You can call Great Peacock a folk band... but don't expect them to make music for campfires or square dances. Raised in the Deep South and headquartered in Nashville, they're a group of red-blooded country boys who aren't afraid of the big city. Case in point: Making Ghosts -- the duo's harmony-heavy, guitar-driven debut album -- whose 11 songs find the middle ground between rootsy, down-home Americana and super-sized arena pop/rock.
"To us, it's just pop music with organic acoustic instruments," says Andrew Nelson, who shares lead vocals and guitar duties with co-founder Blount Floyd. "The album has some fiddle, some pedal steel and a whole lot of acoustic guitar, which sounds like the traditional setup for a country band. But this isn't a country record. It's not really a folk record, either. It's a pop/record... with folk tendencies."
Nelson and Floyd first crossed paths in their early 20s, bonding instantly over a shared love of cheap beer and good Southern music. After logging several years together in a loud, Tennessee-based rock band, they split off to form their own project, swapping out the amplified swagger of their previous group for a straightforward sound anchored by acoustic guitars, anthemic melodies and two intertwined voices. Like an old-school harmony duo retuned for a new generation, they started off with a handful of classic influences -- the country croon of George Jones, the working class rock & roll of Bruce Springsteen, the heartland hum of Tom Petty -- and expanded their sound from there, turning Great Peacock into the sort of band that's simultaneously rooted in tradition and headed toward new territory.
The music on Making Ghosts reflects Great Peacock's ambition. Songs like "Tennessee" are swooning, sweeping tributes to the band's homeland, while "Take Me To The Mountain" pushes the band toward anthemic territory, fueled by super-sized drums and a radio-ready melody. On "Arms," the guys jump between haunting verses and big, Technicolor choruses, capping everything off with a screeching guitar solo. These peacocks know how to strut their stuff.
What's in a name, by the way? In Great Peacock's case, quite a bit.
"We initially thought it was just a funny name for a band," Nelson admits, "but through the evolution of everything we've done, we've always been big and colorful. That's why Blount jumps around onstage. That's why I wear a suit jacket embroidered with feathers, which is basically a poor man's nudie suit. We've embraced the image of the big peacock feathers, and we want to entertain you. We look that way, we think that way, and we sound that way, too."
A guitar, red trucker hat, folk songs, and an old Toyota wagon on open road. Justin Lamoureux has been performing as Midwest Dilemma for nearly a decade. Over hills, valleys, across plains, mountains, forests, deserts, rivers, oceans and destinations near and far to share stories of life in the Midwest. But there is nothing typical about Midwest Dilemma. Lamoureux recruited 23 musical collaborators for the debut release titled Timelines & Tragedies in 2008. The ever changing and revolving cast fill out the woodwind, brass, string, and percussion sections.Timelines & Tragedies is a time line of family history. Tracing Lamoureux's ancestors to their days of French Canadian fur trading, the Great Depression, the struggles of his parents' generation with Vietnam, and eventually concluding with his life in the Omaha. Timelines & Tragedies was awarded OEA - Album of the Year in 2008 and charted CMJ Top 200. The song Chicago and North Western was featured on the PBS television seriesRoadtrip Nation. Live performances Midwest Dilemma can still be Lamoureux and his classical guitar or any variety of the orchestral-folk-rock ensemble. Midwest Dilemma's album Timelines & Tragedies can be purchased on iTunes or directly from www.midwestdilemma.com.