The Tupelo Moan story is one of loss, heartbreak, and one man’s Spinal Tap-esque odyssey to find his life’s balance with a series of drummers. It began in 2009, as Big Cockpit, the spewing afterbirth of a band called Red Top Wolverine Show. Brad McCarley (guitar and vocals) and Jason Cowley (drums) hammered out ten tunes over the course of a month. McCarley booked a show for the new band at a downtown Salt Lake City dive. When Cowley declined to play the gig, McCarley recruited another drummer, Mr. Jason Roberts.
In Roberts, he had found his own Platonic ideal for drummer. It was as if the heavens had opened up and sent down the Adonis of percussion. It was this two piece that took the stage as Tupelo Moan for the first time ever. Thus began the salad days of Tupelo Moan. The duo produced Tupelo Moan’s self titled debut album, which sold out within a month, and opened for national acts Ume, Hillstomp, Larry And His Flask, The Hooten Hallers, Slim Cessna’s Auto Club, Reverend Deadeye, and Jason Webley over its first two years. But alas, all good things must come to an end. Jason Roberts left the band, had a baby boy, and moved to Australia.
McCarley stubbornly stayed the course and from 2011 to 2012 wrote songs and played live shows as Tupelo Moan with a seemingly unending series of drummers: Shaun Thomas, Brandon Hansen, Dave McCall, Matt Winegar, Jet Redd, and Darren Farnsworth all pounded the skins for Tupelo Moan at one time or another. Tupelo Moan also began to try out different instrumentation during this period, with occasional appearances by Andy Evans on bass, Page McGinnis and Zach Craigle on guitar, as well as the “Puddle of Power Horns” - Dan Nelson on tenor saxophone, and Josh “Ding Dong” Francis on trumpet.
And then, finally, after two years of intermittent fasting and prayer, the heavens answered again. More like Hercules than Adonis, but still the offspring of god and mortal, Dan Dowsett came in like thunder, learned quickly, and inspired a creative burst from McCarley that left him feeling like he’d been mainlining ambrosia. It was this duo that recorded the second Tupelo Moan album, “Cocaine And Chicken Grease” (set for release in July 2014), with additions from the Puddle of Power horns, Jeff Phillips, Page McGinnis, and Darren Farnsworth.
But again, nothing good ever lasts, and Dan Dowsett left the band in early 2014.
And now, with a slamming new four piece line up consisting of Brandon Hansen on drums, Jesse Stewart on bass, and Jeff Phillips on guitar, and a new album coming out in July 2014, Tupelo Moan is poised to revisit the salad days.