One Man Band, Folk, Traditional
Everything is better when it’s home-made. And it don’t get more down home or DIY than AJ Gaither. From the building of the instruments to the writing of the songs and making of the albums, everything about this “one man junk band” is lo-tech and hands on. The sound is cold lonely bars and old empty barns, highways and heartaches. From raging high octane foot stompin’ brag songs to slow and soulful songs about struggle and being homesick, every bit of it is drenched in whiskey and hard living. The instruments are old cigar boxes and scrap lumber, spare bolts and wood screws. Each is one unique in tone and appearance. A large feed bucket and a wooden mallet provide the kick drum, accompanied by a junk snare drum rigged to be played by foot. All built by the same hands that play them. Often referred to by his peers as “the hardest working musician in Kansas City”, you will be hard pressed to find any solo musical performer that plays as many shows a year and exudes so much energy on stage night after night. The love for his craft is blatantly apparent. Born in southern Arkansas AJ spent his early childhood in a rural community known as Locust Bayou. After growing up while moving around northern Arkansas and Memphis, at age 18 (to avoid arrest in the previously mentioned states) he found himself living in Kansas City KS. After 13 years of knuckle busting on old cars to make a dollar he formed the hillbilly two piece The Fall Down Drunks, who after releasing one album, “13 Shots”, and a brief amount of touring disbanded in the end of 2011. In an effort to bring as much energy, sound and originality as he could while performing solo, he chose the path of a DIY multi-instrumentalist. Marking this transition was the release of his first solo album “Half-Lit & Whole Hearted” in 2012. He currently travels back roads and haunts biker bars, honky-tonks and dives of the South and Midwest, or anyplace with a good supply of whiskey and folks to lend an ear…
“Kansas City-by-way-of-Arkansas artist AJ Gaither is truly one of a kind – just like the instruments he makes for himself with cigar box guitars, bucket drums and scrap parts. On stage, these tools may look rudimentary, but the sound Gaither coaxes out of them is unlike anything you’re likely to hear from even the most inventive full band.” Natalie Gallagher (The Pitch)
Click on the photo above to check out A.J. Gaither’s Facebook page!