Woodbox Gang

Woodbox Gang


An original blend of Americana, punk, blues, rockabilly, and bluegrass that is unique and aggressive. With lyrics both darkly humorous and topically modern, the Woodbox Gang has grown their own branch of traditional music, which they call Trashcan Americana. Others have dubbed them Avant Americana


From the village of Makanda in extreme southern Illinois, in a little hollow called Vulture Valley, comes a "caustic acoustic cacophony" known as the Woodbox Gang. They have skillfully combined the roots music styles of Americana, bluegrass, delta blues, outlaw country, & rockabilly with the aggressive delivery of punk rock to create their own style of music to which they have given the name "Trashcan Americana". The band is known for their dark poetic lyrics and their use of various conventional and non-conventional instrumentation to create sonic landscapes specifically tailored to the mood and theme of each composition. The songwriting team of Hugh DeNeal and Alex Kirt have lead the Woodbox Gang through many musical transformations, while remaining true to their one of a kind sound. The group has performed nationwide since the year 2000. Highlights include performances at the JFK Center for Performing Arts, Wakarusa, Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Appalachain Uprising, and countless festivals, theaters, and other venues across the country. Alternative country icon Jason Ringenberg (Jason and the Scorchers) has been quoted in several interviews citing the Woodbox Gang as one of his favorite new bands. The Gang joined forces with Mr. Ringenberg for a track on his latest album "Best Tracks and Side Tracks". The band composed a new arrangement for Ringenberg's classic hit "Broken Whiskey Glass".
The Woodbox Gang's influences are as diverse as the music which they perform. The group admires those artists who "do their own thing, regardless of what anyone else may or may not be doing." This idea can be heard on any one of the group's 5 albums on which they've used traditional instruments such as guitar, mandolin, lap steel, banjo, fiddle, and bass combined with didjeridoos, kazoos, sawblades, gutbuckets, crowbars, ashtrays, and rusty gasoline cans to add brilliant audio hues their musical palette.


Born With A Tail

Written By: Hugh DeNeal

Darlin I was born with a tail
That's my only pickup line
I can show you my first scars
where they cut it off my spine
Doctors called it a miracle
but my mother wasn't so enthused
she never said a word to nobody
and she kept it out of the news
I've been searching all my life
for the reason why
I walk a crooked path
and I blaze and ugly trail
Nobody will tell, me why in the Hell
I was born with a tail
My mother is only a few years
older than her only son
when I asked about my father
she said "don't worry bout him none"
I didn't worry till I got to be
her age when I was born
thats when my face broke out with achne
and my scalp broke out with horns
I've been searching all my life
for the reason why
I've got the skin of a snake
and the cold heart of a snail
nobody will tell me
why in the Hell
I was born with a tail
She didn't buy my first shoes
at Walmart clearance sales
no, she bought them down at the stable
and they put them on with nails
the kids at the grade school stared at me
like I was more than a little weird
cause I showed up every morning
with a freshly shaven beard
I've been searching all my life
for the reason why
my blood's as black as the backwash
in the Holy Grail
Nobody will tell, me why in the Hell
I was born with a tail
so I've been playing my guitar
thinking of the dad that I've never known
some old black man told me
I might find him down at the crossroads
so I spend my lonely days
sitting in this lonely bar
thinking of my long lost father
and showing off these scars
I've been searching all my life
for the reasons why
so far in my search I have failed
Nobody will tell, me why in the Hell
I was born with a tail

Togey Water

Written By: Alex Kirt

When you're dying of thirst
and the sun boils your brain
only one thing is worse
than a mouthful of sand
when the cornbread's so dry
it'll make you slap your mama
when you wake up from a long night
of PBR and Blotter
son, you'd better have a swig
of Togey Water
Togey Water is orange and pale
just like sucking on a rusty nail
when Noah built the Ark
and the flood hit the hollow
40 days and 40 nights
of Togey Water
It's the cure for pain
that creeps up inside us
chicken pocks, consumtion
and Hepititis
headaches and fever
T.B. and tonsilitis
you'll be peeling potatos
with your arthritis
shingles and heartburn
and encephalitis
I heard tell of a time when my grandpa was small
they bottled and sold it
as a cure-all
way down in Saratoga
they got a little smarter
days seem shorter, but the summer's are hotter
one thing's the same
bet your bottom dollar
there ain't nothing changed
about old Togey Water

Let Em Break Your Bones

Written By: Hugh DeNeal

I got these crazy dreams
Just don't know what they mean
sometimes I dream so loud
wakes up dead folks underground
hatches baby birds
and shakes em on down
makes the weeping willow trees
cry themselves brown
Let em break your bones
dont let em take your soul
fill your heart up
let it explode
dont let it turn cold

the only thing I recall
as a witness to the slaughter
was the muddy and bloody water
and the farmer's youngest daughter
covered in blood and feathers
playing with a dead rabbit
she smiled like a centerfold
reached out saying
Come and get it


I found a dying angel
after the mutiny in heaven
when I asked her what happened
she said look up there
you can seem them
I saw white wings torn off
caught in the razor wire
they did their best to bust out
but they couldn't get any higher


A clown tattooed vomit on his chin
teardrops on his feet
he painted nails on his hands
and he nailed hooves to his feet
his dying words were
befriend a man
who can settle for less
but beware the poor creature
who'll kill for the best


He pissed tulips, she bled a rose
I cried stinging nettle
we were all at ground zero
waiting for the dust to settle
she said
"I'm a morning glory, won't you open me slowly"
I cried
"I'm a dandelion, so come over here and blow me"


She was standing
in her darkened doorway
wearing nothing
But a Cuban Guitar
her leather strap
wrapped over her shoulder
she was sucking
an electric cigar
she said
"Why are you so quiet, if you don't believe in silence"
I cried
"Why is my nose broken, if you don't believe in violence"


Oh Woman

Written By: Hugh DeNeal

You’re a woman that’s what you say
I say you work in mysterious ways
I’m on my knees every other day
Oh Woman
I was born with shoes and a long sleeve shirt
Straight into the barn where the hoof prints hurt
But I was twelve years old before I said a dirty word
Oh Woman
I drink my coffee straight from the tap
No cream no sugar I take it black
No bread no wine he can have it back
Oh Woman
I was dreaming about the time I caught a nasty influenza
My head was hot and melting causing mass hallucinations
There were people on the ceiling screaming “Lead in wrong directions”
Oh Woman
You’re a woman that’s what you say
I say you work in mysterious ways
I scream your name in vain they say
Oh Woman
I was born with boots and a half hidden tail
With a sprout of mistletoe peaking through the scales
I was 21 before I spent the Sabbath in jail
Oh Woman
I drink my Koolaid down like poison
Raise my glass to all the other children
With his blood we’ll meet our mothers in heaven
Oh Woman
I was killing every brain cell with a cleaner for the kitchen
In the hopes I’d be too blind to see the depth of my depression
Somebody saved my life posed as a kitchen cleaner salesman
Oh Woman
You’re a woman that’s what you say
I say you work in mysterious ways
One look at you and I’ve turned gray
Oh Woman
I was born with cleats and a pocketknife
I traded my cleats for a secondhand wife
I traded true love for eternal life
Oh Woman
I drink my whiskey straight from the source
It blows my brain and it rips my voice
But I’d drown in that river if I had the choice
Oh Woman
I was killing every brain cell with a paper bag addiction
The vapors of adhesion take away my dark condition
I danced across the ceiling without shame or inhibition
Oh Woman

Soap in my Mouth

Written By: Hugh DeNeal

I aim to kill you Jesus

Dead as a doorbell

If you don’t die

All the sinners go to hell

Let those who have sinned

Use nails instead of stones

Let those who turn the other cheek

Wear the crown of thorns

the jews killed Jesus

Hitler killed the Jews

Peace and love killed the Fascists

Hippies killed the blues

Well I’m going down South

To put soap in my mouth

I’m gonna get baptized

And blow my brains out

Carpenters build crosses

Killers start religions

Atheists burn churches

That never have existed

I ate poison

With some older children

And ever since the voices scream

Turn your head and listen

Condoms killed the Catholics

Welfare killed control

Education killed the Baptists

By the help of rock and roll

Drugs kill depression

The rehab killed the drugs

Then he good lord killed me

With a forty four slug

Confidence Man

Written By: Hugh DeNeal

You got a pretty smile I can smile too

Smile so big my head’s in two

You want to be a friend you can be mine

I’ll keep you happy in the sunshine

Take my hand it’s warm you can tell

You can feel my heart it’s hotter than hell

‘Cause I been there and I can take you too

I can make all your bad dreams come true

I like small towns and the people there

Easier money than welfare

What does it take to get a handout

A sucker to trust you without a doubt

But they need me and I need them

We’re all red blooded hard working men

Good or bad where do I stand

Between the devil and the dollar is a confidence man

It’s a confidence game I’m a confidence man

Sure I’ll win sure as I stand

Genuine I am honest I ain’t

Stab you in the back smiling like a saint

Confidence man in a confidence game

I’ll leave you with nothing but your shame

Your momma warned about a confidence game

But she’s been taken in just the same

By a confidence man

When the market dies like it always does

Everybody’s pockets are lighter than they was

Everybody’s mad everybody‘s pissed

Can’t believe they were taken by a scam like this

Still they can’t even understand

How they got swindled by an ordinary man

Then they realize that’s why I came

To make them all losers in a confidence game


Trashcan Americana- Released 2001
Wormwood- Released 2002
Showdown (live)- Released 2002
Born With A Tail- Released 2003
I've Killed Men (film soundtrack)- Released 2003
Live at Hangar 9- Released 2005
Drunk As Dragons - Released 2006
Drunk As Dragons "Fortified Edition" Released June 2008 on Alternative Tentacles

Set List

The Woodbox Gang exclusively performs their own all original music.