Wade Crawford and the Country Trash will play anywhere, for anyone.
In the midst of gigs all over California, and time spent recording their first full-length album, he and drummer Terence Dunn are playing a show at Playoffs Sports Bar in Desert Hot Springs on Saturday, May 18.
When I ask the 28 year-old Banning resident, during a recent phone interview, to define the band’s sound, Crawford offers an amusing definition: “California country trash.”
Various musicians these days are inspired by Americana and the outlaw country sound; Wade Crawford and the Country Trash are expressing their inspiration in their own unique way. Crawford’s two main influences—Jim Morrison and Waylon Jennings—inspire his vocals and his songwriting, leading to a unique blend of rock music and outlaw country.
“I’ve had a lot of people come up to me and say, ‘I don’t normally like country music, but I really like your style of country music,’ and I’ve had people come up to me and say, ‘You’re not country at all.’ So it’s really whatever people get from it,” he said.
As for where the name “the country trash” came from, there’s a bit of history. Originally, he went by “Peoria Traverse” (a combination of the U.S. cities Peoria, Ill., and Traverse City, Mich.), a tribute to the hometowns of his paternal and fraternal grandparents; however, there was some confusion with the name, and people had a hard time pronouncing it. So Wade went in a different direction.
“I wanted something that sort of caught people’s attention and told them what we were about without them having to hear us. I wouldn’t necessarily say we’re trashy, but I’ve had some people tell me my lyrics could be a little trashy. So, it sort of sums it up with ‘country trash,’” he said.
While Crawford and Dunn play as a duo, Crawford has plans to expand the band. They’re currently seeking a bass player and a slide-guitar player. In other words, they hope to add some more trash.
Crawford admits that he was intimidated by opening for Reverend Horton Heat at the Date Shed this past March.
“When I got there, I saw the big bus. And when I walked in, and I saw (Jim Heath, aka Reverend Horton Heat), I started getting those butterflies. I asked myself, ‘How are we here right now? How are we opening for these guys?’ I got nervous, and I called (Terence Dunn).”
But after some pre-show preparation, and with a positive mental attitude, Crawford was ready to go.
“I had a few beers to calm myself down. My whole motto is to get up there and act like everyone is there to see me. I had to make (the audience) believe. After three or four songs, I’m like, ‘We got this.’ It felt really good. We got a really good response. Reverend Horton Heat and his guys all seemed to really like us. I put it up there as one of the best shows we’ve played.”
Other people have taken notice of Crawford’s live playing ability, including the management of Playoffs, where the band played a very successful hillbilly-themed benefit show for the Coachella Valley Derby Girls.
“We had a good time there,” he said. “When we were playing, we took a break, and the owner told me, ‘We don’t normally book bands, but whenever you guys want to come back, let me know.’ So I gave it a few of months and called him and set up another show. I’m looking forward to it.”
Wade Crawford andthe Country Trashwill appear at 9 p.m., Saturday, May 18, at Playoffs Sports Bar, 12105 Palm Drive in Desert Hot Springs; admission is free. For more information, call 760-251-2644.