Photo by Tyson Zoltan Heder from the band’s Facebook page
Texans don’t usually cotton to a carpetbagger, but the Austin band Carpetbagger–well, that’s a different story altogether. The local foursome plays rootsy alt-country that hits the sweet spot in the Texan heart.
The band’s name may have something to do with the hometown of Carpetbagger frontman Greg Loftus. The singer and songwriter hails from Boston originally, and did his share of gigging in the northeast before he pulled up stakes and headed down to Austin. In spring 2012 he hooked up with guitarist Cody Brown, drummer Kevin McCann, and bassist John Tranum, and formed Carpetbagger. This Friday, Carpetbagger officially releases a new EP titled Far Off The Daybreak Call with a show at Hole In The Wall where they’ll be sharing the stage with The Mockingbird Loyals, Western Youth, and El Campo.
The rootsy, five-song EP features a couple of guest vocals from local singer-songwriters Christy Hays (who just became a Song of the Day alumna) and Ben Ballinger of The Dalles. But the stars of the show, of course, are the band and wonderful tunes like the record’s opener “American Bruises.” Like the name hints, it’s a song that can get a little black ‘n’ blue. “I got the daylights beat right back into me that night. I got this funny feeling it might not be the last time,” sings Loftus in a warm, rugged voice that recalls folks like the Gaslight Anthem’s Brian Fallon or Lucero’s Ben Nichols. “We’ll push our luck, but we’ll always pay our due. Our American hears don’t ever scar before they bruise,” he sings in the song’s closing. But despite the walloping and the whiskey, there’s a yearning, and hopefulness in the band’s gentle, twangy swing. You’ll find that yin and yang in every great country tune, and Carpetbagger delivers it masterfully, like Texans–no matter where they might be from.