Jon Langford, along with colleague Tom Greenhaigh have piloted rock chameleons, The Mekons through 17 rocky years of tours, labels and the occasional album. A modern renaissance man, Langford is not only a musician, but a painter and comic artist as well...
Langford got his start in the same Leeds University scene of the mid 70's that produced the Gang of Four. After a brief bout with synth-pop, the band switched gears to punk/country and released Fear and Whiskey (1985). Whiskey singlehandedly revitalized the Mekons' career. For the remainder of the decade, the band engaged in an arduous touring schedule, picking up fans and band members at virtually every stop along the way.
Langford set up camp in Chicago in the early '90s. While The Mekons still continue to exist as a band (Retreat From Memphis (1994) is some of their best work yet), Langford is presently focusing on his two side projects, The Waco Brothers (Bloodshot Records) and Jon Langford's Skull Orchard Band. Skull Orchard (with their new eponymous CD out on Sugar Free Records--see our review ) is an offshoot of the Waco Brothers, including Steve Goulding, Mark Durante, and Alan Doughty behind Langford. Each project is stamped with Langford's unique brand of wise-ass country, and are a delightful live experience.
Langford also runs a group called the Pine Valley Cosmonauts, a country music cover band, whose high-powered members take turns interpreting music by some of the genres' great songwriters from Johnny Cash (as on their Scout Records recording Misery Loves Company) or Bob Wills. This "who's who" of the Chitown neo-country scene has included Jane Baxtyer Miller (ex-Texas Ruby), Brett Sparks (Handsome Family), Chris Mills, Edith Frost, Robbie Fulks, Kelly Hogan, and Sally Timms.
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