It was nine o’clock at the River Bat stadium on a Friday and there were so many people that it would be a feat to not knock the beer out of the hands of the person next to you. It wasn’t the stadium seats that where packed, but the restaurant underneath. They were here to see Quiet Hollers. All sorts of fans were at Against the Grain Brewery. As I looked around me I saw old and young, tattoos and clear skin, punks and southern gentlemen. In the last couple of years something began to develop in Louisville. It was a culture of musicians and fans. At the peak of this musical expansion is a band called the Quiet Hollers. The Quiet Hollers have forged a new style of music that envelopes Americana, Post Punk, Country, and old fashioned Rock and Roll. This is a new type of music with an old feel. They have had a lot of local radio time and have been nominated for a Louisville Music Award. In 2013 they appeared on five “best of” lists. The front man, Shadwick Wilde sings with so much soul about troubled people and troubling times that you can clearly picture and feel yourself in the songs. Some people are known for playing the guitar fast and some are known for making the guitar talk: that is Shadwick Wilde. His guitar sounds as emotional as the songs he sings. The rest of the band members aren’t amateurs either: JB Brown plays the keyboard like a young Alan Price. Aaron West gives the band that Americana feel with his fiddle playing. Ryan Scott plays the large six string bass with ease and Nick Goldring’s drumming is at the top of his genre. It was just an hour earlier that I had the opportunity to interview Shadwick Wilde.
Mother Church Pew: How did you guys get your start in this?
Shadwick Wilde: We started playing about four or five years ago. I was doing some solo shows, writing songs, and stuff, and I made a record with some studio guys, the kind of guys you can’t afford to keep around, and needed a band that I could tour playing with, and more importantly, I needed a band for the CD release party, which is how the whole thing got started in the first place, and the first show that we played together. We’ve been touring and playing ever since.
MCP: Which genre would you consider yourself? You’ve been described as both alternative country and indie rock.
SW: That’s a tough question. My first solo record, and Quiet Hollers’ first album definitely leans more toward Americana and alt country, and stuff, which was great at the time. We enjoyed it. We’ve been together for a few years now, and our songwriting has evolved, and our instrumentation has changed in graduations over the past few years. We definitely don’t call ourselves an alt country band, but we also don’t necessarily feel like we’re an indie rock band either, but I like to say that we’re a bummer rock band. It’s a sardonic owning of the fact that our music is kind of a bummer.
It definitely is a tough question when somebody asks you what genre you are, but we had some post-punk influences, and some indie rock, some alt country influences. We’re really just a Rock ‘n’ Roll band.
MCP: Your writing’s been described as similar to Bruce Springsteen’s.
SW: I don’t know if I necessarily feel like lyrically that’s the case, but musically, definitely the E Street Band’s sound has been instrumental in rock in general, as influential as The Beatles, or anybody like that, just to the scope of the rock genre, so definitely … I was raised on Springsteen. When I was 6 years old I knew every word to “Born in the USA” because that was what my mom had on the record player growing up.
MCP: How was getting started in Louisville? Was that a decent music scene for you?
SW: Louisville’s a great music scene. The one drawback that it has is that sometimes it’s too good for its own good, and there’s too much amazing shit happening in too many different places across the city on one night. There’s that, but it’s a really flourishing, thriving scene across a broad spectrum of genres.
MCP: Do you think you can see doing this as living?
SW: It’s funny you should ask that. I recently retired from a long-standing job as a bartender.
MCP: That’s a good sign. You’re getting popular enough that you can do that.
SW: Yeah, and for now we’re just dong the band. We’re going at it full on, full force, as hard as we can, for as long as we can. Nobody has any unrealistic expectations as to some kind of superstardom or anything like that. We love what we do, and we’ve figured out how to make it sustainable, and that, for me, is the definition of success. Doing what you love and being able to keep doing what you love.
MCP: It looks like you guys will make it.
SW: I don’t even know what that means, make it. I do feel like we’re constantly growing as artists, and as mates, and as musicians, and growing, and we keep making new stuff, and that’s making it for me, man.
MCP: I can see myself paying a hundred bucks at the Yum! Center to see you guys in 10 years.
SW: In 10 years? I don’t know … That’s nice of you to say, but, no, there is not a person alive I would pay a hundred dollars to go see at the Yum! Center. In fact, I did actually see Springsteen at the Yum! Center when he came through, and those tickets as far as I know, about $90, but I had a buddy, and I didn’t have to pay for my ticket.
MCP: You guys have been opening up for a few of the big guys, like The Dropkick Murphys in 2012.
SW: No. Was that 2012 already? It feels like just yesterday. We’ve got some shows with some bands that we really admire, that we dig, and that’s been cool, and opened up a new fan base for us for people that maybe wouldn’t ordinarily listen to us, but we definitely don’t have a lot in common musically with The Dropkick Murphys, I’ll tell you that much. It turned out when we did that show, the drummer Matt Kelly and a handful of mutual acquaintances from the east coast hardcore scene, in which I have some origin, shall we say.
MCP: I know you mentioned the original lead singer Mike McColgan in one of your songs.
SW: I do. That road song that you’re referring to is autobiographical, and it refers to when I was playing guitar with Iron Cross. We did a one off show in Berlin that they flew us there for. It was very strange. We flew out of New York, so we went and did a New York show, and then we got on a plane, and we flew to Berlin, to get there on a Friday afternoon. We played on Saturday night, and we left on Sunday morning, but the Street Dogs were around there, as well as The Bay City Rollers.
That’s a funny story: the time The Bay City Rollers opened for a band that I was in, but yes, the Street Dogs were around there, and people were hanging out in the all night booze-a-thon kind of a place , and Mike, of course, is not a drinker. At the time neither was I. We started talking, and he has been a guy whose career I have been following since I was in my early teens, so I was definitely keen to have conversation and see what made him tick. That’s where it came from, the weird feeling of 2 Americans in a bar that’s packed with about 200 German punk rockers and skinheads who don’t speak a word of English, and that whole musician dichotomy of on the one hand you love to be out on the road doing what you’re doing, and playing to people, and on the other hand I’m trying to talk to … To be in a bar with 200 Germans who don’t speak English.
MCP: Must of been rough, not being able to communicate with a lot of people.
SW: That as a weird night. He was there, and all the dudes from Iron Cross were hanging out, and the bass player from Flogging Molly and his dad were doing this folk show across the street from the venue that we’re at, and we have some mutual acquaintances that are hanging out. It was very strange. A bizarre Berlin trip.
MCP: What are your influences? Do you have to be sad to write your bummer rock songs?
SW: No, I don’t think sad is the word. I think that sad is too broad of a word. I write mostly autobiographically, or semi autobiographically. Some of them are narratives that are based on a thought, or an image.
MCP: What can we expect from you guys for the future?
SW: We got an album coming out in October, self-titled. It’ll be out on vinyl. It’s recorded in full analogue, at La La Land Studios here in Louisville, and we’re real excited about it. It’s definitely the best stuff we’ve ever worked on and we’re real excited to share it with everybody.
MCP: You’re touring?
SW: We’re leaving in a couple of weeks for an east coast tour that got extended into the mid-west, and Chicago, and we’re doing a day trotter session at the end of that, which I’m really excited about. Then we come home, and our drummer Nick goes to Europe for a month, and then he gets back and we hit the road again in October around the time the album should be coming out.
MCP: I appreciate you taking time to do the interview.
SW: Cool man. Have a good day.
That night the Quiet Hollers showcased a lot of new songs. You could tell the second album is going to be just as good as the first, if not better. Their songs are relatable and as are they. Their lyrics have a realism to them, which makes them that more powerful. You can check for tour dates on their web site, quiethollers.com or on their Facebook page. You can also buy their first album I am the Mourning, along with their two singles, Liar Song, and Aviator Shades and Shadwick Wilde’s solo album, Unforgivable Things on iTunes. Their new self-titled album will be available in October.