Trail Mix – Breaking Ground With Richmond’s Wrinkle Neck Mules

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Fifteen years and six records later, the Wrinkle Neck Mules are still hard at it.

Abstruse.

I consider myself a man of many words, but I came across that word for the first time in my 42 years just last week. I was wandering around the internet, checking out what other folks had to say about I Never Thought It Would Go This Far, the new release from Richmond’s Wrinkle Neck Mules. A writer used abstruse to describe one of the tracks from the record and I had no idea what he meant.

After consulting Webster, I learned that abstruse means “esoteric” or “complex.” Having spun the new record many times over the last couple weeks, I don’t know if I am buying into that just yet. Maybe it is just too fancy a word. Maybe I haven’t dug deep enough yet. I don’t know.

What I do know is that I Never Thought It Would Go This Far is an alt-country gem. The Wrinkle Neck Mules, now fifteen years into their career as a band, crank out lyrically rich, twang-laden roots rock tunes drenched in gravely vocals and crunchy guitar.

There is nothing abstruse about that.

I recently caught up with Andy Stepanian, guitarist and singer for the band, to chat about the new record.

BRO – You guys have been doing this for over fifteen years. Considering the title of your new record, did you think it would go this far?

AS – Although the album’s title isn’t solely a reference to longevity, I’d say we certainly never thought this would last 15+ years at the outset. We probably wouldn’t have named ourselves “Wrinkle Neck Mules” if we did. I don’t think any of us thought we would be using those three words in that order for so long.

BRO – You had a tune, “Central Daylight Time,” featured recently in a Geico commercial. What did that mean to the band?

AS – Ironically, it gave us a lot of credibility. One would think that one of your songs being on a television commercial would do quite the opposite, but, for a lot of folks, it actually took that for them to feel like we were legit. You also get paid for this privilege, which is mighty nice.

BRO – We are featuring “Heaven’s High” on this month’s Trail Mix. What’s the story behind the song?

AS – In essence, it’s a song about relief and how unburdening the feeling of being relieved can be. Like nearly all of our songs, it’s a pretty non-linear narrative and open for the listener to interpret, but underlying it all is something fairly heavy and scary that turned out not to be so. Don’t be alarmed, though, as it’s a pretty upbeat song.

BRO – You guys recently shot a video for “Whistlers & Sparklers.” If you could debut the video on MTV, which old school veejay would bring it on?

AS – Probably Doctor Dre and Ed Lover from Yo! MTV Raps.

The Wrinkle Neck Mules just came off of a run of shows supporting the release of I Never Thought It Would Go This Far. It looks like the band is taking it easy in March, but fans can catch them in Atlanta, Charleston (SC), Wilmington (NC), and Vienna and Charlottesville (VA) in early April.

Be sure to check out “Heaven’s High” on this month’s Trail Mix. And for more information on tour dates and how you can get a copy of the new record, please check out the band’s website.

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