State Champion
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State Champion

Louisville, Kentucky, United States | INDIE

Louisville, Kentucky, United States | INDIE
Band Rock Americana


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Second Stage: State Champion"

"I like a clean, polished product as much as the next music fan, but I'm also the first to admit to having a soft spot in my heart for the kind of gritty, unshaven folk tunes that singer-songwriter Ryan Davis pulls off so well... Davis is not necessarily what you'd call a technically precise or polished singer, but when I first heard his signature wail on "Come See What I Have Done," from the band's debut album Stale Champagne, I stopped in my tracks. He packs a lot of power. His lyrics are unusual, and the themes heartfelt. The songs of State Champion definitely have a country twang to them, but they're by no means simplistic or formulaic. Most of the tracks on Stale Champagne are faster and more upbeat than "Come See What I Have Done," but they all retain the rambling melodies and compelling narratives, along with an added weight that might not come across on this track. Maybe it was the raw, informal production that got me, or maybe it was the naked, honest words, and how they're delivered. Either way, I think State Champion is a band to watch." - NPR

"State Champion: Stale Champagne"

"To me there is nothing better than hearing a band you have never heard before and being blown away and hooked right from the start... It's a sense of excitement about what I am hearing that makes me feel like a kid on Christmas morning, waiting on everyone else to wake up so they can join in the excitement. And I am truly glad that it happened when I fired up Stale Champagne." - In My Basement Room

"State Champion - "Stale Champagne""

"State Champion is a band that personifies the mid-western work ethic; musically that translates to blue collar rock and rugged, sloppy garage-country. The band has spent some time in Chicago but are now based out of Louisville, KY. The sound on Stale Champagne is loose and the recording of is rough and ramshackle in all the right places." - Songs: Illinois

"State Champion - Stale Champagne"

"State Champion are a breath of fresh air, their brand of roots-garage rock is both engaging and refreshing... The whole album feels thrown together - but in a good way, it's alive and has that visceral quality and purity you find in live recording's, thoroughly enjoyable." - Beat Surrender/No Depression

"State Champion - Stale Champagne"

"The perfect record to start the new year with. Sincere, lo-fi garage-country that rocks from start to finish. It kicks of with "Thanks Given", a song I liked so much it took me forever to get past it to listen to the rest of the record. But it's a good thing I eventualy did, cause the rest is just as great. Songs like "Bite the Dust", "The Years" and especially "The World Don't Need Me Around Much Anymore" make this an instant favourite for 2010." - Teenage Lobotomy

"State Champion"

"No-frills neo-country with a taste for the shambling, stripped down and shuffling over anything close to slick, the Louisville/Chicago act State Champion is celebrating the release of its Stale Champagne, a disc that shows “casual” is not the same thing as “lazy.”" - T.O. Chicago

"State Champion juxtaposes elegiac indie folk with punky guitar crunch, yielding an admirably passionate blend." - T.O. New York
- Time Out

"Stale Champagne (Press Clipping)"

"State Champion isn't depressed; State Champion is just in an introspective mood. The band is an under-the-radar phenomenon in the making, the classic style of quality band that Louisville overlooks... The tone is just right for this type of subtle rock. A bit earnest, a bit funny, a bit smart." - Joseph Lord - Velocity Weekly (Louisville)

"State Champion - Stale Champagne"

"Wow. Just wow. I have not heard a new artist with this much potential in a long time, particularly from the alt/country world which lately seems determined to become a piece of lint inside Jeff Tweedy's bloated naval. The facts before the praise: State Champion are from Louisville and are fronted by a guy named Ryan Davis. Champagne is their first full length and it's a bad ass, kick ass, introduction to a band that could single-handedly resurrect the wild and youthful spirit of a once fertile genre... The brilliance of Champagne as a debut seems almost effortless, as if it were recorded a decade ago and intentionally held back to be released just in the nick of time." - The Point (Kansas City)

"Dec 11th, 2009 @ 2:14 pm"

"State Champ’s songs are capable of making me very fucking sad, happy, depressed, drunk, and excited. Each track clocks in somewhere around 5 minutes which makes them capable of so many emotions. Again while the cold, overcast, darkness, and wind send your brain into a downward tailspin you will have holidays, friends, bourbon (I will), and food to counter. This is why this album could not be a better soundtrack to the winter season. The album actually concludes with the quote “there is so much shit on this song…. fuck this song.” I couldn’t agree more but my anger at the albums conclusion is based entirely on the fact that it is over." - BacKstroke

"State Champion - Stale Champagne"

"The main thing that kept me coming back to the album was the brutal honestly in Davis’ songwriting and delivery. The barks and strains in his voice are never forced and always heartfelt. At the same time, State Champion has succeeded in making a solid statement for themselves: a soaring, genuine record that is just as much fun as it is emotional - a throwback to the likes of Big Star and The Band with enough alternative edge that will make them accessible through a variety of listeners. Take a big chug of Stale Champagne and sing-along." - AbsolutePunk


"Stale Champagne" 12" LP

Aside from several self-released demo collections, this is the only real record to date. Songs from it have gotten the band both radio and podcast play, including a feature on NPR's All Songs Considered/Second Stage.



Established in 2006 as a moniker for the early acoustic experiments of Louisville, KY native Ryan Davis, State
Champion surely has a bookshelf of excuses as to why the album at hand has sat so long in the womb. After writing
his first batch of songs in a lonesome, top-floor flat on the east side of Glasgow, Scotland, Davis would soon return to
the States, documenting his initial ideas (later to be known as the Light Blues demos) in the very basement where the
songs before us were recorded some three years later.

Between finishing school in Chicago, working a job thereafter, and struggling with the frustrations that came along
with life in the “singer-songwriter” territory, Davis didn’t let his shortcomings slow him down. He wrote and recorded
alone, everywhere from basements to bathrooms to the backseat of his car, producing volumes of recordings that
would later be titled (and toured as) the Horse Paint demos.

When the time came to form a band, State Champion was an ever-evolving cast of characters. Initially assisted by Sal
Cassato and Dakota Loesch of Chicago’s lo-fi pop outfit Animal City, Davis took his time evaluating the role of
collaborators, returning to solo performances for a spell before finally turning it into a two-piece with then-roommate
Billy Kang on drums. By the summer of 2008, the band was in full swing, playing shows in both Louisville and
Chicago with the addition of violinist Sabrina Rush (Cellmates/CJ Boyd Sexxxtet), vocalist/keyboardist Lindsay
Powell (Festival/Ga’an) and Mikie Poland (Giving Up) rounding it out on bass. As members would occasionally come
and go relative to availability and location, temporary help was found in folks like Pat Hume (Life Partner/Brain
Banger) on bass before finally settling on the line-up as it exists today, by far its most permanent to date.

Originally starting production in the basement of Davis’ parents’ house on the Ohio River with longtime friends and
labelmates Matt Kovarovic and Nick Dittmeier (Slithering Beast) behind the boards, the sessions were scrapped for a
handful of reasons, more or less doomed from day one. But after clearing their schedules and further familiarizing
themselves with the eight tracks chosen for their debut, the Champs hopped across town to Anchorage, KY, out of
one parents’ basement and into the next. From August 22-25 of 2009, the guys and gal posted up in the childhood
home of high school friend Christopher Browder for the price of a $10 Wendy’s gift certificate and a box of records
leftover from Davis’ days at Drag City. State Champion would finally record what we now know as Stale Champagne.
By tracking vocals, guitar, bass, and drums live, later layering strings and any additional vocals, the album portrays
State Champion’s energy in an accurate light, similarly to their stage performance, both flawed and organic.

Having created a sound that is a product of its upbringing, with Sweetheart of the Rodeo on the radio, Bleach idle in
the tape deck, and a Smog song stuck in its head, State Champion drives through forty minutes of sincerely howled,
sloppily executed, stripped down garage-country on its full-length debut. With 2009 providing them the opportunity
to share the stage with acts ranging from the back-porch twang of Deertick and Little Gold (ex-Woods) to the noisy,
reverb-stricken stylings of DD/MM/YYYY and Bad Secrets (elusive side-project of Young Widows’ Evan Patterson),
the band has no plans of slowing down. Armed with a limited-edition, clear vinyl, gatefold pressing of their LP, a box
of specially packaged, hand-drawn/hand-assembled Horse Paints leftover from younger years, and a sky-blue, ’92
Ford Aerostar on their side, only time will whisper what the future holds for Davis & Co. in 2010 and beyond.