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A darkly honest and wry singer/songwriter out of Charleston, South Carolina, Donald
Merckle's tunes have one foot in the foot-stompin' Celtic punk of The Pogues and Dropkick
Murphys and another firmly planted in the alt-country tradition popularized by Uncle
Tupelo, Whiskeytown, and the Drive-by Truckers, capable of both rock and roll growl and
smoky barroom introspection. In the past he's led the popular Appalachian/Irish-indebted
outfit Loch Ness Johnny as well as co-fronted the rambunctious alt-country leaning American
Gun, and between the two bands he's served as an opening act for Drivin' N Cryin', Lucero,
Shooter Jennings, The Avett Brothers, and Cracker. His latest backing band, The Blacksmiths,
deftly mixes the disparate approaches of his previous acts into a sound and feel that deftly
captures the ineffable blend of roots music and rock and roll at the heart of Merckle's songs,
something fully on display on his latest effort, The Pugilist, released by jangly records June 10.