The long state of Florida holds nothing but inspiration for the five members of the Americana band Mylo Ranger. From their southeast home in Delray Beach to the shores of Pensacola to forgotten spots in between, the band has found fuel for their country-tinged rock sprinkled throughout this beautifully weird state.
“We were driving back from playing a CD release party in Pensacola," drummer Jason Hester remembers. “We were flipping around the radio and heard the most amazing bluegrass song. We were stunned. The playing was so beautiful we were waiting to hear what it was. It was a random Christian station in the tiny town of Sneads. We never found out who they were, but it was beautiful.”
While Mylo Ranger’s second album The Sawgrass Shivers might not be described as beautiful in the conventional sense, it is an undeniably raucous good time that will have you stomping both feet and wishing you had a third. Each member of the quintet gets their chance to write and sing lead vocals on at least one tune. Hester’s moment in front of the mic comes on a track called “The Ballad of Besos Borrachos."
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For Hester, the song's origins are personal. “I met a girl I really liked,” he says. “And I had the impression that she was about to go away, so the song is me screaming, ‘Don’t go!’” Hester picks up the guitar when Mylo Ranger plays that song, leaving his usual post behind the drums. Lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist, Myles Patrick, usually picks up the slack. “Right now Myles Patrick is the only one brave enough to take the drums, but others are building up the courage.”
Patrick’s lyrical contribution to the album is a song called, “The Sawgrass Shivers.” The tune is about an eerie childhood experience Patrick remembers during an Everglades fire when he had ashes raining down on him. Though the Sunshine State is their muse, Hester says there are three life experiences that forge the band's songs: hard work, living in the middle of nowhere, and heartache. Those qualities, he says, ooze out in Mylo Ranger's concerts.
“We’re not photogenic, so we focus on the music we write,” Hester says. He promises audiences can expect a heartfelt showing at Mylo Ranger's two upcoming shows on May 28 at Respectable Street and May 29 at Poorhouse. “We can do without any band photo shoots. We’ll be happy just to concentrate on the music we write.”
Mylo Ranger. 11 p.m. Thursday, May 28, at Respectable Street, 518 Clematis Street, West Palm Beach. Call 561-832-9999 or visit sub-culture.org. No cover.
Mylo Ranger. 11:30 p.m. Friday, May 29, at Poorhouse, 110 SW 3rd Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-522-5145 or visit poorhousebar.com. No cover.