As a musical child of the 1960s, I grew up with the neighborhood garage rock band as the symbol of decentralized, independent music. These days, a group of young guys and gals who want to create original music are as likely to pick up banjos and mandolins as they are guitar, bass and drums. Their music may not be informed by Monroe, Flatt & Scruggs or the Stanleys, but to a very large audience of young acoustic music lovers, the sound would be categorized as bluegrass.
We found another such group this week in upstate New York, with the mildly profane and potentially unsettling name of Eastbound Jesus. But guitarist Zack Infante tells us that the name isn’t meant to shock or offend.
“We went a month or two without a band name, then one night at practice our bass player was talking about being in ‘East Jesus,’ as in ‘the middle of nowhere.’ Conversation then somehow turned to the image of a modern-day Jesus, hitchhiking in a t-shirt and blue jeans, headed east. We thought Eastbound Jesus would be a pretty cool name for the band, and a few weeks later we all firmly decided on that.
It is an attention grabber, people are always asking us questions about it. It doesn’t really mean anything though.”
In true garage band fashion, the group was created when four friends just starting to play got together to jam and write songs. Infante was joined by Adam Brockway on guitar, Dave Wright on bass, Carl Anderson on drums, and Luke Anderson on banjo. Dylan Robinson has now joined them on electric guitar, and their second album, Holy Smokes, has recently been released.
The songs and presentation owe much to the alt-acoustic, jam grass scene that exists alongside but separate from the bluegrass circuit, as you can see and hear in this video created to highlight the new album.
They also have a music video for the song Ghost Town from their earlier album, Greatest Hits.
More details about Eastbound Jesus can be found on the band web site.