Across Tundras is a band in an interesting position. On one hand, the Nashville rockers are clearly inspired by hard rockers and metal bands of old, two big contrasting examples being Neil Young and Black Sabbath. However, the overlying tone of the music makes it clear that they’re madly in love with the deep roots of American music. Their songs may feature heavy distortion on the guitars, but their most recent album title has it exactly right: Dark Songs Of The Prairie.
These guys sound like they’ve been swept up by the ghost riders in the sky and are deeply fascinated by Woody Guthrie’s Dust Bowl. It’s Old West music for metal heads and modern times. And while it may be incredible music for when your lost on the prairie or as a prelude to a gun fight, it sure isn’t Ennio Morricone’s The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly or Ry Cooder’s Paris, Texas.
Across Tundras – “If God Cuts You Down” (from Dark Songs Of The Prairie)
Definitely give their music a listen, but for now, here’s their five.
1) Black Oak Arkansas – “Move On Down the Highway” – “The ultimate road trip and tour song for me. Makes me feel upbeat and gives me the strength to keep going no matter how far the drive is (literally and figuratively). This band is criminally underrated. Listen to the drums and bass go the fuck off!”
2) Neil Young – “The Old Country Waltz” (from American Stars ‘n’ Bars) – “This man needs no introduction. This is a song for when you’re feeling a bit down and out with a bottle and bowl by your side. By the end of the tune I’m up again and stomping that sloooooowed down 3/4. This songs feels like simple times and drowns out the worries.”
3) Bob Dylan – “One More Cup of Coffee” (from Desire) – “I have never heard another record that sounds anything like Bob Dylan’s Desire, and this is the standout track. Roaming, wandering, lost, gypsy sounds. It’s so mysterious and so damn good it makes me wanna cry. I have thrown down my guitar and notebook many times, and Bob Dylan always always helps bring me back.”
4) John Fahey – “When the Catfish is in Bloom” (from The Essential John Fahey) – “Guitar genius and madman whose playing and innovation cannot be rivaled. Time is slowly vindicating him, but he still deserves more. So far ahead of his time that he was always having to pawn off his records and guitars just to survive, and that’s one of the saddest stories I have ever heard. The feelings I get whenever I put on one his compositions cannot be explained in mere words. Inspiration is an understatement.”
5) Sonic Youth – “Hits of Sunshine (For Allen Ginsberg)” (from A Thousand Leaves) – “From my hands down favorite Sonic Youth record. This song has summer written all over it. I get so damn lost in this song and record I feel like I’m on another planet. Forget every rule you ever heard about making music, because it doesn’t mean shit, and Sonic Youth helps back up that point. Raw emotion and soundwaves just washing all over you. It just feels good!”
Across Tundras – Insound