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The Ludlow Thieves
are actually a band
by: Keith Putnam-Delaney - July 6, 2012


Untitled Document

It seems kind of crazy that a Iowa gospel guy, a classically trained musician and a Manhattan hippy got together in a band that makes sense. The Ludlow Thieves have been playing in NYC for less than a year with their sound that is hard to pin down: tribal-folk? Classic rock with a rustic Americana feel to it? It’s heavier than folk music, but it’s not really ROCK. Whatever you call it, all that matters is that it sounds good - and fun. Dan, the lead guitarist and composer, brings a classical foundation, weaving in string elements and some of the harder hitting stuff. Danny, lead singer, carries the heart of the band’s sound in his voice. And Walker, the drummer, brings a tribalism to the band that you can hear in almost every song. They are about to release their debut album.

Why the name “The Ludlow Thieves”?
“It was actually born of a conversation I had with my grandma. When my great grandparents got off the boat they moved to the lower east side. So it’s about that generation living there, the next generation going to the outer boroughs, the next generation going to the suburbs, and then this generation reclaiming it. My grandma asked, ‘Why the Ludlow Thieves? What, are you mugging people all the time?’’’

How did the Ludlow thieves come together?
“The Ludlow Thieves were basically born out of a failed album. Toward the end of college I started a really ambitious project of trying to record a rock album, an acoustic album and then a symphony. I wanted those three albums to be ‘Hey, good to meet you. Here’s what I do.’ It took me finishing the albums and listening to them as finished products to realize ‘Nope you need a motherfucking singer to deliver the music as you intended.’ And then I got introduced to Danny…

Working with Danny is great because we’re opinionated but polite about it. We know what we like, and we don’t always line up. But I think that’s what has given the band its sound. The classical stuff, the rock stuff - that more comes from me. The country tint - that is definitely his side. He has that delivery and taste. We both--and the three of us, actually, including Walker--just appreciate the talents of the others so, so much.”

How did Walker come into the mix?
“We got these 5 songs to the point where we wanted to record them. Two days before the recording date the drummer I had lined up tore a ligament in his right hand. So I called a buddy, and he recommended Walker. He came in. He killed it in the recordings and was the nicest guy ever. Danny and I looked at each other at the end of the day and were like, ‘We should invite him into the band, shouldn’t we?’ And that was the Ludlow Thieves.

Putting together those recordings was a way of putting together the team and figuring out our sound... The recordings have since been informed by our live sound and developed. It was a way of hearing everything out…There was both the creative legroom, the camaraderie of character and the mutual talent that we all appreciated in each other. I sent Danny Sing Me Back Home – the first song I sent him from those sessions – and he was like, ‘I don’t think I’ve ever sounded so good. This is the most beautiful thing that I think I’ve been a part of.’ And I thought, ‘Now we’re cooking.’”

How do you work on your songs?

“My favorite way to write is picking up the guitar and seeing what comes out. I’ll let my fingers fly. Usually I’ll have the TV on to go into autopilot and when something catches my ear I’ll stay on it for a minute, and I’ll take out my recorder, play it in loops and find melodies. I’ll sing gibberish and then I’ll have a section. Most songs on the album, except To Travel, started that way. That one came out of that symphony I was writing after college. 

The way I write lyrics is usually one idea, one sentence and I write that down by itself. And then when I’m writing a song I’ll go hunting for that one sentence that seems to fit the mood of the music, and I’ll either try to write off of that or find similar lines that can be woven together for a story. Danny is more of a story writer. My lyrical bent is a little more influenced from the grunge era. That’s a little more surrealist. I don’t go for the straight story as much as Danny does. That’s why he keeps me in line, and it ends up for the better.”

What’s next?

“We have just finished the album, and we couldn't be more excited about it. It is really epic and intimate at the same time. We want this to happen. We want this band to happen. Really, our ambition is to take this band as far as possible. We’re musicians. We’re ambitious. That doesn’t mean we know how to navigate the current climate of the digital space and the record industry. We’re nervous about both of them. We’re sure of us, but we’re not sure of how to take the band to the places we want it to go. That being said, the energy of the shows and the support we have gotten gives us just enough of that confidence to feel like we are doing something right.”

" When my great grandparents got off the boat they moved to the lower east side. So it’s about that generation living there, the next generation going to the outer boroughs, the next generation going to the suburbs, and then this generation reclaiming it. "

The Ludlow Thieves
"To Travel"

what it is

Tribal folk rock