Tarlatans to play at Wild Wing Cafe


The Tarlatans
The Tarlatans

The Tarlatans will perform Friday at Wild Wing Cafe in Spartanburg.

Photo provided
Published: Thursday, January 3, 2013 at 3:15 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, December 31, 2012 at 8:01 p.m.

While enrolled as students at Clemson University, Taylor McCleskey and Ryan Williams spent much of their time separately honing their music craft.

Facts

Want to go?

Who: The Tarlatans
When: 9 p.m. Friday
Where: Wild Wing Cafe, 109 W. Main St.
Info: 585-4646 or www.wildwingcafe.com

But during their senior year, the two singer-songwriters — along with a musically inclined female friend — decided to join forces and form a band.

That trio eventually led to the creation of The Tarlatans, a four-piece group that has been on the regional music circuit for nearly three years.

Now based in Charleston, The Tarlatans churn out a heartfelt brand of pop-laced Americana in the tradition of such nationally renowned bands as Wilco, Drive-By Truckers and Dawes.

“We want to keep an honesty and rawness not only in our lyrics but also in our playing style,” McCleskey said.

Of course, that isn't to say The Tarlatans' music comes across as less than polished.

“It's all about finding that good balance between raw music and also sounding clean, quality-wise,” McCleskey said. “That's what we respect about the bands we admire, and I think that's what influences us.”

McCleskey and Williams share lead vocal and songwriting duties in The Tarlatans, and each plays guitar.

“Ryan comes from a very classic folk background — he loves Johnny Cash, Jimmy Buffett, Jim Croce and older songwriters like that — whereas I come from more of a pop-rock background,” said McCleskey, who cited such artists as John Mayer, David Gray, New Found Glory and Mayday Parade as personal influences.

“All of that kind of blends together, and I think that's what makes The Tarlatans what it is,” McCleskey added.

Along with McCleskey and Williams, The Tarlatans also includes two other Clemson alumni: bassist Eric Mixon and drummer Blake Shorter.

The Tarlatans' debut album came out early last year, and the group plans to release a follow-up in the coming months, which McCleskey said will be a proper studio recording.

The group's first release was made in a small two-bedroom apartment that McCleskey, Williams and Mixon shared in Clemson.

“We all set up bunk beds in one room, and we used the other room as our practice space and recording studio,” McCleskey said. “I think we made our neighbors pretty mad for a year and a half. We made some loud noise, but luckily we were able to get through it.”

The Tarlatans relocated to Charleston last May in hopes of furthering the group's music career.

“Originally, we were going to move to Brooklyn, New York. We were pretty dead set on that,” McCleskey said. “And then one day, I think it was Eric, he was like, ‘Have you ever thought about Charleston?' … And we all said, ‘Yes, Charleston's going to be it.'

“And we have not regretted it a day yet. We have met so many amazing people, and the opportunities have been more than we could ever imagine.”

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