By Nicholas Jason Lopez
It wasn’t too long ago when Portland, Ore.-based outfit Bridge City Sinners announced their upcoming album ‘Unholy Hymns,’ slated for release on Aug. 13, 2021 via SBÄM Records and their own self-founded label Flail Records.
They’ve promised to take acoustic music in a darker direction, with a lineup of fiddle, banjo, upright bass, guitar and banjolele. “Pick Your Poison” recently emerged as the first single from ‘Unholy Hymns,’ which will be split into two distinctly different halves, the playful folk/jazz ‘Book I’ and the terrorizing ‘Book II.’
Over time, Bridge City Sinners have played festivals like the Bluegrass String Summit, Punk Rock Bowling and Muddy Roots.
The Music Bugle had the chance to to speak with members Michael and Scott about ‘Unholy Hymns’ and more.
Music Bugle – How did you guys decide the band name?
Michael – Oh boy, that was a long and arduous process. Basically, it was the only one that nobody was adamantly against. We almost called the band “Mama And The Boys”….
Music Bugle – What do you attribute your success to?
Scott – Not 100 percent sure, but it helps that you can do everything DIY these days, how you want to do it. Not so many gatekeepers of music, as I’m not sure the music industry would have given us a chance.
Music Bugle – What excites you the most about your style of music?
Michael – It’s the worst and the best part. Someone always asks, “What kind of music do you play?” and I have to be like, “Well, it’s got banjos, but you can’t call it folk music, really. Like, scary banjo music, I guess?” The exciting part is really being somewhere in between, ’cause it’s fun putting a new style of music into the world, even though plenty of our friends are. (Laughs)
Music Bugle – What were your goals for your new album?
Michael – Scare the pants off little kids. We all collaborate in an interesting way, so it’s hard to say if the new album has any one thematic direction or goal. I’m pretty sure we all just want to make something badass that we like and that hopefully everyone else likes.
Music Bugle – Does social media help or hurt musicians?
Michael – Okay, so what contributed to our success is social media. I don’t understand how it could possibly hurt musicians if your goal is to get your music out there. I guess if you’re not a meme lord, you probably won’t gather a following, but if you ain’t funny, why are you trying to make music, bro? In all honesty, if you’re trying to get your music out there, social media is a part of it.
Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Michael – I think this one is pretty obvious. Lost about 100 tour dates overnight, which hurt, but it was a nice break to get to spend time with our families and sit down and actually write an album instead of just showing up for a week and recording whatever we had.
Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?
Michael – Oh boy, I love this part. This is the “plug your friends” section, so sorry if I miss anyone. Tejon Street Corner Thieves just dropped a new album, Amigo The Devil just dropped new music, Window Smashing Job Creators are the best band to sing along to in the car, everything on Flail Records is clearly the dopest music on the planet. Basically, look up “Flying Freight Train Alliances” on Spotify and follow all their playlists, ’cause that’s what we love most, our friends.
Music Bugle – What was your most memorable moment while at a show?
Michael – I don’t know if I can speak for everyone here, but it’s safe to say that watching little kids at all-age shows sing along to songs you wrote is a pretty amazing moment.
Music Bugle – What’s something that you wish happened less in today’s music industry?
Michael – For me, I like to focus on the music. I personally am not a big fan of the industry side of it. Scott and Clyde handle that stuff, but I usually try and stay out of it. There’s a lot of grinding away and fruitless tasks and it’s a thankless job, so big thanks to Scott, Clyde and super duper Jay Crash, that take care of all the behind-the-scenes work.
Music Bugle – What do you hope for from the rest of 2021?
Michael – Sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, baby! We definitely all want live shows again. Like, super bad. Can’t wait to be back on the road.