From the village of Makanda in extreme southern Illinois, in a little hollow called Vulture Valley, comes a “caustic acoustic cacophony” known as the Woodbox Gang. They have skillfully combined the roots music styles of Americana, bluegrass, delta blues, outlaw country, & rockabilly with the aggressive delivery of punk rock to create their own style of music to which they have given the name “Trashcan Americana”. The band is known for their dark poetic lyrics and their use of various conventional and non-conventional instrumentation to create sonic landscapes specifically tailored to the mood and theme of each composition. The songwriting team of Hugh DeNeal and Alex Kirt have lead the Woodbox Gang through many musical transformations, while remaining true to their one of a kind sound. The group has performed nationwide since the year 2000. Highlights include performances at the JFK Center for Performing Arts, Wakarusa, Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Appalachain Uprising, and countless festivals, theaters, and other venues across the country. Alternative country icon Jason Ringenberg (Jason and the Scorchers) has been quoted in several interviews citing the Woodbox Gang as one of his favorite new bands. The Gang joined forces with Mr. Ringenberg for a track on his latest album “Best Tracks and Side Tracks”. The band composed a new arrangement for Ringenberg’s classic hit “Broken Whiskey Glass”.
The Woodbox Gang’s influences are as diverse as the music which they perform. The group admires those artists who “do their own thing, regardless of what anyone else may or may not be doing.” The band’s multi-instrumentalist Alex Kirt says “We are influenced by everything we’ve heard, whether it’s a symphony orchestra or a push rod knockin’ in an old 350 engine.” This idea can be heard on any one of the group’s 5 albums on which they’ve used traditional guitar, mandolin, lap steel, banjo, fiddle, and bass combined with didjeridoos, kazoos, sawblades, gutbuckets, crowbars, ashtrays, and rusty gasoline cans to add brilliant audio hues their musical palette.
The Woodbox Gang found a home for their albums with the indie label Alternative Tentacles, a label which was founded by one of the band’s punk rock heros, the original legendary frontman of the Dead Kennedy’s, Mr. Jello Biafra. Gang member Kirt states “They’re the only label daring enough to release our albums. I think that they honestly believe in our non-conformist methods of making music.”
Hugh DeNeal: Vocals, acoustic guitar
Alex Kirt: Vocals, mandolin, washboard, suitcase drum, banjo, slide guitar, harmonica, kazoo, didgeridoo, musical saw
Dan Goett: Vocals, Banjo, Mandolin, Dobro, guitar, slide guitar
Greg Edwards: Bass, baritone horn
“…the Woodbox Gang remains lurking in the hollows of Southern Illinois, a rare find among the ruins of rural America.”
–Jeff Biggers, No Depression
“When the side-splitting humor wears off and you’re stuck with the acute awareness that this band is tottering on the verge of genius, then you won’t think it’s so funny.”
–Tom Irwin, Illinois Times
“It is the jug flat tire band whose power is good as though it is the mischievous raging horse!”
—Hi Fi Record Store in Japan