Savannah Georgia’s The Train Wrecks’ recently released sophomore disc entitled Saddle Up is an alt-country effort that hits all the right spots. Opening with the Cash-inspired “Tennessee Mare” and featuring one of the tightest rhythm sections this side of the Mason-Dixon line in Markus Kuhlmann and Eric Dunn, along with singer Jason Bible’s rusty vocals and Stuart Harmening’s blistering dobro, fans of Uncle Tupelo, Old 97′s, and Steve Earle will not be disappointed.
The album has a bit for everyone in the slow country balladry of “Show Me Your Silence” and some nice Southern Rock cowbell and guitar riffage on “Struggle.” Thematically the album focuses on the wild west mixed with a band of troubadours trying to make a living playing music.
RIYL: whiskey (not whiskey sours), leather, beat up old guitars
I caught up with lead singer Jason Bible to discuss the new record:
Where, when, and with whom was the new album recorded?
We cut all the tracks at Elevated Basement Studios in Savannah, GA in 2010. Miles Hendrix and Kevin Rose produced, recorded and mixed the album with us co-producing. Terry Manning masterfully mastered the album.
How do you go about writing songs for a new album? Also, there seems to be a couple of themes running through the album. Can you explain?
When we finished “Whiskey and War” I began looking for songs and really wanted the second album to be a concept thing with themes that evoke images of the wild west and the south. A cowboy type thing with a modern twist on the things that make me want to write. Tennessee Mare was intentionally a spin off of the Tennessee Stud. I wanted a Johnny Cash type murder song and we got the story to go over Stu’s dobro line.
I write some with Dave Williams and some with Stu Harmening. The Train Wrecks work out arrangements and we usually try them all live. Eric Dunn worte the bass line for Southern Skies years ago and we all added our parts and I wrote some words about Hawaii and put the vocal over it. I look for concepts and subjects to write about and usually they come quickly and I bounce demos on piano or acoustic and finalize them with Dave and or the band. My buddy Whiley Workman IV had these words for Hang Me High and I wanted it to sound like it come out of Sun Studios. We added and changed a few words and there it was.
Fortune and Fame developed over a year of having the verse chords and words for the chorus. I finally got the verses together and it took shape. Markus really kicked ass on the drums and his input on all the songs was vital. The percussion end and the vocals he added were great. It is wild to hear the first demos of alot of the songs and then to hear them on the record is pretty amazing to see how they turned out. We worked really hard on this record and are really proud to be The Train Wrecks!
The themes are there. I know the main two are freedom and stopping at nothing to do what you love. It’s really about the struggle of life and the pursuit of being a songsmith……I don’t know shit! I am just really happy to play with the best musicians and writers and studio folks that I have found!
What are The Train Wrecks’ plans for the rest of 2011?
God has been good to me and the boys! We are all gonna keep playing shows and get more tours happening in 2011! Making our way to New Orleans in the summer! Really want to stop and play some shows for people hit by the oil spill along the way.
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