When Kentucky’s Quiet Hollers come to town this week for a gig at Frank’s Power Plant, you might hear lots of comparisons. The quintet’s folk and country infused rock and roll recalls the Avetts or Lucero, some might say.
But, to me, the eight melodic and gritty, acoustic-fueled tunes on the band’s "I Am The Morning" remind me most of all of those powerful mid-80s Springsteen tunes like "Shut Out the Light" – songs about despair and darkness but also hopes and dreams.
Singer and guitarist Shadwick Wilde says, with a wink, that the band likes the adjective "Bummerfolk" best of all.
We asked Wilde about the band, the record and his first trip to Brew City to play at Frank’s on Thursday, April 25.
OnMilwaukee.com: Tell us about Quiet Hollers.
Shadwick Wilde: We've been playing since around 2010. People call us an Alt Country band, and that suits us fine. Although the preferred nomenclature is "Bummerfolk." That should be read with a wink.
OMC: Is this your first gig in Milwaukee?
SW: This will be our first time in Milwaukee.
OMC: Any expectations?
SW: My chief references thus far have been from beer and Bon Iver. I'm probably not alone in that. We've heard only good things from our friends here and our friends who have play here. As for expectations, I try not to have any ... But I'll definitely be expecting some of "what made Milwaukee famous," as they say.
OMC: Is the name sort of a reference to the mix of folk and punk? Tell us a bit about how the band came to meld those two styles.
SW: Almost everyone in the band has played in punk or hardcore bands up until this project. A few of us still do! The name wasn't necessarily a reference to the blending of styles, but I think it fits quite well. In Kentucky, a "holler" – "hollow" to Northerners – is also a small valley between two hills, where the "Deliverance" folk tend to reside. So the name is meant to evoke both the pastoral and the jarring.
OMC: The new record's opener, "Road Song," suggests you guys spend a fair bit of time touring. Can you talk a bit about that?
SW: I've been touring off and on since I was about 17. Playing music is pretty much all I've ever wanted to do, and the only thing I'm good at. Touring is probably the most important – and hardest – part of that. When you grow up a little and have to go work, pay bills and become something resembling a contributing member of society, it becomes even more of a challenge ... especially for DIY bands, like us. You have to try and find a way to balance home life and touring life, or you can end up losing the means to have either. I guess that's what "Road Song" is about.
OMC: What can folks expect at the gig here?
SW: We like to have a good time, and make sure everyone at our show does, too. People have said the songs I write are depressing, and I have to agree ... so we like to make our live show as fun as possible so people don't leave wanting to hang themselves. It also helps that we really do love to play together!
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.