Video Premiere: “Turn and Run” by The Surreal McCoys

By Kim Grant

Who are the Surreal McCoys? Think tongue-in-cheek, think Johhny Cash mixed with The Clash, with a strong chaser of the Stones, the Replacements, and the Drive-By Truckers for good measure. Their New Disc The Howl & The Growl Is A Dark, Twangy Love Letter To Rock ‘n’ Roll.

howlRecorded and produced in Williamsburg Brooklyn by legendary rock and alt-country Producer Eric Ambel (The Del-Lords, The Bottle Rockets, Ryan Adams,) the new album by The Surreal McCoys—The Howl & The Growl—draws on a wide range of influences from the band’s youth: the urgency of punk, the lonesome heartache of country, the ominous swampiness of Delta blues, and the mystery of late night FM radio.

The Surreal McCoys are a roots rock outfit of hardcore troubadours with one foot in the garage and the other on a roadhouse barstool. The band set out to make a traditional “Johnny Clash” cow punk record in the vein of Social Distortion, but instead emerged from the studio with a slab of vintage 70s era Muscle Shoals raunchy Rock ‘n’ Roll.

The McCoys are Billy Saul McCoy (drums), Cletus McCoy (lead vocals), Clint McCoy (bass), Elvis McCoy (lead guitar), and Goatboy McCoy (guitar, harmonica, lap-steel). Depending on who’s asking (and whether that person has a badge), they’ve been known to briefly set aside their noms de guerre to reveal their “daytime names”—Shawn Ryan, Erik Huey, Clint Feddersen, Tim Smith, and Patrick Smith, respectively.

They formed the band while attending the University of Notre Dame, but split up at graduation to embark on “real life.” Realizing that the real world paled in comparison to the Rock ‘n’ Roll adventures they’d undertaken together, they re-formed and have now been playing together for 10 years. This is their first record since 2008 when they released their debut album, The Bottle & The Gun.

The band members hail from far-flung corners of the U.S.—from Appalachian coal country to the upper Midwest to Northern California, and currently reside in LA, DC, MI, and IN, as well as Minneapolis—a city that gave birth to many of the band’s musical influences. This diversity of terrain is reflected in the sound and subject matter of the songs. “Every band member has an encyclopedic knowledge of the rock n’ roll cannon, forged from listening to our respective local FM radio stations back when they had a real regional flavor,” Cletus tells us, “These influences seep their way into the music and give it kind of a timeless feeling…hopefully in a way that doesn’t timelessly suck.”

The Howl & The Growl will be released on September 18th, 2015 on Across the Aisle Music. In conjunction with the release the band will play an official Americana Music Association luncheon showcase with The Bottle Rockets during the Americana Music Fest in Nashville on September 17th.  Rev the Vote, a nonpartisan Washington D.C.-based organization working to increase voter registration and participation in elections among race fans, sponsors the show—which will take place at Dan McGuinness Pub from noon-2pm CDT on Sept. 17—

“Turn and Run” from the upcoming record The Howl and The Growl with words & music by Clint Feddersen. The video was Directed, DP, location scout and craft services by Tom Inskeep. Editor and DP by Dave Gibbs.  |  fb

Across the Aisle Music is a startup music distribution and events venture founded by DC influencers Doug Davenport and Erik Huey in conjunction with 30 year music industry veterans Jonathan Platt and Jonathan McHugh, who have worked with artists like Sheryl Crowe, Metallica, Blues Traveler, Tommy Lee, Mystikal and many more. They believe that music can cross divides—political, cultural, and geographic—to unite people together in soul-affirming ways. The team also includes Jessie Scott, a founding and continuing board member of the Americana Music Association, owner of Americana discovery website Music Fog, Music Director of Sun Radio Austin, TX, and a veteran of both the Americana channel X Country on XM Radio and the Gavin Report.


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