Ain't No Joke
Gadfly Records is proud to announce the CD release of "Ain't No Joke," a reissue of the first LP from Detroit-area twangsters the Volebeats.
-- This CD includes all the original tracks and artwork, along with LINER NOTES FROM THE BAND and THREE BONUS TRACKS. --
Before Americana caught on as a phenomenon in the mid-'90s, the Volebeats were hot on the trail of such seminal groups as Rank and File, The Long Ryders, and others who were combining roots rock with a British invasion hookiness and a healthy dose of twang.
Born in and around the Motor City in 1988, the Volebeats formed due to a mutual boredom of and displeasure for trendy bands and music. Starting as an acoustic outfit, lead guitarist/vocalist Matthew Smith and vocalist/guitarist Jeff Oakes began writing songs with Terry Rohm and Jeff's brother Al. With Keir McDonald (from Detroit's Medusa Cyclone) on drums, the Volebeats began performing on street corners throughout the Detroit suburbs.
For the first few years of its existence, the band had a revolving group of musicians that included another Oakes brother, Brian, on upright bass, drummer Mike Murphy and guitarist Mark Niemenski (both from another Detroit band Hysteric Narcotics), drummer Bill Peterson and Rebecca Kaplan on fiddle. Fusing hardcore country and folk music with a melodic pop flair and rock and roll sensibility, the Volebeats released their debut "Ain't No Joke" on Relapse Records in 1989, with current guitarist and songwriter Bob McCreedy -- who had played with Oakes in The Frames in 1981 -- joining the group shortly thereafter.
Over the next few years they recorded a single for Icon Records and could be found on various compilations. Then in 1994, the Volebeats signed with the Safe House label, releasing their second full-length, "Up North" which garnered the group critical acclaim. A six-song EP, "Bittersweet" was released in 1995, and featured a cover of Barry White's "I'm Gonna Love You Just a Little More, Baby." With drummer Scott Michalski and bassist Russell Ledford joining the band, the Volebeats' lineup was solidified as the group entered the studio to record its 1997 release "The Sky And The Ocean." [The Volebeats released "Solitude," their fourth full-length release, in 1999, also on Safe House.]
~ Jack Leaver, All-Music Guide
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