The inventors of alt-country at O’Leaver’s Wednesday night

Category: Blog — @ 1:24 pm March 22, 2005

Seems like there are a lot of alt-country bands these days, so much so that alt-country has become a cliché term. People now call it Americana or Roots Rock or some such thing. But back in the day, the only term for twangy, rural-fied rock was alt-country. I was never a big fan of the style, mainly because I don’t much care for the yee-haw grinnin’ quality of country music. Or, as the owner of The 49’r once put it, country music makes me car sick. That it does.

That said, whenever an alt-country act would roll into town someone would ask me if I was going to the show. My reply was universal: “I’m not really into alt-country, except for maybe The Silos.” I usually got a blank stare in return. No one had heard of The Silos, and around here, most consider Uncle Tupelo the originators of the genre. But five years before No Depression came out, The Silos had released Cuba, which pretty much defined alt-country, for me at least. In fact, they followed it up five years later with their RCA debut, The Silos, which is one of my favorite records. But though they won their share of critical huzzahs, The Silos never really caught anyone’s attention, instead being overshadowed by Uncle Tupelo, which became Son Volt and Wilco, and so on.

So time passes and I’m clicking through the O’Leaver’s website the other day, looking at the calendar of upcoming shows, and lo and behold, what’s listed for tomorrow night but The Silos (O’Leaver’s website appears to be down for the count right now, so you’re gonna have to trust me on this). When I read it, I laughed out loud thinking some poor local schmucks took the band’s name not knowing who The Silos were. It had to be a mistake, especially considering that The Silos were the opener for a bill headlined by The Dead Science (ex-Xiu Xiu) and local phenoms Le Beat — neither of which have anything at all to do with alt-country. But just for kicks, I googled “The Silos” to see if they had a website, and of course discovered that the band playing Wednesday night is, in fact, “The Silos” (see for yourself). The band is just returning from a tour of Germany and an appearance at SXSW (playing at the GBV Hoot at Emo’s no less). Of course, there hasn’t been one iota of press about this show, and maybe that’s a good thing considering O’Leaver’s tiny capacity, etc. I beseech anyone who has even a scintilla of interest in alt-country to catch a band that really helped define the genre. You may never get another chance.

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