On their 2016 EP "Zeroes and Ones," Nashville act the
sound like a band that's absorbed the entire canon of classic rock, having successfully reimagined it for current year.
From the Band-like ambling of "Corinthian Queen" to the Clapton-esque vocal turn on "Somebody" to the heavily-armored blooz of the ostensible title track "Zeroes and Ones Galore," the Tracers' debut wanders untethered over the landscape of retro--rock subgenres without losing its compass at any point along the way.
"We're pretty eclectic in our sound and in our tastes," says singer-guitarist Josh Womack. "We're basically in a roots rock, Americana vein, but we like to meander. And hopefully, we integrate everything enough that it all sounds like the same band."
Womack and fellow guitarist Lewis Stubbs, Jr. founded what would become the Tracers about five years ago. Womack was at a personal crossroads of sorts, a crisis both existential and financial brought on by the Recession of 2008. Stubbs was a boyhood chum with whom he'd once penned garage-ready punk rock ditties when the two were but mere tween-agers in 1980s Nashville.
"Everyone's in lockstep, and we're pretty democratic. This is the band we all wanted to have back in our 20s, but were too young and immature to do it."
"I had a business failure, and as I was going through all that entailed, I decided I had to get back to music again," Womack says. "Music had been part of my life for so long, but then I grew up and grew away from it. I finally came back and realized it's an important part of who I am, and of what I do.
"So for a couple of years, Lewis and I had a little project with some other people. Then in 2014, he and I realized we needed to split off and pursue our own vision."
Drummer Chris Long, another longtime friend, joined soon thereafter. Bassist Brad Clark was recruited off social media. "He was always posting music, and it was always so schizophrenic -- Herbie Hancock, then Stevie Wonder, then the Band, Neil Young," Womack says. "So we were like, we have to meet him. This could be our guy."
The core of the Tracers' sound is the songwriting simpatico of Womack and Lewis, and their shared affection for the relaxed, rural vibe of early 1970s post-psychedelic rock 'n' roll. "We realized pretty quick that we write together really well," Womack says.
"He's good with writing hooks and catchy choruses. I'm good with writing bridges and verses. And we have some common influences as songwriters, like the Band, Little Feat, J.J. Cale, the Grateful Dead."
With but a single six-song EP behind them, Womack figures the Natchez Tracers are in good stead to hit their stride. They've got another album in the works, a record Womack promises will be "similar to what you heard on the first, but with even more textures.
"All of us being a little older, a little more confident in who we are, we're in a pretty good place with the band. We're no worried about how we look. We're not worried about checking off any marketing boxes, or with keeping up with the latest, contemporary styles.
The Natchez Tracers will play Preservation Pub Saturday, Nov. 4 at 10 p.m.