Traditionalism doesn’t have to come burdened with a troubling nostalgia. Just ask Akron, Ohio’s The Shootouts, who have created a witch’s brew in their country-western, swing, and rock-and-roll potion Quick Draw. It’s a rollicking romp through the past half-century of guitar music that combines playfulness, wistfulness, and the swagger of a band that could easily melt your face if they chose to do so.
The Shootouts, founded by Ryan Humbert (lead vocals, acoustic guitar) and Brian Poston (electric & acoustic guitar), bring one part Roy Orbison and one part Glen Campbell to their music. It’s no surprise — the Shootouts were originally a side project of Humbert’s pop-rock band. Poston and Humbert bonded over their mutual love of old-time country and as the Shootouts took off, they realized they weren’t the only ones in search of sincere and tender songwriting. It’s that pop element, though, that gives the songs a lightness about them that seems to hearken to an earlier time.
“If I Could,” feels like something my dad would’ve blasted in summer cruising the suburbs in Long Island. On the other hand, “California to Ohio” finds the band in a contemplative mood — a classic road song with a heartfelt twist of hope and loneliness. “Quick Draw” lifts the mood, demonstrating Poston’s attention to his craft as a guitarist. It’s not just about the beers with this band, which they make clear on their western swing testament “Who Needs Rock & Roll?” It’s a song of self-satisfaction and excitement as The Shootouts forge an exciting road through music that tends to be left for serious crate-diggers. No matter the tempo, Quick Draw is replete with twinkling steel guitars that bring out the instrument’s otherworldly magic.
The Shootouts approach their music with discipline and playfulness, a winning combination.
Though they’ve turned to the past to shape their future, The Shootouts use that lens to perform a true feat of wizardry: dissolving the distance between ourselves and our forebears.