The Menders Make Molly’s Year-End List
‘Unbreakable’ Official Video
The Menders are a raw and folky garage band hailing from Gastonia, NC. They have a solid album under their belt, a tour late January, and a soon-to-be-released album. After a few jam sessions between Jesse Watson, Jonny Boswell and a former banjo player, Shawn Sutton, they formed a band. Starting out as a three-piece folk-rock group, Watson and Boswell both saw something big on the horizon. Currently unsigned, they have produced the most polished folk-rock that I’ve heard. I only recently discovered them, but consider me a fan.
The band has grown to five members including Wes Forbus, Scott Lowder, Gavin Glover and the aforementioned Watson and Boswell. The most recent album, self-titled, features nine tracks, all polished just enough to showcase the raw edges of The Menders. This album is available through multiple websites: GooglePlay, Amazon, CD Baby and iTunes.
Anyone familiar with the cities surrounding Charlotte, know that there tends to be a stigma against the more rural locales. The Menders embrace the local venues of Gastonia, and are thriving in a scene which I was unaware of. “I would urge folks to come out to local shows, support the venues and bands, and really help to make the music scene thrive. It’s been amazing to see how far it’s come in the last couple of years (…) and to see so many talented musicians come out of the woodwork,” said Lowder.
“We love Gastonia. It’s treated us very well and (there is) cooperation of artists, musicians, and downtown merchants,” said Forbus. Lowder added “It’s starting to really (draw) a crowd. Freeman’s Pub is one of our favorite places to play, just because of the down-home atmosphere there.” They are playing at Freeman’s on New Year’s Eve.
I asked them some unorthodox questions to learn more about the band. I asked them what drink would go best with them, if the band were a meal. They seemed to agree that egg nog was a good choice, with a stout beer or whiskey as close seconds. I can certainly agree with this. Songs like Long Way Down from ‘The Menders’ is an album so full of sound, and has such a thick atmosphere. The bass fills you up, and the vocals get you heated, just like a cup of hard nog after dinner.
I went on to ask them if each member were an ingredient in a burrito, what they would be. Forbus is the cheese, Lowder is bacon flavored hot sauce, Glover is the chicken/beef, Watson is queso and the rest of the band agreed Boswell was jalapeños. To explain this relationship, you only need to listen to their music. Like in any burrito, some ingredients are loud, while others round off the flavor profile. No matter the ratio of ingredients, every song exemplifies a mastery of mixing levels and musical fullness. “Everyone has come into the band very organically,” says Watson, “nothing was forced.”
All of the music is recorded in-house, literally. Lowder provides both expertise and location for mastering the tracks with Glover. Lowder wasn’t even a part of the band yet when he mastered the album, “they gave me full confidence and trusted me with the process, which helped us to create a great environment for the creative process. I think we all had some great ideas, and really tried to get the most out of these songs (…) meticulously combing through each track. (…) It was really a great experience.”
We went on to talk about their upcoming album, and what to expect, “we have two sides to our band: the hard rockin’ one, and the more scaled back acoustic-folk. This will be more of the acoustic variety, really focusing on the songwriting and storytelling of each song. No title yet.” Watson said.
The Menders are a solid band and a family. During our interview, they showed so much appreciation for one another that you could bottle it and use it in coffee. It was refreshing to meet a band which not only had so much chemistry, but showed that chemistry through their music. They are certainly not taking their talent or success for granted:
“I would just say a heartfelt thank you to all the friends, family, and fans, (especially our wives) who have supported us and our music. It means so much to us on every level,” said Watson.
“We’ve been really blessed to be able to be a part of the Charlotte/Gastonia music scene and play with some great bands at wonderful venues. Our goal is to keep doing what we do, keep creating (and building) a community of musicians, and having a hell of a good time along the way!” added Forbus.
You can catch them at Freeman’s Pub on New Year’s Eve, and again on Friday January 16. After that they kick off their tour with Sinners & Saints on Tuesday January 27 at the Tattooed Moose in Charleston. During their tour they’ll span South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. More event listings are here.