Fri 5/10 @ 8PM
The cover of the Shootouts’ new album Quick Draw looks like a board game of the same name steeped in ’60s kitsch; however, don’t be fooled, the debut project from this Northeast Ohio band is as authentic as they come.
Just take a look at their outfits. The honky-tonk band — Ryan Humbert (vocals, guitar), Emily Bates (vocals), Brian Poston (guitar), Ryan McDermott (bass) and Dylan Gomez (drums, percussion) — dresses the country-and-western part.
More so, tunes found on Quick Draw, which was recorded in New York City with producers Luca Benedetti and Jim Campilongo, are sincerely influenced by the likes of Johnny Cash, Webb Pierce, Hank Williams, Hank Thompson, Merle Haggard and Ray Price.
“We really enjoy doing a lot of the fun, fast, showy, vintage country, western swing and fast rockabilly-type stuff,” Humbert said. “Our first single, ‘Cleaning House,’ is a fun, upbeat classic country and western swing tune.
“Then ‘California to Ohio’ is a song I recorded once before. It’s about my grandpa who passed away a few years ago. I added a new verse to complete the story. That’s more of a country ballad. We also have a music video coming for that real shortly. Another song is the title track. It’s a two-minute instrumental with some lightning-fast guitars on it.”
Originally created in 2015 as a side project for Humbert and Poston, a digression from their normal pop-rock and roots-rock work, The Shootouts quickly became something more.
“After we played the first couple of shows, we realized that we were truly on to something and we were having more fun than we had in years,” Humbert said. “It really became something where I thought, man, I think I’ve finally found my call.”
That call has also come from promoters with the Akron-based band opening up for the likes of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives, Kim Richey, Elvis Costello, Robbie Fulks, Radney Foster, Zac Brown Band and Chris Isaak.
Performing the antithesis of what’s played on country radio, the Shootouts have booked an album release party for Quick Draw on May 10 at the Music Box Supper Club.
Considering the Shootouts dress the part as a ’60s country-and-western act, there’s an inherent danger that such nostalgia could come across as novelty or artifice. Humbert’s well aware of the perception but is confident the band, which often performs covers by Rodney Crowell, Eddy Arnold and Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys, is grounded in its approach resulting in an earnest performance appreciated by like-minded audiences.
“You might look at the photos and say, ‘Oh, these guys dress up like this like vintage country style,’ but here’s the thing: we don’t look at it as novelty,” Humbert said. “We look at it as paying tribute. If you go back and look at a lot of the classic country artists we idolize, they dressed the part.
“We felt if we were going to go out there and do this style of music, we weren’t going to dress like hipsters or bro-country artists. So it really comes from a place of reverence. We love this style of music, we love the genre. We want it to look the part for the music. I think it does occasionally get people to turn their heads a little bit, but we can back it up.”
[Written by John Benson]