After a few months in the shadows, Jake Fleslschil, Marty Gray, Aaron McCallister and Johnny Davidson, more commonly known as Tractor Kings, are back on the CU scene with their folksy Bob Dylan-esque sound. With a new August-release album in the works, some upcoming shows at Canopy Club and Highdive, and a scheduled performance at Pygmalion this September, we here at buzz thought it was about time we catch up with the group and their new directions.
buzz: You started Tractor Kings in 1998. How do you feel the sound has grown over the years?
Tractor Kings (Jake Fleslschil): We’ve been working really hard for the past couple years with this lineup — getting together and making practice a priority — and just working on the songs, talking about them and making sure we are all on the same page. The communication probably wasn’t as strong as it is now between the members. We’ve been trying to work on new material, different sounds and different ways of songwriting.
buzz: You guys are coming out with a new album soon, entitled Homesick. Did you guys try to do something different with the album or did you stick to what worked before?
Tractor Kings: Some of the tracks are a lot harder, heavier. It’s not as dramatic of a change as from the last one, but our first album definitely had a signature sound to it. On the new one, we are going for a bigger sound. There is a lot of instrumentation, effects, delayed reverb and drums with a lot of microphones.
buzz: The Tractor Kings have scheduled a few live shows, among them the Highdive this Friday. What do you think live music brings to the area that DJ spinning doesn’t?
Tractor Kings: When you go to see shows, it makes you want to be a musician, to get up there and play. That’s where your influence comes from, seeing someone up there and saying to yourself, “Oh yeah, I can do that.”
buzz: Are there any plans for more shows in the area?
Tractor Kings: We always have shows. We usually play about twice a month in town. With the album coming out, we are going to go up to Chicago, having a CD release party there. We’re going to be doing some touring along the Mississippi River, from about Minneapolis to New Orleans.
buzz: The band is scheduled to play at Pygmalion this year. Any big plans for the show?
Tractor Kings: That’s all still in the works, but we’re definitely looking forward to it.

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