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Promised Land Sound Talk Jack White, the Nashville Scene + Kicking Mumford and Sons’ Asses

Alysse Gafkjen

Nashville’s Promised Land Sound know the importance of truth in advertising. Although the band arose from the same garage rock scene as bands like PUJOL and JEFF the Brotherhood, their sound and feel are as far away from leather jackets and sneers as you can imagine. If anything, Promise Land Sound’s songs — inspired by early-’70s country-rock sounds from both sides of the pond — conjure up visions of dirt roads, lazy sunny days and never-ending nights of revelry in wooden shacks.

Due out in September on Paradise of Bachelors, their self-titled debut album shows as much respect for the Band, the Byrds and Gram Parsons as it does for U.K. bands from the same time that mined those same influences. (See: Brinsley Schwarz, Starry Eyed and Laughing, etc.) Or as avowed fan Jack White puts it, “They’re all youthful scruff and bluff, and they crank out tunes that would be right at home in Link Wray’s 3 Track Shack or hanging with the specters of long lost 45s that haunt Nashville’s overflowing legend-filled cemeteries.”

White put his money where his mouth is earlier this year by releasing a Promised Land Sound single on his Third Man imprint. Chatting with bassist/vocalist Joey Scala and guitarist/vocalist Sean Thompson at their local swimming hole, Diffuser.fm talked about White, the Nashville scene and the possibility of kicking Mumford and Sons’ asses in a fight.

Give us the basics on how you knew each other, when you formed and all that stuff.

JS: Well, me and Sean met when we played together in PUJOL. Then I met [my brother] Evan about 20-odd years ago, when he was born. But we didn’t play music together until he joined me in Denney and the Jets.

Your sound is pretty warm and down-home. Is this a natural extension of your surroundings, or is there some artist/band that led you there?

ST: I think it’s definitely an extension of our surroundings. The South is also slow and easy going, so there’s more time to groove. In life and music. It doesn’t hurt that we live in a town rich with badass music history.

JS: and our surroundings definitely include many artists and bands, old and new.

How’d you get the attention of Jack White?

ST: We got linked up with the Third Man dudes when Joey and I played in PUJOL. We recorded a Blue Series 7-inch with them and a live record with PUJOL.

Where do you guys sit in the Nashville scene? Are there any bands you feel a particular kinship with and/or wreak havoc with? What’s your place in regard to the musical history of the town?

ST: I have no clue where we sit in the music scene. We just like to hang out with our buddies and play shows. There are a ton of bands around here that we hang and play music with. JP5, Clear Plastic Masks, Natural Child, William Tyler, Banditos, Fly Golden Eagle, James Wallace and the Naked Light are all killer bands that we love to jam with down here.

JS: Also, this town is steeped in country music, the good times and the bad times, so we try and let it teach us lessons on the subject.

How’d you get the attention of the Paradise of Bachelors fellows?

JS: We were playing a show at Stone Fox, and William Tyler asked PoB owners Brendan Greaves and Chris Smith to DJ the show and check us out, and that was that. They were spinning great jams, and they were digging our jams.

Your music sounds a bit like Brinsley Schwarz, an English band that eyed the U.S. for inspiration without really ever stepping ground on American soil. Is that a good comparison, considering you live here, or do you take everything in, no matter where it’s from?

ST: I can totally get behind that comparison. My ears are just kind of drawn to whatever catches their attention, really. I can dig a Waylon record as much as I can dig a John Fahey record as much as i can dig some shred Carnatic Indian music. I’ve gone through a lot of musical phases, too. But now, I’m kind of all over the place. Which i think is a good place to be.

JS: Yeah, they are a sweet band. We just kinda try to have our eyes on anything happening anywhere that sparks our interest.

Mumford and Sons … could you kick their asses?

ST: There’s like five of them and three of us. I like those odds

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