by Robert Bell
State Champion’s sound has been described as “garage country.” This doesn’t explain much and anything other than sitting down and giving them a good listen won’t really help you get a good idea of their sound.
Imagine a blend of Whiskeytown and Dinosaur Jr. Singer and songwriter Ryan Davis is the driving force behind the band and has been playing in various groups around Louisville, Ken.since his teens. Fiddle player Sabrina Rush, bassist Mikie Polland, and drummer Sal Cassato round out the ensemble.
Their first proper record, "Stale Champagne," was released in 2010 and has developed a bit of a cult following. Davis’s lyrics can be hard to digest on first pass, but reward a patient listener. "Stale Champagne" was followed with 2011’s "Deep Shit," which displays the band’s stellar musicianship. The album’s first track, "No Babies," features Rush’s scorching fiddle play backed by a pounding rhythm section, creating a darker tone not found on their previous work. A true DIY outfit, State Champ records and produces their own records, putting them out on Davis’ own label, Sophomore Lounge.
Also on the bill is Chicago’s Animal City. The band offers something for everyone from classic rock 'n' roll, punk, power pop and even soul. Their albums are about as unpredictable and varied as Arkansas weather.
Andy Warr will open the night will a solo acoustic set. The show starts at 9:30 p.m. at White Water Tavern.
Check out a video of State Champion playing a house show from their 2010 stop in Little Rock.
— Andrew Vess