Whiskey Peeps, a liter of Ten High, tangled patch cables, a bottle of Jack gone missing and seen wandering through the crowd, a dunk tank, there goes one singer off the stage, a cooler full of empty tall boy PBRs, there goes a guitarist off the stage, where did the other bands’ beer go, ok, here comes some girls on stage, who is that guy singing with the band, uhm, Lando Calrissian is breaking in the pizza line, rhythm section wrestling, breakfast in bed consisting of bagels (but no clothes),... What is all of this you ask? Long story short, it’s a real life story called American Gun, a band that over the past five years has racked up a years’ worth of shows throughout the Southeast, traveling to any dive that will have them and broadcasting their own unique spin on rock and roll while attempting to (and most often succeeding) connect with fans on a personal level. They also have a pretty darn good time themselves in the process of all the madness.
Inspired by the rough and tumble alternative country of artists like Lucero, Steve Earle, and Uncle Tupelo, the band quickly hit upon its own brand of rambunctious, barn-burning rock n’ roll. Laudatory reviews followed the releases of their last two full-lengths, 2006’s Dark Southern Hearts and The Means & the Machine in 2008, the latter of which drew on the talents of Chris Stamey (Whiskeytown, Yo La Tengo) and the lap steel guitar legend Al Perkins (The Flying Burrito Brothers). In the past few years the band has received attention from a variety of smaller record labels and distributors. Their songs have been featured on a number of indie compilations, PBS’s Roadtrip Nation and ESPN2’s Bass: The Movie. And they have opened for such contemporaries as Lucero, Drivin’ N Cryin’, Jason Isbell, The Bottle Rockets, Shooter Jennings, Robbie Fulks, and others.
The band’s latest release, The Devil Showed Me His Hand, sees the group expanding their sonic template with their most varied set of songs yet. Opening with the rollicking, fiddleled country-rock tune “13 Women,” the band shows off its pop inclinations with “Girl in Texas” and “How Not to Fall in Love,” it’s punk-rock power in “The Underground,” and it’s penchant for gospel with the church choir-backed “Are You Ready.” Of course, they continue to deliver their own unique version of alternative country on songs like “Mexican Restaurant,” “Make You Happy” and “Killing Me.”
The band recently joined the Jangly Records collective and will be releasing their third full-length in connection with Jangly and their own label, Step Out of the Line Records on December 1st.