Aug. 5, 2013. Boone’s own Worthless Sons-in-Laws have just released their second album, “No. 8 Wire,” which was recorded with veteran indie-rock producer/engineer Mitch Easter.
“I am excited about this record,” said singer and songwriter for the band, Jimmy Davidson. “I feel like it represents us well. We really wanted to do this record right, so we went to a real studio. We also practiced these songs a lot – years, in some cases – so we really knew them by the time we went in to record.”
The band recorded the album at the Fidelitorium, a studio in Kernersville run by musician and engineer Mitch Easter, who is best known for recording R.E.M.’s first few albums, though he has also recorded many other bands including Wilco, Game Theory, and the Drive By Truckers–all of which might fit into a list of the Son-in-Laws’ influences.
“Mitch Easter is a musical hero of mine,” says Davidson. “It was truly an honor and a pleasure to work with him. When I was younger, his band Let’s Active was one of my favorite bands. He’s just a phenomenal musician and songwriter, and he’s got a great ear in the studio. And he couldn’t be a nicer guy. They always say you shouldn’t meet your heroes, but I wasn’t disappointed.
“He’s very easygoing, with a wry sense of humor, and I think that helps turn what could be a high-pressure ‘time-is-money’ type of situation into a really enjoyable experience. So any stress turns more into excitement. I spent the whole time feeling like ‘This is where I belong.”
It has been a while since the Worthless Son-in-Laws released their last album, “Sort of Back to Having a Life,” in 2007. The band has continued to play shows around North Carolina since then, except for the year Davidson lived in New Zealand, during which the band sent new songs and ideas back and forth over the internet.
“I think this record is a good bit different from the last one. We’ve got six-plus years’ experience under our belts since the last one, for one thing, so hopefully we’re better musicians, and we’ve been playing these songs a long time. And we’re at the point where we really are a unit–I don’t know how to describe it, but after this long together, we function like a single organism, sort of. I feel really lucky to be playing with such talented and creative musicians.”
“Of course it also makes a difference that we went to a real studio, with a professional engineer and producer. Not only that, but we really made sure we took the time to get things right. We all agreed at the beginning that we weren’t going to put out a record we weren’t proud of.
The lead track on the record, “All Your Might,” is a song Davidson wrote with his infant daughter in mind.
“It’s kind of like if you had to put all your parental advice into a little three-minute package,” says Davidson. “Some of it is tongue-in-cheek, but it’s still good advice, I hope.”
There are also songs about working on ships, snail-mail letters, waffle shops, and even mountaintop-removal mining.
“Yeah, that one (“The Luddite”) was inspired somewhat by reading Edward Abbey’s The Monkeywrench Gang,” Davidson says. “It’s about what happens when this guy’s family land and house are ruined by a nearby mountaintop removal mining operation. He kind of goes ballistic, but I think people can sympathize with his situation.”
The title “No. 8 Wire” comes from a New Zealand term–settlers there often didn’t have all the supplies they needed, so the joke was that they could fix everything using No. 8 fencing wire.
The Worthless Son-in-Laws are Jimmy Davidson on vocals, acoustic guitar, and piano; Rob Brown (who also penned a couple tracks on the album) on electric guitar and vocals; Rich Crepeau on bass guitar; and Dave Brewer on drums. They will be performing at the Jones House on Friday, August 30th and at the High Country Beer Fest on Saturday, August 31st.
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