Track Premiere: Western States “Duke”

The band Western States formed in St Louis, the great confluence of American music – everything travelled to St Louis along the Mississippi and the Missouri  and that includes every strand of music.  St. Louis is where Chuck Berry wired together blues, R&B and country to spark rock ‘n’ roll. Where Ike and Tina Turner perfected the fine art of blowing a roof off a club. And where Uncle Tupelo welded together punk and twang. And Western States aim to continue that musical fusion and move it along into the 21st Century.

Having cut their chops in bar bands over the years, the four members of Western States – Sean Canan (Lead guitar and vocals), Joe Winze (Drums, percussion and vocals), Bryan Maness (Bass) and Tim Lloyd(Vocals and guitar) have recently recorded their debut album ‘From the Center Out‘ which is released on July 19th.  This features the songwriting talents of Tim Lloyd as he tells stories of rust-belt strugglers and  survivors.  The ‘Duke‘ is a suitably muscular track that captures a particular unbridled and unrestrained masculinity that finds its home in the “sporting” arena.   It’s a dirty business, with the results fixed in advance – something that it’s unwise to forget but not always easy to remember “the blood’s on the floor and I’m slipping in the ring / they call me the Duke and I always swing.”  This might not end well.

From the Center Out‘ features songs that fizz and crackle with electricity and songs that are subtle and restrained in their semi-acoustic form.   And words which aim to fulfil Tim Lloyd’s wish to examine the cultural fault lines that have shaken the USA, as he explains “You can’t escape the sense of dread and anger in the country right now.  Next year will probably test America’s soul in ways I couldn’t have imagined when I was a kid. But this didn’t come out of nowhere. Deep inequities handed down from generation to generation keep pitting people against one another. I found myself thinking a lot about that while writing these songs. I wanted to dig up old demons who still pull the strings. I wanted to write songs that search for the deeper causes of everything from divisive politics to heartbreak and hope.

Author: Jonathan Aird

Sure, I could climb high in a tree, or go to Skye on my holiday. I could be happy. All I really want is the excitement of first hearing The Byrds, the amazement of decades of Dylan's music, or the thrill of seeing a band like The Long Ryders live. That's not much to ask, is it?

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