Natural Child boogies, rocks

Emma Roszkowski

roszkows@grinnell.edu

Photo by Takahiro Omura

Photo by Takahiro Omura

The semester’s final concert will deliver smooth, sultry southern sounds to Gardner Lounge this Friday. Look forward to an infusion of easy listening southern rock and boogie from Nashville’s Natural Child.

Natural Child fuses southern genres to create playful odes to parties and marijuana, perhaps informed by their unique origin story. Legend has it that the band formed in 2009 when bassist Wes Traylor, while consuming pot brownies with drummer Zack Martin, called guitarist/vocalist Seth Murray in a sudden epiphany to proposition him for a band that he claimed would make all their musical dreams come true. Murray agreed, and from that point on, Natural Child thrust themselves into their music making career.

Since then, the group has worked at a breakneck pace, producing a sizeable discography with four albums (two of which were released within six months of each other in 2012) and three EPs. One of their 2012 albums, “Hard in Heaven,” was recorded in three days.

Around the time “Hard in Heaven” was released, the group decided that they wanted a “family band” sound, citing Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and the Rolling Stones as their inspiration. Those influences are quite audible on their most recent album, “Dancin’ With Wolves.” For the album’s 2014 release, Traylor, Martin and Murray enlisted fellow Nashville native Luke Schneider to play pedal steel guitar and New Orleans local Benny Divine to play piano. Thanks to the upgrade from three-piece to five-piece band, “Dancin’ With Wolves” marked a shift to a more polished and full tone.

As if they weren’t busy enough recording new material, Natural Child has spent copious amounts of time touring. In a 2014 interview with Paste Magazine, Murray said that the group had toured for more than 200 days a year for three years. Notable tour accomplishments include playing at Austin’s South by Southwest festival on three occasions and touring with other prominent garage rock bands such as the Black Lips.

With all their experience on the road, Natural Child is bound to deliver a compelling live performance. Their Southern soul-boogie-rock will appeal to a wide range of audiences and be perfect for a Friday night show straight out of Nashville. Natural Child will perform at 9 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 20, in Gardner Lounge.