What: Country Mice
When: 9 p.m. Wednesday
Where: hi-dive, 7 S. Broadway, Denver, 720-570-4500
There’s a band from Brooklyn called Country Mice. Sounds ironic, no?
Well, it’s not. Jason Rueger, Ben Bullington, Kurt Kuehn, and Mike Feldman hail from small towns. Rueger grew up on a family farm in rural Kansas, Billington and Kuehn also moved east from the Midwest, and Feldman comes from upstate New York.
But they’re a long way from that now. Their 2011 debut album Twister was a hit with fans and critics, and they’ve been on tour almost constantly in the year since its release. All that time on the road has given them a chance to get back to their more country roots, but it also gave them plenty of time to miss New York.
“We kind of said goodbye to New York in the middle of February and we’re not getting back ‘til the middle of May,” Rueger said. “It’s loud enough that you kind of want to get out of it and see some nature and some trees, then midway through you get homesick, but then you go back through some of your favorite cities and it’s better again.”
Touring has also provided a good look at how far they’ve come, too. In a short amount of time they’ve pulled in tons of fans with a style that’s often described as Neil Young meets Wilco meets Sonic Youth. The music is catchy and has a heart. It comes from a place anyone can relate to, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that people are falling in love with it, but the band is still a little stunned.
“It’s been humbling, first and foremost,” Rueger said. “I don’t know, it’s been awesome because we’ve gotten to tour — this will be our fourth U.S. tour since the album came out. Seeing people show up and know some of the songs is just amazing to us.”
Country Mice will take another shot at that connection with their second album, which they spent three weeks recording in Los Angeles about a month ago. Twister was recorded in bassist Mike Feldman’s mom’s basement, but this time around they’ve got the benefit of working in a studio with producer Doug Boehm, who’s worked with Girls, The Whigs, and Drive By Truckers.
“The songwriting process stayed the same and it felt a little bit the same. The main thing that changed was recording in the studio,” Rueger said. “It’s gonna be an evolution of sorts, but still definitely in the same vein as the first album.”
But even with that recording session done, Country Mice is still on the road and still marveling at it all.
“We’re in Florida right now and by the end of next week we’ll be in Seattle, so it’s sort of a mind trip,” Rueger said. “We’re excited to play the hi-dive. We’ve heard about it a lot and it’s our first time through Denver.”
That’s the cue, Denver and Boulder. Get out tonight and give Country Mice a proper welcome.