Satchel’s Pawn Shop – They may catch up with you
Louisville is best-known as a sports town. It’s the home of the Kentucky Derby, the renowned Louisville Slugger baseball bats are made there, the University of Louisville has a fine men’s basketball team, and it’s the birthplace of Muhammad Ali. Until recently, the music scene there was a well-kept secret. Yet with the emergence of acts such as Palace, Slint, the Rachels, Rodan and other independent-minded bands, that has changed. Still, it’s not known as a honky-tonk kind of town — but Satchel’s Pawn Shop just may change that notion as well.
Left Canine Magic, their debut disc on their own Out To Pasture Music label, shows this is a band that knows how to rock but can still keep it country, from its rig-rockin’ opener “One More Cup Of Coffee” to the corn-liquor-and-banjo-fueled “Boone, N.C.” to the guitar rave-up closer “Beware”. “Louisville is a real indie-rock town,” admits Dave Porter, the band’s main songwriter and guitarist/vocalist, “and that can be really restricting. Some of my indie-rock kind of friends don’t think we’re serious enough, and I think that’s what’s great about this band. We’re kinda no-holds barred. We have too much fun for this town.”
Satchel’s Pawn Shop formed in 1995 from a nucleus of Porter, guitarist Dave Nofsinger and steel guitar player Ian Thomas as an outlet for some acoustic songs they had written. Porter had been in another band with bassist Willie McLean and drummer Glen Howerton; he invited them to his garage to check out what going on. “Willie recorded some of the songs and we put it out as local cassette,” Porter relates. “We really weren’t even a band then. Next we got a call from someone at Musician magazine. It seems that somebody had bought a tape and turned them on to us, and they wanted us to submit a tape for some contest they were having. So we went in and recorded some more stuff for them. We came out of that saying, ‘Hey, this was lots of fun,’ and then other people started calling us for gigs and parties. It was really kind of accidental in a way.”
The band’s unusual name, on the other hand, was more carefully considered. “I was thinking about writing songs with a twangy sound to them and looking back at the older music,” Porter explains. “Then the name of the famous baseball player Satchel Paige popped into my head. His famous saying went something like, ‘Don’t look back, it may catch up with you.’ The idea of taking some of this older style of music and borrowing from it kind of reminded me of a pawn shop — which we frequent quite a bit,” he laughs. “So then Satchel’s Pawn Shop came into my head, and I said to myself, ‘That’s not a bad name for a band.’ And it really describes what the band does, looking back at an older style of music, kind of borrowing from it and fusing it into a new style.”