Punk rock to the prairie

Quiet Hollers discover their roots on debut LP

 By Zach Rogers
photo: Louisville quartet Quiet Hollers bring punk-infused alt-country to Dayton on May 4

As the saying goes, there’s only one constant in life: change. One person who can probably relate to this concept more than ever is Shadwick Wilde. A few years ago, Wilde was playing guitar in the Washington, D.C. hardcore punk band Iron Cross while also spending time in the street punk band Brassknuckle Boys. Tired of the confines of punk but not necessarily with its spirit, Wilde began writing songs that shifted more towards the sounds of Americana and alt-country, and with that Quiet Hollers was born. The band has grown from a small, solo project to a full-fledged band, and with the release of their debut album I Am the Morning, it looks like the band is here to stay. Currently on tour to promote the release, Quiet Hollers will be making a stop through Dayton on Saturday, May 4 at ReCreate Music, 438 E. Fifth St., and I was lucky enough to catch up with Wilde beforehand to talk about the band and their new album.

First off, when and where was the band formed?

We started playing together in Louisville, Ky. in mid-2010, around the time I put out my first solo album. I had been playing a lot of solo acoustic shows, but I wanted to put to together an actual band for the album release. Everyone seemed to get along really well and we all wanted to do something different from other projects we’ve done in the past. – Shadwick Wilde

How would you describe the band’s sound?

People call us an alt-country band, and that’s fine. There’s a massive wave of Americana/alt-country bands enjoying some serious commercial success right now, and although a lot of those bands are really great, I feel like it oversimplifies us to call it alt-country when we’re not really a part of that, per se. I like to think of us as Kentucky-fried, indie folk-rock, but even that feels a little misleading. – SW

What are some of the band’s influences? Does every member have their own unique likes/dislikes?

I’m a huge Bruce Springsteen fan. He’s been a major influence on me ever since I was a kid. Everyone in the band is new to the kind of music we’re playing now, so our influences tend to vary pretty wildly. Adam Buntain (guitar) sites only one influence – Norman Blake, deity of bluegrass guitar and session player. Our violinist, Aaron West, is classically trained, but is very into experimental/noise stuff a la John Cage. We’re definitely a mixed bag. – SW

What was it like recording the band’s debut album, I Am the Morning? 

We recorded the album at an amazing studio in Louisville, Ky. called the Funeral Home. It has since moved, but at the time it was a studio built upstairs from a working funeral home in a 200-year-old mansion in the city’s Portland neighborhood. We had studio time booked, but our drummer, Nick Goldring, had an accident on the way home from Bonnaroo, which was also the week before we were set to record. He dove off of a waterfall and fractured his C3 vertebra on impact. To give you some frame of reference, know that statistically he had a 75 percent chance of being paralyzed instantly from that injury. Instead, he defied his doctor’s orders and recorded all the drums and accordion tracks for the record while wearing a heavy duty neck brace. So, recording the album was a pretty intense and emotional experience. I hope it turned out to be something worthwhile. – SW

Is there a running theme throughout the album, or perhaps in a couple songs?

The album deals mostly with either character-driven narratives or intense personal introspection. Most of the songs are what people might call “ballads,” though they aren’t in the traditional sense. Most of the songs I write are melancholy at best, and severely disturbing at other times, but that’s what I write and it seems to work for us. – SW

How has the current spring tour been treating you? Have you been through Dayton before?

The tour has been great so far, and we’ve been extremely lucky to have amazing people helping us out in every city. Dayton is one of our favorite places to play simply because of the people here. It’s really a treasure in that respect. We’ve been through Dayton a half-dozen times since we started touring. We have so many amazing friends here, and of course the label that helped release our album, F.M. Recordings, is based here. So, we owe a lot to this place. Every time we play Dayton, my faith in independent music is restored. Everybody is so open-minded and welcoming – it’s really rare to find that among such a talented scene. – SW

What’s next for Quiet Hollers after the tour wraps up? 

We’ve been writing a bunch of new material, so I know we’ll be recording again soon. We have a couple more short tours planned for the summer and fall. Definitely no rest in sight! – SW

Quiet Hollers will be performing on Saturday, May 4 at ReCreate Music, 438 E. Fifth St. Also on the bill is Frank Grimes. Show starts at 8 p.m. with open donations at the door. For more information, visit quiethollers.com. 

Reach DCP freelance writer Zach Rogers at ZachRogers@daytoncitypaper.com

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