The Grand Rapids outlaw country act performed two new songs during Local Spins on WYCE, which also debuted tracks by JRob, A&E, May Erlewine, Blue Soul Express and more.
THE BAND: The Bootstrap Boys
THE MUSIC: Vintage, outlaw-styled country
WHERE YOU CAN SEE THE BAND: 9 p.m. tonight (Friday) at Tip Top Deluxe Bar & Grill (with Luke Warm & The Not So Hots); 9 p.m. Dec. 5 for Repeal Day Party at 642 Bridge St. NW (with Jesse Ray & The Carolina Catfish, hosted by Long Road Distillers, Creston Brewery, GR Bartending Guild and The Peoples Cider Co.); 6 p.m. Dec. 8 at Harmony Hall; 9:30 p.m. Dec. 23 at Tip Top Deluxe Bar & Grill (with Delilah DeWylde); 9 p.m. Dec. 29 at Rockford Brewing
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As a serious singer-songwriter with an ear for clever words and lyrics, Jake Stilson even carefully scrutinizes the songs that his band chooses to cover.
A fan of vintage country music ranging from Marty Robbins to Johnny Horton (who he describes as a “proto-rockabilly” artist), Stilson said he went through every Billboard chart from the 1940s through 1982 to select “nuggets that I remember from growing up” – classics that The Bootstrap Boys could play and integrate with their own authentic-sounding material.
“My family was one of those families that liked both kinds of music: country and western,” Stilson jokes.
As result, Grand Rapids’ Bootstrap Boys – aka Big Jake Bootstrap, Little Nicky Bootstrap, Clyde Bootstrap and Jeff Bootstrap – ooze the sort of throwback, outlaw-hued country music that’s really resonated with West Michigan audiences since the group released its first EP, “Country Songs for Sale,” back in 2015.
Now, the group armed with twangy guitars and a standup bass is about to release a full-length, 10-song album, “All Boots Aboard,” that was recorded at Matt Ten Clay’s Amber Lit Audio in Grand Rapids.
As Stilson puts it, the band has honed its sound rather than pushed in a new direction for its latest project. Although it certainly boasts some quintessential country harmonies, it retains the less-polished, grittier feel of honky-tonk-flavored music.
“It’s not produced to that extent (of mainstream country),” says Stilson, who previously was involved in singer-songwriter and rock projects before forming The Bootstrap Boys. “It’s not written in that particular, formulaic way that modern Nashville songs come out with.”
The band showed off a couple of those new original songs, “Just Can’t Leave” and “The Bullet or The Bottle,” during this week’s edition of Local Spins on WYCE, performing in Studio X in preparation for a Friday evening show at Grand Rapids’ Tip Top Deluxe Bar & Grill. Check out the full podcast below.
After playing 70 shows across the state since April, The Bootstrap Boys plan to continue performing and expanding their audience, rolling from gig to gig in “The Delta Dawn” band RV.
It’s all part of what band members see as a long-term commitment to this vintage country project.
Says Stilson: “I don’t see a point in being in it for the short=term.”
The 115th episode of Local Spins on WYCE also featured the debut of songs by May Erlewine, A&E, Blue Soul Express, JRob and Joshua Davis, as well as music from Billy Strings, The Muteflutes, JOE, Chance Jones and Drew Nelson.
PODCAST: Local Spins on WYCE with The Bootstrap Boys
Copyright 2016, Spins on Music LLC