10 Songs, 42 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Beyond the obvious round of mainstream blues bands that employ guitarists, pianists, organists, and drummers, there’s an underground of bands that strip it down. Then there’s Lonesome Shack. Unlike so many postmodern blues bands, Lonesome Shack don’t deliberately oversaturate everything; they currently have a bassist in Luke Bergman to fill out the sound. Yet they stick to the hypnotic minimalism of Junior Kimbrough. Singer/guitarist Ben Todd plays licks that are less about pyrotechnics and more about an eloquent lyricism that keeps thing remarkably simple while satisfying the songs at hand. Match that with drummer Kristian Garrard, and Lonesome Shack take on an identity of their own. A song with a title like “Die Alone” suggests deep despair, but there’s a gorgeous guitar tone and vocal effect that holds the song together like a vintage Excello Records side. This might be the rare blues album that could also be used for meditating, so calming is the intricate repetition of the songs.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Beyond the obvious round of mainstream blues bands that employ guitarists, pianists, organists, and drummers, there’s an underground of bands that strip it down. Then there’s Lonesome Shack. Unlike so many postmodern blues bands, Lonesome Shack don’t deliberately oversaturate everything; they currently have a bassist in Luke Bergman to fill out the sound. Yet they stick to the hypnotic minimalism of Junior Kimbrough. Singer/guitarist Ben Todd plays licks that are less about pyrotechnics and more about an eloquent lyricism that keeps thing remarkably simple while satisfying the songs at hand. Match that with drummer Kristian Garrard, and Lonesome Shack take on an identity of their own. A song with a title like “Die Alone” suggests deep despair, but there’s a gorgeous guitar tone and vocal effect that holds the song together like a vintage Excello Records side. This might be the rare blues album that could also be used for meditating, so calming is the intricate repetition of the songs.

TITLE TIME
4:45
3:10
3:52
4:08
4:08
5:54
4:58
3:38
2:38
4:54

About Lonesome Shack

Embracing the rough, expressive textures of postwar blues and boogie while filtering the sounds through an edgy post-millennial sensibility, Lonesome Shack was born in New Mexico by guitarist and vocalist Ben Todd. Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Todd relocated to New Mexico's Gila Wilderness shortly before the turn of the century, where he shared a trailer with his girlfriend. Todd built a shed next to the trailer where he would practice his guitar and work on songs, focusing on his interest in vintage blues; in time, he named the shed "Lonesome Shack," after a song by Memphis Minnie, and he used the handle for the music he began to make. In 2006, Todd relocated to Phoenix, Arizona, where he learned to build and repair guitars. A year later, Todd settled in Seattle, Washington, after taking a job in a guitar shop. In Seattle, Todd met percussionist Kristian Garrard, who played with the group Thousands and convinced Todd that his solo guitar performances would work better with a drummer. Lonesome Shack expanded to a duo, and in early 2010 they released their first album, Bound to Die. A second album, Slidin Boa, appeared late the same year, and in 2011, bassist Luke Bergman (one of Garrard's bandmates in Thousands) joined the lineup. In April 2012, Lonesome Shack recorded a show at Cafe Racer, one of their favorite Seattle venues; in late May, tragedy struck Cafe Racer when a gunman entered the hall and without provocation began shooting, killing four patrons and injuring a member of the staff. Lonesome Shack released the Cafe Racer tapes in October 2012 as City Man, dedicating the album to the victims of the attack. In June 2013, the respected independent label Burger Records reissued Slidin Boa and City Man on a two-for-one cassette, and later that same year Lonesome Shack signed with Alive Naturalsound Records. The group's debut for the Alive, More Primitive, was released in May 2014. ~ Mark Deming

  • ORIGIN
    Seattle, WA
  • FORMED
    2007

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