END EXCLUSIVE: Lonely Mountain Lovers - "Blood"

September 22, 2016

Album artwork courtesy of Lonely Mountain Lovers

Seattle of late is a city yearning for yuppies. Waves of tech workers move into the neighborhoods to join businesses that are tearing down creative cornerstones to convert the space into workspaces. The transition has many artists of all mediums that call the city home wondering, “How long can I last here?”

Still, amidst the towering high-rises being erected faster than you can say, “Gimme a Dick’s Deluxe, some fries and a chocolate shake,” bands like September alt-country/blues rock Locals Only Artist of the Month Lonely Mountain Lovers are bunkered in their Capitol Hill apartments, riding out the storm and sinking their feet deeper in the ever-nurturing Seattle music bedrock.

That’s where I found lead singer Zach Warnes and vocalist and instrumentalist extraordinaire Mariaugh Maestas, the husband and wife duo that make up two parts of the six-piece band, getting ready to release their new EP Blood.

“It all started with Zach really,” Maestas said under the muted light at Grim’s on Capitol Hill. “He wrote a bunch of these songs when he lived in a studio apartment.”

Warnes performed those five or six songs at the open mic at the bar next-door to his Capitol Hill studio, the same bar he met Mariaugh.

“I spent way too much time there,” Zach said. “After my set, I met a few people who were interested in doing some music with me. We put together the songs, played one kind of silly show with sort of half of a band and then booked a show at Chop Suey after that.”

Photo courtesy of Lonely Mountain Lovers

The group has come a long way since playing that show at Chop Suey. With drummer Chris Gordon, guitarist Austen Bustad, bassist Jeremy Summer and Jeff Cole on the keys, the group released their self-titled LP in 2014, pressed it into vinyl with the help of a Kickstarter campaign and have just released their new EP, produced by Rick Hoag, which you can listen to exclusively below.

What started as Warnes one-man band has transitioned into something completely different. 

“It seems like it was a lot more of a collaborative effort between all of us whether it was just comfortability with each other or something else,” Warnes said. “I felt like I took a step back a bit and wanted the band to be less about the songs I had been writing. When I write songs now I think about the band more and I understand what everyone can do.”

For an alt-country band that didn’t stray too far from the genre in their first album, Lonely Mountain Lovers opened up the throttle on Blood. From the first song “Give Me Your Hands” that opens up right away with a fuzzy guitar solo to the eight-and-a-half minute title track, it’s easy to see the band’s evolution, especially for a group that lists Patsy Cline and The Beastie Boys as influences in the official bio.

“Believe it or not, when I was growing up emo music was the big thing in my small town,” said Warnes. “I don’t care for it as much now, but I do recognize the songmanship that comes from some of those types of bands and I think it definitely influences me, but for this particular record I tried to get away from the structure a little bit if I could.”

Both Warnes and Maestes are transplants to Seattle, but both have been in the city long enough to call it home and have recognized the significant transition in the landscape.

“It’s hard because we have been seeing all these medium-sized venues close down and I just want to see local bands in a small venue,” said Maestes. “Arena bands are great, I love Queen, but for lack of a better word, having a spiritual experience when you see an artistic band in a small space can be amazing.”

“I remember feeling the stress of that a couple years ago when The Comet Tavern closed down,” Warnes added. “I thought that would be one of the last places Lonely Mountain Lovers would be able to play.”

“Earnestly, the fact I had the latitude to move here in my 20s makes me collectively part of the problem,” Mariaugh said. “I think the best thing we can be socially conscious and make sure you vote.”

One of the remaining stalwarts of alt-country and rockabilly shows, The Tractor Tavern, has proved to be a comfortable home for Lonely Mountain Lovers, who will share the Tractor’s stage on Thursday, September 22 for the Blood release show with Moondoggies and Pampa.

You can find tickets to the show here.

Make sure to stream Blood (that sounds creepy) here and let us know what you think of the new EP. 

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