Hearing neo-Americana acts doing ‘90s R&B covers is cool and all, but it’s getting a bit cliché… So I have to give Mississippi septet Rosco Bandana props for their brilliant take on “Tender,” by alpha Brit-Poppers Blur, on their debut album, Time to Begin, released last December… And their originals aren’t too shabby either… They have a knack for writing songs that would be suited for the grooviest kind of shit-kickers and the most soulfully existential Southerners.  They’re quite a bit of fun, but they would also seem to be capable of soundtracking the heavier (and headier) moments of your most profound years, as well.  They seem well aware of this, as their press release begins, “The Mississippi septet Rosco Bandana are the product of teenage rebellion and its consequences; of lost love, false starts and, above all, lasting friendship.”  The indie folk rock outfit are currently on tour and will be making a Philadelphia appearance this Saturday, June 15th, at my very favorite (and very under-utilized… at least by touring bands) place to hang in Philthy, The North Star Bar.  I recently got a chance to chat with co-founder and percussionist/vocalist Barry Pribyl, Jr. about what they’ve been up to since their debut dropped and what they’re excited for in the second half of the year (which includes a few huge dates opening for Fun.)

Rosco Bandana photo 1

Izzy Cihak: I must admit that I’m not terribly familiar with Mississippi’s music scene.  How would you characterize it?  It seems to have been good to you.

Barry Pribyl: The music scene on the Mississippi Gulf Coast is a great scene. It’s diverse and a lot of great original bands have been popping up recently. There is a sense of community among the musicians in our area, so it’s an encouraging place to be as an artist. We’re definitely proud of and love where we come from.

IC: Everyone seems to ask bands about their musical influences, so I’m curious what are your biggest non-musical influences?

BP: We’re all artists, every single person in the world, whether they know it or not. And we all have different things that inspire us. We all (the band) enjoy any type of artistic expression: films, sculpture, painting, dance, etc. The world around us is an inspiring place to be.

IC: Time to Begin, your debut album, has been out for a while now.  What have been the highlights of promoting the release?

BP: It’s really special to see fans singing the lyrics of the songs when we play live. We’re also very excited about the release of two music videos, “Time to Begin” and our most recent, “Woe is Me,” from our debut album.

IC: Do you have any particular favorite reactions to the release, whether from critics or friends and family?

BP: We never saw any bad reviews and our friends and family were ecstatic with the release! It was a great feeling.

IC: You have a number of live dates this summer, including a local stop at Philadelphia’s North Star Bar.  What can be expected of the live experience?

BP: Our live shows are a fun and diverse experience. We dance around the stage, jumping off drums and hollering on some songs, but then bring the atmosphere down to a low key, intimate feeling with our slower songs. There’s a good blend of energy.

IC: What are you most excited about in the rest of 2013?  Any particular goals you’re striving for?

BP: We’re super stoked about our tour dates with Fun. coming up! They’re a great band and we’re honored to open up for them. We’re enjoying touring right now and look forward to working on another album in the future.