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2017 High Sierra Music Festival has ended
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Hard Working Americans

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What are Hard Working Americans? We’re a band of friends from all across America. I formed the band because I wanted to be in a band that wanted to be great, whatever that meant. I find our songs and singing. I love songs and singing. For the past 20 years, I’ve been compiling a bag of what I’d call perfect songs, all of them written by my friends, many of whom get pegged as “singer-songwriter” or “Americana.” For the past 10 years or so, I’ve also been hanging out at festivals with a new bunch of friends, many of whom get pegged as being in the “jam band” scene. I’ve been standing in between these two worlds, and thinking that the people in each of them were meant for each other. The songwriters in the Americana world were spending as much time on their poems as the jam bands spend on their tones and their solos. Why not put these things together? Why not combine the best songwriters with the best musicians? I thought maybe young people should do this. But, here’s the rub: None of the young people I’d rant at would listen. So I joined up with Dave Schools of Widespread Panic, Neal Casal of the Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Duane Trucks - who plays with Col. Bruce Hampton) and Chad Staehly of Great American Taxi, and formed the Hard Working Americans. We aren’t a side project. When we’re together, this is our main thing. We mean to do what we’re doing. The other guys in the band told me I was in charge, so I ordered everyone to do exactly what they wanted. They wanted to play. I wanted to sing my friends’ perfect songs. I would never win a singing contest, but I can sing my heart out, and I think that’s what you’re supposed to do. The best way to sing is lost, and it’s easier to get lost in somebody else’s song. It’s harder to get lost in a house you built than in a house somebody else built. Gillian Welch, Kevin Gordon, Kieran Kane, Tommy Womack, Will Kimbrough, Kevn Kinney, Brian Henneman, Hayes Carll and other friends of mine build beautiful houses, where I’ve been lost and wandering for many years. Hard Working Americans? Absolutely, we are. I mean, it says so right there in the band name. And it’s true. Dave, Neal, Duane and Chad put in thousands of hours to eliminate any disconnect between emotion and execution. They play what they feel, the same way my singer-songwriter friends say what they feel. I know we don’t look like poster children for anybody’s political campaign, but we’re all about taking patriotism back for the silly and the absurd, the broken and the bleeding, the subversives and the stoned. Patriotism shouldn’t belong to the rigid structures of the airport security line or the football field. My favorite patriot is Yankee Doodle, and that guy stuck a feather in his cap and called it macaroni. Long, strange trip, indeed. As Hard Working Americans, we like it when people listen to our words, and when people use our music as a tool to get laid. We rock balls, we don’t bust balls. We are on your side and at your service. We want epic songs and virtuoso musicianship to exist in a room together, and we want you in the room. Door’s open.