If you're familiar with live music venues in the area, you've probably heard of Mr. Deagun Jones.
The four-piece blues-rock band has been together for almost six years and has played any and every bar, club and music venue they can get into – and sometimes even the street corner outside.
They've established themselves at a number of Milwaukee mainstays, including Shank Hall, The Rave, Up and Under Pub and others, bucking convention with their multifaceted sound and brazen songwriting.
In a spirit characteristic of their music, the band recently self-funded the production of their first full album. The 11-song CD, entitled "Cheat, Steal, and Lie," is set to release Wednesday, Nov. 24 with a special solo concert at Club Garibaldi.
That this milestone is taking place in Bay View is especially poetic, given that Mr. Deagun Jones was formed in the neighborhood.
"We met at an open jam at a bar in Bay View," said Matt Danbeck, the band's bass guitarist. "Our singer and guitar player (Adam Tremel and Josh Cass) were going every night and just playing by themselves. I was really impressed and introduced myself."
After playing and parting ways with two other drummers, the band completed the quartet with current drummer Jason Carter and got down to the business of making their own signature blend of genre-bending rock.
"Years back I was under the impression that you had to sound like whatever was popular at the time and be the next whoever to get on the road to success," said Danbeck. "What I came to realize was that trying to sound like somebody else is no more of a guarantee that you're going to get anywhere.
"If we're going to have any success," he added, "it's because we're a little different."
And different it certainly is. With an intrinsic sound that hearkens back to the glory days of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Bob Seger mixed with the unbridled rock of Led Zeppelin's grittier tracks, Mr. Deagun Jones manages to seamlessly complement themselves with infusions of funk and country without losing their driving edge.
"We gravitate towards blues and rock, but we put our own spin on them," said Danbeck. "We just wanted to write music we thought was good, and because of that we wound up with an album that features an electric fiddle and mandolin, backup soul singers and even a horn section."
The new CD, which was recorded at Cherry Pit Studios in Menomonee Falls and mastered by Trevor Sadler of Mastermind Productions, is comprised completely of original music from the band, most of which has rarely or never been played at their live shows.
"One of the advantages of being a band for this long and not releasing anything yet is we've had the opportunity to write a lot of songs and work on them and perfect them," said Danbeck. "We had about 40 songs by the time we decided to sit down and put this down. We wanted to make something that was radio quality and do it the right way. We made sure we didn't settle for anything."
Making the most of their efforts, Mr. Deagun Jones will perform the entire CD from start to finish, with full accompaniment, the night of the release.
"This will be the first time we've tried to recreate the full playlist with all of the guest artists we have on the album," said Danbeck. "We did it piece by piece in the studio but never tried to duplicate it."
Following the full CD set list, the band will return with another band first: a full set of cover songs.
"We've tried to focus hard on being an original band," said Danbeck of their repertoire. "We have played some covers, but never a whole hour or so of full cover songs."
Those of you expecting another run-of-the-mill cover show, however, should be advised that Mr. Deagun Jones customizes their playlist – and its style -- with much of the same originality they channel for their originals.
"It's kind of all over the map," said Danbeck, casually mentioning a broad spectrum of possible bands that included the likes of everything from Alice In Chains to Stevie Wonder. "We do have four new covers anyone who's ever heard us have never heard before."
The CD release party kicks off at Club Garibaldi at 8 p.m. Admission is $10 and includes a copy of "Cheat, Steal, and Lie." While the specifics are not yet finalized, Danbeck says $1 or $2 of the admission price will also be donated to a local charity.
What is for certain, though, is that this is not Mr. Deagun Jones' last album release.
"We've already got the next one about halfway done," said Danbeck, noting that five songs are already set. "I really feel that this CD will open some doors for us."
Contrary to her natural state of being, Renee Lorenz is a total optimist when it comes to Milwaukee. Since beginning her career with OnMilwaukee.com, her occasional forays into the awesomeness that is the Brew City have turned into an overwhelming desire to discover anything and everything that's new, fun or just ... "different."
Expect her random musings to cover both the new and "new-to-her" aspects of Miltown goings-on, in addition to periodically straying completely off-topic, which usually manifests itself in the form of an obscure movie reference.