in the morning, then it don't really matter at all."



Band Members