Last week I spoke to The Feud, a Lune Valley band currently recording an album and touring in America.
This week, I was “mighty pleased” to chat to Jim Bob, of The Lumberjack Cowboy Heartbreak Trucking Co, who have done the complete opposite; making their way from the American deep south to spread the love in Bentham...or so the story goes.
On Saturday night the band played a raucous show at the John O’ Gaunt in Lancaster, and by the end of it, the packed out pub was jumping and jiving, with people literally swinging from the rafters.
To me, they sound like a mix between CW McCall, The Bees, Primus, and a Christian worship band, with some great tempo changes and build ups, catchy vocals and harmonies and knee slapping good humour.
The track Pony has been my earworm of the week.
The addition of Ben Ruth’s harmonica from time to time in place of a missing bass on this particular occasion certainly did the trick too.
The band, according to guitar and vocalist Jim Bob, “from Pennsylvania”, features guitarist Cousin Cleatus, from North Carolina, drummer Mr Pip, from Mobile, Alabama, Big Tim on bass, from Beaver Creak, and backing vocalists Mary Lou, from Houston, Texas, and Miss Diane, from North Carolina.
The story, according to Jim Bob, is this:
“Cousin Cleatus and I grew up together, and Cleatus was raised to our family, and we got to a certain point in our life where we’d finished with our families and we decided to go walking around, learning to play guitar.
“Along the way we met up with a guy called Seaweed and started The Lumberjack Cowboy Heartbreak Trucking Co.
“We did quite a few albums of local songs, but then Seaweed died.
“It was a mighty shame that he died, and Cleatus and I took a couple of years off, drinking, and we lost the way of the Lord.
“Then we started off walking across America and spread the word of Jesus and God and whilst we went along we started to pick everyone up.
“Mary Lou and Diane were in a cult, a Darwen sort of cult, and believed we came from monkeys and such, but we rescued them.
“We picked up Pip on the way, and also Tim of Beaver Creak, who looks after pigs but is also an amazing bass player.
“We managed to get some funds together, and we came to Bentham for a reason – because Bentham has got a strong pull for Jesus.
“We’ve been here hanging out for two and a half years, and we’ve been received really well in Bentham, there’s a good congregation here.
“They’re a nice happy people.”
As I mentioned earlier, The Lumberjack Cowboy Heartbreak Trucking Co went down extremely well in Lancaster last week.
Jim Bob said: “We didn’t expect that response from the crowd.
“Big Tim, who looks after animals, told us he could not come, and we’d decided on a change of tact.
“Normally we play electrified, and we thought we were going to have an Abba sing-song, but it didn’t turn out quite like that. It turned out to be quite a gig.
“It was kinda like the Church me and Cleatus come from, it’s kinda like that every Sunday.”
Recently, the band recorded two albums worth of material, 40 songs in all, after four days in the studio.
“We played and prayed and we recorded I think 40 songs, and decided which ones we were going to keep and kept 22 songs.
“We’ll be releasing the songs on the same day, both on CD and on iTunes.”
Jim Bob says his influences are Jesus, his “mom”, his family and the band, bad people and good people.
“We’ve stuck to our roots, and we keep it country, nice and simple,” he added.
“I think there’s a lot of love here in Bentham.
“We’re communicating that love, and that’s our aim in life, to spread love, receive love, and make love.”
Whatever you believe, this lot certainly stand out from the crowd, and their tracks are well worth a listen on Soundcloud, but it’s live where they really shine.
The albums – How About That and Stronger Than Jesus – come out in two weeks.
For more information, check out the band’s website, www.lumberjackcowboy.com, or find them on Facebook.
They play The Malt Shovel in Warton on Friday night, The Bistro in High Bentham on Saturday night, and Sounds From The Hound at The Greyhound in Halton on April 19.