Clutch MOV recently spoke with local band Cutler Station over Mexican food and margaritas to discuss influences, origins, and what music means to them and to snag some details on their highly anticipated upcoming album.
Cutler Station is best described as dynamic, fun, and absolutely chock full of talent! The band consists of brothers John and Kirby Evans, Steve Lipscomb, Jason Swiger, John Borchard, and Jake Dunn. All the members are local; with Lipscomb, and the Evans brothers living in Vincent, Swiger in Cutler, Borchard in Athens, and Dunn in Belpre.
The guys in Cutler Station have all been playing music for most of their lives, with Lipscomb, Swiger, and the Evans brothers beginning to play together as teenagers. Cutler Station as we know it today really began to take form about 10 or 11 years ago when Lipscomb, Kirby and John Evans were all living in Columbus and decided to form a band where they could do whatever they wanted and have it be more democratic than bands they’d been in previously. Swiger joined in on drums shortly afterward.
They approached Borchard to play on their previous album Meat, No Sides and he’s been with them ever since. He began playing music in 1969/1970 and has the skill to show for it. “The places it (live music) has taken me are mind-boggling,” said Borchard. “I’ve played Presidential Inaugurations and I’ve played honkytonks with people who were shot to death and everything in between.”
The most recent addition is Jake Dunn, formerly of Jake Dunn and The Blackbirds, Elephant Head, and Sadsquatch. When asked what it was like joining the already well-established band, Dunn said “They are all so enthusiastic about what it is. On a scale of just daily enthusiasm, they’re just always ready to go. They’re always excited about what’s coming. They were all so welcoming, I feel like I’ve been in this band for a long time.”
It’s kind of a call back to our hometown. It’s nostalgia. Everybody has their little convenience store in their little town.
The name Cutler Station came from the local general store in Cutler where a few of the members grew up. The store itself has been around since the 60s but was previously a gas station in the 50s. In the 1800s there was a railroad that ran through Cutler (which possibly inspired the store name) and that’s when Cutler became a town. It was also a stop along the Underground Railroad. “It’s kind of a call back to our hometown,” said Lipscomb. “It’s nostalgia. Everybody has their little convenience store in their little town.”
Trying to pin down a genre for Cutler Station seems like almost an impossible task. They don’t seem to fit in any particular box. When asked what genre they consider themselves, the bandmates responded with a variety ranging from Appalachian power pop to dad rock to “just keep an open mind.” They described their influences as anyone from 90’s country, Tyler Childers, Ben Folds Five, and early Weezer to Jewel, Monsters of Folk, My Morning Jacket, and the Beatles.
It’s a really different thing and to me, that’s what music is. They’re not afraid to walk right to the edge and then jump off!
“These guys absorb a lot of influences other than what would be indigenous to this part of the country,” said Borchard, summing it up. “They’ve absorbed all these other influences, as have half a million other people, but they’ve put it together in a way that’s cohesive. It’s a really different thing and to me, that’s what music is. They’re not afraid to walk right to the edge and then jump off!”
“What’s really interesting to me is I don’t know anyone else that is really chronicling Appalachian life,” continued Borchard. “There’s plenty of bluegrass guys around, but that’s great grandpa’s music at this point in time. I mean, from a lyrical standpoint, nothing else really sounds like Cutler Station.”
Another important quality of the band is that its members are encouraged to have the freedom to experiment with different instruments and styles until they find where they each fit best as a band. They noted that a lot of that freedom in their songwriting process comes from how open they are with each other as a band. They take their music and commitment really seriously without taking themselves too seriously. They stated the energy everybody in the band has is “I’ll do whatever, completely opposite of what I’d normally do, just because it’s what’s necessary.”
When preparing for a gig, the band prioritizes practicing regularly. They all have families and busy schedules, so sometimes things can get a little hectic, but they always set aside time every Wednesday for band practice.
Their upcoming album is titled ‘I Wanna Build A New Machine.’ They’re currently tracking vocals, then the album will be mixed and mastered with a planned release in the coming months. They described the musical theme of this record as a more guitar-heavy, rock-n-roll record. “We’re going to thrash the drums out a little bit,” said Lipscomb. Lyrically and thematically, there’s some anger. “We’re kind of pissed off with the way the world is right now,” he said. “Not politically, just how we feel like things could be better. Everyone could be better.”
They’re recording the album at Steve’s studio in his home. “Typically, we make it a process as a group. Steve will mix it up, put it on a G Drive, and we’ll all take a listen and put our input on it. That kinda goes on until we’re all happy with it,” said John Evans. The album art is going to be done by Chris DeMaria, who did the artwork for their previous album ‘Meat, No Sides.’ When asked what the expectations were for the art John said, “We feel like he really killed it on Meat, No Sides. We’ve given him free rein on the new one.”
They have at least two more albums planned after this one: a traditional country album, Cutler Station style, and a more experimental album. They have over 50 songs in the queue that they haven’t done anything with yet. They all just want to keep making music. “We have yet to write our best song,” said Evans.
Dunn said live music is an important part of what they do. “It’s integrated into everything you do, he said. “I don’t think anyone should play music unless they absolutely have to,” said Borchard, repeating something a friend recently shared. “What he meant by that was people who have to play music find a way to do it, whether that’s sleeping on couches for 50 years or being able to find a group of like-minded people. There are plenty of people who play, but it’s hard to find people who really want to work.”
“We do this for us,” said Steve Evans. “We’ve never felt, any one of us, that we were as good alone as we could be when we all play together.” John Evans added, “I would go insane if I wasn’t in a band.”
While you’re waiting on the new album, you can find their music on Spotify, Apple Music, and Bandcamp. Check out their wide variety of merch, shirts, hats, patches, records, stickers, CDs, mugs, posters, bathing suits, and even more, available on their Facebook and Instagram shops, Bandcamp, or by coming out to a show and visiting the merch table. Keep an eye out for more show announcements coming soon as well!