Sparks Fly as Dead Rodeo Rumbles to Life

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American band defiantly embraces alt-country and proclaims an abundance of attitude is brewing in their new music.

Southern and American West roots may easily explain their distinctive twang, but an amalgam of lilting melodies, hard energy and the immediacy of a stripped down sound suddenly moves Dead Rodeo beyond unambiguous classification.

What's old is new again. In what seems like a blink of an eye, the term alt-country lost its luster, seemingly destined to be swallowed up forever by the radio-friendly formalities of Americana. Now along comes a band that has something strong to say about the term’s assumed demise. Notice has been served. Dead Rodeo is formally setting the stage for a major alt-country resurgence.

Not content to let others define their sound, they’ve gone so far as affixing an extra adjective to the original. “Dead Rodeo is Kick-Ass Alt Country,” states lead singer Bullit James in a rather defiant tone. “It’s ours. We own it,” he goes on to say. And own it they do. Yet, such adamant proclamations belie the fact that other musical genres have crept into the milieu: southern rock, traditional country, folk and even straight up rock’n’roll. Southern and American West roots may easily explain their distinctive twang, but an amalgam of lilting melodies, hard energy and the immediacy of a stripped down sound suddenly moves Dead Rodeo beyond unambiguous classification.

Formed in summer 2010, the group from Paradise, Nevada, has been hard at work recording their debut album. “We’re holding everything close to the vest,” says Whisky Jim, Dead Rodeo’s surprisingly lucid drummer. “We’ve named our album, but I’m sworn to absolute secrecy,” he continued. However, some fairly intriguing details do sneak out. Along with traditional instruments like your standard Fender Stratocaster, it seems that some tracks are infused with sounds from an unexpected array of equipment.

Used to subtle effect have been both an antique Winchester Model 1894 saddle-ring carbine and an early pearl-handled Colt Official Police revolver. The meticulous addition of these unpredictable sonic flourishes is keeping Dead Rodeo buried in their work. “We’ll drag ‘em all kicking and screaming into our sound. It'll stick to your ears,” mumbles Knives, the trio’s journeyman guitarist. As if wielding his single moniker like a sword, he drives home the point that regardless of what anyone else thinks, Dead Rodeo is primed for flat out success.

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