Drew Carman is a man of metaphors. Whether he's comparing a comforting friendship to an old shoe or singing about the wind's love for water and mountains, imagery flows freely through his lyrics. Even his band's name, The Corduroy Road, tells a story.
Corduroy roads are used to make a passable thoroughfare through bogs and muddy areas, by laying logs perpendicular to the direction of the road. Although it creates a way through, the ride is bumpy and hazardous.
"It's a fitting metaphor for life as an itinerant, traveling musician," says Carman, who plays banjo and founded the Athens, Ga.-based group in 2008 with guitarist Dylan Solise, a childhood friend from Kentucky. "Pretty much all the time, it's rough, but if you're dedicated to the course, you'll get to your destination."
Along with drummer John Cable, bassist Elijah NeeSmith, and lead guitarist Cameron Thomas, the band is quickly progressing toward their goal. In just a year since solidifying their lineup, they've recorded both the EP Just One Drop and the full-length Love is a War. John Keane, known for his work with Athens bands R.E.M. and Widespread Panic, produced both. The results were a collection of polished, Americana melodies that sounded both familiar and completely original, full of choruses that stick in your ears after the album is put away.
They clearly love to play for the sake of playing. After performing at last summer's Grass on the Green festival at Awendaw Green, the band reconvened around the campfire and kept the picking going until nearly sunrise, before waking up the campers in attendance with breakfast in the morning.
"We maybe got a wink of sleep for an hour in the van, then got up and started cooking," laughs Carman. "That's the kind of thing I absolutely love doing and being a part of. That's one of the most fun things about being on the road, meeting people and swapping songs."