Squeaks Tall Reeds
Betty Rats Biography Betty Rats are a roots revival band from Nashville, Tenn. They play an off-kilter style of electric folk that contains elements of jugband and gypsy music. Membership in the band may vary from four to five members depending on the situation. Aesthetically, Betty Rats employ a back-to-basics approach to recording and performing live that features stripped-down instrumentation and production techniques. They also incorporate aspects of improvisation and spontaneous expression into their sound. Lyrical themes often border on the abstract or darkly satirical, as represented in colorful songs like "Diner Dionysus," "Electroencephalogram," and "Escape From The Nursing Home." They claim to draw much of their inspiration-metaphorically or otherwise-from a pink plastic cup, which they've affectionately christened "Pink Water." ~~~~~~~~ Betty Rats were conceived in November 2005, when brothers Jeb Morris (vocals, acoustic) and Bart Morris (guitar/banjo, vocals) began meeting for late-night jam sessions in a movie theatre where Jeb was employed. After working up a collection of songs, including 'Jelly Belly,' 'Douchebags' and 'Electroencephalogram,' the Morris brothers brought in percussionist Clark Simmons. The trio performed their first show on December 23, 2006. The first Betty Rats recording sessions took place in January 2007 and produced an eight-song self-titled EP, released in June of the same year. A fourth member, Martin James Schneider, joined the group around this time, covering bass duties initially, and later taking on a range of auxiliary instruments, including accordion, bells and toy piano. Over the summer and autumn of 2007, the four-piece Betty Rats continued to play shows, cultivating an odd brand of ragged electric folk. Performances relied increasingly on improvised jams and off-the-cuff songs. Bassist Blake Taylor joined the group during this period. Betty Rats recorded their debut album, Squeaks Tall Reeds, in the winter of 2008. In order to capture the loose spontaneity of their stage shows, they decided to record the album live (though some overdubs and song edits were implemented). Squeaks Tall Reeds was released in September 2008 on For The Philistine Records.