Truth & Salvage Co. is based in Los Angeles, but their signature sound is straight from the heartland and beyond -- everywhere from Indianapolis to New Orleans to Tupelo, Miss., the birthplace of Elvis Presley. Perhaps that's why the band's rich sound caught the attention of Chris Robinson, co-founder and frontman of the Black Crowes, who produced the band's self-titled debut album that was released in May 2010.
|IF YOU GO|
|Truth & Salvage Co.|
|» When: 8:30 p.m., doors, 9:30 p.m. show Friday|
|» Where: The Red Palace, 1210 H St. NE|
|» Info: $10; redpalacedc.com, 202-399-3201|
"When we first started out playing, we were opening up for the Black Crowes, so we had 30, 45 or 60 minutes [to play]," said Tim Jones, one of the four primary singer-songwriters in the band. "Now we're headlining and ... we've got a whole breadth of new material to uncover."
That's not a problem for the six members in the band. Each comes from a different musical background, from such projects as Scrappy Hamilton and Old Pike to collaborations with members of the Squirrel Nut Zippers, Jack Johnson and the Moldy Peaches. Add in work with band alumni who have gone on to My Morning Jacket and Rogue Wave, and you begin to understand how the band's signature sound, which ranges from rock to alternative to alt-country, developed.
It was about 2005 when the various members who would become Truth & Salvage Co. arrived in Los Angeles and met through happenstance during late-night jams.
The 12 songs on the debut album are just a taste of what happens when a band has such divergent musical backgrounds and four main singer-songwriters join together.
"It is a huge weight off my shoulders," Jones said of sharing the songwriting duties. "It's more fun to come to rehearsal [when everyone makes major contributions]. It's really great to feel like a family ... and have everyone contribute in [his] own way."
The band members have devoted the resultant time to fine-tuning the band's instrumentation, four-part harmonies for which they've become known and, of course, songwriting.
Consider "Old Piano," a song that Jones worked on for years before it came to fruition and gained critical and popular acclaim.
Jones had written parts of the song and played them often for friends. On one such occasion, friend Katy Perry heard the song at the home of James Valentine of Maroon 5, and she suggested the line "You've been playing me like an old piano / all the notes out of key."
"It was one of those songs that I worked on for a long time and just had to keep going back to," said Jones, talking about other talented friends who have collaborated with the band. "That line helped me finish the song."
Such experimentation isn't something that the band members relegate to the studio.
"People like coming to a concert and seeing a band take changes and go out on the edge," he said. "We always try to do stuff we haven't done before so each concert is a special experience."