Energetic bluegrass players, The Timber Rattlers, are gearing up for the release of their debut album, Last Echo, on April 30, 2021. In conjunction with the record drop, the Missoula four-piece will be playing a special show at The Old Post from 8pm-10pm. Check out the interview below to see what the guys have been up to and learn all about the new album.
Do you have a theme for the album, a general mood, etc?
It’s certainly hard to pin down a theme because the musical backgrounds of the members of this group are so diverse. Our bass player is primarily a jazz and orchestral musician, our fiddle player was classically trained, our guitar player is steeped in the traditional side of bluegrass and our banjo player has spent much of his time in the progressive arena.
As a result, the album certainly displays an exploratory spirit as it ranges from hard driving trad grass, to progressive new acoustic, to jam band, and a whole bunch in between. Lyrically the album peers into the lives of the down and out. They explore themes of collapse and reconstitution, confrontation with our flawed nature, and hope that it can be overcome. Sonically the material is us investigating one another’s musical interests and amalgamating that into whatever it is that we are. We get a thrill out of the fact that we can navigate such disparate musical terrains and we certainly exercised that on this record. I think we dipped our feet into just about every corner of the current “bluegrass” pool. So if there is a theme for this album it would be its adventurous spirit and unapologetically eclectic nature.
When was most of the album written?
Much of the material was written back in the pre pandemic days of 2019. The Timber Rattlers were originally a duo composed of our guitar player and fiddle player. The bass and banjo came about in early 2019 and we began arranging material that was in pieces, as well as writing some new things from the ground up.
When we last talked, you mentioned wanting to release the album much earlier, but ended up waiting a year… was this because of the pandemic? What obstacles did you have to overcome?
That’s correct. We originally had a release date of May 1st 2020. At that point it was obvious that live music was coming to a screeching halt and we kept pushing the release date back until it became clear that we would have to wait much longer than just a few months for all this to clear up. The biggest obstacle we had to face was staying motivated without the high of live shows keeping us fueled up. We had only been playing together as a four piece band for about a year when the pandemic hit and felt like we were just getting started. We poured our heart and soul into this record so it was certainly difficult to delay the release indefinitely.
Ultimately the pandemic has reminded us of the value of live music in our lives, as well as the people who come out to see it. It revealed to us what an immense healing force music is, and just how special it is every time we all come together to celebrate that fact.
Last time we spoke you were releasing “No Ordinary War”… how long after the single did you wait to record the rest of this album? Did your sound change in between sessions?
We started working on material for this album shortly after No Ordinary War was recorded which was April 2019. Last Echo was recorded in November 2019 so there was about a 6 or 7 month gap.
Yes our sound inevitably had to change between No Ordinary War and this record because we had only been a four piece band for about a month when we recorded No Ordinary War. We had not even established a sound and therefore writing this record was a voyage of self discovery where each member’s unique voice and creative identity played the role of a main character.
Where was the album recorded?
The Album was recorded at Rob Parr’s Yellow Sea Horse Recording in Hamilton. Rob worked so hard for us and we could not be more grateful for his extraordinary talent and dedication to making this album a reality.
Did y’all produce, write and record the album yourselves?
The album was written, produced, and recorded locally by us and Rob Parr.
Any notable moments for the band over the past several months, highlights, inspirations, etc?
I think the most inspirational thing happening for us right now is witnessing the community’s excitement for our record. It’s been a long time coming and we couldn’t be more thrilled to share it with music lovers at The Old Post this Friday!
Do you have any shows lined up for 2021?
The calendar is starting to fill up a bit. We will be at The Old Post Friday night for the release party and then Blacksmith Brewing Saturday night as well. June 5th we’ll be at Highlander Brewing, somewhere very exciting in the middle of July, Great Northern July 29th, and a River City Roots appearance in August if the festival comes back!
Where will the album be available?
The album will be available for purchase at our live shows as well as on our website. You can also stream the album on all major platforms starting April 30th.
Anything else you want to share?
We would just like to send a huge thanks to everybody that has supported the band thus far. The enthusiasm you’ve shown has us so fired up! This pandemic taught us to cherish our time gathered together in a room celebrating music with all of you. We can’t wait to get back at it!
P.S. Logjam is looking at having a couple local shows outdoors this summer. Stay tuned 😉