Wrinkle Neck Mules
Chase plays banjo and guitar and contributes vocals and songwriting to the Wrinkle Neck Mules. What the hell is a Wrinkle Neck Mule? A sophomoric phallic reference? Too easy. A pack animal used in the Sierra Madre mountains of Mexico to transport opium to America in the early 1900's? History Channel worthy, but wrong. A band of five from Richmond, Virginia carrying indie-rockish country music about the land? Eureka. Daily double.
Andy Stepanian - Vocal, Guitar, Mandolin
Mason Brent - Vocal, Guitar, Mandolin, Pedal Steel
Chase Heard - Vocal, Guitar, Banjo
Stuart Gunter - Drums
Brian Gregory - Bass
From Blue Rose Records:
...the perfect synthesis of classic, early 70's country rock and everything filed under Americana/No Depression/Alt.Country these days. A band that's out to prove that stylistically conventional music does not need to sound dated and that the current scene would be lost without its fore bearers. A band that doesn't polarize but brings together college kids, cosmic cowboys and beer-drinking country lovers of all ages, more so with every record.
First traces of Wrinkle Neck Mules were found in 2000 when a handful of friends between Charlottesville and Richmond began adding bass and drums to guitars, banjos, mandolins and pedal steels and bluegrass-inspired, multi-part harmony vocals. Their debut album Minor Enough from 2003 demonstrated the band's class and professionalism. In 2004/2005 the Mules consolidated their line up and toured all over - from the Southeast to Colorado, from Texas to Scotland - and accumulated an ever-growing fan base. With producer Chris Kress's (Dave Matthews Band) help they released Pull The Brake, their second, more mature studio album, in 2006. Album track "Lowlight" - a duet with Bonnie "Prince" Billy (aka Will Oldham) soon gained cult status among indie music lovers.
In 2007, the Wrinkle Neck Mules became an important and integral part of the Blue Rose roster. The Wicks Have Met catipulted the band to the roots rock major leagues. With the versatility of three lead singers, a mix of acoustic and electric instruments including pedal steel, banjo, mandolin, and first-class material ranging stylistically from Pop to Son Volt, Ozark Mountain Daredevils to Drive-by Truckers, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band to Long Ryders, the Mules became a reference point of their own. In the fall of 2009 Let The Lead Fly followed - a worthy successor on every level - and gained rave reviews and high chart positions in all kinds of Americana charts the whole world over.
In all this time, the core band has stayed stable. Founding members Chase Heard (guitar, banjo), Andy Stepanian (guitar, keyboards) and Mason Brent (guitar, mandolin, pedal steel) are the band's creative leaders in charge of songwriting, instrumental finesse and lead vocals - with Stepanian's gravelly voice making him the primus inter pares. The rhythm section with bassist Brian Gregory and drummer Stuart Gunter completes the five-piece line up and contributes to the multi-layered harmonies. The production of Apprentice to Ghosts turned the band's limited budget into a plus: Eleven of the album's twelve tracks were recorded in five days, mostly live, in a small studio in Ruckersville, Virginia. With very little in the way of overdubs and Chris Kress once more on the console, the album boasts a rough, spontaneous, direct in-your-face sound.
Learn more about the Mules here: