Vandoliers are a uniquely Texas band, distilling the Lone Star State’s vast and diverse musical identity into a raucous, breakneck vibe that’s all their own. After spending much of the last three years furiously writing and recording music, this Dallas-Fort Worth six-piece is back with The Vandoliers, out August 12th, a new album that proves these rowdy, rollicking country punks are tighter, more cohesive and more sonically compelling than ever.
Few bands can spend a month on the road with punkers Flogging Molly and then turn around a week later and open the first two reunion shows for independent country legends the Turnpike Troubadours, as Vandoliers did earlier this year. Vandoliers effortlessly bring together the square toes and the steel toes. Kicking off their first European dates next week, the band are due to open for Turnpike Troubadours again at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN in July before launching their summer headlining tour. Vandoliers will also tour across the U.S. with Old 97’s in the fall.
Forged in the fires of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Vandoliers is the product of a time of immense growth and change for the band. Though most of the record was written in 2019, following the release of their much-acclaimed album Forever, plans changed quickly in March 2020.
“It was supposed to be a quick turnaround,” frontman Joshua Fleming says. “After touring with Lucero and the Toadies, we were supposed to go into the studio to knock out an album, and head to Europe for the first time.” That didn’t happen —their tours were canceled, the band’s label folded, and what was to come next was totally up in the air.
Recorded with Grammy-winning producer Eric Delegard at Reeltime Audio in Denton, TX, The Vandoliers is an album interrupted. The band’s original two-week recording session ended abruptly in March 2020 as shutdowns began across the globe. The band didn’t get back into the studio until November, at which point they realized that, like many of the best-laid plans, their original strategy for the record had to change.
“We wanted to make an album that had the same power as our live performance — a tight, big sound,” Fleming says. “Through trial and error, label closure, fatherhood, sobriety, relapse, the album grew on its own stylistically. After the hardest two years of my life, we created a collection of songs that push us as musicians, songs that reaffirmed my place as a songwriter and a faith in ourselves as a band I don’t think we had before.”
The Vandoliers is a manifesto, both sonically and lyrically. It’s an assertion of the band’s distinct character, their sonic rebelliousness, and big, bold stage presence. They’ve got range, too, but that should be expected from a band that deftly blends mariachi horns with country-punk rhythms. On ‘The Lighthouse’, tender vocals pair with Travis Curry’s delicate fiddle to create a sweet cowpunk lullaby written for Fleming’s one-year-old daughter Ruby Mae, born at the height of the pandemic. And then there’s ‘Bless Your Drunken Heart’, a hard-driving ode to the town drunk that makes apt use of the South’s favourite passive-aggressive slight and has quickly become a favorite at the band’s live shows, and ‘I Hope Your Heartache’s a Hit’, a swinging, swaggering tribute to a one-night-stand written by Cory Graves.
As its members have grown and matured, so has the sound of Vandoliers. But what remains the same, though, is the band’s core philosophy of solidarity and hope, evidenced by the motto they’ve all had tattooed on their arms: Vandoliers Forever, Forever Vandoliers.
Vandoliers are Joshua Fleming, bassist Mark Moncrieff, drummer Trey Alfaro, fiddler Travis Curry, electric guitarist Dustin Fleming, and multi-instrumentalist Cory Graves.
Vandoliers 2022 UK/European Tour Dates:
June 10 – STHLM Americana – Stockholm, SWE
June 11 – Oslo Americana – Oslo, NO
June 12 – CPH Americana – Copenhagen, DK
June 14 – Q-Bus – Leiden, NL
June 16 – Sound Yard – Hamburg-Bergedorf, DE
June 17 – Buchholz Saloon – Altlandsberg, DE
June 18 – Wilhelmina – Eindohoven, NL
June 21 – La Textil – Barcelona, ESP
June 22 – Rock & Blues Cafe – Zaragoza, ESP
June 23 – Loco Club – Valencia, ESP
June 24 – El Sol – Madrid, ESP
June 25 – Factoria Cultural – Alives, ESP
June 26 – Little Bobby – Santander, ESP
June 29 – The Bullingdon – Oxford, UK
June 30 – Mid Sussex Music Hall – Hassocks, UK
July 1 – Maverick Festival – Easton, UK
July 2 – SouthCider Festival – Bridport, UK
July 3 – The Grace – London, UK
July 4 – O’Rileys – Hull, UK
July 5 – Evron Centre – Filey, UK
July 6 – Broadcast – Glasgow, UK
July 7 – The Cluny – Newcastle, UK
July 9 – Static Roots Festival – Oberhausen, DE
July 10 – Sjock Festival – Gierle, BE