Country Westerns sophomore album, Forgive the City, hits the streets on April 28th, 2023 via the venerable Fat Possum Records. With twelve songs in thirty minutes, it’s a tighter and faster spin on their sound. Joseph Plunket, chief songwriter and electric 12-string samurai had this to say about the album after being pressed for intel:
“Overall, it’s about partnerships. Though never planned as a concept, writing the last few songs (sometimes in the studio) I started to realize that none dealt with romantic relationships in any direct way. They’re intense songs about friendships, fellow travelers, even business associations—how exciting they can be when things begin and how disappointments, betrayals or shared success can leave just as much a mark on your life as romantic love. In the end that’s all a band is right?”
Forgive the City builds on the band’s self-titled debut LP produced by guitar impresario Matt Sweeney, who says:
“I wanna make records with these fools til the wheels come off. Joey’s this iconic poetic rocker, for real. His voice is desperate and wise. His songs are too. And anyone who’s seen Harmony Korine’s movie Trash Humpers knows how Brian Kotzur can wreck a joint but have you watched him slay the drum set? Kotzur is unmatched.”
Sweeney contributed lead guitar to three stand-out tracks on Forgive The City–adding polish to the Replacements-esque pop of Wait For It, magnifying the brooding chaos of Hell, and catapulting the gloomy themes of Where I’m Going into outer space with his soaring solo.
Money on the Table, the album’s first single, was a DJ pick of the week on Nashville’s Lighting 100 with heavy rotation. The track also gained mention in Nashville Scene’s 2022 “Year in Music” issue, Brooklyn Vegan, Pitchfork, and more.
A Nashville institution in the making, Country Westerns infuse punk rock chutzpah with a classic rock sheen, yielding a sound that’s simultaneously fresh and reminiscent of all the LPs you used to “borrow” from your cool uncle. Their debut album came out in May 2020, beautifully coinciding with… a worldwide pandemic. Despite everything that cursed year threw at it, the self-titled LP survived and thrived on its many merits, receiving glowing reviews from Pitchfork (7.5), Magnet, Brooklyn Vegan, Consequence of Sound, PASTE, Glide, No Depression, Popmatters.
CWs varied inspirations are evident on their self-produced “pandemic EP” that features covers by Richard Thompson, Jad Fair, and Dead Moon. Their pedigrees also belie their musical tastes and range.
Atlanta-native Plunket started as a hardcore-kid turned singer-songwriter w/ an acoustic guitar; his first show was opening for Cat Power when he was nineteen. He traveled north and paid his dues in Brooklyn mainstays The Weight, and as a touring bassist with King Tuff and Gentleman Jesse. He eventually landed in Nashville where he befriended Brian Kotzur.
A Nashville underground music legend, Kotzur, prior to Country Westerns, drummed for indie rock luminaries Silver Jews and Crooked Fingers. His percussive talents also lead to him to play in bands with Duane Denison of The Jesus Lizard, and country legends Bobby Bare Jr. and Charlie Louvin. He also scored and performed in Harmony Korine films over the years. Korine says of his longtime colleague:
“Kotzur is one of a kind, great drummer, even better character. He cracks me up. We used to do push ups together.”
Polymath bassist Jordan Jones (formerly of LA glam rockers Easy), is the newest addition to the band, rounding out the rhythm section with the seasoned touch of a founding member.
In March, Country Westerns embark on a six-week North American tour with Titus Andronicus and will continue on the road throughout 2023 in support of Forgive the City.