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Saturday, October 2 • 10:00pm - 10:30pm
The Apache Relay

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The Apache Relay take more long car rides than most bands. But only a portion of their car time is dedicated to their touring schedule -- the rest is something like driving in the middle of the night from Nashville to Alabama and back, just to listen to a new record 12 consecutive times. Despite their wagon’s sketchy brakes, this happens a lot. It’s where the indie-roots band discovered a shared love for the timelessness of Motown records, the weight of the Raising Sand album, the textures of modern rock bands, as well as the intensity of a really skilled acoustic player.

It’s also where they cemented their bond, spontaneously forming the band after one gig at Belmont University. Just a few months later they enlisted producer Doug Williams, best known for his authentically raw approach with the Avett Brothers. Under their original name, Michael Ford Jr. & The Apache Relay, they tracked their debut 1988 live -- applying their musicianship to an eclectic and textured array of pop-influenced original songs with guests Jessica Lea Mayfield, Joe Kwon and Byron House. Paste Magazine named 1988 an “Auspicious Debut of 2009,” and highlighted the band as “Best of What’s Next” with, "It’s a spirited collection of songs that shine with hope like light under a doorway."

Ford Jr. found his bandmates by chance in a dorm at Belmont University in Nashville, where he was becoming known for his soulful folk-rock songs. His first introduction was to guitarist Mike Harris, who circumvented the music school’s practice hour rules to pretty much any time he wanted, rolled his amp into Ford Jr’s room to jam on Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn tunes all night. Later, when he started disliking performing his songs alone, he heard about Harris’ new band, The Apache Relay (named for the underdog race in Ben Stiller’s Heavyweights.) And though Ford Jr. had never heard or met the trio with Brett Moore and Kellen Wenrich -- he hired them to back him at a show, and that was that.

There was something about the musicality that everyone brought to the table that just worked right off the bat. Mixed in is a Bad Brains bumper sticker, a bit of Suzuki training, jazz lessons, a lot of Beatles listening, knowledge of traditional mountain music, a worship of Phil Spector and the love for the complex but accessible layers of bands like the Arcade Fire.

Michael Ford Jr. wrote every song on the album. He has an unvarnished way of presenting the joy of infatuation or the sadness of loss. It’s youthful in a way, in that it grasps of deeper emotions before time starts making them more complex and overwrought.

Now after a year under their belts, the band- with the really long name - are now just known as “The Apache Relay.” With equal parts acoustic and electric, they are gaining following and a buzz on the road for their jumping-up-and-down energetic shows. Even on the acoustic numbers there’s always some head-banging excitement with a mic stand or two getting kicked over, the crowd reacting to the band’s joy of just playing together.



Saturday October 2, 2010 10:00pm - 10:30pm
12th and Porter 114 12th Avenue North, Nashville, TN, 37203

Attendees (54)


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