Last year brought us the big breakout of Americana quartet River Whyless. And the Asheville-based band already has an impressive itinerary outlined for 2017: Bonnaroo, SXSW, Savannah Stopover, Mountain Jam, Hogs For The Cause, Old Settler’s and Green River are all part of the plan. But their exciting run actually begins here in Louisville. We caught up with the group’s distinctive drummer, Alex McWalters, over the phone.
LEO: We’ve noticed that you make use of more than just a standard drum kit when you play.
Alex McWalters: Yeah. I started banging on random things at a pretty early age. My parents weren’t ready for me to play drums. They wanted me to stick with trumpet. So, I just taught myself percussion on whatever was around. I never had any lessons or anything, which probably explains my unconventional approach.
Tell us about the new record, We All The Light. Everything seems to have really come together on this one.
With different singers and different vibes coming through, it was all over the place in a way. But there was a common thread, and, in the end, I think it turned out well.
The concert in Louisville is part of a WFPK series. Would you say that public radio has been crucial to your success thus far?
Absolutely. Crucial is the precise word. We wouldn’t be able to do it at all without public radio support.
How does it feel to see your name alongside the likes of U2 and Tom Petty?
Surreal. I’m not gonna lie. This last year has exceeded expectations. It’s all a little insane, but in a good way.
River Whyless and John Paul White perform on Wednesday, Feb. 15 at the Clifton Center as part of the WFPK Winter Wednesday Series.