Paw Paw's Medicine Cabinet
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Paw Paw's Medicine Cabinet

Mobile, Alabama, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2015 | SELF

Mobile, Alabama, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2015
Band Alternative Indie




"Mobile band Paw Paw's Medicine Cabinet to release two debut albums"

By Jared Boyd

Southern rock's identity is finally opening up.
What once felt like a genre too timid to fall into infatuations with electronic and synthetic elements, is now a flirtatious little something, ready to tease just about whoever comes near. The result is an enchanting and intoxicating new beat that feels well-traveled, experienced and mature.
As far as it has come, Southern rock is grounded in the past. Mobile-based band Paw Paw's Medicine Cabinet is gearing up for their May 28th introduction to the world as a studio record producing outfit. With not one, but two, full-length albums, the band finds themselves nestled in the tradition of what makes rock identifiable as "Southern." Listening to both albums won't tell you if they embrace that distinction. But, both records surely dedicate themselves to bending expectations in the genre to the band's will.
When presented with two albums that serve one purpose, it might prove difficult to know where to begin. In regards to their physical encasing, both albums are manufactured in the same way. They share a part-paper, part-plastic shell. That's where their continuity ends, just about. No fonts are shared between the two albums. Heck, even the band's name is branded with two separate typefaces.
One album, titled "The Great Room", invokes a bright red portion of the sky on the cover. In a calm moment, which feels like dusk, a tail end of a plane is shown, zooming right out of frame.
The other album, "Somebody Else's Dream", looks ostensibly connected to another realm. Its cover depicts the planets, as they lift out of a lit cigarette, clinched between feminine fingers. Far out stuff here.
The album's producer and engineer, as well as a silent spiritual force behind Paw Paw's ascension to the top of Mobile's local music scene, Rick Hirsch, provided with an early listen to both records. He explains the difference between both albums.
"To me, 'Somebody Else's Dream' is a bit more ethereal," he says. "I don't mean to make an underwhelming argument for 'The Great Room'. It is a great album. It is just straight ahead."
Hirsch, beyond his guidance of the Paw Paw's clan, is also their link to the sweltering, soulful style of music most fans might equate to the term "Southern Rock". His credits in the genre include tenures as guitarist for Wet Willie and the Greg Allman Band.
He also suggests listeners begin the two-fold album experience with "The Great Room".
The album begins with "Pittsburgh", an upbeat song, that is less about the blue collar Pennsylvania city and more about reckoning with the unfamiliar. Gabriel Willis, who wrote the song, also handles heavy duty on rhythm guitar and vocals. The song is an early flash of Willis' knack for pop songwriting that feels influenced by the best decades of rock. Here, he channels the late 1990s surfer/ska scene that married itself to films about young adults in California and video games that featured Tony Hawk on the cover. 
By the album's midpoint, he crafty pen makes its broadest strokes, with "Furnace". The track immediately feels deeply intimate, long before his voice confides in the listener. It's an enticing tune, nodding its head in the direction of the bedroom without being too forward.
At the album's very end, we find "Hoopty". The record borders on novelty enough to make you giggle. Cutting loose at lead vocal, Willis even makes room for profanity. It's danceable and funky, enough, however. It'll likely still make it to radio. If it doesn't, it'll make for a big time closer at live shows. 
Along with Willis, Mike Jernigan, another of band's guitarists, shares writing duties. When stepping up to sing lead, he lends a heftier sound to the band's narrative. Jernigan's got a gruff element to his voice, but pares it down, dampening it to something more comforting than harsh. Like a distant traveler with a familiar face and wise advice, his voice soaks with strife. On "I Feel Afraid", his refrains feel desperate and dedicated.
On "Angels and Lies", the two dominate Paw Paw's voices combine over a spacious Jernigan composition. Jernigan takes lead, crying out from a quiet place with a rumbling rock n' roll growing in the background like steam in a kettle. By the time the brew is complete, the two singers are fully embraced with guitars, drums and hollers.  
The song is the quintessence of PPMC's ability. Here, they feel closest to the realization that being a Southern rock group doesn't make you "Southern rock." If it were that simple, the songs of several bands in the region wouldn't go so far to evade the soulful blend that creates the mood enduring in the tradition. Nor would there be bands such as Maryland rockers, Clutch, to whom this track is kindred. Encapsulated in quite synth and sparse guitars, the band conveys enough guttural energy on the song to project the geographic heritage of the sounds they make.
Miraculously, the song fades out somberly, as if its conclusion is unsettled. Moments later, the next song "Be My Monday" fades in, riding high. The two conflicting moods can be jarring, at a glance. But, the two ideas fit together masterfully. Both are genuine to the band's repertoire. Much, like band's two debut albums, both are necessary. -

"Double Dose from Paw Paw's Medicine Cabinet"

Two years ago, the Azalea City got its first glimpse of Paw Paw’s Medicine Cabinet as the band rapidly established a dedicated fan base. Paw Paw’s Medicine Cabinet’s style is a grab-bag of goodness. From slow modern rock anthems to catchy rhythm and blues-influenced grooves, the band’s fans cannot seem to get enough of their music.

By the end of the month, the local band will reveal its first batch of studio material in the form of two new albums. For guitarist/vocalist Mike Jernigan, this twofold professionally recorded and manufactured debut provides a great deal of satisfaction for a musician who in the past has taken a DIY approach to album production and distribution.

“For me, it feels really good to have those albums out,” Jernigan said. “I’ve put out records before, but it’s been a situation where you just burn copies off the computer and put a sticker on it.”

Keep in mind the group is not talking about a traditional double album. Paw Paw’s Medicine Cabinet’s studio debut will consist of two albums, “The Great Room” and “Somebody Else’s Dream.” As far as the local (and national) music scene is concerned, this type of move is quite unorthodox, but the band felt it was necessary. As the group pulled tracks together, along with producer/engineer Rick Hirsch, the members tried to narrow the vast amount of material to just 10 songs. However, the band kept finding itself falling into new songs during time spent at Hirsch’s Studio H2O.

“We would start jamming in between takes, and Rick would say, ‘Hey! What’s that?’” guitarist Jeremy Ault said. “We ended up with so much stuff that we didn’t know how to choose. We just separated them the best that we could and decided to do two albums. When we were deciding on which songs to cut, Rick said he liked them all. So, we decided to just do them all.”

According to the band, Hirsch has been instrumental in the creation of both albums. Jernigan and bassist Gabriel Willis first encountered Hirsch when the two sat in with Deluxe Trio at one of its formerly weekly gigs at Callaghan’s. After hearing a couple of songs from Paw Paw’s Medicine Cabinet, Hirsch invited the band to visit Studio H2O.

While he’d heard of Hirsch, Jernigan admits he was not well-versed in the legendary Azalea City musician’s background, which includes runs with Wet Willie, Gregg Allman, Joan Armatrading and Billy Vera & the Beaters.

Willis says Hirsch’s studio emitted a positivity from which the band knew it could benefit.

“He invited us over to check out the house and listen to stuff he had recorded there,” Willis said. “It just felt right from the get-go. We walked in there, and it felt like the right place to record the album.”

“When he was talking to us about our songs, he seemed to be the most genuine,” added Jernigan. “He genuinely liked the tunes. He’d listen to the song. He didn’t talk to us just about recording them. He talked to us about the music itself. I was impressed with that.”

The band has endless praise for Hirsch’s knowledge of music and recording, which come from what Jernigan says is his “decades of experience and a good ear.” Jernigan also says Hirsch was vocal with his opinions on song arrangements, not hesitating to offer input on whether vocals or instrumentation were needed.

Hirsch even brought in his longtime friend Red Young (Eric Burdon & the Animals, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy) to lay down tracks with his Hammond B3. For Paw Paw’s Medicine Cabinet, Hirsch proved to be the perfect engineer/producer for this debut studio venture.

“Everything that you would expect a good producer to do, he did,” Jernigan said. “He was always trying to find a way to improve the song. If something didn’t need to be there, he took it away, which is a big deal too sometimes. He guided it along with experience and a good ear.”

Hirsch also helped the band through the track selection process for both albums. One aspect of a good album is a consistent flow, and with 21 recorded tracks to divide into two albums, Paw Paw’s Medicine Cabinet found this was the most challenging part. According to Ault, this task consisted of “a lot of meetings and Skype sessions.”

Jernigan said the band’s versatile sound forced it to really analyze the tracks and make sure each song flowed well into the next, in spite of what genre each track reflected.

“There was a lot of restructuring and burning the albums in different orders with different songs until we found something that sort of felt like it flowed for each album,” Willis said. “There was a lot of back and forth on that.”

“We felt like we had it a couple of times” Jernigan added. “We were like, ‘This is it.’ Then, we would end up being like, ‘Well, maybe this one would do better here.’ I don’t know if the order that we ended up with is better than the others. After listening to it, I think it sounds good the way it is.”

This two-album debut will not be available for public consumption until the release party at Callaghan’s Irish Social Club on Sunday, May 28. However, Paw Paw’s Medicine Cabinet graciously gave Lagniappe full copies of both albums.

Initially, both albums maintain a consistent warmth. They also lack the musical redundancy one might expect from a band attempting such a feat for a debut effort. However, Paw Paw’s Medicine Cabinet did an excellent job of establishing individual personalities for both albums.

The production aspect of “The Great Room” provides a pristine, straightforward delivery of its 10 tracks. There are beautifully gentle rock and soul anthems, such as “Pittsburgh” and “Get Me Right.” The group establishes a foundation of acoustic guitar and honest lyrics for the tracks “Old House” and “Niceville.” Overall, “The Great Room” should be a perfect companion for this summer’s outdoor activities, whether in the woods or at the beach.

While “Somebody Else’s Dream” exists within the same world as its companion release, this album tends to slide into a different dimension at points. “Somebody Else’s Dream” lives up to its name, with its ethereal ambient overtones. The opening title track slides the listener into a psychedelic world beyond sleep before dropping into the bouncing acoustic of “I Feel Afraid.” While the album includes its share of heartfelt anthems, Paw Paw’s Medicine Cabinet leans more into the rock world with this one. Live interpretations of tracks such as “Angels & Lies,” “Be My Monday” and “You Like It” could result in free-wheeling jams for their audiences.

Keyboardist Jacob Hall marks “Somebody Else’s Dream” as his favorite. “The intro from start to finish, it’s a powerhouse of good, strong writing, good hooks and good sounds,” Hall said.

As far as the rest of the band is concerned, naming a favorite is not that easy. Jernigan poetically likens these releases to one’s own children, both equally loved. Willis says his favorite depends on the listening environment; he likes “The Great Room” when traveling in his car and “Somebody Else’s Dream” when he is on his couch. Ault embraces “The Great Room” because, he says, the tracks are “fun to listen to.” However, drummer Ethan Snedigar reflects the band’s overall opinion of its two-album debut, with which those experiencing these releases for the first time might agree.

“In all honesty, I think of them as one body of work,” Snedigar said. “If you listen to one, then you have to listen to the other. They were all made around the same time and complement each other very well.” - Lagniappe

"20 up-and-coming Alabama bands and solo acts to know in 2017"

The Buzz: PPMC have been cutting their debut full-length album "The Great Room" with Wet Willie founding guitarist Ricky Hirsch. According to the band's Facebook page, the album will be a double-LP. -

"Good for what ails you"

The Mobile area has been sampling musical remedies from members of Paw Paw’s Medicine Cabinet for some time. This group brings together bassist/vocalist Gabriel Willis (Off with the Pants, Emily Stuckey & Friends), guitarist/vocalist Mike Jernigan (Crucial Rhyme, One Day Away), guitarist/vocalist Jeremy Ault (Back Pew Riders, Less Than Stellar) and drummer/percussionist Ethan Snedigar (Johnny & the Love Seats, Jimmy Lumpkin Band).
The quartet has respective histories in a variety of genres and have combined their talents to create a new sound that’s been well-received. While this group covers a variety of crowd favorites, Paw Paw’s Medicine Cabinet’s repertoire also includes a lineup of original songs.

Using a clean foundation of electric guitar for many of their original works, the trio delves into a variety of sonic emotions. “Big Airplane” is measure after measure of laid-back funk grooves with a steady roll of doubled vocals. “Break Me” is a catchy tune sure to get listeners on their feet.

Paw Paw’s Medicine Cabinet takes things down with “World of Trouble.” This soulful tune keeps a smooth vibe while Willis and Jernigan croon through the verses. “Subtle Tease” is driven by an upbeat acoustic riff that is filled with Southern attitude. If this band maintains its positive momentum, the Azalea City should be seeing Paw Paw’s Medicine Cabinet’s first recorded effort very soon. - Lagniappe

"Paw Paw's Medicine Cabinet"

Paw Paw's Medicine Cabinet is a new band from the Alabama Gulf Coast. PPMC brings the funk to live shows with energetic and dancy sing-a-long covers. On the original side, Gabe Willis and Mike Jernigan bring an eclectic mix of writing styles to the table that are easy on the ears. Ehtan Snediger's spot on percussion adds just the right thump to make the tunes pop. PPMC is a fun band that brings the party.

Read more: - WALA Fox10 News


Paw Paw's Medicine Cabinet - Self titled EP (2015)

Paw Paw's Medicine Cabinet - Somebody Else's Dream LP (2017)

Paw Paw's Medicine Cabinet - The Great Room LP (2017)



Paw Paw's Medicine Cabinet is an indie southern rock band from Mobile, Ala. PPMC has supported acts such as: Counting Crows, The Marcus King Band, River Whyless, The Mulligan Brothers, Col. Bruce Hampton, and Kristy Lee. The band's two debut albums were produced by Alabama and Georgia Music Hall of Famer, Rick Hirsch (Wet Willie, Greg Allman, Cher, Bonnie Raitt, Alabama, Joan Armatrading). 

Band Members