The Taters
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The Taters


Band Rock Americana


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This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"Washington Post"

The Richmond trio the Taters began the night by successfully combining the best elements of Buddy Holly, particularly Stu Grimes's propulsive drums, with the vocal harmonies of the Everly Brothers. Bassist Craig Evans, whose voice often recalls the Mavericks' Raul Malo, and guitarist Brad Tucker, whose clever chord changes on his acoustic guitar make the ear do double-takes, harmonize with '50s panache.

Their original songs keep with the time-warp aspects of their cover tunes, with the vocalists trading leads only to converge at the choruses with tight harmonies. Cool and warm at the same time, the Taters and the Grandsons made Jammin' Java a splendidly toasty place to while away a frigid night.

-- Buzz McClain
© The Washington Post Company
- Buzz McClain


The Artists Formerly Known As Burnt
From about '65 to '75 music was considered a miscible art form, where Edgar Winter's grungy blues rock could be heard alongside the Cowsills' salubrious bubblegum pop, or Jimi Hendrix's roaring psychedelia. Then came the arrival of radio formatting and a host of other evils -- disco, "It's a Sunshine Day," shag carpeting ... The Taters are children of the golden age of radio, growing up on AM's assorted diet of country, rock 'n roll, and R&B, and filtering those influences into their eclectic and blissful roots pop.

In a community that has shrunk over the years due to stay-at-home outlets like MTV and the internet, the Taters have reaffirmed some of the basic tenets of live music. One, that it should inspire. And two, that it should be able to reach people of all-ages. "We've hit a point where when people come to see us they bring their kids and their parents," says singer/bassist Craig Evans. "We'll have shows with three generations of people."

Evans and singer/guitarist Brad Tucker had drifted in and out of the same bands for 20 years before forming the Burnt Taters in 1997. (They dropped the "Burnt" for the same reasons that Hammer dropped the "MC." It's just easier to type.) Last year the Taters nabbed drummer Stu Grimes after he sat in for their former drummer at a Taters and Friends show. "This is definitely different from anything else I've ever done," he says. "I've toured all over the world with a bunch of people, but I was never in a band quite this unique."

Commonly mistaken for alt-country, rockabilly, or even "country yee-haw," says Tucker, the Taters' music is deeply entrenched in roots rock and pop without sounding merely derivative. "We all grew up listening to the Beatles and Hank Williams," says Evans, whose operatic warble is a dead ringer for Roy Orbison. "I don't know if I was much of a singer growing up. I do remember singing the theme to 'The Beverly Hillbillies'." "That explains a lot," Tucker quips.

On April 1 the Taters will release Recess, their third album to date. Given that their first two releases, 1999's Vox Box and 2000's Strange But True, were recorded in the garage of their former drummer, Recess has "a much bigger sound," says Evans. "There are more layers. This time we decided to take our time and do it until it sounded like we wanted it to."

Recorded at Bill McElroy's Slipped Disc Studios in Ashland, Recess skims the cream off the top of the formative years of popular music and turns out a pristine collection of tunes for the rock and roll classicist. There's a little Buddy Holly in the playful stomp of "Required By Love," and some Spector-esque orchestral swells in "The Kiss," courtesy of the Jaime Esceldante Orchestra. Evans and Tucker conjure early minstrels like the Everly Brothers with their gorgeous vocal harmonies on "On Our Own." Add to that a bevy of boogie riffs, Spanish guitar trills, crisp drum beats, organ skirls, doo-wop vocals, a pedal steel, violin and a pair of well-placed finger cymbals and you've got yourself a record that serves up some serious meat with its taters.

Recess will be released April 1, through the band's label Molio Town.

© Kate Bredimus,
- Kate Bredimus


One of modern music's true indie delights follows its fine 1999 debut with this impressive new set. With the perfect balance of sparseness and tasty embellishment, the 11 strong, irresistibly catchy, often endearing originals and two well-chosen covers (an ultra-hip, swinging take on the Mills Brothers' "Across The Alley From The Alamo" and a dead-on reading of the 1952 country and pop standard "Slowpoke") deliver fully on the promise of their predecessor. Now toss in the threesome's terrific instrumental and vocal interplay, and "Strange But True" is an absolute winner. Two years ago, Burnt Taters, with its imaginative, modern take on roots rock and traditional country, was clearly a band that was going somewhere significant. In the summer of 2000, it has arrived. Burnt Taters is seasoned, ripe, and ready for the plucking, and labels, as well as modern rock, NPR, and hip AC radio, would all do well to lend a serious ear.
- Gordon Ely


VOX BOX (1999 Planetary Records)
STRANGE BUT TRUE (2000 Planetary Records)
RECESS (2003 MolioTown)


Feeling a bit camera shy


Started as "Burnt Taters" in 1997, the band shortened to simply "The Taters" in 2002. "It's a lot easier to type", says Craig. When asked where "burnt taters" came from in the first place, the most you can get out of them is "Good question!"

With their newest CD, "RECESS", the Taters continue to explore and expand their musical palette, building on the sound they first created with their 1999 debut VOX BOX. Two-time winners of the Billboard Magazine Critic’s Choice, they combine elements of pure-pop & classic roots music "without a trace of self-consciousness or pretension… the Taters draw up a formula that can rightly be claimed as their own" (Gordon Ely, Billboard Magazine).

"Our individual influences are all over the map, and we don't make any apologies for their prominence in our sound", explains Craig. When you hear the final product, though, you realize you're not listening to another retro band, but something new - a fresh mix. You'll recognize a lot of the individual flavors, but you've never tasted this combination before.

Each Tater bring his own style to the plate. "Craig Evans' bass lines are as simple or complex as any given song demands, and his lead and harmony vocals no doubt make Roy Orbison smile down from his perch in rock 'n' roll heaven every time he opens his mouth to sing. Guitarist Brad Tucker has forged a style that combines the richness of acoustic rhythm with lead fills and solos that simply is unheard of in modern popular music. And his vocals are as perfect a foil for Evans as Phil Everly was to brother Don."

The newest Tater is Stu Grimes. A large part of the new Tater sound, he's worked with LOTS of folks over the years, including: Tinsley Ellis, Chuck Leavell, Johnny Rivers, BJ Thomas, and Eddy Offord (producer Yes, ELP).

"It's hard to figure just where these guys have been all your life, but it's a no-brainer to tell where they're going. With a freshness and originality sorely lacking in contemporary music, The Taters are determinedly-and gleefully-forging a path with no limits or end in sight. This is music for which you've been waiting a long, long time.

The Taters have arrived, and the wait is finally over."
(Ely, Billboard Magazine)