Lost River Cavemen is a band that comes from the flourishing music scene of Bowling Green, Kentucky. Calling them a bluegrass/folk band only begins to pinpoint their distinctive and unique sound. You could just as easily call them an Americana band, or a country band, or a folk rock band.
The band consists of lead singer/guitarist Michael McMillian, Geno Wilson on the Standup Bass, Steven Stewart rocking the Violin/Fiddle, and Joshua Riddle on drums.
The Cavemen have been playing together for 6 years, forming after lead singer, McMillian, who had been writing acoustic songs decided to begin moving forward with a new genre.
“I decided to move in the Americana direction and was looking for an upright bass player. I ran into Geno [Wilson] one night at an art exhibit and we began jamming together shortly thereafter.”
Loving the use of cavemen in a barbershop group’s name, McMillian came up with the band name Lost River Cavemen, named after the local Lost River Cave in Bowling Green (BG), Kentucky.
Riddle joined the band after it’s initial formation. In 2005, he attended one of the first Cavemen performances and noticed they did not have a drummer during the show. While they already had a drummer at the time, they would end up contacting Riddle who then played his first show with the band at State Street Pub on Thanksgiving, after practicing only twice.
When the band’s previous fiddle player (Kenny Pruitt) left the band, Lost River Cavemen met Stewart who would become the band’s violin/fiddle player.
Coming out of the booming local music scene of BG, standing out in a place already overly populated with good music can be difficult. The Cavemen have successfully carved a niche for themselves of which no one can compete. However, that doesn’t mean all the local bands don’t get along. The community lends itself to a camaraderie that you don’t find anywhere else and the Cavemen know where they stand.
Riddle, drummer, said,
“I think we fit in snugly because of the friendliness of all the bands. It’s such a warm community, and everyone supports each other. I also think we stick out because of our style. Most bands in Bowling Green are doing the Indie-Rock thing, while (right now at least) we are the only Roots/Folk-Rock band that plays and tours regularly.”
According to Wilson, the band is one of the more seasoned bands coming out of the Bowling Green scene.
“The Cavemen have been contributing to BG music scene for seven years now. We are more of the veteran groups. With wonderful bands and all sorts of genres coming out of BG, we stand in our own corner here.”
McMillian’s voice perfectly accompanies the musical operandi created by his fellow band mates. His southern voice resonates through each song but never is it overbearing, out-of-place, or uncomfortable to hear, rather adding a whole new level to the unparalleled sound of Lost River Cavemen.
“I usually just try to capture my mood when writing, but occasionally will aim for a genre or style.”
When it comes to the impressive standup bass skills from Wilson, it is easy to see why he is a part of the band. During live performances you can feel the love he has for the instrument and the music he is helping create. Wilson has been playing for years and described himself as self-taught and continually learning.
“My inspirations are usually visual. It takes me a few weeks and some different tries before I come up with the bass line I will use.”
Go to any of their live shows that Stewart is performing and you will immediately entranced by his fiddle and violin efforts. Adding to the already captivating bluegrass feel of Lost River Cavemen, Stewart will make you wonder why everyone doesn’t include a fiddler/violinist in their band.
Riddle on the drums adds the final touch in Lost River Cavemen, helping bring the whole assemble together.
As for the future of Lost River Cavemen, they don’t ask for much. Unlike most bands who desire the rich and famous lifestyle, these Cavemen are more about the music and doing what they love.
“I just want to be able to play music for a living and not have to have another job. I don’t want to be famous or even rich. I would be happy making $30,000 a year playing music. That’s my dream,” says Riddle.
Wilson had similar ideals for the future of The Cavemen commenting on his wish for financial security as well as his hopes for traveling.
“Europe would be nice but financial independence for the band would be stellar.”
In the immediate future, Lost River Cavemen have put plans of another tour on hold in favor of recording a new album. The band is currently planning to record roughly 20 songs for new album this winter with a release in late spring. However, if you were holding out hope to see the band live (which I think everyone should), don’t worry as the Cavemen will continue playing regionally as well as the possibility of a tour later in the year.
“As a mostly DIY band, it takes a few months to plan, book, and promote a tour. We’ll probably start to plan the next extended tour for late summer/early fall 2013. In the meantime, we’ll continue to book/play 3-5 date regional mini-tours,” said McMillian.
Their recent album, …And The Circus Goes On, is a wonderfully distinct mix tape with themes of love and heart-ache as well as tongue-in-cheek humor that blend flawlessly to create an overall jaunty musical ride. I would be lying if I didn’t admit that several of the singles from the album would get stuck in my head for hours or days.
One of the more emotional songs on the album, entitled “Brandi,” can speak to anyone who has had a broken heart.
“I guess it’s too late, but I love you.”
“Brandi” is a powerful song lyrically but the accompanying music shouldn’t be overlooked either. The ballad could hold up its own even without the heartbreaking lyrics.
Riddle would say his favorite song to play is “Haunted Love” off the Taste of Life album.
“They are all fun in different ways. However, I really like ‘Haunted Love.’ There’s something about it that lets me melt into the music and play “from the pocket” as some musicians say. I love the dark feeling it has, and I love the little quiet jam interlude right before it kicks back in and ends rocking out.”
And in case you want something a little less serious? Try the song “Twenty-Four Ninety-Five.” A flawlessly written song about finding an ex getting naked on the internet for money.
Wilson adds that currently he enjoys playing the songs “Camel’s Back” and “Dishrag.”
“Right now, I love playing ‘Camel’s Back’ during the chorus. ‘Dishrag’ is always fun.”
Below you can watch the official music video for another addicting song from …And The Circus Goes On called “Never Shoot Squirrels with Shotguns.”
You can learn more about the Lost River Cavemen or purchase their album at their official website.