By Shelley Marsden
This band makes genre-bending their raison d’etre. Pick any track on their upcoming third Thunderdog album and it could fall into the folk, pop, indie Americana, country or rock categories.
The O’s are on a major UK tour this month and next withDel Amitri to support the new album (out on Glasgow indie label Electric Honey on February 24).
They are Dallas, Texas duo Taylor Young (vocals, guitar, kick drum) and John Pedigo (vocals, banjo, Lowebro, harmonica, tambourine), and their engaging genre-bending sound has been favourably compared to acts like Lumineers and Mumford and Sons.
The boys have released three albums to date: We Are The O’s (2009) and Between The Two (2011) both on Dallas’ indie, Idol Records and their latest, Thunderdog which, at the recommendation of their producer, Chris ‘Frenchie’ Smith, was primarily recorded at the legendary Sonic Ranch Studio in Tornillo, Texas.
Their most musically accomplished work, the foot-stomping Thunderdog contains heartier harmonies, better lyrics and tighter production. Full of pop hooks, bluegrass instrumentation, country spirit and folk honesty, it is resuscitating the slow heart of Americana all on its own.
It’s just the two of them on most numbers, except for the adidition of a harmonica on the lively Cicerone, and a fuzz banjo solo on Kitty. It’s full of youthful verve, but they can do lonesome too, as they show on You are the Light and Levee Breaks. Sparse yet loud and joyful, it’s an easy album to like.
Since forming in 2008, Taylor Young and John Pedigo, have done pretty much everything an up-and-coming act can do, including touring across the US, Europe, playing every festival that would have them and having their music appear on various TV shows.
They’ve toured throughout the United States, took off for Europe, played every festival that would have them, and had their music pop up on various TV shows.
Until now they’ve been stealing shows with their openers, but this might just be the year when The O’s become the main act. It’s not difficult to fall in love with these two, who bring a primitive, banjo and guitar directness and plenty of joie de vivre.
As for where their eccentric name came from, it’s still shrouded in an air of mystery – and that’s how The O’s like it. They told a Dallas paper recently: “Everyone has their own idea of where that name comes from. Lots of people try to guess what it means. We are both type O blood; that’s the only logical guess. One guess was that it was short for potatoes, and that the “potate” was silent…”
The support tour kicks off in Dublin’s Vicar Street on Wednesday, January 22 and ends at London’s Hammersmith Apollo on Friday, January 7. For more see www.wearetheos.com.