Photo courtesy of Joe Shaffer
Opossum Holler hails from the flourishing local music scene of Bowling Green, Kentucky. The progressive rock grunge band is comprised of Lloyd Nicely on vocals and guitar, Matt DeVore on drums and Brad Ausbrooks on bass guitar. The group which plays their own genre of “Doom-A-Billy” rock continues to impress and engage audiences since their formation.
According to DeVore, the band formed roughly three years ago; born in an abandoned Mason Lodge in Clarksville, Tennessee. Nicely, who was working at a place called Mary’s Music, immediately caught the attention of DeVore who happened to work there giving guitar lessons. DeVore witnessed Nicely jamming on a guitar one afternoon and was instantly hooked to his sound.
“What he was doing just kicked ass. I thought it was fucking awesome and I was like, ‘Dude. We should be in a band,'” explained DeVore.
From that moment, the duo began playing together as a two-man band consisting of just drums and guitar. Nicely and DeVore continued playing together for about five months as they looked for another member. However, this proved difficult at first. Despite playing with several other guys over the course of several months, nothing had clicked until DeVore decided to jokingly ask Ausbrooks to drive to Clarksville and join the band.
“One day I had a show in Bowling Green with my old band and the bass player for that band, Brad Ausbrooks, was a badass bass player. Just ripped it up. Jokingly I was like “Man you should totally drive out to Clarksville and play with this band I’ve got going.” I was just thinking he would say no. But he was all about it, he said, “Hell yeah dude, let’s do this.” Next thing you know, he was hightailing it to Clarksville to start the band. After that we started writing tunes and those tunes got locked in,” said DeVore.
While some bands labor for months to choose a band name and some pick the first thing that is thrown out, others can accidentally land on one that is surprisingly perfect. Opossum Holler was chosen almost immediately after Ausbrooks joined when they pressure of a show looming two weeks away settled in. Much like the lyrics of their songs, the moniker reflects the dark, slightly mystical and all together terrifying nature of the place it gets its name.
“There is this place where I’m from called Cumberland City, Tennessee. Probably about 600 people live there. It’s a real small place. My uncle and his neighbor used to take me hunting there in this place called Opossum Holler. When I shot my first deer there, I actually had to drink the blood out of a tin cup. That was a Nicely family tradition. You had to drink the blood of your first deer. So I drank it out of the old tin cup. Our songs are really just kind of creepy and backwoods-ish. That place has always just been a scary place to me so we decided to call the band Opossum Holler and leave the “O” on it,” explains Nicely.
After the band’s lineup was set, the group began writing music and creating their sound. After playing together for a while they released a music video that was well received by fans and newcomers alike. Opossum Holler first started getting major recognition with the release of their first music video for their single, “Screamin’ Delta Demon.” The video courtesy of Yellowberri Music Cooperative in Bowling Green, Kentucky, features the band getting beat up by an insanely tough group of Roller Derby girls.
“It started off as just a fun joke to talk about and we ended up playing shows with Red River Sirens. They had little parties they would throw and they would ask us to play for them. So we actually knew the girls in the Roller Derby team. They have always been huge fans of the band. So I was teaching the president of the derby’s daughter. One day I asked her “Hey, would you guys ever be interested in doing this video for us?” It ended up working out pretty well,” said DeVore.
Since the video hit YouTube, it has garnered almost 22k views with shout outs from major bands such as Cage The Elephant, Willie Adler from Lamb of God, and Black Stone Cherry. The big name recognition Opossum Holler has received has been humbling for the small town rock band who never dreamed they would receive such endorsements for doing something they love.
“I never in my life thought that Willie Adler would give us as much props as he has. Since he stumbled on that video, he has just given us so much support,” said DeVore.
Along side the incredible talent of all three members of the Opossum Holler, another thing that makes them stand out in the already flush local music scenes is actually their simplicity. It also helps that, as DeVore points out, he is a pretty tall guy and Nicely plays a really big guitar.
“We kind of capture that essence of just three dudes just playing music with no frills, no effects or anything like that. I just plug straight into the amp and turn it all the way up and the bass is the same thing. We all play what we want to play and we have a good time doing it. I think it works out. It creates a sound that not many people can capture, ” explains Nicely.
The future for the band is still wide open as the three-man ensemble persists to make the music they have a passion for. Opossum Holler will soon be heading out on tour doing a quick east coast romp that will hit several states including Tennessee, Georgia, Maryland, Kentucky, and North Carolina. The band is also hoping to get some new recording done in March before they hit the coast. However, in the long run, their goals are much more modest than fame and fortune. Although they do really want to meet Dave Grohl.
“Really we all have lives outside of music. I work at Gruhn Guitars here in Nashville, which is probably the best thing you can do if you are a guitar player. Matt is a drum instructor. Brad our bassist is a tattooist and a really good one. So we all kind of enjoy what we do outside of music but we all would kind of like to just get to the point where we can make the money we are making now by just playing tunes. I don’t want to be rich and I don’t even want to be on the fucking radio, I just want to be able to eat food and live in my house, those two things I am addicted to,” said Nicely.
The unbelievably energetic three-man band, Opossum Holler, plays with a vigor and a zest that is unparalleled in the local music scene. It is hard not to be pulsing with energy when their first song ends. When their set unfortunately ends, the audience and band are flush with a mixture of excitement and exhaustion, truly the sign of a great show and worthwhile evening.
The live show put on by Opossum Holler is one that any grunge rock fan should see. Very rarely is a live show better than a recording, but in the case of Opossum Holler, the album can never compare. The onstage presence of the band requires nothing but the music itself. The pure and unadulterated power of their sound will floor you. Their fervency in infectious as it takes over the audience members.
Their currently released album, What’s Done is Done, is a thrilling effort that deserves listen after listen. The first track on the album, “Screamin’ Delta Demon,” is an exhilarating single with a rhythm that will surge through your veins. The instrumental track, “Snake Eyes” exhibits the sheer proficient talent of each of the band members. Nicely and Ausbrooks show off their technical prowess which is both mesmerizing and musically delicious while DeVore keeps them on track without missing a beat. The rest of the album includes rockabilly gems that demonstrate their natural ability and incredible skill when it comes to creating intricate grunge rock ensembles. There is not one bad track on the entire album. Fans will find themselves cycling through the whole album unwilling and unable to skip even one song.
Opossum Holler literally rocks the music scene of whatever city they perform in. There is no doubt their next album will impress.