Josh Plemon and the Lonesome Drifters
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Josh Plemon and the Lonesome Drifters


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This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"Pulse Story"

Dealing with extremes is something Josh Plemon has done. As frontman of the local heavy metal band Near Death Experience, which was courted by legendary metal label Metal Blade Records, he had to write and perform aggressive, fast music loudly. He performed to the extreme--even if it resulted in bodily harm once in awhile. With Josh Plemon and the Lonesome Four, the feedback and ringing ears that came with NDE have been left behind in favor of something a little less hazardous. Plemon said he enjoys playing country music because of the morals inherent in the genre. "The emotion and honesty you get with old country is something you can't touch on today," Plemon said. Although Josh Plemon and the Lonesome Four play traditional-style country songs, they also do a country-style cover of "American Nightmare" by the Misfits and a song by the Clash. Plemon says hearing these songs helps those familiar with his metal and punk endeavors to get into Lonesome Four performances. Josh Plemon and the Lonesome Four play a traditional form of country and they also dress the part. For Plemon, everything the band does is in order to pay homage to the country-western greats. "We're trying to pay respects to the pioneers of country music and at the same time do something different," Plemon said. Recently the band started recording and some of that material will appear on a split recording with the Accelerators, another local band. Josh Plemon and the Lonesome Four will do two punk songs country-style and the Accelerators will do two country songs punk-style. Although they have only performed a few shows, Plemon said he and the group are concerned with quality over quantity. Their enthusiasm for the genre and this project has added to their quality of sound.

-Jared Dubach - The Pulse

"When Two Worlds Collide"

Home > Music
Lonesome Drifters release first full length country album
CD Release party at 10 p.m. Saturday at Hangar 9
By Wayne Utterback
Issue date: 3/2/07 Section: Music
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"Josh Plemon and the Lonesome Drifters"

With band members coming from punk, bluegrass, rockabilly, pop, rock 'n' roll, blues and metal, Josh Plemon and the Lonesome Drifters distinctly is one thing - traditional country.

The self-titled album consists of 10 songs recorded over a span of two years at Tuff Luck Tattoos and various apartments. It was mastered by Mike Lescelius as MisunderStudio and serves as the first full length for Josh Plemon and the Lonesome Drifters. Josh Plemon, lead vocalist and acoustic guitarist, said the band catches many people off guard.

"I look at it as traditional country with a twist on it," Plemon said. "We're doing something different."

Josh Plemon and the Lonesome Drifters have had a shifting lineup, but for the past year have had a steady band. including Zachary Kemp on drums, John Beck on fiddle, Ryan Warner on electric guitar and Jim Rotramel on bass and banjo.

The album has a wide variety of country-tinged songs with influences of rockabilly and honky-tonk sneaking in here and there. "Up in Flames" starts off the album with mournful fiddles, echoing guitars and Plemon woefully sings "please protect me/ as my world goes up in flames."

What follows is a cover of the Misfits' "American Nightmare." Plemon said the song fit into the overall feel of the album with lyrics about a violent end to a relationship. While the Misfits are clearly punk, Josh Plemon and the Lonesome Drifters turn it into something purely country. Ryan Warner, lead guitarist for the band, said it was interesting to record.

"As far as I know, we're the first country-western band to do that song," Warner said.

There are songs with sing-along choruses like "This Pistol Doesn't Argue" and "Cigareetes, Whusky and Wild, Wild, Women."

"Warner Express" charges out the gate with a rockabilly guitar vibe that burns with energy with drums pounding relentlessly.

If the band can be related to another artist, it would either be Johnny Cash or Hank Williams. Much like the Man in Black, Josh Plemon and the Lonesome Drifters aren't afraid to be different from many other country bands playing.

It only makes sense that Plemon references Cash and Williams, along with Ernest Tubb, as his influences.

"(Cash) is what got me into country music," Plemon said. "I woke up one day and said 'Guys I want to try and do some country music.'"

Plemon added that he already has the next album wrote and that it's just waiting to be recorded. He plans on beginning recording soon after the CD release show on Mar. 3 at Hangar 9.

The next show Josh Plemon and the Lonesome Drifters play will be at Tres Hombres on Mar. 29 where Plemon, Rotramel and Beck will play a more acoustic set.

"Josh Plemon and the Lonesome Drifters" will be available on Itunes, and Amazon.

"I'm happy with the way it turned out," Plemon said. "I hope people enjoy it as much as we have."

- The Daily Egyptian

"A Little Bit Off Center"

'A little bit Off Center:' Lonesome Drifters' new album showcases musical growth and diverse influences

By Brent Stewart, The Southern

Josh Plemon and the Lonesome Drifters and Secondary Modern double CD release party. Saturday, 10 p.m. Hangar 9. 511 S. Illinois, Carbondale. $4 cover.

If you've followed music in Carbondale for any amount of time, two years ago you might have raised an eyebrow at the idea of Josh Plemon starting to play country music. After all, he's been at the center of two of the area's hardest rocking bands, S.S. Bountyhunter and Near Death Experience, as well as the many punk and hardcore bands he recorded in his Room 12 studio in Anna.

When asked if he felt that people would have trouble accepting him as a country singer, he humorously said "I pretty much think that every day."

If you've attended any of the Lonesome Drifters' recent shows, all concerns or doubts should be erased, and the release of their first self-titled album at Hangar 9 this Saturday should prove they're in it for the long haul.

"When we first started doing it, it was kind of a neat thing, like, 'here's this heavy metal guy doing country' and its kind of rode in on those coattails," Plemon said.

"I kind of like to not even throw that in there when we're doing press stuff, because I don't want it to be a novelty.

"I want people to take it seriously, because we take it seriously."

The last two years have been a time of growth for Plemon, as well as his band. Plemon has grown into his role as a country singer; his voice has become stronger and more confident. The band has also developed into a tight unit, and after a few personnel changes, the lineup has finally settled to include Ryan Warner on electric guitar; Zach Kemp (also with States) on drums; Accelerator and frontman of his own band, "Skinny" Jim Rotramel on upright bass and County Line's Jon Beck on fiddle.

"We're still learning everyday how to make it all happen," Plemon said. "We all have our different backgrounds. It's not like we've all played in country bands all our lives.

"Jon came from bluegrass, Ryan came from blues and Zach comes from whatever he listens to. Jim has the rockabilly, punk rock roots, so it makes an interesting mix."

And that background does include Plemon's disparate musical personas. On stage with the Lonesome Drifters is much different than seeing him onstage with Near Death Experience.

With the hardcore band, he's all over the stage and in the audience growling and writing. With the country band, he's polite and reserved, which is closer to his off-stage demeanor. He could almost win third prize in a Hank Williams Sr. look-alike contest.

However, the subject matter, Plemon said, is closer than one might think.

"The country music like Hank (Sr.) and Johnny Cash, they're dealing with real struggles that they may have and real feelings about everyday life in a straightforward manner," he said. "You listen to it and you know exactly what they're trying to get across, and what they're feeling.

"That goes back to a lot of the early punk rock stuff � there's this underlying connection through all of that. I think it goes hand in hand, really."

Listening to the Lonesome Drifters' new record, it's definitely country, but there's an overall tone that sets it apart from even early country music. Further blurring the lines between influences, you can hear the traces of rockabilly, blues, and even early punk in the mix.

"It's not a typical country western record," said Plemon. "I've had people tell me it has a kind of uneasy feel to it, which is what I wanted. I wanted it to be kind of eerie, on the dark side of things."

Country music can have quite the dark edge. Murder, cheating and drinking are all safe bets for songwriting topics, and the Lonesome Drifters have written their share.

More evidence of the similarities between punk and country is in the Lonesome Drifters' transformation of the Misfits' "American Nightmare" into a song Lefty Frizzell would have been proud of.

The album contains mostly original songs and there are quite a few highlights.

Warner's guitar licks on "Drink Her Off My Mind," owe more than a little to Johnny Horton's "Honky Tonk Man" and his instrumental, "Warner Express" is a great mix of Johnny Cash's "Luther Played the Boogie" and something by Duane Eddy. "Black Widow" is a fun romp that deals with on the temptations involved with the feminine gender and "The Night the Twister Came Through" is an interesting new take on the "Long Black Veil" country myth.

All in all, it's proof that the Lonesome Drifters are serious about their craft and it's the culmination of two years of work and a eclectic mix of musical backgrounds.

"I would like to think that all our influences combined end up making something just a little bit off center of traditional country and western," said Plemon.
- Flipside

"Looking But Never Finding"

who: Josh Plemon and the Lonesome Drifters
what: traditional country-western CD release party
where: Hangar 9
when: Saturday, March 3 w/Secondary Modern
Josh Plemon and the Lonesome Drifters:
Looking but Never Finding
by David Brown

As I sit down to write this, the new Josh Plemon and the Lonesome Drifters self-titled record is staring me in the eyes. The package is attractive: a very nice portrait of the band on the cover, a gatefold design-- the disc looks like a vinyl record. Impressive, but even Fall Out Boy has cool artwork. The CD isn't the record. The record is what's on the CD, encoded somewhere in the digital realm hidden within the plastic.

Frequent Nightlife readers probably already know about Josh Plemon (there is at least one picture of him in every other issue, or so it seems). These readers, if they are also bar-hoppers, have probably caught a Lonesome Drifters set at some point. Your friends and your grandmother know his name. Now Carbondale's media darling has taken the next logical step with the band's self-titled debut, and will play a CD release show Saturday, March 3 at the Hangar 9.

The CD's opener, "Up in Flames," immediately distinguishes the album from the group's live show. A stereo bombardment of tremolo guitar and whining violin (though this is a country band, so I suppose it's a fiddle) make for an eerie start. The production is comparable to a Neko Case record, and the song is as haunting as Case's "Thing's That Scare Me." The refrain ("Please protect me as my world goes up in flames") captures, lyrically, what the Lonesome Drifters are trying to accomplish musically. It can't be overlooked, however, that Plemon's voice isn't the best. It isn't uncommon for him to fall slightly below the note, making for brief, vocally uncomfortable moments. Unfortunately, "Up in Flames," is the best example of this on the record. Plemon makes up for it by having written an exceptional song, though, both lyrically and musically. Even with slight vocal problems, the track had to kick off the album. There's no better "hello" on the disc.

Next comes the enigma that is "American Nightmare," which was recorded live in the back of Tuff Luck Tattoos. While it may seem odd for a country band to cover a Misfits tune, Plemon disagrees. This is probably because of his tenure in the metal band Near Death Experience. "[The idea] just came natural from the transition of playing metal to country," Plemon tells Nightlife. "We thought it would be fun to turn a punk song into a country song."

The Drifters did something similar with the Clash's "Bankrobber" on a seven-inch split with the Accelerators. The Misfits tracks works better, though it does seem problematic on first listen. Listeners should kick Glenn Danzig out of their heads (which is probably a good idea anyway) and realize that "American Nightmare" has the perfect lyrics for a country song (albeit a murderous country one: "I'm heading down the highway/Sign has three inverted nines/If the lord don't get me the devil will/But not without a fight"). With this in mind, it's much easier-- in fact, very enjoyable-- to swallow what some may think is a blasphemous pill. Misfits fans should be used to blasphemy already.

"This Pistol Doesn't Argue" is a bit of a storytelling song à la Johnny Cash that describes a night of drinking gone awry. The Cash comparison has less to do with the music than it does with the lyrics. Just like Johnny Cash never shot anyone in Reno, Plemon never shot a man in the head over a woman. This track is a great example of the genre's tradition of assuming the role of another. "Drink Her off My Mind," a song by Lonesome Drifters' guitarist Ryan Warner, is musically similar, combining what Plemon calls "boom-chicka-boom" rhythm guitar, a great fiddle solo by John Beck, and a steady rhythm from bassist Jim Rotramel and drummer Zachary Kemp with a lonesome drinkin' story.

"The End" breaks the chain of lonesome drinkin' shuffles with a minor-chord meditation. Perhaps this order suggests the process of working through a problem: drinking, fighting, drinking, meditation, and resolution. Perhaps not. Whatever the case, "The End" picks up where "Up in Flames" left off. However, this track has Plemon's best vocal work. He is helped out tremendously by a simple-but-solid backing vocal by his wife Becky. The song feels ominous from the first line ("I'm the voice of silence that leaves you cold in the night/The feeling of desperation that leaves you lonely inside"). Warner's tremolo-heavy solo in the middle seems less like a guitar-- partly because of the depth of the effect-- and more like an ambient layer of sounds while the Plemon sings a strangely consoling line ("I am the first and the last").

"The Night the Twister Came Through" is a fun singalong that sounds more like an Appalachian folk song than anything else on the record (ten points to Jim Rotramel for his banjo part). Once again, kudos to Becky Plemon - Nightlife


Bankrobber Split 7" with the Accelerators
Josh Plemon and the Lonesome Drifters LP-2007


Feeling a bit camera shy


We play traditional Country and Western music; plain and simple. When you come see a Josh Plemon and the Lonesome Drifters show, you will hear a wide range of songs, from some of our originals to some of our favorites, like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Ernest Tubb and maybe even a Ventures song now and then. We cater to a wide range of audiences, from young to old, with our goal to honor and pay tribute to traditional Country and Honky Tonk music... the stuff that you will NOT hear on today's radio. Our first recording was released in May 2006. The split 7" record featured the JPLD cover of "Bankrobber" by the Clash, and the B-side sported a reckless version of the Plemon original, "Black Widow" done superbly by Punk favorites The Accelerators. Our first full-length, self-titled album will be released in March 2007. We recently wrapped up recording at regionaly acclaimed Room 12 Studios, and are filling up show dates for the winter season. We are very excited to hit the road and promote the new album! The band has also had the honor of sharing the stage with several prominent and incredibly talented musicians, including: UNKNOWN HINSON - "King of Country/Western Troubadours" JIMMY LESTER of LOS STRAITJACKETS, MARK WINCHESTER of BRIAN SETZER '68 COMEBACK SPECIAL and EMMYLOU HARRIS, CHRIS CASELLO "America's Most Charismatic Picker" (BR549, STARLIGHT DRIFTERS, CARLENE CARTER, BRAZILBILLY) And countless other regional and national acts!