S.P.I.T.T.L.E. Fest Revives Raleigh's Alt-Country Past | Our guide to this week's shows | Indy Week

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S.P.I.T.T.L.E. Fest Revives Raleigh's Alt-Country Past

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If you're not into acronyms, S.P.I.T.T.L.E. Fest is the "Southern Plunge Into Trailer Trash Leisure & Entertainment Festival." A few decades ago, the event slotted local alt-country institutions Whiskeytown, 6 String Drag, The Backsliders, and Two Dollar Pistols alongside rising national stars such as The Bottle Rockets and Drive-By Truckers. It all happened in the appropriately dingy digs of The Brewery.

Resurrected in 2013 and now a one-night event at The Pour House, S.P.I.T.T.L.E Fest focuses on local acts these days, with members of the old guard mixed with new blood for a roots-oriented bill. Two Dollar Pistols principal John Howie Jr. supplies some honky-tonk with The Rosewood Bluff, while Hank Sinatra fuses hardcore country with soaring, radio-friendly hooks. The band's leader, Jeff Holshouser, performed with Big Dixie during the fest's initial run and served an instrumental role in the event's revival.

Known as much for his extensive studio credits as for his work in the Del-Lords and the Yayhoos, Eric "Roscoe" Ambel is a New York-based guitarist and producer who has worked with lots of festival alumni. He brings his own rowdy bar stuff this time. Frequent Raleigh visitors Saint Luke's Drifters make the trip with some Tennessee cowpunk.

Look out for the younger locals, though: led by sensational Triangle songwriters, Sarah Shook & the Disarmers and Steph Stewart & the Boyfriends have outstanding recent releases and are both capable of stealing the spotlight.

Get a preview with performances by Ambel, Howie, and Hank Sinatra at Schoolkids' Record Store Day party and pregame at The Pour House as Tiny Townsend slings plates of barbecue.

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