Spend enough time roaming East Nashville and its many musical haunts, and you’re sure to spot Matthew Paige from the Blackfoot Gypsies. Long, lanky and decked out with Keith Richards’ flair for accessorizing and Janis Joplin’s devil-may-care approach to pattern-matching, his howl is as unique as his appearance. And as the lead singer and guitarist in a band that takes their cue from the Rolling Stones’ Muscle Shoals sessions and time cavorting with Gram Parsons, he and the Gypsies spin the sort of rock & roll that’s always barreling through the dust, collecting hints of blues, soul and country along the way but shaking off anything that might weigh them down. For their new single, “Potatoes and Whiskey,” from their forthcoming LP To The Top they enlisted the help of fellow East Nashvillian Margo Price to sing on the tale of post-romantic survival, one with a jangly melody that makes breaking up sound as fun as hell.
“It’s the anthem of heartbreak when you really lose a friend, and all that’s left is potatoes and whiskey, again,” Paige tells Rolling Stone Country. “Proud to sing and share this song with my talented friend Margo Price and making it a Gram and Emmylou moment.” Inspired by the Grievous Angel era, Price’s fierce vocals are the perfect match for Paige’s southern Lou Reed nasality and the band’s swirling Delta rock that’s spiked with an added burst of keys.
Led by Paige, Dylan Whitlow on bass, Zack Murphy on drums and Oliver “Ollie Dogg” Horton on harmonica, the Blackfoot Gypsies formed in 2010 and have been a reliable source of rock & roll that wails – not wallows – ever since, touring with Alabama Shakes, the Carolina Chocolate Drops and Trampled by Turtles. At its inception, the band was just Paige and Murphy, taking cues from duos like the White Stripes who managed to sound bigger and bolder with just two people than any twee ten-piece. The addition of Whitlow and Horton let them push their sound into an even deeper groove on To The Top that always teeters on the line between a free ramble and tight jam.
The Blackfoot Gypsies’ self-produced To The Top is out April 14th on Plowboy Records.