My first listen to the funk finesse of “Appleton,” the new single from Wild Adriatic that invokes the imagery of summer-time humidity and southern-tinged blues rock, I just knew this band and I were kindred Southern spirits. However, my script was flipped when I found out they were from upstate New York.

Me: “I love that y’all play dirty, stanky, funky guitar rock in snowy upstate New York.”

Travis Gray (guitar/vocals): “Yes, we basically have our own Southern swamp up here.”

Me: “Well, it’s south of somewhere!”

Wild Adriatic, composed of Gray and his childhood friends Rich Derbyshire (bass), and Mateo Vosganian (drums), strut their soulful, swampy stuff

on Feel, their forthcoming album out February 3rd. Recorded in Austin with Grammy-nominated producer Frenchie Smith, Feel offers up eleven new songs of modern, analog, groove-heavy rock, with the trio taking inspiration from breakups, friendships, new relationships, tour stops, and even politics. “It’s our second full-length, and we’re super excited to release it,” says Gray. “It’s an interesting album; I feel like sometimes it can come off a little negative, lyrically, but it’s a powerful taking-a-stance kind of vibe. More like an ‘I’m done with your crap’ kind of vibe. I went through a horrible breakup with a crazy girlfriend,” he reveals. “I think 2016 was a rough year for everybody, but it was also inspiring. We did some writing retreats together, and the songs are a great collaboration, the three of us bouncing ideas off of each other.”

Gray describes the band’s writing process as a relatively organic one, encompassed by what I call the “fuck yeah factor” (you’re welcome, fellas). “We love riff rock, bands like Led Zeppelin, we love the blues. We have a lot of influences, but when we write a song and we’re like ‘fuck yeah, that’s awesome,’ then it becomes a Wild Adriatic song,” laughs Gray. “For example, we were in Europe, and I was messing around on my guitar at a soundcheck in Spain, and I started playing this riff. I said ‘hey guys, is this cool?’ and they were like ‘yeah that’s fucking cool,’ so we made it into a song when we got home. Or Richie will come up with a dope bassline, and I’ll be like, ‘yep, that’s fucking sweet, that’s a song, let’s do it.’”

The hirsute three-piece has several shows on the horizon, and then shortly after the release of Feel, the band board The Rock Boat, a maritime music festival hosted by Sister Hazel, and take their swampy goodness on the high seas. “We’re doing some new things and stepping into some funky territory,” says Gray. “We’re having a lot of fun with it.”



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