"They nearly blew the roof off the joint with their energetic, highly charged roots-rock assault."
-Chris Senn, Melophobe.com
“It’s great to hear young guys making music like this.”
-Alan White, Drummer -- YES, Plastic Ono Band, Ginger Baker’s Airforce
Have you ever been caught up in a moment? A moment so pure, so honest, and so real, that you hoped it would remain? That’s what happens when you listen to Cody Beebe & The Crooks. With their sophomore album, Out Here, you get captured by a moment and realize its authenticity.
Cody Beebe & The Crooks make rock music. Roots rock, if you want to be exact. It’s raw, it’s true, and every track is a slice of Americana. “Roots rock seems like the best term to encompass everything we’re doing,” says frontman and guitarist Cody Beebe. The band doesn’t stop with rock; they incorporate elements of blues, jazz, country, funk and soul to helm their distinctive sound. “We make Southern rock, but we’re from the Northwest,” Beebe jokes. It’s as if Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Allman Brothers updated their vibe and sprinkled it with pieces of Big Sky Country, Puget Sound, and Evergreen forests.
The music goes deep. Its roots can be traced back to 2009 when the band formed in Seattle, WA. They spent three years on the road, really honing their sound, finding out what worked and what didn’t. But it’s with Out Here that Cody Beebe & The Crooks really found their stride.
There were some changes. Two members left the band, but that only made the remaining stronger, distilling their sound and making it more potent. When they recorded their debut album, Friends of the Old Mill, they had about performed less than 30 shows. “Everybody had day jobs; we had short hair,” laughs Beebe. Three years later, the band has played close to 400 shows. They’ve traveled the nation in their beloved tour van, The Hozzington, living off their live shows, surviving on what the road had to offer. When they returned from tour in October 2011, they relocated to rural Central Washington and found jobs together as carpenters. Not a very rock star thing to do, but it gave the boys a chance to spend time crafting the songs that would end up on their sophomore effort.
“After all the miles we’ve travelled together, the people we’ve met along the way, and the stories we’ve heard, every song has pretty serious subject matter, but the album is not a downer,” claims Beebe. He’s right. The album won’t leave a sharp taste in your mouth. The band is in a good place and so is their music. It's raw and honest, yet it envelops you with warmth, kind of like a big rock and roll hug.
The band enlisted as producer and engineer, John Goodmanson (Death Cab for Cutie, Brandi Carlile, Nada Surf), who, as Beebe puts it, captured the live essence of the group. Recorded to tape at London Bridge Studio, Out Here is reminiscent of the distinctive Seattle sound forged in the 90s, putting a fresh twist on familiar tones heard on iconic records created within the same studio.
Everything Cody Beebe & The Crooks do, from touring, to creating the wildly successful Chinook Fest (www.ChinookFest.com), they've done on their own. It gives the band a great satisfaction to connect with their fans and make the music they want to make. The band has something greater than fame and fortune; they have a tight bond that cannot be broken. "We’re constantly trying to keep up with an ever-evolving industry. We’ve learned from trial and error. We’ve never been on a record label," Beebe says, "but, we have a brotherhood and we all depend on each other." That's what makes Out Here so powerful.
The album's title is inspired by the survival of the frontier attitude in the people of the American Heartland, with all of its directness, honesty, wildness, and depth. Keys player Aaron Myers is from Big Sandy, Montana, and after the band took a trip there, they were in awe of his family’s early-1900’s homestead. "The vastness exhilarates me and gives me a great sense of freedom. There's an immovable quality to that vastness that we can't affect in any way. It will survive regardless, but while we are here we can work hard, live well, tell our story, and add to its legacy,” Myers says, referring to how the environment around them helped shape some of the ideas behind their music.
In contrast to the vastness of Montana, Beebe and hand percussionist Joe Catron are from Selah, Washington, a small agricultural town in the middle of the state. It's a downhome type of place where you wave at everyone you pass. The heartland feel of Central Washington and openness of the Big Sky State come together on Out Here – makes sense since Beebe, Catron and Myers are the chief lyricists. The band is rounded out by Eric Miller (bass) and Brian Paxton (drums), and they all share a common idea, according to Beebe. "Our down-home attitude has a place in a progressive world. There is a broader perspective. We strive to just be authentic, no hype; just be honest and true with the music."
It’s not something they're contriving; it’s not something they're trying to do for their gain. They care about their fans and hope the stories they're telling on the new record pierce through the vastness of America, allowing more and more people to experience their music. Take a listen to tracks like “Anvil,” “Bitter Run,” and “Hold The Line.” You'll be captured in a crescendo of rock, and wish you could stay there forever, trapped in the perfect moment.
Since the release of "Friends of the Old Mill," Cody Beebe & The Crooks have been touring vigorously and have played a number festivals and fairs from Washington to New York. They have shared the stage with the likes of Buddy Guy, Stevie Nicks, Iron and Wine, Jimmie Vaughan, K.D. Lang, Augustana, Josh Turner, Little River Band, Jason Reeves, Randy Rogers Band, Allen Stone, Andy Griggs, Rooney, Afroman, Ari Hest, Drew Davis Band, This Providence, Tonic, The Clumsy Lovers, Flowmotion, and Elephant Revival.