The cult popularity of Uncle Tupelo and its spin-off groups Wilco and Son Volt opened the doors for what became an entirely new generation of musicians who grew up in the punk rock generation but found genuine connection with traditional country music -- especially as interpreted through Gram Parsons, who's more or less the granddaddy of country-rock. The Scud Mountain Boys -- Joe Pernice, Stephen Desaulniers, Bruce Tull, and Tom Shea -- clearly fit into this camp.
The band originally played electric rock & roll under the name the Scuds. Pernice, Desaulniers, and Tull formed the group in Northampton, Massachusetts, in 1991, and they gained a respectable local following. But the bandmembers soon tired of hauling equipment around and found they much more enjoyed the after-show get-togethers playing acoustic country songs around the kitchen table at home to the stage. Finally they decided to haul the kitchen table to a club. Finding the response positive, they've stayed with the new format.
The band's debut album, Pine Box (originally just a cassette release), was recorded live around the kitchen table and featured slow, intensely quiet originals alongside covers of '70s pop-country songs such as "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves" and "Please, Mr., Please." Their second album, Dance the Night Away -- which added a couple of rock songs from their Scuds days into the mix again -- came out on Chunk Records in 1995, and national interest in the band grew quickly. In early 1996 they were signed to Sub Pop, and the label released the band's third album in less than two years, Massachusetts.
It proved the band's last, however, although Pernice and his brother Bob soon recorded a new album, Overcome by Happiness. Billed under the name the Pernice Brothers, it appeared on Sub Pop in 1998. Many more followed over the next ten years, alongside solo Joe Pernice material under his own name as well as under the Chappaquiddick Skyline moniker. The Scud Mountain Boys reunited in 2012 and released a brand new collection of songs, Do You Love the Sun, the following year. ~ Kurt Wolff