Now I'm not saying the members of Wyatt Coin are liars, it's just that they're not entirely what they claim to be ... they're much more. What comes across as an outlaw country-meets-hardcore aesthetic does so in spirit and not cliché. You would be hard-pressed to tag them as country or punk.
Yes, there's some accelerated 2/4 that gets stomped around along with hoist-a-pint-and-pump-a-fist drinking songs, but Wyatt Coin is far from bands like Jason and the Scorchers, or Tex and the Horseheads — just as good, but different. The band stands alone melodically and mechanically: they ain't got a bass player, you see.
Wyatt Coin — Dewey Richbar, electric guitar; Jordan Schilling, vocals, acoustic guitar; and Lael Dylag, drums — came together in 2014 out of an internal conflict within each of its members as they tried to reconcile a love for two infinitely different styles of music. They called it cowpunk. But despite the shoehorn routine they copped to in order to meld the styles together, they landed upon a rough-hewn, energetic blast of untamed, somewhat unclassifiable, bar room rock. It's earthy and unpredictable; things that you expect out of punk and country, and now out of Wyatt Coin.
However you decipher this trio, there's no denying its uniqueness and endurance. Wyatt Coin has found some of those overlooked and forgotten notes and patterns, resurrected them and set them free. And frankly who cares what you call it, as long as it sounds this good.
Richbar stopped by City Newspaper to discuss forging punk and country, and going Hollywood. An edited transcript of that conversation follows.
City: Try and describe your sound.
Dewey Richbar: It's like Johnny Cash mixed with something like Rise Against.
Was this on purpose, or was it one of those "you got peanut butter in my chocolate" moments?
It just kinda worked out that way. I had just finished up playing with a modern country band, and my drummer was a metal guy, so we started jamming.
But you had trouble recruiting more?
Yeah. We went through five or six lineup changes. We weren't really doing country in those days, but there were still creative differences. I'm also very picky creatively. I'll write and re-write a song 50,000 times until I get what I like out of it.
That's gotta be hard on a band.
They were like, "Stop changing; stop changing." Then Jordan came along and showed us a couple of his acoustic songs, and we liked it. So we said, "Let's go in that direction."
So has your audience shifted along with you?
We kind of fill it with everybody. We've played 25 or 26 shows, and it's been with metal acts, country acts, noise bands, rap acts, acoustic, ska, reggae — really a wide combination and somehow we've always fit. We pretty much get up there and give it our all.
Any hardcore country fans, or mostly rockers?
The country sound draws a lot of people in their 50's and 60's. My grandparents love us. Jordan's influenced heavily by Hank III and Dylan, especially the early stuff.
You have just the one EP?
Well, everyone complains it's too short; it's only 15 minutes long. There are not enough songs, so back in May, we cut a live album — something to hold people over until we get back in the studio and cut another one hopefully in the fall. But our plates are getting full. We got picked up by a film company to record a song for the movie "Back Road" — it's a horror film being shot in Philadelphia.
Just your music, or are you guys in the movie?
We're playing in a big party scene, which is kind of a wrap party for the actors and everyone.