After a few years of meandering back and forth between solo projects and temporary groups in Georgia and New York, Joseph Plunket finally landed a solid band capable of digging into his twangy rock and country songs. The mop-topped singer/guitarist's band The Weight already sound like they've been touring and jamming for two decades on their new album Are Men.
"We worked on this album for a long time," says pedal steel player Johnny Pockets, a member of The Weight since Plunket relocated from Athens, Ga., to Brooklyn in 2004. "The song structure really turned more into a good-time thing. I think Joseph was sick of doing the singer-songwriter kind of deal, you know? The mixed cast of characters playing with him, singing sad songs about whiskey and bars and stuff, which everyone seems to be doing. This is supposed to be more of a bunch of summertime anthems."
Plunket, Pockets, bassist Will Noland, drummer Jay Ellis, singer/guitarist Fletcher "Poor Boy" Johnson, and newly-enlisted keyboardist Jamison Proctor visit Charleston this Monday armed with several dozen twangy power-pop tunes, country anthems, and red-blooded rawkers.
"This new album is equal parts The Band, The Byrds, and early Tom Petty," says Steve Dolcemaschio of The Colonel Records, "It's country rock 'n' roll done proper, infused with elements of psych, folk, and the blues."
While Pockets describes Are Men as a sun-shiny good time, the songs contain plenty of morose and melancholic vibes a la vintage tear-in-the-beer hits by the likes of George, Willie, Waylon, and Dwight. There are some humorous smart-ass moments as well.
"We all threw our own little twists into the songs," says Pockets. "We like to consider what we do as 'future country' [laughs]. We like to jam and extend songs sometimes, too. When we play live, we play a bit differently than on record. Our individual influences come out a bit more, I think — whether it's more Dead, or Chuck Berry, or bluegrass or whatever. Altogether, it makes sense."