Butch Vig's Emperors of Wyoming Get their First US Release

by Acoustic Nation
Posted Mar 29, 2014 at 5:31pm

Known for his production work on Nirvana's Nevermind, and as a member of the chart-topping group Garbage, Butch Vig's latest project, Emperors of Wyoming, will get their first US release thanks to Liaison Music.

The 10 songs from the band's original European release all appear, but the Emperors added three new songs for the American release and re-mixed other tracks.

Engineer-mixer Alex Smolinski and singer-guitarist Kim Henry are now part of the working group.

Emperors Of Wyoming boasts a seamless melding of American roots music, country-and-western, bluegrass and folk, bridging new and old.

Cutting edge technology is used to record mainly venerable acoustic instruments. The mix of rootsy styles is spiced with subtle hints of spaghetti western, surf-music, hard rock and pop-rock into a distinctive and original sound.

Check out the band's video for "Avalanche Girl" below:

So how did the band come to be? Well, the story starts in Madison, Wisconsin in the late '70s:

The four Emperors - Butch Vig, Phil Davis, Frank and Peter Anderson - are playing in two different bands. They all know each other, but for one reason or another never join forces in the same outfit. By 1980, as fate would have it, they all go their separate ways.

A few years later, Vig and Davis form Fire Town and promptly sign with Atlantic Records, for whom they create two critically acclaimed albums, In the Heart of the Heart CountryThe Good Life. Vig went on to become one of the most successful and sought after alternative rock producers of the '90s, helming breakthrough albums like Nirvana's Nevermind and Sonic Youth's Dirty, AND THEN having enormous success with his own band Garbage. Meanwhile, the Andersons moved to California and form Bay area must-see, Call Me Bwana. That would probably be the end of the story, except...

Fast forward to January 2009...

Davis, a singer and songwriter, is talking to old band mate guitarist Frank Anderson, now living in Wisconsin. "Hey," Davis says, "let's make a folk-rock record." Frank goes, "Great idea, let's go!" Brother Pete says, "I'm in on bass." And Vig, living in L.A., just coming off a two-year stint producing Green Day goes, "Cool. Need some drums and stuff?"

Back together again...for the first time. Problem is, now the band members live in four different cities in two different states. No matter. Times have changed. All four have home studios. They begin to write and record, emailing ideas, songs, riffs, demos and mixes. Thus the Emperors of Wyoming is born and their masterful, eponymous debut, The Emperors of Wyoming, arrives.

...and now it's 2014.

The band records news songs and does fresh mixes on cuts from the original release and Emperors Of Wyoming makes its U.S. debut as an expanded 13-song edition. Sometimes things just happen for a reason, even if it takes 30 years.

Find out more at emperorsofwyoming.com.