Sounds Like: A little bit county and a little bit rock & roll, with a pair of co-frontmen/co-songwriters – super-crooner Jonathan Childers and six-string savant Grant Gustafson – in a dead heat to deliver melodies sturdy enough to withstand the force of a rhythm section worthy of Helm/Danko comparisons.
For Fans of: Bob Dylan, Grateful Dead, the Band
Why You Should Pay Attention: An increasingly country-leaning quartet born from Nashville's buzzing garage-rock scene, Blank Range's psychedelic grit and hooky, harmony-heavy songcraft have made the quartet pack-leaders in a Music City where country and indie-rock lanes continue merging. Four years and two EPS following the band's formation (not to mention tour dates supporting artists from Death Cab for Cutie to Alice in Chains), the band's full-length debut, Marooned With the Treasure, arrived last month via Sturdy Girls Records/Thirty Tigers. Brimming with storyteller verses, bourbon-bathed choruses and transcendental bursts of shred by Gustafson – one of Music City's most inventive guitarists – the record reflects a circa-now Nashville underground where, as Childers tells Rolling Stone Country, it's not uncommon to catch local rock musicians out two-stepping at local honky-tonks. Marooned lead single "Opening Band" has already cracked 100,000 plays on Spotify, where the band's received considerable exposure thanks to being featured on a handful of curated playlists. Perhaps most notably, Mumford & Sons put "Last Crash Landing," from Blank Range's 2013 Phase II EP on their ongoing "Songs for the Road" playlist.
They Say: "In Nashville, at the level we're playing at, there's very few hard lines between country and rock," Childers observes. "I think we kind of blurred the line with a bunch of different things in our writing, and our styles. ... We're not consciously catering toward it, I think it's just a thing that's come around. What we like, [this] happens to be a good moment for it."
Hear for Yourself: The organs swell and the guitars glide like waves as the band wrestles with demons and reconciles the rigors of the road on the groovy wistful lament "Opening Band." A.G.