A new duo known as the Michigan Rattlers is punctuating the country and alternative genres with a bit of folk and rock ’n roll.
Recently landing on Rolling Stone’s "10 Country Artists You need to Know" list, the band has been traveling across the country performing songs from their self-titled debut EP. Here are five things to know about the duo.
Graham Young and Adam Reed Grew Up Together Young and Reed are actually childhood friends who grew up in the same neighborhood in Northern Michigan. The duo didn’t begin playing together until high school. "We played soccer and kind of started learning guitar at the same time," Young said.
They played at different bars, cafes and coffee shops around town. "We were one of two or three bands that played," young explained, "because [the city] was small we didn’t have to fight for attention with other bands."
Michigan Rattlers, Started With a Road Trip Young and Reed parted ways after graduating high school, each moving to different states. A few years later, Young persuaded Reed to move out to Los Angeles with him so they could form a band with professional aspirations. Michigan Rattlers was born out of a four-day cross-country road trip.
"There’s one type of rattle snake in Michigan," Young said. "We got the name when we moved out to L.A. and we drove cross country from Michigan to California. The name kind of just stuck."
They Aren't Tied to the Country Genre The duo says they never intended to be a country band.
"We kind of stripped down what we did before and I’d gone to school and studied upright [bass] and we kind of landed ourselves in that genre," Reid said. The blend of Reed’s percussive upright bass and Young’s guitar has produced a product that fuses together the genres of country, alternative, folk and Americana.
"I think alt-country works [or] Americana," Young said.
They Are Inspired By Many Bands, Not Just Duos The band says while they are fans of other duo bands like Jay Farrar and Jeff Tweedy or the Drive-By Truckers, they also draw their inspiration from artists like Tom Petty and John Prine. Both artists agree they are attracted to compelling lyrics, which they say is reflected in their music.
"There’s songs about my life [and] other people’s lives," Young said.
Their Debut Album is Out Now Michigan Rattlers released their self-titled debut, which is a shorter album, or EP, in the beginning of November. Songs like "Sweet Diane" and "Illinois Sky," weave together powerful lyrical narratives with guitar leads, vocal harmonies and extensive refrains. The first song on the EP, "Illinois Sky" attracted critical attention which led to their feature as one of Rolling Stone’s "10 Country Artists You need to Know."