Nashville’s alt-country rockers Teddy and the Rough Riders brought their mellow, psychedelic, Southern rock vibes to the recent Savannah Stopover Festival. If you missed that killer show, or just want to catch them again, they are returning to El-Rocko Lounge on May 24.
Teddy and the Rough Riders have been gigging hard in the crowded Nashville scene for about four years and are garnering a lot of deserved praise and attention. The follow-up to their excellent self-titled double EP in 2017 is “I Found Somethin/Neon Cowboy,” a 7-inch record put out by Jack White’s Third Man Records.
“We’d been talking to Third Man for a while because they’re good friends and they put on a bunch of shows in town,” said bassist and vocalist Ryan Jennings. “We’re friends with some of their engineers and they’d been talking for a while about doing something in the Blue Room where we would just set up on the ground and use all of their live tracking machines, but treat it more like a studio as we do — treat it more like a live take of songs.”
The Blue Room is Third Man’s live music venue that features direct to acetate recording capabilities.
“Before we had any sort of deal solidified, we went in there to record,” Jennings continued. “We just went in there to record some songs using their nice, million dollar machines. We ended up pitching them two of those songs and they were interested to put them out. It kind of came naturally, but we also kind of swooped our way in.”
Teddy and the Rough Riders began as a three piece with Jennings, Jack Quiggins (guitar/vocals) and Nick Swafford (drums), but quickly added pedal steel player Luke Schneider for that sweet, twangy, honkey-tonk bar atmosphere.
“We write songs for pedal steel, and he plays a really unique style of pedal steel, so it’s been really great to have,” Jennings said. “But that’s what we do; we write pedal steel songs. It’s always been a good goal.”
Although they are ostensibly a country band, you can hear many influences in Teddy and the Rough Riders’ songs including elements of The Grateful Dead, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and The Byrds.
“Because I write half and Jack writes half I think I lean a little more onto the fringe of country stuff, like I’m really into The Band; I think I write more in that style,” Jennings explained. “Jack has a little more straight country look at it… I think we always at least aim it to be country directed, to have some kind of Southern rock sound in some way.
“I grew up in town playing in the more experimental side,” he added. “I played with metal bands or rock bands, so with this it’s been interesting to be a part of the rise of some modern youthful country thing and it’s a huge honor to be a part of it.”
Teddy and the Rough Riders may only have a few short releases, but they have an album in the can that they want to put out this summer and another batch of material they just completed recording with rising country star Margo Price as producer.
“I don’t want to disappoint, but we play a lot of new songs that we’ve been working on,” Jennings said with a laugh. “Other than that, expect a good country-rock show for alt-country fans.”