- A night on the town with Those Darlins always ends up with a dead critter on the bar
After two solid years spent conquering any honky tonk and rock club that would book them, Those Darlins hit their first big snag this summer. Just days before the Murfreesboro, Tennessee, quartet was set to take off on a high-profile Australian tour, ukulele player Nikki Darlin took a tumble at a music festival in Nelsonville, breaking her arm. The tour was suddenly off, and the much-hyped country-rockers were now looking straight ahead at a summer of uncertainty.
“It was kind of scary at first,” admits guitarist Jessi Darlin. “It was a bit like the world was coming to an end. But I think we all handled it pretty much the best that we possibly could. Nikki especially has had a really great attitude about it. She doesn’t really get to play very much on the new album that we’re finishing up, but she’s still there and still a vital part of everything. We just keep going forward.”
While Nikki won’t be able to wield the uke for another few months, she and the rest of Those Darlins haven’t really missed a beat. The band recruited Shane Spresser of the Velcro Stars to lend a hand instrumentally onstage, while Nikki, Jessi, and bassist Kelley Darlin (incidentally, not their real last names) all share vocal duties. (Male drummer Linwood Regensburg rounds out the lineup.) Those Darlins are a group that demands attention — effortlessly reanimating Nashville’s sassier past with a nod to punk’s more visceral delivery. Imagine the Carter Family kidnapped by the Runaways.
“With the first album [2009’s self-titled effort], a lot of people seemed to want to group us into alt-country or Americana music,” says Jessi. “I just never really saw that comparison much. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that we’re from the south, and no matter what we sing, it’s going to sound Southern. The other day a friend of mine in Atlanta told me he couldn’t understand the Americana thing either, because he always saw us more as a rock & roll band. And I was just like, Thank you!”
In line with their new single “Nightjogger,” Jessi says Those Darlins’ second album will veer considerably more into rock territories and away from some of the country roots found on their debut. To Jessi, the divide between country and punk was always more of a sliver anyway.