We did 24 shows in 26 days last month, and instead of feeling tired when we got back to Atlanta, we were really energized, because you realize how many people you’re able to get your music to.
The Lost Trailers are constantly touring in support of their major label debut, Welcome to the Woods (Universal), and they’re bringing their unique brand of heartland rock to the Duck Room on June 26. Fans can expect a heavy dosage of material from Welcome to the Woods, but don’t be surprised to hear some “underground” favorites from the band’s independent releases thrown in as well, such as “Horse,” “Redneck Girl,” and “Fairweather Queen.” I got the chance to talk to singer/guitarist/songwriter Stokes Nielsen in anticipation of the show, and here’s what he had to say about the album, the heavy touring, and the upcoming show in St. Louis…
You guys are always on the road. Why do you place so much emphasis on the live show?
I think it’s just very important to get your message directly to the people, and we feel like there’s no better way to do that than by getting out and exploring the country… Music is so different than anything else—you get such a palpable response and you really make a connection with the audience—and to us that’s the most important part of this, that connection between band and audience. If you look at who our big influences are—you know, Springsteen, Allman Brothers, Willie Nelson—these are acts that all tour incessantly, especially in the beginning of their careers. We did 24 shows in 26 days last month, and instead of feeling tired when we got back to Atlanta, we were really energized, because you realize how many people you’re able to get your music to.
So you’re looking forward to 6/26 in St. Louis?
St. Louis has a special place in our hearts, because not only is it a great place to play a show, but if you look at the history of rock ’n’ roll, St. Louis plays a big part of it…and where else can you go to Sauget, Illinois after the show? This will be our first weekend show in St. Louis, and that’s something we’ve been looking forward to for a long time.
Your favorite St. Louis moment so far?
After the last Duck Room show, [drummer] Jeff Potter stage-diving at Pop’s, into a crowd of three people at 4 a.m…and getting kicked out.
You present a wide range of issues, topics, and stories on Welcome To the Woods. Is there a common theme that runs throughout this album?
The album is bound by this idea of love and struggle, which is something I felt when I was experiencing both the passion of playing music and also the struggle that it takes to do something that you love. The album shows these stories of real people struggling for what they love. Some critics have described the music as “over earnest,” or too serious, and the reason for that is because it was a serious times for us. I was waking up in DC on a couch with negative $100 in my banking account, just thinking to myself, hell, this has to work. But at the same time, I was enjoying playing music more than ever, because music is such an important thing to me.
Your songwriting definitely has a literary, storytelling aspect to it.
Yeah. I do read a lot, and I love good writing. I know that it’s not the hippest thing to write like that, and you don’t have a lot of story-based songs on the radio… The one thing I’ve always liked about Springsteen is that he made stories into pop music format, which is really the genius of him, Dylan, Johnny Cash, so I just always loved the idea of being able to tell a story through a song.
How did the band get its name?
Ryder Lee [keyboards/vocals] and I were playing in this band in Nashville and our trailer full of equipment got stolen from outside of the apartment, and Ryder was just driving around the parking lot; he couldn’t really believe that it was stolen. I came up to him, and he said, “I lost the trailer,” and I just always thought that was a good name.
And the album?
Welcome to the Woods came after meeting with Willie Nelson. I asked what the secret was to making it in music, and he said, “If you build a house of quality in the woods, the world will beat a path to your doorstep.” That quote right there changed my life, because I walked away just knowing what I was going to do.