Lost Dog Street Band is a husband and wife duo comprised of Benjamin Tod on guitar and vocals and Ashley Mae on fiddle. With their roots in punk rock, Lost Dog Street Band was formed in Nashville in 2010 and followed in the tradition of traveling musicians like Woody Guthrie, travelling by train and hitchhiking, bringing their brand of country music to venues across the country. The duo briefly joined forces with Shannon and Nicholas Rideout from 2011-2013 and formed the group, Spit Shine. After the tragic death of Nicholas in 2013, Benjamin and Ashley once again began performing as a duo. On March 29th, Lost Dog Street Band released their fifth studio album, The Weight of a Trigger (Anti-Corp).
I’m no stranger to Lost Dog Street Band, as they are a favorite in many music groups, and their name and music are mentioned often by both fans and fellow artists. However, I was not prepared for the raw and honest voice of Benjamin Tod. It is truly unlike any voice in music today. The duo’s songs are reminiscent of the thoughtful lyrics of current contemporary, Tyler Childers, but their sound is more in line with the alternative/punk country sound that Sarah Shook and the Disarmers and the Vandoliers are also bringing to the scene. Weight of a Trigger feels old, but not outdated. It feels like an album filled with songs you would have heard back in the hollers and front porches of Appalachia a century ago. Every song on this album is a strong one, both in the fact it’s well-written and that the musical abilities of Benjamin and Ashley make it shine. I can’t pick one track that I think its weak or that shouldn’t be on the record. That fact also makes it hard to narrow down what my favorite tracks on the album are, but there are two that really stick out to me.
From the beginning, the first track, “To Heaven from Here,” is an attention grabber. A brief intro with the pedal steel quickly gives way to a rollicking, fast-paced dancing tune, but the words aren’t those of a breezy, happy tune like the music would make you think. It’s a song with lyrics like: “and read me my rights for my funeral verse…I spent more time in jail than I did in church.”
“Terrible and True” feels like one of the most honest songs on the album. Dealing with the subject of addiction, it’s a song that is painfully raw and truthful in hits lyrics. “Well I’ve gotta change so I’m goin’ away for a while. I’m leaving today and please don’t let time change your smile. Oh and I am ashamed because habits became my life. But no damn hurricane could rival the tears I have cried.” With the sounds of the fiddle and the harmonies of Ashley and Benjamin, I was immediately hooked on this song. Although I love the entire album, this is the song that has been on repeat for me daily.
Lost Dog Street Band is currently on tour to promote the release of Weight of a Trigger. You can find their tour schedule here: http://www.lostdogstreetband.com/tour/