IF YOU GO
Who: Chuck Ragan with Matt Whipkey
When: 9 p.m. Friday
Where: Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St.
Tickets: $18 in advance or $20 day of show at www.etix.com or Homer's Music
Information: www.onepercentproductions.com or 402-884-5353
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Something about punk pushes its leading men into singer-songwriter territory.
Chuck Ragan has definitely followed that path.
From singing in Florida punk band Hot Water Music to leading the Revival Tour — a tour of like-minded, mostly acoustic musicians — Ragan is among songwriters such as Lucero's Ben Nichols, the Pixies' Frank Black and The Gaslight Anthem's Brian Fallon who have taken their punk roots into folk territory.
And though punk rock and stripped-down acoustic music don't appear to have much in common on the surface, Ragan told The World-Herald that favoring music in raw and basic forms allows punk rockers to slip into performing with an acoustic guitar.
“There's clarity in it,” he said. “It's about bringing it back down to basics, and starting back where a lot of us started in the first place. It's very intimidating and it's kinda scary, but it can be a very forthright way of letting people know what you're about or what you have to say or what you're stoked about or what you're pissed off about without any distractions or, for lack of a better term, distortion.”
Before he was in Hot Water Music, Ragan performed at singer-songwriter nights because he had no band to play with. And after that band broke up (and even again since it reformed), he has continued to release solo material.
When we talked to Ragan, he was taking a break from recording his next album, which he said is more a rock 'n' roll record than some of his previous efforts.
“They are extremely rich and fuller-bodied songs,” he said.
Ragan has no deadline for making the album, and he's finishing it with his band in between tour dates. Playing the new songs live, which he'll do in Omaha on Friday, has made the recording process even better.
“The fact that we're rolling up in a van together, rooming together, having breakfast and making the drives together ... I think it has benefited the outcome of this record,” he said.