Loveridge Is Burning album cover

Drift Mouth

Originally conceived as a retirement gift for Lou Poster’s father upon his completion of 37 years mining for Consolidation Coal in West Virginia, the first recording that would become the foundation for Drift Mouth was made in 2006. Poster and drummer Brad Swiniarski had met playing shows together in previous bands (Poster in Grafton, Swiniarski in Bob City, the Means, Bigfoot) but had never worked together in a writing/recording environment. The result was a collection of covers (Dark as a Dungeon) and originals (Loveridge is Burning) that captured a modern yet decidedly time-arrested feel, like an old photograph that somehow hasn’t faded or yellowed.  As sometimes happens with projects like these, once the sessions were finished the completed work was delivered to its intended audience of one, and shelved for later. Eight years later, as it turns out.

Measure twice, cut once. It’s a rule as old as craftsmanship itself. At its core it speaks to preparation, planning, and careful execution. It’s the way that good homes are built, brilliant architecture is created, and masterpieces are made. You see it at work on a smooth tabletop, a well-turned piece of leather, an old quilt. This simple rule gives the maker as much control as possible over the outcome of a vast undertaking in a chaotic world.

As in any art, the markers that set really great records apart are in the details, and the years of planning and months of recording that went into this project allowed for ample attention to them here. Basic tracks were put down in January, and the pandemic slowed the process until new protocols could be put in place to finish the work, drawing it out until August. But this delay seems small compared to the length of time it has taken to bring some songs to fruition. The title track, for example, was written in 2005 as a gift for frontman Lou Poster’s father upon his retirement from the West Virginia coalfields after 37 years of  labor underground. During the intervening years it has taken several forms and undergone many revisions, and has finally emerged as a finished, well-crafted song. Measure twice, cut once.

The album has many moods and several sonic approaches, defying the easy tags of Alt-Country or Americana that are often placed on the group. Yes, it has that gravelly twang, those sugary harmonies, and the occasional fiddle or organ rounding out the sound. But it also has a Rock ‘n’ Roll heart that thumps along throughout, marries the traditional elements to a more modern sound,  and lets you shake your hips while the lyrical imagery takes you deep into the stories of the folk heroes (Evel Knievel in “Dare D’Evel & The Snake River Canyon”), B-league touring musicians (“Tennessee Highway”), vengeful wives (“Myra”), and landowners who refuse to sell out to Big Coal (“The Ghost of Paul Weaver”). The second track “Iris” is a tribute to Poster’s grandmother who suffered from Alzhiemer’s at the end of her life, and “Lifeguard” and “Bad Song” deal with lost relationships and love gone wrong.

Bolstered by the incredible production of Joe Viers (Lydia Loveless, Blues Traveler, 21 Pilots) Loveridge Is Burning is the result of a lifetime of measurements, calculations, reflections and growth.