Home Read Albums Of The Week: Country Westerns | Forgive The City

Albums Of The Week: Country Westerns | Forgive The City

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Work harder, not smarter: classically bad advice, but when it works, it works. And it works for Country Westerns. They are more than a band. They are a force — punk rock lifers playing rock music with hearted sleeves and punched guts. They play loud and furious, but with a nuance that belies their delicate and varied pedigrees.

CWs are a three-piece band with a two-man engine: Joseph Plunket is an Atlanta hardcore kid-turned-singer-songwriter whose first solo gig was opening for Cat Power. He went on to lead Brooklyn alt-country legends The Weight during the height of N.Y.C.’s mid-’00s garage-rock bonanza and played bass on the side for King Tuff and Gentleman Jesse. Brian Kotzur is a swaggery metronome who drummed for Silver Jews and was a collaborator of David Berman. The band’s first fan and an early champion, Berman would lurk in the back of dingy Nashville clubs and film their early shows on a flip phone.

Forgive The City, the band’s second full-length release for Fat Possum, is also their second to be helmed by producer Matt Sweeney (who contributes his lead guitar stylings to a few tracks). The album was heralded by the sinewy, melodic new track It’s A Livin’, which arrived accompanied by a video directed by Miranda Zipse (Miranda and the Beat).

It’s A Livin’ is the last song I wrote for our new album. It’s meant to be a tribute to musicians and travelers who are waiting for the road to open. And also a promotion of forgiveness in general,” says Plunket. “It’s about the last go around and wondering what’s left out there. An encouragement to those who have to push through and keep moving and also an acknowledgement of a time to lay it down. It has pretty obvious vibes of a pandemic spent in Nashville and the actual lyrics are less pretentious than this description. I wrote it on my Danelectro 10-string which gives it a cool aggressive jangle.”

The band’s early recordings were made in Nashville with esteemed engineer Andrija Tokic before a change of scenery led them to finish their first album with Country Westerns enthusiast-turned-producer Sweeney. They returned to Plunket’s Brooklyn, and did their sessions at Strange Weather Studios with Daniel Schlett. These recordings caught the ear of indie-label Fat Possum and by the time the record was done, they’d signed a deal.

Next came a Kotzur-produced pandemic EP. The band has a knack for choosing covers and the record contained a surprising mix of Dead Moon, Jad Fair and Richard Thompson, along with one original track — Coming Down — that brings to mind Stiv Bators playing a county fair.”