Green Mountain Rebels EP: A distilled a mixture of soulful elegance and raw emotion
Besides the great music of this band, the story about how these guys first met in the spare rooms and on the back roads of Eau Claire, Wis., makes you interested in the life of the Green Mountain Rebels.
Since 2004 the riotous Green Mountain Rebels are brewing a unique style of music in a wide genre. It is Blues, it is Roots, It is Americana and a whole lot more but let’s give it the name Americana Blues for now. I spoke with guitarist David about the band and their latest EP which is like good Bourbon sweet and smooth up front while strong enough to leave you with a fire in your belly and a swagger in your talk.
Using two Guitars over drinking cans of beer
Guitarist David Koenig and Jered Shaw developed a friendship using two guitars and conversation over drinking cans of beer and that is how we like it. I was surprised by the diversity of their songs and as a music lover you have to like the Green Mountain Rebels.
Blues and Swamp Influences
The arrangements remind me in a certain way of my favorite Rolling Stones album Exile on Main Street. Think about tracks like ‘Stop Breaking Down’ and ‘Shake Your Hips’. On the other hand, you might recognize a touch of Swamp blues in the guitar and harmonica. Think of songs like the ‘Hoodoo Blues’. The voice of singer Susan Renee Thiede is soulful and confident, the other vocalist, Jered brings a Hill Country feeling to the arrangement. This combination makes the music, as David already told us smooth and strong, like good bourbon.
Well, we are all about making music that you can feel. We always strive to be authentic, raw, honest and real. And there’s no other style of music, in my opinion, that you can feel more than the blues.
Inspiration from Muddy to Dylan to the Rolling Stones
The Green Mountain Rebels were inspired by a whole lot of musicians in the blues genre. Guitarist David explains how he and Jered shared a passion for blues style songs: ” We listened to the old timers like Bill Broonzy, Howlin Wolf, Willie McTell, Buddy Guy/Junior Welles, Jimmy Reed, Willie Dixon as well as the more current renditions from the Stones to Zeppelin to Jack White/Black Keys. We love it all”.
With help from their other heros like the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Zeppelin and Muddy Waters, Koenig and Shaw established the basis for what would become their new adventure: the riotous Green Mountain Rebels.
Favorite song “Down & Dirty Blues”
From The Green Mountain Rebels EP, my favorite song is “Down & Dirty Blues”, which is in every aspect complete. The vocals rhythmically built up, the guitar is smooth in the solo tunes and in the riffs. The piano brings some gold old’ Honky Tonk. And then when the interlude starts you might think you have seen it all. But no. Next to come is the beginning of maybe one of the best finals in a song I’ve heard.
Writing the “Sweatheart Dance”
From all the songs they recorded David picks one of his favorites: “The Sweetheart Dance”. “This song was always a crowd favorite at our live shows, with the emotional and at times hostile lyrical exchanges between a man and his woman. The music of that song came from a piece of music I had written years before I met Jered. When I brought it to Jered, he developed the melody and lyrics and the back/forth structure between the male vocal and female vocal. Jered gave that song heart and soul, it really came alive. You can still feel it, even after playing it time and time again. In my humble opinion, there isn’t another song out there like it. It’s a very unique blues song, it doesn’t really follow the typical blues structure and within the song two people are actively arguing and taking cheap shots at each other! It has a theatrical side to it when you see it performed live. This version, as with every version we ever recorded of this song, was recorded completely live”.
“What you hear on the EP is what we are, no more no less.”
Latest Green Mountain Rebels Blues “Move On”
Another song you will like is “Move On”. This song kicks off with hill country blues vocals. The combination of Jered and Susie makes this song peak very fast. The following Harmonica solo is nicely found. It is a newer blues song of the Green Mountain Rebels and doesn’t follow the traditional blues structure, but that doesn’t matter. While David tells he “was playing around with a lot of palm muting, sort of in the fashion that Neil Young would and found himself simply going between two chords (D & F) in a very “choppy” rhythm. When that got too repetitious he tossed in a G7 and held that to build the tension back into the main D & F progression. It is pretty much the entire song. Jered then gave it life with very loose, drenched in bluesman style vocal and bruising harmonica”.
For the Release of the EP The Green Mountain Rebels have strengthen their forces to the delivery of the songs, toward the power of a 5-piece band. Chuck Caldwell (drums) and Matt Staudenmaier (bass) were enlisted to protect the basic principles of the newly constructed music by driving the rhythm section.
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