IF YOU GO
What: The Last Straw.
When: 10 p.m. Wednesday.
Where: Rhythm & Brews, 221 Market St.
Venue website: www.rhythm-brews.com.
The Last Straw recently posted three new tracks to its website from “This Is,” an EP slated for fall release. Unlike the band’s first album, Lead singer Kyle Daniel said, “This Is” represents greater collaboration between the band members throughout the entire creative process.
After weeks hauling gear in and out of a van to perform for unresponsive audiences, it’s easy for a band to become uninspired with touring, and an uninspired band is a dying one.
For a band like Nashville’s The Last Straw, whose bread and butter is the live show, a sense of disenchantment could have sounded its death knell. That all changed four months ago when new lead guitarist Jason Graumlich joined the band.
It was a shock to the system that revived their interest, said lead singer Kyle Daniel.
“That was a turning point,” he said. “He’s not very old in the band at all, but [his joining] spawned this new beast.
“When nothing exciting is happening, you lose inspiration to go out there and keep doing it. I think him joining the band re-inspired everyone to get back out there and do what we do best — play live music.”
The musicians will get a chance to show off their reinvigorated love of guitar-driven, all-American rock when they take the stage at Rhythm & Brews on Wednesday.
The band got its start in 2007 at Middle Tennessee State University, where Daniel and several of his bandmates were enrolled.
Today’s The Last Straw is quite different from that initial group, and the rate of change has only accelerated, thanks to Graumlich.
As they continue to work on “This Is,” an EP due out this fall, Daniel said the band’s sound has completely evolved after putting together just three songs with the new lineup.
“It sounds like years of difference,” he said. “The maturity of the group overall over the last four months has been impressive to me.
“We don’t have to show off all our guitar licks and impress people; the simplicity and maturity of what we’re doing speaks for itself. No more flair is needed because these are such good songs.”
The band’s hard-driving, yet soulful, approach is a result of collective influences ranging from down-and-dirty Southern greats such as The Allman Brothers and classic rockers such as The Rolling Stones to modern alt- and indie rock outfits such as Foo Fighters and My Morning Jacket.
It all goes into the melting pot, but the resulting mix is all original, Daniel said.
“It’s kind of all over the board, and that’s the beauty of The Last Straw,” Daniel said. “We all have different influences and are collectively able to put it together. That’s what makes The Last Straw what it is.”
Casey Phillips has worked as a features reporter in the Life department since May 2007. He writes about entertainment, young adults, technology and people of interest. Casey hails from Knoxville and earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism and a bachelor of arts in German. He previously worked as the features editor for Sidelines at Middle Tennessee State University. Casey received the East Tennessee Society of Professional Journalists Award of Excellence for Reviewing/Criticism in ...