Full disclosure, as a writer, I’ve been writing about Lou Poster for years. But as a tireless songwriter, he makes it easy. His music has been the background for steely benders – as Grafton – and, perhaps late night, round a campfire, lost in the woods as a terrestrial troubadour. A storyteller that is always needed in your tribe. Drift Mouth is something that combines it all, but is completely out of body, at least for Poster.
Poster is a guy who continues to surprise me. Yes, middle-age bears broken backs and heavy bones, but survivors can still conjure up those continued leaps of faith that came in youth. Case in point, Drift Mouth’s latest album, Little Patch of Sky (out August 3rd), and the lead blunt force of “Wake You Up.” Anyone here in Columbus who may have stopped listening should reconcile. Anyone outside of our concrete-belt, stream it, or better yet, buy some physical proof of this song. It makes Son Volt sound trite, Jawbreaker a bit too boujee, and the Jayhawks stuffed with hokum — in essence, there’s authenticity that mixes prime ’90s Albini-ed angles with Harry Smith in the holler. If you’re from here you’d understand in an instant. Anyone outside of the concrete-belt, well, it’ll sink in.
Poster is a historian. Celebrating revivalism, keeping ghosts alive. His group follows a cadence towards a particular nostalgic seam that’s dug in, barely there, and thus, vaguely remembered. Poster can do a gallant country gentleman as on “Porch Cat,” — soaked in the dark reflections of faded neon off of slick black tabletops — in the honkey-tonk, or better, dives of Columbus that the players know all too well. Moments in time, quieted by snare hits and shots off the bar. If you enjoy it, you likely know the silence it elicits. He can do a roughhewn punk facade on “Straw Thief,” but the layers and craft surrounding it are pure class, noble grit, magic realism.
Along with long time friends and tenured veterans of the Columbus scene including Brad Swiniarski on drums, Mark Spurgeon on guitar, Eric Johnson on bass, and Regan Tonti on background vocals (a perfect foil to Poster’s throat-clearing crank), Drift Mouth drive Poster’s West Virginian narratives past mere acoustic recollections or passed-down traditionals. It would be remiss to exclude coal from this entire world, because it’s the reason Poster’s people still exist, if only in an ember. Fittingly, Little Patch of Sky, is about finding solace in the tatters of survival. You could plug in anything really — the promise of gold, oil, ol’ time religion, or .coms — as Poster is confident in the fact that the American Dream is finite.
— Kevin J. Elliott. Columbus, OH. January, 2018.
Today Glide is excited to premiere the new video for “Wake You Up”. Shot in an almost-live setting, the song immediately brings to mind Son Volt and the Drive-By Truckers as Lou Poster sings about being stuck in a small town, waiting for the right time to leave, and leaving the small town mentality behind. In his lyrics, Poster captures something missing from many songs today, tapping into a smalltown ethos with expertise. Ultimately, the song is an alt-country salute to the Midwest.
The video was directed by Grammy-winning director Shawn Foster (Drive-By Truckers, The Mavericks, Lee Ann Womack, Gram Parsons Tribute Documentary). Putting things into his own words, Lou Poster has this to say:
“‘Wake You Up’ [describes grind of doing the same self-destructive things everyday, over and over, creating a monotonous cycle in a quixotic effort to escape the redundancy of day-to-day living. The video portrays Midwesterners being Midwestern: playing euchre, spitting beer, laughing a little too loud, and cheering a little too hard.”
Little Patch of Sky will be released on August 3rd via Wild Frontier Recording Company.
Photo Credit: Ryan Miller