May. 15, 2007 - Issue #604: A River Runs Through It
You Ain’t Getting My Country, Divorcees warn
‘If a bunch of bean counters are dictating what you should sound like,” begins Alex Madsen, vocalist/guitarist for New Brunswick’s the Divorcees, “Well, you’re not going to sound like yourself—you’re gonna sound like a bunch of bean counters.”
Madsen has many words to share about the current state of country music and has admitted that the Divorcees are looking to revive that old time outlaw renegade sound.
“When left to its own devices,” says Madsen, “modern country radio will play it safe. I see why they do it—they want to protect themselves—but what happens is that box that everything fits in gets smaller and smaller. I don’t think that’s a good idea, and in the end it turns on them. I guess my main issue right now is that there are a lot of potential artists out there who don’t get the chance because they feel they have to toe the line and be a certain sound or style: focus group country.
“Then you get guys that have to come along like Dwight Yoakam, Steve Earle and Corb Lund,” he continues. “They open it up like Waylon did back in the ‘70s when he said, ‘Somethin’s gotta change.’ It’s not so much a calling out of Nashville as much as it is kinda grabbin’ Nashville by the shoulders and givin’ them a little shake saying, ‘Wake up!’ You hold things to the wheel and you gotta come around and open those borders up a bit.”
The Divorcees represents an ever-growing renaissance of outlaw country
with a unified hankering for their heroes: Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon
Jennings and the rest. Since its rise two years ago, the band has released
one full-length, You Ain’t Getting my Country, with talk of another one
coming out after the band tries a few of their new ballads on the road.
Things seem to be going over well for the band; Madsen says that at any given show there are 60-year-olds up there on the dance floor, arm and arm with their 19-year-old sons, all enjoying the music equally.
“We get a lot of people coming up and saying, ‘Thank you for playing country the way that it’s supposed to be played,’” Madsen says, adding that if you like that old bar room brawlin’ sound, that honky tonk-type of go, you’re going to love the Divorcees. “We don’t over do it, we don’t over think it. We just get on stage, turn everything on and go. Get ready for some good ol’ fashioned trucker country.” V
Sat, May 19 (4 pm)
Black Dog, Free
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