Come In My Kitchen (1996-98)

Entering as a supporting act on the region's college circuit opened up a new world for the band; it was through a communion with their own peers, persons of their own generation, that the band caught a glimpse of what it had been longing for—true to life listeners. They found a new place to stay, and they kept a welcome foot in the door. As word of their performances began to spread, their music, that which had once been quietly shared among an immediate circle of friends, gradually began to find its way into other hands. Genuineness and loyalty proved a blessing, and growth, however slow it may have seemed to them, was to come. After three years of the underground way, Oliver Reed emerged with a renewed sense of direction, and not long afterwards, it assumed a different name. Still true to their roots, it was the music, and not the market, that would effectively change them. 

The original band members cite one single musical experience in their  history of development that had more impact on them than any other before or since; they credit this single event as being the vehicle that enabled their music, for the first time, to begin its evolution towards something more meaningful.  And ironic as it may have seemed for Oliver Reed,  a band that boasted its originality, this great change, the one that they've come to credit for their very existence, seemingly came about as direct a result of imitation. In short,  Oliver Reed began to incorporate the instrumental music of The Allman Brothers Band, and the effect of this action transformed them. Through the instrumental music of another band, they discovered a new manner of expression deep within the blues idiom, a form that was obviously meant for them. Change had come, embraced and welcomed, and it was offered a home. Soon thereafter, the band's original notion of a blues crusade was to be consumed by its own fire, and as the fierceness of pride began its eventual fade, the desire to remake standards was replaced by a wave of original material.

Traditional adherence and experimental development became the band's trademark. They had found themselves, and the music had become real. Confidence grew in proportion to their number of new followers, and the band began to stand taller than ever. Perhaps the most important factor to consider in regard to this transformation was that they, the band, too, had become its most in tuned of listeners. Somewhere during the overall enrichment of its aural atmosphere, the more dramatized notions of Oliver Reed were cast out on the road; the band, like its music, was growing up. They had become The Peach Truck Republic.

Soliciting support from both family and friends, the band managed to acquire a limited operating budget, and, having dashed the stars from their eyes, four young songwriters with little or no recording experience promptly set out, amidst the pressures of their investment, in an endeavor to offer an introduction. With solid intentions, they set out to produce a new kind of blues-rock album.

The Peach Truck recorded its debut, Come In My Kitchen, in October of 1996 and, after some debate over its contents, released it in the following spring. The album, an interpretive tribute to Robert Johnson, consisted of the first dozen or so songs the band had ever written. It was a near faithful rendition, a snapshot of their first three years together as musicians apart from one, noteworthy deviation: the first record did not include any of the band's early instrumental numbers.

Compared to their later works, this fir s, in truth, best appreciated as an archive; it reveals the original member's intentions, and it serves as an accurate indication of where the band's later recordings actually came from. Come In My Kitchen is the only released recording to feature the original line up of musicians who were involved in the formation of the band. Ever so bold in its content, 12 bar explorations amidst the success of a then alternative rock environment, the first album, however raw, leaves little to mistake about the genuine taste of Peach Truck origins.

Following the release of Come In My Kitchen, The Peach Truck booked an ever-widening circle of venues throughout North and East Texas. It was during the live performances that came in support of this first album that the band began to further discover what it could be, musically. With a nod to Johnny Winters, they developed a sound then described as the "Progressive-Folk-Blues," and with the companion guitar work of Dismuke and Hord at its helm, the band began to draw interest from a wide range of musical enthusiasts.

Troubled times befell the band during the summer of  '98. The bass player, Tim Nixon, received a calling from his immediate family, an occurrence that prompted his resignation and departure. He returned to his East Texas home for good, and the band was left to bring in special guests in order to complete their remaining  shows. Afterwards, the band went on hiatus.

Dismuke, Hord, and Brightwell embarked on what was to become an extensive period of reconstruction, but their first efforts at saving Bethlehem from bankruptcy precipitated only in a series of faltering auditions. Players came and went. There were hopeful moments and helpful connections, but no real replacement for Nixon would emerge for several months.

Contrary to the expectation, little ground was actually lost during their time off. Truth be known, they made gains. Without the pressure and work of a live performance schedule, the band was able to focus on the exploration of new material.  With primary credit given to Freddie Hubbard, Miles Davis and John Coltrane, new concepts of rhythm and space were introduced and applied to the band's folk and blues foundations. Hearing the music of these artists, Dismuke not only began to expand on but to  break away from the band's previous formulas. And he took Hord along with him. Alternating lead sections with predetermined lengths and scripted melody lines lost out to dual improvisation. Harmonizing notes over increasingly complex arrangements became their new melodic standard. No more ripping and shredding between verses in preparation of the extended solo, the boys were now beginning to shape their guitars like a couple of overdriven, hard-bop jazz blowers from the sixties. Within a matter of months, they had a draft for their next record.

 

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