|Banditos' new album Visionland is coming June 23rd, 2017. Produced by Israel Nash
and Ted Young, the Birmingham/Nashville-based group’s second full-length has one
foot firmly planted in reality as the other tip-toes in and out of mental
complexities, self-perception and altered-state illusions. The results are
revealing, exhilarating and profound.
Originally from Birmingham, AL, Banditos is a group - more like a gang,
actually - of six 20-somethings, nowadays operating out of Nashville, close to,
and simultaneously very far away from, the gleaming towers and industry hustle
of Lower Broad and Music Row.
With the rugged power of a flashy Super Chief locomotive, the Banditos’
self-titled debut album bodaciously appropriates elements of ‘60s blues-fused
acid rock, ZZ Top’s jangly boogie, garage punk scuzz a la Burger Records, the
Drive-By Truckers’ yawp, the populist choogle of CCR, Slim Harpo’s hip shake
baby groove, the ebullient folk of electric Dylan, gut bucket Fat Possum hill
country mojo and the Georgia Motherf**king Satellites. From backwoods bluegrass,
to slinky nods to Muscle Shoals soul and unexpected bits of doo-wop sweetness,
the Banditos recall many, but sound like no one but themselves.
The members of the band first met playing in various punk and rock ‘n’ roll
projects around Birmingham at D.I.Y., all-ages venues. In 2010, singer/guitarist
Corey Parsons and singer/banjo player Stephen Pierce began busking around town
and were soon asked to perform at their favorite local bar. Without a full band
they invited friends Randy Wade (drums), Jeffrey Salter (guitar), and Mary Beth
Richardson (vocals) to join them.
Salter and Wade studied together at music school learning classical/jazz
techniques, while Richardson’s background was mostly singing in church choirs.
After some apprehensions from Richardson about taking the stage with an
unrehearsed band, a last-minute trip to New Orleans with the group (which
resulted in a stolen hotel Bible inscribed with the band’s lyrics) seemed
to cure a case of the cold feet. The ensuing performance was raw and electric,
and an ecstatic crowd response further cemented the members’ convictions to
become a full band. The addition of bassist Danny Vines made the group complete.
The members soon moved into a house together in Birmingham, and after repeated
tours through Nashville, decided to move the band there instead, where the
music scene was bigger and more diverse. The sextet has since developed their
unique and airtight sound, culminated through several years of enduring
friendships and a roaddog touring schedule that has, at their count, numbered
over 600 shows in three years.
The group has been praised by NPR (“Three vocalists, a wicked guitarist who also
plays pedal steel, a banjo, an upright bass and a hot-footed drummer guarantee
that every song they play is stuffed with crazy rhythms and melodic energy.”),
Rolling Stone (“Equal parts alt-country twang and garage rock bang...recalling
everything from ZZ Top's greasy boogie to the Alabama Shakes' coed soul”), and
Garden & Gun (“These six keyed-up twentysomethings mix a hodgepodge of sounds.
Sometimes it’s barroom country backed by a rogue kazoo, and other times it’s a
chicken-picking version of slow-burning soul behind the Janis Joplin–esque wail
of Mary Beth Richardson”). They have performed across the world supporting acts
like St. Paul and the Broken Bones, Blackberry Smoke, and Old 97’s, and notably
at prominent events like Newport Folk Festival, Hangout Fest, and Rachael Ray’s
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