Work harder, not smarter: classically bad advice, but when it works, it works. Country Westerns are a force, punk rock lifers playing rock music with hearted-sleeves and punched-guts. They play loud and furious but with a nuance that belies their delicate and varied pedigrees.
Released June 26, 2020, let's add to COVID's tab all Country Westerns touring in support of their debut. Fortunately, as great art does, the record found a way, and the lack of live shows didn't stop critics from hailing Country Westerns as one of the 35 Best Rock Albums of 2020 (Pitchfork), or "Hüsker Dü-by-way-of-Lucero" (Magnet), or a "slice of raspy heartland rock with a dash of REM"(Brooklyn Vegan). Tons of press love came in from Consequence of Sound, PASTE, Glide, No Depression, Popmatters, and more.
Country Westerns are a three-piece band with a two-man engine: Joseph Plunket is an Atlanta hardcore kid turned singer-songwriter whose first solo gig was opening for Cat Power. He went on to lead Brooklyn alt-country legends The Weight during the height of NYCs mid-00’s garage rock bonanza and played bass on the side for King Tuff and Gentleman Jesse. Brian Kotzur is a swaggery metronome who drummed for Silver Jews and was a close collaborator of David Berman. The band’s first fan and an early champion of theirs, Berman would lurk in the back of dingy Nashville clubs and film their early shows on a flip phone.
The band’s early recordings were made in Nashville with esteemed engineer Andrija Tokic before a change of scenery led them to finish the album with Country Westerns enthusiast-turned-producer Matt Sweeney. They returned to Plunket’s second home, Brooklyn, and did their first sessions at Strange Weather Studios with Daniel Schlett. These new recordings caught the ear of indie-label Fat Possum and by the time the record was done, they’d signed a deal.
Next came a Kotzur-produced pandemic EP. The band has a knack for choosing covers and the record is a surprising mix of Dead Moon, Jad Fair, and Richard Thompson and one original track, Coming Down, that brings to mind Stiv Bators playing a county fair.
Their second full length was recorded in Brooklyn and will be out on Fat Possum next year. Catch ‘em on the road now. They’re making up for 2020 now in a city near you.