Country-fried rawk quartet Girl Haggard have already achieved the goals founder Aaron Jaehnig drafted up when the bigman bassist and bartender-about-town formed the band with Hendersonville, Tennessee native Mandy Allan back in January:
"We're just out to have fun wherever we play," Jaehnig told me earlier this week. "We're not taking ourselves all that seriously and I think people sense that. Drinking whiskey and beer and playing good rock and roll music isn't all that difficult, and people seem to dig it.
"I really put the band together as something to do to occupy my time after the Living Room closed," Jaehnig said, who has tended bar at just about every watering hole in Providence over the years. "Well, occupy my time as in something other than drinking and wondering if I was actually going to have to get a real job. When we started I don't think any of us even intended on actually playing shows."
As if Girl Haggard needed any more adrenaline pumped into their live set, they just recruited none other than '09 Best Music Poll "Category-Defying" dude Adam Theroux, better known as Hank Sinatra, Jr. (f/k/a Bi-Anal Ham Sandwich), who will join Allan, Jaehnig, and drummer John Hunter. Seems like a perfect fit — Girl Haggard was runner-up in the same BMP category.
"I spin ballads and love songs at Talk of the Town every Monday night and Aaron works the bar there, and we just started talking about it one night," Theroux recalled. "We met at the bar, we play bars, and write songs about drinking. It's that pattern right there that turned me onto this band."
Girl Haggard is what the name implies and more, with Allan's genuine twang 'n' drawl gracing ditties like "Providence and Bourbon" and "This Train Is Bound for Glory," both to appear on the Country and Eastern EP in early '10. The band hits Jaehnig's studio next month, the hallowed recording spot the Parlour, which spawned pioneer sounds from Six Finger Satellite, Landed, and Arab On Radar. Country and Eastern will also include country-punk party numbers "E and O," "Thinkin' about Drinkin'," " '56 Ford," "Hungover (Pissed Off)," and "11 Days," songs the band have sharpened during recent live shows (a handful of YouTube clips are up at MySpace.com/GirlHaggard).
Jaehnig is onfident about the band's efforts, having earned the respect of local peers since their first show with Brokedown Serenade at the Grant Building in February. "It's wild to look back at that now because we had only started jamming together about six weeks before," Jaehnig said. "And our second show was a couple weeks later at Lupo's with Sasquatch and the Sick-a-Billys and the Midnight Creeps.
"Opening for David Allan Coe at Lupo's was a lot of fun for me," Jaehnig said. "I got into some interesting banter with some intoxicated patrons who I imagine still aren't aware that the Civil War is over."
Girl Haggard have plugged in to just about every PA in Providence, and Jaehnig calls bullshit on bands who claim there's nowhere to play. "Bands will always find a place to play and some bands will always find a reason to complain, and those are usually the ones that can't seem to get anyone to show up to see them," he said. "If not the Living Room or the Safari Lounge or Babyhead, bands can now play Jerky's or a VFW hall or a warehouse space. Places like the Penalty Box and Club 201 are doing a lot to keep local live music accessible.
"This town has always appreciated roots music and good old-fashioned rock and roll. And as more and more people embrace synthesizer-driven pop acts and mash up DJs, more and more people will be driven back to roots music and the simple charm of rock and roll and country music."