The Nashville-based band Pinmonkey likes to refer to their music as progressive country, but that moniker hardly encapsulates the group's range. Pinmonkey boasts a heady blend of country/Americana styles: traditional Southern gospel, Appalachian folk, Carter Family harmonizing, Muscle Shoals pop-soul, and even traces of '70s rock. The band released its debut album, Speak No Evil, in early 2002.
Lead singer and Virginia native Michael Reynolds first made his way to Nashville with dreams of a career as a Music City songwriter. After years of struggle and menial jobs, Reynolds started performing small gigs on the writers' night circuit. He found musical allies in brothers Chad and Michael Jeffers (who play Dobro/lap steel and bass, respectively) and Rick Schell, a golden-throated, soprano-singing drummer who boasted stints with Steve Earle and Allison Moorer. The group's debut album featured tracks penned by Gillian Welch and Duane Jarvis along with a strong batch of Reynolds originals. The album, as well as the group's rousing live shows, soon caught the attention of RCA Records, which signed Pinmonkey shortly after their self-financed debut came out. Big Shiny Cars arrived in 2006. ~ Erik Hage