Grand Rapids’ Nathan Kalish, drummer for the Michigan-bred Deadstring Brothers, has averaged five shows a week in 2013, crisscrossing the U.S. and Europe. And that hard work may be paying off. (Video, photo gallery)
If I were updating the Wikipedia or Merriam-Webster definition of “road warrior,” I’d add the name Nathan Kalish as a leading example of this breed of hard-gigging rock ‘n’ roll creature.
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After all, the Grand Rapids musician and songwriter has logged more than 150 live shows so far in 2013, the lion’s share of them with the alt-country/rock outfit The Deadstring Brothers led by Detroit native and singer-guitarist
Kurtis Marschke, with fellow Michigander J.D. Mack on bass.
And more remarkably, Kalish has done it all while working on a brand new solo album, which is being mixed in Nashville and slated for release in 2014.
Currently The Deadstring Brothers’ drummer, Kalish has toured with Marschke on and off since 2010, in addition to playing shows with his own band, The Wildfire. The Deadstring Brothers, now based in Nashville, have logged thousands of miles on the road crisscrossing the country and traveling overseas to Europe since January, with Kalish only coming home for a few days earlier this year to uncork a riveting Founders Brewing Co. show with Marschke and his own band.
FIRING UP FANS IN SALT LAKE CITY
I caught up with Kalish recently at The State Room in Salt Lake City, Utah, at the end of what Mack called “the craziest week ever” on the hectic tour. The band was playing a sold-out Friday night show, opening for The White Buffalo in front of an enthusiastic young crowd which appreciated the alt-country-rock-hued trio’s music – an engaging blend recalling The Band, The Stones, Merle Haggard and The Faces – so much so that the jam-packed audience gave the group a standing ovation after its hour-long opening set. (The band even got some Motown love from a few Detroit-area fans in the crowd.)
“I’m homeless now,” Kalish joked in an interview with Local Spins, noting he sold his van to pay some bills and plans to stay with a friend when he returns to Grand Rapids in December, when he’ll play several Michigan shows with The Wildfire before heading to Europe. Kalish, who grew up in Austria, will rejoin The Deadstring Brothers when he returns to the States in early 2014.
While greeting fans who praised The Deadstring Brothers’ set at the merchandise table following the Salt Lake City show, the singer, guitarist, bassist and drummer said he works on his new album almost every day on the road.
As for The Deadstring Brothers, Kalish said their hard road work is bearing fruit because the crowds keep growing in cities where the band has played before. The band – touring behind its latest album, “Cannery Row,” and playing a series of shows this week at the famous Full Throttle Saloon in Sturgis, S.D., for its annual biker rally – has established an ardent fan base in places as far-flung as Detroit, Minneapolis, Chicago, Green Bay, St. Louis and, yes, Scandinavia.
It can be a grueling schedule: After playing Salt Lake City, the band hit the road in its Sprinter van for an 11-hour trip to its next gig, a hastily booked Sunday night show in the Pacific Northwest after a Saturday show got scuttled. But band members are upbeat about the tour’s success in building audiences.
“Last time (on tour), it was a very different experience,” Kalish said. “The band is better and the work is starting to pay off.”
— John Sinkevics for Local Spins
THE DEADSTRING BROTHERS: THE LOCAL SPINS PHOTO GALLERY
Email John Sinkevics at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright 2013, Spins on Music