Music City has become known for its vast landscape of ho-hum artists, all starving to be heard and pierce the ever-widening barrier to entry into the national scene. Among those, very few possess an original thread of self dependency and cross-generational charm that creates a ripple effect outwards to the mainstream. The Eskimo Brothers are here to prove exactly why you do not need to make pop-leaning music to appeal to the masses. As evidenced by their recent outing at The Wheel in the heart of Broadway, the band — featuring lead vocals and guitar tricks of David Graham, eclectic musicianship of bassist Mayrk Mcneely and inventive drum acrobatics of Tyler Boydstun — doesn’t back down from their in-your-face presentation and sometimes provocative song lyrics.
After technical difficulties set the start time back by about 40 minutes, the rockabilly trio slapped the audience in the face with their impulsive set, which included a mammoth collection of pop, rock and bluegrass covers, never navigating through a pre-determined set and always accepting suggestions from the audience. Even their originals were a fusion of Elvis Presley affectivity and AC/DC dynamics. Throughout their hour-long performance, they shook the midday crowd with enthusiastic banter, containing conversations about chardonnay, underwear and where the various travelers were from, not to mention their infectious “toddler on crack” showing. It was their hillbilly bluegrass cover of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” that was, perhaps, the most interesting cover. Shifting the arrangement around, while grasping onto the song’s built-in blues-rock vibe, vocalist and bass player Mayrk echoed the “ra-ra-ra” warbles that watermarked the song to popularity, peppering in his own signature twists.
With the band mates originally transplanted from the far corners of the country, their folk-rock roots were evident. On “Gone As Gone Can Be,” a billowing jaunt about lead singer David’s ex-wife, the group wasn’t afraid of exposing the blistering boils of a toxic relationship, peeling back an almost raw interior of pain and sorrow. Framed around a Southern-rock texture, the uptempo number is perfectly representative of their debut album “Your Welcome,” and in live performance, it highlights the group’s masterful grip on honesty.
Throughout the performance, David, Mayrk and Tyler traded lead vocals. When most indie-rock bands depend on one person to carry the brunt of the lyrics, the Eskimo Brothers, whose name is inspired by a romantic common denominator, embrace and charge forward as a unit, much like a family-grown band. Trimmed in ink and leather-like black attire, these musicians have laid the foundation of their unique brand of rock-folk traditionalism. Setting the stage for an underground movement, coursing with boundaryless material, the trio are blazing a beaten footpath unmatched by any other up-and-comers.
Keep up-to-date on all their happenings and upcoming shows on their Facebook page.
Photo Courtesy of The Eskimo Brothers/Brett Marker
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