The “mysterious force” that is the Ozark Sheiks provides a large helping of “Faulkneresque southern gothic flavor” on their debut recording Run Devil Run
Using an assortment of vintage microphones, Los Angeles producer Rick Parker (Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Lord Huron, Dandy Warhols) recorded the Ozark Sheiks in a turn-of-the-century music studio in the middle of the Ozark Mountains. The recently mastered recordings, (tentatively) titled Run Devil Run, simultaneously captures a progressive and vintage vibe as the band constructs their image of contemporary Americana music—using an atypical arrangement of guitar, banjo, harmonica, bass and drums.
The Ozark Sheiks play a deeply sourced and urgent brand of subversive contemporary Americana music that unapologetically blends hillbilly, pre- war blues, punk, gospel, cajun/zydeco and rock and roll into a singular sound.
“A mysterious force seems to have emerged from the smoky high plateaus, hickory-oak forests and dark limestone caves of the Ozarks.” (J.P. Harpignies, formerly of the Village Voice)
Formed in the Ozark hill country near the Arkansas-Missouri border, The Ozark Sheiks are comprised of Blaine Whisenhunt (vocals/guitar), Isaac Neale (Drums/vocals), Tom Parker (banjo), and Steven Spencer (Harmonica). This place (the Ozarks) is more complex than most think. It’s stubborn. It’s wounded. It’s eroded. It’s conflicted. It’s a strange and beautiful sublime. Adult video store billboards war with evangelical Christian imagery while Vegas-styled idealized American tones echo from the nearby hollow (a.k.a. Branson). Local author of Winter’s Bone, Daniel Woodrell, painted a more realistic image of this contemporary American heartland than did Norman Rockwell or Thomas Hart Benton.
Though the Associated Press has dubbed it “the meth capital of the World”, The Ozark Sheiks call this place home. All being artists as well as musicians, the Ozark Sheiks find that ‘this place’, due in large part to the violent and feral surroundings, offers an ideal setting for making something authentic while also providing a unique vantage point by which to view the world at large—a sort-of hillbilly telescope.
These realities form the backdrop for Run Devil Run wherein these contradictions and afflictions are grappled with in all their gloom and glory. “It's bursting with wild, raw, tormented passion . . . Wrestling with religion, drugs, death, and dripping with burning eroticism (this is one hell of a sexy album!), you can feel those hellhounds breathing down the musicians' backs.” (J.P. Harpignies, formerly of the Village Voice)