I first met Nate Kirby in 1996. He had just moved up to Tacoma in hopes of catching the grunge scene, but had arrived a couple years too late. He was working at a T.G.I.Friday’s. He was a musician and he needed a bassist. I knew one. And in that way, I’m somewhat responsible for his first Tacoma band, Vuja De. While I was friends with many musicians, I didn’t know many songwriters and those I did know weren’t very good. Nate was the first friend of mine who I thought wrote good songs.
Vuja De lasted for a while. They played a few shows. They were a fixture at the Antique Sandwich Company’s open mic Tuesdays. They rented a house on South 38th Street and had parties that I’d have trouble describing both due to the things that happened and my intoxication at the time.
Eventually Vuja De fell apart and over the years Nate formed a handful of other bands and sometimes just played shows by himself. When he wasn’t playing his own songs, he’d do covers like a country version of Paula Abdul’s “Straight Up”. He once did a cover of “I Want You To Want Me” that had the crowd at the Antique roaring like they were at a rock show.
Most recently Nate became part of a band called Ten Miles of Bad Road. When Nate first told me about this band, he said, “This is the first band I’ve ever played with where I feel like I’m the least talented one in the band.” And indeed, this is the first band I’ve seen Nate in where he isn’t the clear star of the band. Ten Miles of Bad Road isn’t like Nate’s other bands. It’s a bit darker. It’s gritty. It’s the sort of music you’d use for a montage of a party you don’t remember. And it’s fun. These guys clearly like playing as much as people like watching them.
Nate’s band mates, Jakob Jess, Alex Hosea, and Justin Hosea help create a sound that isn’t country and isn’t rock and isn’t rockabilly. It’s something else. This is ass kicking music. These guys don’t show up to the party. They are the party.
Now it’s fair to say that I’m friends with these guys and that I’m probably a bit biased about them. But I also would never endorse a band I didn’t like. Even if it were a friend. Because honestly, a real friend will tell you when you suck. Just as a real friend will get the word out if there’s something to talk about.
Of course writing about a band is like talking about food. You really have to experience it for yourself. Luckily, Ten Miles of Bad Road have just released their first music video and their album is coming soon. I’ve posted the video below. It’s been a long time coming, but Nate Kirby and Ten Miles of Bad Road have arrived.
hey nate & jakob–congrats for staying on the road so long. folksingers in hell would love to sing a couple numbers with you! maybe nate could cover “I’m in Love With A Suitcase (if it means you’re going away)”. It’s on youtube. I dedicated it to Daniel Blue. hope to run into you around town one of these days.–Fewster