The Whiskey Gentry is a toe-tapping, steamrolling kind of band, its fingers picking deep into fields of bluegrass, feet stomping in line with a punk-inspired kick drum. On its self-titled debut EP, the band effortlessly marry old country and new grit, and carrying you along into the Appalachians with the pull of a landslide. “We aren’t reinventing the wheel,” says guitarist Jason Morrow. “We’re just painting it.”
Despite its rock leanings, The Whiskey Gentry’s sound is still a bit atypical within the band’s hometown music scene. Though most of Atlanta’s music halls fill nightly with an array of clangs, synths and howls, countrified hoots and hollers are few and far between. But this hardly sways the six-piece. “I feel like we can kind of crossover our fans,” says lead singer Lauren Staley. “Our sound is different and updated, but the foundation is still traditional country and bluegrass, which is in everybody’s roots.”
The songs have all the familiar trappings of classic country fire: Fire and brimstone, Jesus and the devil, heartache and debauchery. “Something transcends when you can write a song that tells a story that everybody has,” Staley says. She and Morrow are genuinely enthusiastic about broadside ballads, mountain-inspired murder songs and all the folklore that makes up the patchwork of the South, and it’s this passion for storytelling—perhaps moreso than its twangy roots—that sets The Whisky Gentry apart from other local bands.
Staleys voice, of course, doesn’t hurt. Alternately delicate as a string of pearls and fierce as a jackhammer, its full-bodied with tangible emotion and only complimented by her bandmates’ fine musicianship—friendship, too. “We have,” Staley says, “the most fun ever.” And like stories traded between friends around a campfire, The Whiskey Gentry captures all the beauty and tragedy linking us to the past and steadily pushes on into the future.