Dark folk isn’t a genre known for its sense of self-deprecation. It’s a style of music marked by murder ballads or the occasional protest song. For the video for their latest single “Never Meant To Be,” which we are premiering today, the band Tejon Street Corner Thieves show off their sense of humor with impersonations of contemporaries like Colter Wall, Dead South, Shawn James, Days N’ Daze, Orville Peck, Bridge City Sinners, Harley Poe and the head of their new label, Amigo the Devil.
The band, which consists of Conor O’Neal (banjo and vocals) and Shawn D’Amario (guitar and vocals) along with Spencer Mode and Michael Sinner, signed with The Liars Club and will released a new EP today called Demons.
“Never Meant To Be” features gravelly vocals and a solid bluegrass rhythm, led by acoustic guitar, banjo and fiddle. As O’Connor and D’Amario start to play the song out in front of a ramshackle old house, the O’Connor puts down his instrument and performs a sort of interpretive dance to the song. They travel around town, running into all sorts of peers from the alternative folk scene.
“We’ve done some impersonations in the past for promotion stuff. But never like this,” said O’Neal. “The idea for the video spurred off our desire to include our friends and some of our major influences from the scene. We miss our friends and doing a music video during a pandemic meant no extras and strict social distancing. Amigo The Devil and Liars Club Records helped us brainstorm a way to have our friends there, without being there. Our solution was to pretend! We just filled their rolls! The bands we included are all true to themselves and never waiver in their commitment to their own style. We captured that by keeping their quirks at the end of each scene. They were never meant to be anyone but themselves.”
The band has gained some recognition for a unique idea they came up with during the pandemic, which forced the band to cancel their tour. They took the show to their fans, performing from a safe distance inside their tour bus. The response was overwhelmingly positive, gaining the band attention from unexpected places like the local news stations and beyond.
“The response to those bus shows was unbelievable! Everyone loved it,” said O’Neal. “We’re still backed up about 300 emails requesting them! We literally drove our bus until it wouldn’t drive anymore. Seriously; it’s broke down! We’re shopping for a new one currently to get going again and the city’s cultural office here in Colorado Springs has reached out to us to help get a new concert series, Curbside Culture, going based on our idea. We’re working with them to refine the idea to include more performers from around the city!”
The band hasn’t let the lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic halt their creative momentum. They’ve stayed busy over the last few months working together on new material.
“Shawn and I actually isolated together for the last 3 months,” said O’Neal. “We worked on new music every day. We came up with some great stuff both together, and individually. We did a session video for a song Shawn wrote a year or so ago called ‘Blue Lives Murder’ and ran a fundraiser for the Black Lives Matter movement. Before this, we never got too political. But Shawn wrote a killer protest song for our next record that were super proud of. I guess we’d kind of been holding back on ‘touchy’ subjects until this whole thing blew up. But now’s not the time for silence. Artists everywhere are using their platforms to speak up. And we stand with them. That said, this next studio record will be our most heartfelt, thought out project we’ve ever taken on. We can’t wait to hear what you think!”