By Dave Pehling
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Over the past five years, Denver-based country/blues-punk trio the Yawpers have been establishing themselves as a harder-edged alternative to the type of earnest indie-folk that the region has become known for thanks to the popularity of the Lumineers. Lyricist and guitarist/singer Nate Cook already had a history playing with fellow guitarist Jesse Parmet in other bands when he invited his regular collaborator to join him for an open mic night back in 2011.
Initially playing strictly acoustic guitars and accompanied by a drummer (a role eventually filled on a permanent basis by Noah Shomberg), the trio would develop a sound that brought together elements of blues — thanks largely to Parmet’s furious slide playing — and outlaw country delivered with raucous punk energy. Taking their name from a Walt Whitman poem, the Yawpers built a strong local following with their own dates and slots supporting a variety of acts including the Reverend Horton Heat, the Black Angels and Crackers as well as touring with country punks the Supersuckers and pioneering LA rock revivalists the Blasters.
The band self-released its debut album Capon Crusade in 2012 and would eventually be signed to noted Americana-focused imprint Bloodshot Records after label heads witnessed one of the trio’s incendiary performances at South By Southwest in Austin. The band’s first recording for Bloodshot — American Man — came out to wide acclaim in 2015.
The band toured through much of the following year, but still found time to record it’s ambitious follow-up effort at Chicago’s Reliable Recordings, what Cook described as “this ’50s shoe-box studio.” Working with famed former Replacements bassist and current Bash and Pop leader Tommy Stinson as producer/instrumental contributor, the Yawpers delivered Boy in a Well last month.
A concept album with a tragic storyline that follows a young mother forced to abandon her bastard newborn in World War I France (complete with an accompanying comic book illustrated by J.D. Wilkes of the Legendary Shack Shakers), the new record finds the trio offering it’s most wide ranging collection of songs yet, spanning from the delicate, poignant ballads “Room with a View” and “God’s Mercy” to the surf-tinged rocker “No Going Back” and the slow-building blues screamer “Mon Nom.” For this headlining show at the Bottom of the Hill Saturday night, the touring band will be joined by SF rockers Flexx Bronco and Oakland psych-blues outfit Skookum.
Yawpers with Flexx Bronco and Skookum
Saturday, Sept. 9, 8:30 p.m. $12-$15
Bottom of the Hill