Thursday, Nov. 9, 7 p.m.
Callaghan’s Irish Social Club, 916 Charleston St., www.callaghansirishsocialclub.com
Tickets: Call 251-433-9374 for more info
From its beginning, Southern rock has been one of the richest and most versatile subgenres in modern music. Throughout the ‘70s, a number of now iconic bands such as The Allman Brothers Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Marshall Tucker Band pioneered this musical style, which is shaped by rock, country and blues.
While Southern rock has maintained its popularity, there have been very few new bands to take this genre into the future. However, the “Alabama-born, Nashville-bred” band The Vegabonds may be doing just that.
This Southeastern quintet will be returning to Mobile to rock the OGD on a Thursday night. While their latest material is filled with edgy, Southern rock sounds, guitarist/vocalist Daniel Allen says their early work on albums such as “Dear Revolution” and “Southern Sons” were shaped by muses from the jam world, even though he says Southern rock was always in their hearts.
After two original members left the band, Allen started to workshop The Vegabonds’ sound.
“Whenever that happened, I kinda dove deep into songwriting and got into Jason Isbell, The Avett Brothers, Sturgill Simpson, Chris Stapleton, Dawes and just great songwriters,” Allen said. “That’s really where I wanted to take the band. Everybody else felt it too.”
The Vegabonds revealed their refashioned sound on their 2016 release, “What We’re Made Of.” Allen says Atlanta-based producer/engineer Tom Tapely played a role in creating this album. When they first laid plans for recording “What We’re Made Of,” Allen says he and his fellow members wanted to lay down tracks in Nashville even though Tapely is in Atlanta. When he first met with The Vegabonds in Nashville, Allen says the band made an instant connection with him.
“We went out the night before and had a beer,” Allen said. “From that night forward, he impressed us. We all got along instantly, just laughing and not really even talking about music the whole time, which was great. It wasn’t all business with him. He’s just super easy to work with.”
After working with Tapely, The Vegabonds used “What We’re Made Of” as a way to showcase a heavier rock influence than their previous albums. “The Hammer” is a relentless Southern rock track driven by fuzzy guitar work. “Hope She’s Still Mine” is an elaborate dirt road rock anthem with sonic versatility.
The song “Blood to Roam” serves as The Vegabonds’ bittersweet testimony to life on the road. As a band that bases its success on rigorous touring, Allen says, many of their songs are inspired by their experiences on the road. Intricate guitar runs and heavy syncopated beats spin lyrics detailing the struggles with constant touring.
“That ‘familiar face’ is all about home and being in your comfort zone, but you can’t get away from the desire to get on the road,” Allen explained. “That’s [touring] what we love. That’s how we meet people and spread our music. It’s all about the constant struggle between the comfort of home and life on the road.”
With “What We’re Made Of” just over a year old, The Vegabonds are already working on their next release with Tom Tapely. However, Allen says the band’s heavy tour schedule has forced them to adapt to a new creation process. This time, they’re meeting with Tapely in his studio whenever they pass through Atlanta. While this process might seem long and complicated, Allen says he has really enjoyed this method. He says this approach to recording has allowed the band to expand the tracks with future studio visits while weighing the positive and negative aspects of individual songs.
Even though The Vegabonds would like to have the new album out by March 2018, Allen says their sporadic studio visits might make that impossible. However, the band plans to keep its audience satisfied in the meantime.
“We’re going to be putting out singles for a little while,” Allen said. “We’re still in the process of writing and recording this album. It’s not ready to be put out by any means. We’re really just trying to put music out as we go to keep people interested and on their radar.”
So far, The Vegabonds have released one track, with more on the way. Last week the band released the track “Partying with Strangers.” Allen says this track “gives you a good idea of where we’re going with this record.”
With this in mind, the track serves up equal portions of classic country and modern roots rock. Acoustic guitar and pedal steel usher in lyrical poetry detailing love lost before a thunderous volley of equally heavy guitars and beats pull in the song’s hook. The band’s trademark aural versatility shines in “Partying with Strangers.” The overall sound proves the band is continuing to build its reputation as Southern rock’s next great band with a trademark sound that is appealing to a variety of musical tastes.
The crowd at Callaghan’s can expect to hear a live performance of this track as well as other new tunes. The OGD will echo with the sounds of The Vegabonds’ next single, “Everything We Need,” which Allen says has “a desert rock feel to it.” He adds that the band should be ready to perform another song called “Help Is on the Way.”
In addition to their original works, Allen says the band will be playing its version of several cover songs, including its take on the Charlie Daniels classic “Long Haired Country Boy.” Over the summer, The Vegabonds released this as a single with a companion music video as a way to satisfy fans until new original tracks could be released.
Even with an impressive collection of originals and crowd favorites, Allen says creating a memorable live show is always a priority for The Vegabonds.
“We always like to bring a good time,” Allen said. “We play covers that folks would know, but we hope folks know our material too. If they don’t, we hope they latch on to them and take them home.”
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