SoundCheck: Drifters Mile drifts into new sound

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It’s been over four years since we’ve heard Drifters Mile on KSMU. It turns out that a lot can change with a band in four years. I sat down with Deakin Mooney and Jake Norman to find out how the band and their sound moved away from bluegrass and more into the country rock world in recent years.

Norman gives an excellent summary:

“Well, we pretty much lost our bass player back then and it was hard to find someone to play a right. And then Deakin came over one day and said, “Why don’t we just add electric bass players and drums?” Starting to be more like a… I guess the original idea was to go country, but now it’s more like country rock with a little bluegrass. We find it hard to put our finger on what exactly we are doing now. “

And they’ve found some big names to fill those positions. They got Tony Johnson, the original Speakeasy bassist, and Springfield legend Chris Appleby, whose CV includes Honky Tonky Chateau, the Dark Alleys and the Garbonzos.

When Drifters Mile decided to add an electric bass and drums, it not only resulted in the addition of these two musicians, but everyone else in the band changed what they were doing, which resulted in a change of its even more dramatic.

Mooney went from simple playing the banjo to playing keyboards and the electric banjo.

“So when the whole COVID shutdown happened, I got myself a piano and learned over that year,” Mooney said.

“Have you played before? ” I asked.

“It was my first instrument when I was nine,” he said.

“So it’s like going back to your roots,” I say.

“But yes, I’m dyslexic, so piano for me when I was a kid was very impossible. But I still had a bit of knowledge, so I just got a little Roland keyboard and learned to play, ”he said.

They asked mandolin player Dave Dewitt to take up the acoustic guitar.

“We were like, get an acoustic guitar. You will be playing the acoustic guitar and the mandolin. And he said “Oh yeah” to me, because he’s originally a guitarist anyway. We got him to start playing the mandolin, ”Mooney said.

“We just saw pictures of him playing the mandolin and we were like, ‘You play the mandolin, don’t you? “says Normand.

And Jake Norman went from acoustic guitar to electric guitar. The result?

“It’s very rock n roll,” Mooney said.

“I mean, there are times when yeah, yeah. We even joked a few weeks ago about the name of our next album, what was it, The years of the arena“said Normand.

“Because there are a lot of super light songs in the air that we wrote in this next one,” Mooney said.

“Like rock anthems?” ” I asked.

“Oh, yeah,” Mooney said.

“Once Deakin started playing the piano more and writing on the piano, it kind of turned in that direction too, because it’s, I mean, piano songs instead of banjo songs. “Norman said. “I was just saying the other day after playing Piney River that even the last few years when we had Chris and stuff, we were almost like a bluegrass band that brought in a drummer. And in the last six months or so, it was really, our sound has really developed more as a band.

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