Up Close with Worcester’s Hot Band The Ten Foot Polecats
Saturday, September 07, 2013
The Ten Foot Polecats, a band that is based in both Worcester and Boston but tours nationwide, perform music that is next to nothing like anything you have ever heard before. That is a guarantee.
They take roots music, bluegrass and country, and even add in some punk rock, and fuse it together with their core passion, something they like to call North Mississippi Hill Country Blues. Mississippi Blues has existed since the 1800s but this is certainly a new twist on the tradition. They describe their music as kind of a "controlled improv style."
The music has a particular "trance" that just swallows you in but, at the same time, the band can take you anywhere within a song.
And their career in general is the exact same way, yet magnified. They can take it anywhere.
A Continuing Evolution
The three-piece band continues to evolve and is constantly influenced by the variety of other acts they see on their country-wide tours. They've been on bills with artists ranging from the hardcore punk band Black Flag to multi-talented blues legend Otis Taylor.
"Our line-up leads us to taking an unorthodox direction, which I think is good as that sparks creativity," says Jim Chilson, guitarist for the band.
The rest of the line-up consists of Jay Scheffler on vocals and harp and Chad Rousseau on drums, and they've already achieved great success together.
They have been scheduled to play six festivals this year and two of their songs have even picked by a History Channel show (the details of that are still being worked out). They've also recently received a sponsorship from an instrumental cable company.
"Just looking to grow a little bit, or if we are lucky - a lot, every year," says Chilson.
"Basically we want every year to progress from the previous year whether it be on the stage or off."
Next year it looks like they are going to tour Europe for the first time and play some places in the United States that they haven't played before.
"We hope to hit new challenges every year and help progress the band," remarks the guitarist.
But, despite their success, the band does not forget the area they come from.
"I have always loved Worcester as there are a lot of creative people that reside in the city. Whether it be artists, musicians, writers, radio dj's, it feels like family and the people and venues are very supportive," says Chilson.
Their Recent Album and Big Plans for the Future
This past year, the band released its second studio LP, Undertow, with the label Hillgrass Bluebilly Records out of Austin, Texas, and toured the Eastern United States in support of the album.
"This album is a complete original composition that has evolved from playing many tours with various artists and helped shape our sound. Some songs you can hear us dip into bluegrass and country while still hearing the North Mississippi Hill Country grooves in the songs."
It indeed shows a great amount of maturation since the first album they released in 2010, I Get Blamed For Everything I Do, also on Hillgrass Bluebilly Records, and their 2007 debut EP called Sterno Soup.
"What makes it special for me is the interactions between musician and other bands' members and then band to audience," concludes the guitarist, explaining his continuing love for the craft of music.
All are welcome to take part in this special interaction, and indeed many already have.
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