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  • Writer's pictureMary Ann

New Music Friday Featuring Stillhouse Junkies

Award-winning trio Stillhouse Junkies are gearing up for the release of their album, Small Towns on Sept 9, on Dark Shadow Recording. The 2021 IBMA Momentum Band of the Year and two-time Telluride Bluegrass band contest finalists are comprised of Alissa Wolf, Cody Tinnin, and Fred Kosak. Produced by label head Stephen Mougin, the album showcases their incredible talents and sound that effortlessly blends their electric influences — from Folk to Bluegrass.

Born in a distillery in Durango, CO, 2021 IBMA Momentum Band of the Year and two-time Telluride Bluegrass band contest finalists Stillhouse Junkies play a delirious, head-spinning mixture of original roots, blues, funk, swing, and bluegrass music. With all three band members sharing lead vocal and songwriting duties, the Junkies conjure a wide range of tonal landscapes that pay tribute to the iconic sounds of Gillian Welch, the Allman Brothers, Tim O'Brien, the Wood Brothers, John Hiatt, and countless others while breaking new musical ground with their genre-bending original material. Stillhouse Junkies are proud to be Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival showcase artists and 2020 & 2021 IBMA World of Bluegrass showcase artists.

Thank you for chatting with us. Since every project has a story, what’s the story behind your new album, Small Towns? Small Towns is a collection of songs about the places we’ve all lived, worked, and played music in over the years. We realized at some point that we just naturally gravitated toward small town themes and stories in our songwriting and it seemed like a natural step to try to bring that material together under a single theme. The three of us are from small towns (Lakeville, CT, Page, AZ, and Durango, CO) and this album is in a lot of ways a tribute to our roots as individuals and as a band.

Which song off of your album is the most dear to you and why?This is a tough one because we’ve spent so much time playing all of these songs over the past couple of years it’s almost impossible to choose a single one. We did especially enjoy putting together the epic 7-minute “River of the Lost Souls”, since it required all our skills and musical resources to bring it to life and transports us to a different place whenever we perform it. But in all honesty, each and every one of these songs is dear to us in its own way. There’s no filler on this album, at least in our minds!

You’ve played on a lot of stages with a lot of big artists, including the Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival showcase, is there anyone you've been star struck by?We are always amazed by how accessible the big guns of the bluegrass world are when you run into them backstage. To a person, everyone in the upper echelons of the string band world we’ve met has been incredibly gracious, kind, and supportive of our band. But that doesn’t mean we haven’t been completely tongue-tied meeting Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, and Sara Watkins!

What was the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given about pursuing a career in music?Honestly just that it’s possible to make a life writing and performing music. We all needed to hear that in our own way from someone we looked up to. None of us every seriously considered touring full-time and leaving our day jobs until we got that piece of advice. Also, Becky Buller once told Alissa, “It’s never as bad as you think it is!”. That has been an important reminder after a bad gig or what felt like a huge, obvious mistake in the middle of a set.

At the end of the day, what do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people take away from your songs?We don’t have a specific message we are trying to send through our songs. We want more than anything to create an immersive experience for the listener that transports them somewhere else for a few minutes and lets them lose themselves in vivid imagery and the places, people, and sensations that populate our songs.

Where is your favorite place to eat in your hometown of Durango, CO?We are all big fans of The Ore House, one of the oldest restaurants in town and a truly world-class steakhouse. Our budget doesn’t allow us to eat there very often, but we’ve done a few band dinners there over the years and loved every part of the experience.

Where do you shop and name three items that are always in your grocery cart. Durango is fortunate to have a handful of great local grocery stores, including Sunnyside Meats, Nature’s Oasis, and Durango Natural Foods. Sunnyside sage breakfast sausage is a favorite of Fred’s. Alissa would have to go with organic dark chocolate. And Cody loves sparkling water.

Most memorable meal while touring. Where were you and what did it involve? After 36 straight hours of travel last June, we finally arrived in Westport, Ireland and walked into town for dinner. We randomly stopped into a small, hip-looking restaurant called Cian’s on Bridge Street and were served the best fish and chips any of us had every had. Alissa got a cauliflower burger that was mind-blowingly good, too!

What is your favorite childhood cereal? Cody: Cocoa Puffs. Alissa: Cheerios with bananas. Fred: Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

Finally, if you could be sponsored by one food/drink brand who would it be and why? Fred is already sponsored by Durango Craft Spirits, the distillery in downtown Durango where the band got its start and held a weekly residency for nearly 90 shows. Our tour van always has a bottle of Cinder Dick bourbon stashed away for a pre-gig dram (Fred’s the only drinker in the band so it usually lasts a while!).


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