With guitarist and singer/songwriter Holden Sproul leading the way, The Rucksack Wanderers hit the music scene in January with their version of island-style reggae. Influenced by everyone from Toots & the Maytals to Radiohead and the Dead, The Rucksack Wanderers (featuring Terry Price on guitar, organ and vocals, Mikie Martel on bass and vocals, and Travis Vance on drums and vocals) play tropical music with youthful energy to spare. While their typical setlist consists largely of choice reggae covers, a handful of Sproul's originals, in particular "I Come From the Dark," are not to be missed. Holden Sproul talks music.
What was the first record you ever bought, and where is it now?
I bought Bad by Michael Jackson (on tape) when I was 11 or 12. I think it's still at my home in Maine, collecting dust safely.
Was there much music in your house growing up?
My family was great about having music on at home and always in the car. We used to commute to the city a lot and would always pass the time with some oldies or classic rock. At home we had a piano, a guitar, a banjo and some old drums. Nothing fancy, more like relics from my parents' past. I still played them all at some point.
What do you guys sound like?
Life-filled, groove-oriented roots-rock; lyrical, part mystical, mostly love, more than great, always just-exactly-not-so-perfect; sunny and reggae.
What song would you never want to hear again, and why?
"Happy Birthday." Especially that version I heard at an Olive Garden once. Not that I don't like birthdays, or the Olive Garden.
What do you like about the Nashville music scene?
It's a pretty friendly group of people here. They're more than willing to tell you who they know and where they go, for what it's worth. There's a lot of heart here and also a lot of musical opportunities of all kinds. I've met some really great people doing very positive things and I hope to keep meeting more.
Who are your favorite Nashville musicians/artists?
Johnny Cash, Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss, Jerry Douglas, Edgar Meyer and more recently Johnny Rabb, Edwina Hayes, Steve Byrom, Mambo Blue, Diane Gatto, Heather Meloy, Bells for Aida and Rhythmystic.
What record do you wish you'd made?
Pink Floyd, The Dark Side of the Moon. Such a great one.
What's the best or worst gig you've ever had?
When I played Bonnaroo 7 years ago, before anyone knew about it, I had the best time. We really rocked out, I mean, hard. I think we were the first band to ever play there.
The Rucksack Wanderers can be seen 10 p.m. Fridays at Caffeine, April 24 at Hair of the Dog, and April 26 at 3rd & Lindsley.