Music fans looking for folk-rock with a twang of country, look no further than the Michigan Rattlers, a self proclaimed heavy-hearted folk-rock band with an aching dose of Midwestern nice.
Formed in Los Angeles by northern Michigan natives and childhood friends, the Michigan Rattlers are a four-piece band that consists of singer-songwriter and guitar player Graham Young, bassist Adam Reed, keyboardist Christian Wilder, and drummer Tony Audia.
“We all grew up in Petoskey Michigan and we’ve been friends and performing together on and off since middle school,” said Young. “We were all in the school band and we actually had our own side band that performed at our high school’s battle of the band’s competition every year. But, after high school we all kind of dispersed and went our separate ways for college.”
After graduating high school, Young left Petoskey and studied music at Columbia College in Chicago before deciding to embark on his own musical journey as a singer-songwriter in Los Angeles. Young added that although he was pursuing his own musical endeavor at the time, the idea of forming a band with his buddies from back home was in the back of his mind.
“A year or so after I moved to L.A. Adam graduated from college and I convinced him to relocate here,” he said. “We took a cross-country road trip to move him out here and after that the Michigan Rattlers were born.”
With Young on acoustic guitar and Reed on the upright bass, the Rattlers took their first steps as a duo and they released their debut EP “Illinois Sky” in 2016. According to Young, the plan was always for them to be a four-man band, specifically with their current lineup, and he continued to work on getting his other two childhood friends and past bandmates to join him in L.A.
“After playing as a duo with Adam for a while, we convinced Christian to move out here followed by Tony a little later on drums,” he said. “So, eventually I was able to get the full band back together.”
With their desired musical lineup in play, the Michigan Rattlers were able to expand their sound and Young credits several classic rock musicians as some of the band’s musical influences.
“We all listened to the classic rock radio stations growing up and have a strong appreciation for these great songwriters,” Young said. “Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Bob Seger, Creedence Clearwater Revival, they’re all incredible. And they have definitely influenced our music, but we have adapted our own style and sound.”
Young noted that although he’s living in Los Angeles, he draws a lot of his songwriting inspirations from his home state of Michigan.
“I think I draw a lot of inspiration in my songwriting from northern Michigan and my rural hometown of Petoskey. Early on, when I first moved to Los Angeles I was pretty homesick so a lot of those early songs do draw a lot of inspiration and directly mention northern Michigan. But, I love cinema and I read quite a bit...I like to write about the sad stories too.”
The Michigan Rattlers first album as a four-piece band titled “That Kind of Life” debuted in May of this year.
“We spent a lot of time during the lockdown writing new material and we were much more deliberate in our approach to arranging and recording our newest record,” Young said. “‘That Kind of Life’ is a record about relationships and the time we give to other people. There has been a lot of growth and self-reflection for everyone over the past year and we hope our new record serves a role on the path of rediscovery.”
The Michigan Ratters will perform at District Live on Wed., Dec. 8 at 8 p.m. For more information or to purchase tickets visit ticketmaster.com and search for the band.