Mudsills: Tapping into the Source of the Deepest Blues

Mudsills:  Tapping into the Source of the Deepest Blues
Venues & Businesses
14th Street Saloon
Tres Hombres

Who: Mudsills
What: deep blues
When: 2012-04-19 - 2012-04-28
As of this publication, the music world is a very strange and complex place. Artists are branching o
Matthew Decker

As of this publication, the music world is a very strange and complex place. Artists are branching out in all possible directions. A subgenre of a subgenre is created every few minutes to describe a sound a few frequencies shy of the last fad. In light of this, it's reassuring to know that the primordial muck from which all things spring lies beneath every jungle (audio or otherwise). Or in our case, it's the popular-music equivalent-- the blues. Now, clawing their way through this mire come the Mudsills, Southern Illinois’s own hardcore blues outfit, slated to bring their brand of dirty blues Thursday, April 19 to Tres Hombres and Saturday, April 28 to the Fourteenth Street Saloon in Murphysboro.

The dictionary entry for mudsill is: “Member of a structure's foundation, usually placed in or on the ground; A particularly low or dirty place/state; a low-life, thoroughly disreputable person.”

One starts to get a feel for the type of low-down, gutbucket music that these guys create-- a sound unflinchingly solid at its base and yet rough around the edges, more about feeling than finesse. “We play heavy, loud, trance-inducing blues,” vocalist/guitarist Alex Kirt said in a recent chat with Nightlife. “The music is raw and simple with a swampy beat and a gritty sound.”

The frontman and his partners in crime-- Dan Goett on guitar, Billy Dan Langley filling the harmonica slot, Mike Alderfer taking on bass duties, and Cody Beckman behind the drums-- are a young band making music deeply rooted in the past. However, despite their relative new beginnings, the Mudsills are casting an ever-sharpening eye on the future. “Our influences include R.L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, Robert Belfour, [Mississippi] Fred McDowell, Mance Lipscomb, John Lee Hooker, Lightnin' Hopkins, and many, many more,” Kirt said. “We are playing a lot of traditional blues tunes, but we intend to start writing a lot more original music and we'll eventually morph into a mostly original band.”

This is not the middle-of-the-road, elevator-ready version of the blues that's been ever present in America for the past thirty years or so. (For fun, check out George Carlin's rant on the subject.) This is music with an old soul, and these are men embracing traditions while simultaneously pushing the limits of them. “Right now, we are borrowing from the masters until we find our own niche in the blues,” Alex offered.

This group is unafraid to roll up their sleeves and work to build themselves a home in the blues, but don't make the mistake of dismissing them as a group of rigid sticks in the mud. Kirt revealed that, in fact, the Mudsills were born, quite literally, in the middle of a party. “The band began as a surprise jam session on my birthday in January thanks to my wife, who planned the whole thing as a gift,” Kirt said. “We had so much fun that we decided to keep doing it.”

who: Mudsills

what: deep blues

where: Tres Hombres; Fourteenth Street Saloon

when: Thursday, April 19; Saturday, April 28