Kurt Marschke’s one regret about moving to Nashville: no noteworthy Jack White encounters yet.
It’s fair to expect the two would’ve crossed paths, both of them native Detroit musicians who traded their Motor City addresses for homes in Music City and found a wealth of like-minded players and collaborators upon settling back down.
"Nothing yet, which is kind of surprising to me too, but I do live kitty corner from Third Man Records," Marschke, the main creative force of roots/country-rock band the Deadstring Brothers, said of White’s brick and mortar record company/shop in the cannery row area of Nashville.
"I don’t know what his experience has been, but my band and one other band, Whitey Morgan and the 78’s, spent seven-to-10 years building a country thing in Detroit where that wasn’t really inherent, where if anything was going to happen we had to do everything ourselves. In Nashville, everyone knows where you’re coming from with that kind of music and they get it right away, like where the influences are coming from with something you play for them."
For much of its existence the Deadstring Brothers have shouldered comparisons to the Rolling Stones circa "Exile On Mainstreet," ie, the sound of country, blues and rock intermingling without too much worry about which genre comes out on top from one song to the next.
As if the sound and influence of 40 years ago wasn’t enough, for the band’s upcoming record "Cannery Row," Marschke went ultra old-school in the recording process by tracking everything to audio tape and even using tape for the final mixes on vinyl, for a process that used almost no digital interface at all.
"We’d recorded our previous album in a vintage style with old-style mics and pre-amps and other gear, which is becoming more common, but doing it how we did on this record is a completely different way to record because you can’t go back and fix little pieces of things," Marschke said. "It meant I had to be way more methodical about how we cut things and how songs were arranged because if we didn’t like something it meant we had to do a whole new take."
A laborious recording process combined with a tight time frame because of the availability of various musicians Marschke wanted to work with meant he had to go with whatever acoustic guitar-based songs he’d had worked out, with no demos to fine tune before the sessions.
That means he’s still getting comfortable with the songs that are going to be his band’s next big public bow, via longtime label Bloodshot Records. Audiences at SXSW showcases will be some of the first to hear the new material live as Marschke and his bandmates have been focusing on older material on their current tour.
With the album’s April release approaching, though, he knows it’s time to pull the veil completely off his band’s Nashville incarnation.