Old Baby began in the living rooms of Evan Patterson and Jonathan Wood, who met a few years ago and bonded over a shared passion for vintage music and vinyl. They’d get together and explore reissues of hard-to-find rock albums from the 1960s and ’70s, along with stacks of the traditional country music that Wood adores.
And every once in a while, Patterson would do his best to convince Wood that he needed to be in a band. A talented singer and writer, Wood preferred to go it alone, while Patterson has always been about bands. It took a while.
“He’d never been in a band where he was one of the creative forces, and that was surprising to me,” said Patterson, singer and guitarist with Louisville punk band Young Widows. “I had to do a lot of convincing and gather everyone together and then set a date, like, all right, this is the date. We’re all getting together.”
Old Baby was worth the effort. After an interesting but inconclusive EP, the band has released “Love Hangover” on Karate Body Records, which they’ll celebrate with a show Monday at The New Vintage. It’s the most impressive album from a Louisville band since King’s Daughters & Sons’ “If Then Not When,” out in 2011, and there are a lot of reasons why.
Patterson wasn’t kidding about putting together a band, for example. The rhythm section is bassist Todd Cook, who’s been in around 40 percent of the important Louisville bands, and drummer Drew Osborn from Workers. Keyboardist Neal Argabright comes from Sapat.
That’s potentially a lot of unhinged energy, but the remarkable thing about “Love Hangover” is its sense of restraint; the music is mostly tension. Those living room sessions with the vintage rock albums certainly make their presence known, but it’s more that Old Baby feels like 1968 rather than sounds like it.
“We’re all interested by that era of music, and influenced by that, but we still make contemporary music,” said Wood, a West Virginia native. “It’s a pretty awesome thing that we can all come in with our separate influences for the band and they all work together.”
Old Baby is a democracy at heart. While Patterson and Wood usually come up with the basic ideas, the band as a whole turns them into songs. For guys who come from fairly disparate backgrounds, everything from country to experimental to punk, it’s been a seamless process. The songs came fairly easily, Wood quickly settled into his new role as front man, and the band was immediately embraced by fans and writers.
“There have never been any issues, no weirdness at all in anything that we’ve done,” Wood said. “I feel like I’ve lucked into a great working relationship with people who are some of my best friends.”
Contact Jeffrey Lee Puckett at (502) 582-4160 and firstname.lastname@example.org.