Water Tower Bucket Boys
In Music We Trust
I keep discovering these great banjo/blues/jug bands, and the latest on my playlist is this Portland, Oregon quintet. Up front is a plaintive keening voice, and although I can’t assign it to any of the musicians specifically, it’s pure Grand Ole Opry as it pounds though the ominous moonshiners’ ballad “Crooked Road.” They sing a country noir theme: turn down the wrong road and you may find yourself six feet under the still. Rambling down the road, “Fromage” takes a lighter path to enlightenment and “London Breakdown” reprises the speed fiddle of the classic “Foggy Mountain Breakdown.”
Fiddles, guitars, mandolins, and a whirly tube lie behind this banjo-driven sound, and with four albums under their belts and collaborations with The Red Stick Ramblers and Wilco, it looks like this band will be around for a long time. Interestingly, their producer is MxPx’s lead singer, Mike Herrera. It’s not like I feel a punk sound on this collection, but there’s a definite feeling that these songs all have a beginning, a middle, and an end, and along this arc you only hear infectious enthusiasm and the sort of blinding finger picking you only can get from a midnight jog at the crossroads. As they sing, “Let’s break out the Dickle,” and the Water Tower Bucket Boys make a great argument for moving out of town and ditching that iPhone contract.