The Drunk Uncles
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The Drunk Uncles

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"CD Review"

The Drunk Uncles, "Smashed Hits" -- If someone puts a copy in his hands, no doubt the Hag might stipulate that a copy of this record be placed in his casket once he's gone. Because the Uncles may be one of the last holdouts who stubbornly cling to the notion that country music should be played by guys who have had their hearts broken, their faces punched and their guts set aflame by liquor.

- Steve Wildsmith/ The Daily Times


"The Drunk Uncles"

"The mournful moan of a pedal steel guitar carries on the thick night air billowing out of Barb Hollow, off of Rocky Branch Road near Blount County’s Walland foothills, muted only by the patter of recently fallen raindrops from the surrounding trees.

Up a pitted gravel drive, goats trot toward the sound of approaching cars. Inside Gordy Gilbertson’s workshop, Brock Henderson sits at the pedal steel methodically working his way down the frets while his bandmates in The Drunk Uncles crack open fresh beers, debate the merits of an in-the-works new song and trade good-natured insults.

A pool table sits nearby, covered with a film of sawdust blown in lazy circles by a couple of industrial fans that stir the air. A mutt the size of a hog is sprawled out on the cool concrete floor, oblivious to the conversation or the music; cut lengths of lumber are stacked into piles and stuffed into empty horse feed bags; a chicken named Bode struts in through the back door and cocks an eye at the five men who, after a few minutes, launch into a new tune.

It’s a scene that seems tailor-made for a country song by the Uncles — all that’s missing is the girl, although Sarah Pirkle, wife of Uncle Jeff Barbra, briefly puts in an appearance. If nothing else, it’s proof that the Uncles aren’t just singing country music — they’re living it. Whether it’s an obscure cover by George Jones or Vern Gosdin or an original written by Barbra and/or Uncle Mike McGill (the band’s songwriting team), the Uncles pour their hearts into every note. They do it for love of the song. Not for money or fame (or even infamy, although a small measure of that has been achieved locally) — but for the song..."

By Steve Wildsmith
of The Daily Times Staff
Originally published: August 06. 2009 12:48PM
Last modified: August 06. 2009 12:48PM

for full article: http://www.thedailytimes.com/article/20090806/ENT/908069993 - Steve Wildsmith of The Daily Times


"quote from Larry Cordle"

"You want the real deal ? You're holding it in your hands....
These guys perform REAL country music like it is supposed to be done....
THIS is a GREAT project"
LARRY CORDLE - Larry Cordle


"quote from Larry Shell"

"Country Music has a new group that really plays and sings country music, imagine that!"
Larry Shell, Rev.Kill Nashville Pop - Larry Shell


"The Shed"

The Drunk Uncles deliver a pure country sound that actually does turn “Goat piss into Gasoline”. Everyone here at Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson and The Shed loves them and they are welcome here anytime. They are a pleasure to work with and a fun bunch of talented artists.

Scott Maddux "owner"
Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson - Scott Maddux of Smoky Mtn. Harley Davidson


"Drunk Uncles hold steady to honky-tonk"


The Drunk Uncles were founded five years ago by Mike McGill and Jeff Barbra, but only filled out its full lineup nine months ago. Having assembled a well-versed but eclectic crew with a similar appreciation for country music pioneers, the group has set out to revive the tunes that inspired them and contribute new songs in the same style.
"One of the things I think that definitely sets The Drunk Uncles apart is that we deliver honestly and believe in the songs we're doing," says drummer Eric Keeble. "Almost anybody can sing a song or play a song. We still love this kind of music. We've all played and still play other kinds of music, but this is stuff we grew up on and our dads listened to, and we are older and wiser and can appreciate these kinds of lyrically driven songs."
"Forty years later with the trends of the whole Nashville scene, the origins of country music have been commercialized," bassist Aram Takvoryan says. "We want to take it back to the original state when people actually sang about real life and its emotions. There's a difference between creating a song for the purpose of making a sale as opposed to taking from the original emotions that you had when writing the song. There's not much to be said for people that come in and play what's written out for them and they're done. They're not putting any heart and soul or blood, sweat and tears into it. It's just some prepackaged thing."
In keeping with its philosophy, most of the rhythm tracks on The Drunk Uncles' upcoming release "Smashed Hits" were recorded live. The album, engineered by Scott Rader and self-produced, will include five or six hardly recognizable, redirected cover tunes in addition to the band's original material. "Smashed Hits" is anticipated for release by late October, and it will be made available at local music stores and online.
While many aspiring musicians dream of platinum records and arena-scale gigs, The Drunk Uncles have a different idea of success. Noting that extreme fame would detract from their ideals, the group asserts industry involvement would diminish the hands-on authenticity of the band's work and result in the band's replacement with studio musicians and paid songwriters as it has with most big names in country. Rather, the group hopes simply to be successful enough to make a modest living performing to like-minded audiences wherever they may be.
"The other big thing now is that if we had a signed project and recorded in Nashville, these guys wouldn't be playing their own stuff," says McGill. "The record company wouldn't allow it. We'd have to use Nashville studio musicians, and I think that's a big reason new country all sounds the same and lacks an identity. My goal is to make a good living and be comfortable with what life brings me. That's all I want."
"What people consider making it, I don't think is really making it anymore" adds steel guitarist Brock Henderson. "Technology has revolutionized music to where somebody can listen to our music or anyone else's anywhere in the world, and you can make an honest living on music again without having to be subservient to somebody behind a desk."
Friday, Sept. 25, at noon, The Drunk Uncles will perform a free show with Larry Cordle at The Square Room for the WDVX Blue Plate Special. The Drunk Uncles will also appear at Maryville's Waterfront Bar and Grill on Oct. 9 and at Two Doors Down Oct. 13. The band will appropriately join the Kill Nashville Pop show held at Douglas Corner Cafe in Nashville on Oct. 21.
- knoxville.com


Discography

Debut Album " Smashed Hits " in heavy rotation on WDVX 89.9 and online at wdvx.com
also on WUTK 90.3 in med Heavy rotation.

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Bio

"The mournful moan of a pedal steel guitar carries on the thick night air billowing out of Barb Hollow, off of Rocky Branch Road near Blount County’s Walland foothills, muted only by the patter of recently fallen raindrops from the surrounding trees.

Up a pitted gravel drive, goats trot toward the sound of approaching cars. Inside Gordy Gilbertson’s workshop, Brock Henderson sits at the pedal steel methodically working his way down the frets while his bandmates in The Drunk Uncles crack open fresh beers, debate the merits of an in-the-works new song and trade good-natured insults.

A pool table sits nearby, covered with a film of sawdust blown in lazy circles by a couple of industrial fans that stir the air. A mutt the size of a hog is sprawled out on the cool concrete floor, oblivious to the conversation or the music; cut lengths of lumber are stacked into piles and stuffed into empty horse feed bags; a chicken named Bode struts in through the back door and cocks an eye at the five men who, after a few minutes, launch into a new tune.

It’s a scene that seems tailor-made for a country song by the Uncles — all that’s missing is the girl, although Sarah Pirkle, wife of Uncle Jeff Barbra, briefly puts in an appearance. If nothing else, it’s proof that the Uncles aren’t just singing country music — they’re living it. Whether it’s an obscure cover by George Jones or Vern Gosdin or an original written by Barbra and/or Uncle Mike McGill (the band’s songwriting team), the Uncles pour their hearts into every note. They do it for love of the song. Not for money or fame (or even infamy, although a small measure of that has been achieved locally) — but for the song..."

By Steve Wildsmith
of The Daily Times Staff
Originally published: August 06. 2009 12:48PM