Self-proclaimed “punk rock hillbillies” carve their own niche

Standing room only punk shows can sometimes resemble a pit fight. But Puttin’ on the Foil’s signature mix of good time country vibes and punk rock intensity make their shows feel more like a Stampede after-party.

Since forming three years ago, the group has been working hard perfecting an impressive library of covers and originals that singer Kevin Rowland says they aim to play every weekend. In 2013, they released their first studio album, Sing Along Drinkin’ Songs – a title encapsulating the band’s style.

They are party animals through and through. The warning label on their album reads: listening to this recording may cause sudden urges to have a good time should be taken seriously.

Jordan Stubbs, drummer for Puttin’ on the Foil, said he never learned to party until he met up with the band.

“Some of my friends say being in the band corrupted me. I think these guys just really know how to have a good time,” he said.

“If I can’t drink with a guy, I can’t play with a guy!” singer Kevin Rowland said. “Our music is all about celebrating life and having a good time.”

The atmosphere at the band’s Nov. 20th concert at the Nite Owl was fundamentally true to that message. Throughout the show, Rowland could be heard sharing his big belly laugh with audience members. At one point, he even helped keep the party going by jumping on stage to assist with another band’s near disastrous guitar problem.Frontman Kevin Rowland takes time between most songs to impart some of his worldy wisdom on the crowd.

Photo by Jodi Brak

And when it came time for Puttin’ on the Foil to take the stage, they had the crowd dancing and singing along. The simplicity of their lyrics led the crowd to chant back the chorus lines to a good number of the band’s songs.

“It’s all about keeping it simple,” Rowland said, “Our album is Called Sing-a-long Drinkin’ Songs for a reason.”

Matt Blais, a first time listener who was in the crowd at the Nov. 20th show, said the band really surprised him.

“I didn’t know what to expect at a punk show when these three hillbilly guys got up behind the microphones,” he said.

“But once they started playing everyone started dancing and having a great time. I’ve never even heard of these guys but even I was singing along.”

The fun, catchy lyrics of their songs are just part of the equation. Rather than hammering away in minor keys like many punk bands, Puttin’ on the Foil’s sound is decidedly major, with a fair amount of smooth melodies thrown in to balance out the frantic pacing.Kevin Rowland leads the crowd along in one last chorus line from their song ‘Drunk & Stupid’.

Photo by Jodi Brak

“Our sound is a fusion of all the music I grew up on,” Rowland said, “that’s everything from classic rock to country to Mötley Crüe and we try to pack it all in there.”

The group hit the studio Dec. 1st to start the recording of their second studio album, Liquor, Guns and BBQ, and Rowland says fans will be in store for a more polished sound.

“You could say we’re trying to clean ourselves up,” drummer Jordan Stubbs said with a smirk on his face.”

“A lot of people really like our lyrics because they’re sort of fun and dirty and honest, but I guess some people thought they were too honest or something,” Rowland said.

“So for this next album it might not be so in your face.”

jbrak@cjournal.ca