by Ray Roa
Alabama meth heads and Dog Island in Boca Ciega Bay — both good sources for inspiration if you're Gulfport-based swampgrass outfit Gators In The Sawgrass.
"I basically just took ideas from experiencing crazy meth heads I was surrounded with back in Alabama," said frontman Benji Jarrell when we asked him about his inspirations for "Johnson Boys," a harmonica-drenched country stomp. "Then I took the theme from some of my favorite old trucker songs from the '70s [and made] an upbeat song about two drug-addled brothers with nothing to lose."
It's the only song the Gators have online, but the band has recorded a new album in honor of late member Brendan Mannion, who passed away last March. They are set to embark on an extensive run of tour dates sometime in May, and it's their presence on a bill alongside two personal favorites (Kersey Williams and Physical Plant) at one of my favorite venues (Venture Compound) that caught my attention.
I haven't spent any real amount of time in Boca Ciega, but if this is the kind of down-home boogie it spawns, then I'm all in. Have a listen to the track below.
Gators In The Swampgrass plays Venture Compound this Friday alongside Kersey Williams, Physical Plant, Selctric, and a touring band from Tennessee, Charlie and the Foxtrots. The show is $5 and kicks off at 9 p.m.; Venture Compound is located at 2621 Fairfield Ave. in the Warehouse Arts District of St. Petersburg.