Vandoliers are the next wave of Texas music. The six-piece Dallas-Fort Worth alt-country group channels all that sets Texas apart from the rest: tradition, modernity, audacity, grit, and—of course—size.
A former punk frontman, Vandoliers lead singer Fleming found himself nearly blind for more than two months after contracting a serious eye infection. Curing recovery, Fleming began watching episodes of The Marty Stuart Show, which inspired him to start blending country and punk to create the record that would eventually be the Vandoliers debut album, Ameri-Kinda.
Formed in 2015, the Vandoliers are lead singer and guitarist Joshua Fleming, bassist Mark Moncrieff, drummer Guyton Sanders, fiddler Travis Curry, electric guitarist Dustin Fleming, and multi-instrumentalist Cory Graves. Their first two albums Ameri-Kinda (2016) and The Native (2017) were released on State Fair Records.
Fun fact: Native was recorded in the same studio where Willy Nelson recorded Red Headed Stranger.
Their most recent album release, Forever, was just released on Bloodshot Records in February and has received nothing but praise from fans and critics (like Rolling Stone) alike. With experience had out on the road with the Old 97s and Marty Stuart, as well as their third album and tour under a new label, Vandoliers are positioned to make 2019 a huge year.
Forever is a mix of youthful and defiant punk, rugged Red Dirt country and vibrant Tejano. The full-length’s 10 songs blend emblematic rock ‘n’ roll with bold horns, violin, and a slather of twang reflecting where the band is from, where they’ve been and, eventually, where they’ll be headed. It’s regional and universal all the same.
“I wrote a series of songs about my life and gave it to the best musicians I know to flesh out,” says lead singer and guitarist Joshua Fleming. “I spent over a year writing by myself, with friends and mentors, and we spent just as long filling out arrangements and writing scores. We wrote horn and fiddle parts on a trio tour through the mountains of New Mexico, Wyoming and Montana.”
Favorite track on the album: “Tumbleweed”
Give it a listen. You might find yourself to be the tumbleweed in the lyrics. Kind of hits you, doesn’t it?
What’s unique about the band (other than their combination of unique Americana, classic country and cowpunk sounds)? Each member of Vandoliers has their own nickname: Fleming goes by "Fireball;" backup vocalist and trumpet, keys and bass player Cory Graves is known as "Round Up;" and drummer Guyton Sanders has earned the moniker "Dixieland." Fiddle player Travis Curry, known as "McFiddlesticks," likely got the most absurd nickname, while bassist Mark "Crossroads" Montcrief has the most laid-back nickname of the group. Another thing that sets them apart in the most uniting way possible? “VFFV” (Vandoliers Forever, Forever Vandoliers) is tattooed on each of the six members’ arms as an emblem of their solidarity and commitment to the collective, through good times and, more significantly, the tough ones.
Catch Vandoliers at Northside Yacht Club on Tuesday March 5th with Austin Lucas, Mike Oberst and 500 Miles to Memphis. The 21-and-over show starts at 9 p.m., and tickets can be purchased here for just $10.