The musical creations that TruckerBomb produces take a dash of dive-bar grunge and fuses it with the up-tempo swing of honky-tonk. Los Angeles isn't typically known as a hub for the genre of Country-Rock, but that doesn't stop TruckerBomb from giving it their all.
The band's second and most recent single, "Mobridge, South Dakota," features songwriter Troy Richardson on lead vocals, bass, and acoustic guitar, with TruckerBomb band members Michael Berthold on guitar and Dave Rodway on drums. Accompanying TruckerBomb on the recording, we are graced with Mike "Slo-Mo" Brenner on pedal steel and Fernando Perdomo on the B3 organ.
In the depths of this guitar rich, emotionally mid-tempo ambiance that is set out in the arrangement of "Mobridge, South Dakota," we hear the intricate songwriting skills that pour from Troy Richardson. As one characteristically known for his ability to twist a phrase by permeating both sarcasm and comicality that match up to the equal weight distributed on his reach for thoughtful observations, we can hear a 'not all is blue skies' approach in the written content performed with a burning passion.
Throughout the tale depicted, we hear that the narrator is in a small town, watching the world pass around him. Allowing the listener to feel like that character could be any one of us, at any place on this Earth, is the type of universal sentimentality that allows a Troy Richardson record to stand out above the rest. Shifting seamlessly in the music to present infectious grooves at a slower pace has us fixated on the moments that we should appreciate the finer things in life. TruckerBomb's dynamism has us swaying effortlessly to the creations they put forth. With their conveyance of tantalizing instrumentation, paired with wise vocals that tell a tale, this band releases timeless quality content.
Welcome back to BuzzMusic, and congratulations on the release of your latest single, “Mobridge, South Dakota.” How did the inspiration strike for the songwriting component of this record?
Mobridge is a town where I spent a lot of summers as a kid. My great-grandma lived there. Coming from Minneapolis, it was like the wild west. People wore cowboy hats and Wrangler jeans without fear, and there was a big rodeo around the 4th of July. I was thinking about the town and just got fascinated by the sound of the two syllables and four syllables together. The names of the city and state make a sort of call and response in just three words. I always wanted to write a great story song, like "Pancho and Lefty" by Townes Van Zandt or “El Paso” by Marty Robbins. I looked up Mobridge, searching for an interesting news item about anything that happened there, like a bank robbery, kidnapping, or whatever. While I'm sure something of the note must have happened at some point, it didn’t come up very easily. So, I said to myself, “Huh. I guess nothing ever happens in Mobridge, South Dakota.” And that line “nothing ever happens” has a set of three two-syllable words which made a little cadence when combined with that title I had fallen in love with. My story song idea didn’t pan out as I had hoped, so I decided to flip it and have this character in the middle of things and not realize it. In the first verse, he doesn't take notice of the world around him. In the second verse, he leaves but only goes a few towns over, then a few more before he ends up back at the local bar. In the absence of an epic storyline, I think a little existential dread is a decent substitute.
Could you please take us into what the creative and recording process looked like when piecing together, “Mobridge, South Dakota?” How long did it take you to write this piece?
This one came pretty quick. We were going in to record a full album of 10 songs we had worked on for a year right as Covid hit. Like, if it were even a week later, we would have had basics done. That whole album got put on hold. We had to think of a Plan B. I started writing “Mobridge” in the time between the canceled album session and before we went in to record the first single, “Irregardless.” Maybe that’s where the existential dread came in. Because of the pandemic, we had to record with just two of us at a time. We were just going to do the one song, but since TruckerBomb’s drummer Dave Rodway is a genius, we had nailed it in just two takes. Since we had the time, we decided to do a second song — one we never even rehearsed before. It worked out great. In one session, and we did the first single we had planned on doing forever as well as something so new we had never played it together. I’ll give credit to the producer Fernando Perdomo for being a genius, too, as well as Reseda Ranch Studios being so comfortable an environment that we could make that happen.
What musical and non-musical influences do TruckerBomb as a band allow to speak into their music?
For me, I had just been listening to Jason Isbell’s “Reunions” and thought I needed to do something like that. Well, try to do something like that … it’s a pretty brilliant album. It had a vibe. I could so easily see and feel everything going on with that album. It was so relatable that I almost wondered if Jason Isbell had been following me around. One of the things about songwriting that's real magic is how songs that are the most specific and personal wind up being the ones with the broadest appeal. I loved the song “Only Children” off that album and looked up to see what other people had to say about it. I’m an only child and it’s a bit of a rarity since something like 87% of everyone has a sibling, so I wondered if anyone else “got it.” Well, everyone got it … for different reasons. Some comments were, “this is exactly like what it was like growing up in the South” and others were, “this is exactly what it feels like to lose someone.” Anyway, I really wanted to write something that had the intensity of the songs on that album. I’m really happy with how it turned out.
What is the best piece of advice you have been given along your journey so far?
I like reading interviews with writers. Kurt Vonnegut said, “Every sentence must do one of two things: reveal character or advance the action.” He’s talking about a novel that has unlimited time – how much truer is that for songs? It’s almost like each word needs to carry that kind of weight. Ray Bradbury said, “You only fail if you stop writing.” That’s pretty good advice. He also said something about life being like jumping off a cliff and you’re building your wings on the way down. My songwriting teacher from college, Pat Pattison, did a workshop a few weeks ago. He said, “90% of your writing isn’t going to be as good as your best 10%. That’s true of Paul McCartney, Sting, Bob Dylan, anyone.” If he said it while I was there, I don’t remember. But it’s a good reminder. All you can do is keep writing to make that 10% be a bigger chunk of the whole.
What can we expect to see from you throughout 2021?
I wish I could guess what 2021 has in store for me … for any of us. I’ll just have to accept the mystery. For now, TruckerBomb plans to get back to the studio. We have a tentative schedule of one release every three months, but if we can get that to every two, I’d be really happy. I do preproduction at my place, Only Child Studios, and that serves as a guide track for us at Reseda Ranch. Some of the demo tracks make it into the final, too. It’s been great working with Fernando Perdomo and we’ll keep that going as long as he’ll have us. I’m really excited about what I’ve been writing lately. I think it’s my best stuff ever. Maybe it’s because there are no live shows or rehearsals to distract me … I can get into the attic of my brain and rummage through what's been in storage for a while. Figure out what to throw away and what to keep.