Longevity of the Boil
Author: John Cranford | Photographer: john brackett
The first time I saw Jevon Daly, he was screaming at the top of his lungs, wearing tiny red spandex shorts and fishnet stockings. This was somewhere around 2008, and Silicone Sister was onstage at Remy’s on Pope Avenue. I was hooked. This was shear ridiculousness at its finest, and not only could the band pull off a mega mix of ’80s Hair Metal, they could actually play their instruments really well.
What surprised me the most about this father of three was that he was not only the front man to this Hair Metal train wreck, he also fronted a legit, very dedicated bluegrass outfit called Lowcountry Boil.
On the Hilton Head music scene, longevity of a band is a rarity. Even bands that stay together for great lengths of time seem to plateau and reach a point where they aren’t putting out anything new and original. So when Jevon came to me with a batch of new songs he had recorded with his LCB band mates, I was excited—not only to hear new material by a band that has been together for almost 30 years, but to hear what an entire year’s worth of writing and recording sounded like.
I caught up with Jevon and gave him 15 questions about the new record, the band and the current state of musical affairs here on Hilton Head. Here are his answers:
John Cranford: How long have y’all been a band?
Jevon Daly: This lineup is going on about six years. My dad and I did our first gig on Hilton Head Island in 1985 or ’86. He had to come find us skating behind BI-LO on the north end right before our set—we forgot.
JC: Y’all used to tour under the band name Daly Planet. Who was in that project, and how was it different from LCB (Lowcountry Boil)?
JD: Daly Planet was Gavan [Daly] and me, really—and Andy (Pitts) as well for a while—and of course my dad. We wrote songs together really well. A lot of the stuff was real jam band stuff. People always came out to see the band when everyone on HHI had dreadlocks in 1994-98. Then LCB started as a joke.
JC: This record was recorded over a period of about a year; what’s it like making a record with parental and other obligations?
JD: It was great. Gary [Pratt] and I really became close mixing the stuff. Musician guys are so mystical sometimes. I felt like, for the first time, the band really got into a 4-track [recording] mentality, working on a song for a long time and developing parts—like working on a song and doing hundreds of takes on a violin makes you a man. You grow chest hair that is thick like a telephone pole.
JC: What’s it like being in a band with your dad?
JD: My dad is my best friend, but my blood too. He’s my kids’ granddad but also knows that he kind of created a Frankenstein in me by always making sure we had the saxophone I wanted and forcing me to listen to David Lindley and Johnny Winter until he thought I could play like them. I still can’t, but he’s the guy responsible for all of this music stuff. People talk about inspiration a lot—like “Jay Z inspired this song.” Bullshit! My dad listened to Weather Report on a cassette deck in a leather case on a beach in St. Thomas, and people wonder why I think I’m so cool. Look at my dad—geez! Cut the Dalys some slack! Ha, ha.
JC: What’s the hardest thing y’all have had to overcome to stay together and focused for this long?
JD: Well, my mom was the singer in my parents’ band that paid the bills for maybe, I dunno, my whole childhood, and she passed away in 1999. I never knew she was a Beatles fan until she was dying of cancer and randomly, half dreaming, started singing “Rocky Raccoon” on the front porch a few weeks before she passed. It was one of the hardest things to watch, but she literally put on a clinic on how to die…and live.
JC: Was there a set direction for the sound of this record, and did it affect your writing?”
JD: I don’t think so. We like country swing and bluegrass. My dad says funny and entertaining upbeat stuff is what we do.
JC: There is a lot of “shared voice” in LCB, as in more than one singer. Is that something planned or something that happened naturally?
JD: Well, having a front person can really ruin other guys’ confidence sometimes. You must free people without criticizing their voices, always. Every voice is great if someone sings enough. Look at Dylan. Look at Tom Waits. Some hate ’em; some love ’em.
JC: Not only are there multiple singers, but there is some shared instrumentation. Does everyone have a preference, or do y’all enjoy swapping?
JD: We can be many bands in the span of an hour. You have to allow people to do things in a band, otherwise it’s not a real band—it’s support for one guy.
JC: Was it more enjoyable to handle the bulk of production on this record yourselves, or would you rather have gone to a studio and finished it in a shorter period of time?
JD: All of our albums have kind of been a disappointment to record. We did whatever we wanted on this album, but recording with people like Jeff Franklin made me a better singer. He influenced me a lot, although we both have strong opinions. We’re men! We did three albums with Jeff, and he is great, kind of like a brother, almost.
JC: What is LCB’s five-year plan? Are y’all going to tour this record or promote it more than just regionally?
JD: We are locals. Can’t go anywhere—don’t want to.
JC: Is there a specific song on this record that you really enjoyed recording, writing-wise or production-wise?
JD: “Unlucky” has about 100 hours in it, but we all wrote “Best I’ve Ever Been” in a garage together.
JC: What’s your take on the current state of the music scene here on Hilton Head?
JD: It’s better than Seattle ever was. Look at guys like David Wingo and Earl [Williams] and Bobby [Ryder]. Then you have the Zack Stiltners and Harry Santana and Cranford Hollow. I think we all want to hear an original song from a guy, but playing original songs is kind of scary. Doc Watson never wrote a song. I’m not demanding originals from anyone. There are guys around here who probably think there are way too many good songs already; why write one?
JC: Any regrets over the years of your music profession? Something you wish you should or shouldn’t have done?
JD: Wish I would have went to some smelly city, maybe, but I look at the ocean when I play fiddle, I mean…
JC: Do you have any advice for young bands out there trying to make a record or at least trying to make a living playing music?
JD: Sure. My number is 683-BOIL; come do some [equipment] load ins; come sit in, NOT!
JC: Any last comments or burning desires to share about LCB or the new record?
JD: It deserves a listen. You will laugh; you will cry, maybe. The whole band did it and is behind it, and it has Chip Larkby on washboard, so damn! It’s pretty original. It took a long time, and we spent hundreds of hours on it, recording in our homes…and it sounds fun and good, warts and all.