State Champion celebrate the release of their second album, Deep Shit, with a concert on Thursday at Club 21 in Schnitzelburg. LEO asked bandleader Ryan Davis some probing questions.
LEO: Please label yourself.
Ryan Davis: State Champion is a rock ’n’ roll band from Louisville. People sometimes refer to us as “garage country,” “Southern punk,” “experimental folk” or even “folk rock,” but I’m not sure what it is exactly. I guess we listen to a fair amount of classic country — Loretta Lynn, George Jones, Haggard, Hank, Lefty and a lot of ’70s songwriter stuff like Gary Stewart, Mickey Newbury, Townes Van Zandt … Beyond that, though, as far as the twang of it goes, it’s just sort of residual.
LEO: Just who do you think you are, mister?
RD: I write and sing the songs. I grew up in Louisville, and I am the only one who currently lives here. Sabrina Rush (violin) and Sal Cassato (drums) are living in Chicago, and Mikie Poland (bass) kind of comes and goes as he pleases. When we made the first record, Stale Champagne, Sabrina, Mikie and I were all living at my parents’ house in Jeffersonville, where we arranged and rehearsed that batch of songs with our friend Aaron, who was drumming at the time. They were later recorded at a friends’ house out in Anchorage. We all met in Chicago, though. Lived there, went to college there, so we’ve always gone back and forth between the two.
LEO: How has Louisville responded to your gift of music?
RD: No one in Louisville gives a shit about us, to be honest. The only faint breath of attention we got around here when our first record came out was that totally half-ass, unsupportive review you guys gave it, which didn’t exactly help us at the time. Usually, when we play a show here these days, it’s more or less to my parents and my sister only. My sister just moved to Denver for grad school, though, so hopefully this new record we made will find us a replacement fan. Louisville is a hard place to call home for the band, and I’ve always found the music scene to be strangely impenetrable in some ways, but I love this place and being here is an important part of our creative process.
State Champion play Thursday, Oct. 20, at 9 p.m., at Club 21, with Obits and Bottomless Pit. For more info, go to statechampion.tumblr.com.
ear X-tacy Top Sales
Ryan Adams — Ashes & Fire
Nappy Roots — Nappy Dot Org
Bonnie “Prince” Billy — Wolfroy Goes to Town
Wilco — The Whole Love
Feist — Metals
Joe Henry — Reverie
The Jayhawks — Mockingbird Time
Bjork — Biophilia
Various Artists — The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams
St. Vincent — Strange Mercy