Nov
21

.357 String Band is Breaking Up

November 21, 2011 - By Trigger  //  News  //  50 Comments

Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s .357 String Band, one of the stalwarts and one of the first full-time bands in the underground country movement, has decided to call it quits. Their high-octane “streetgrass” approach to traditional bluegrass music made them one of the top-tier live and recorded acts in all of underground country, and afforded them a big following in Europe as well. Their album Fire & Hail was the Saving Country Music Album of the Year in 2008, and the band is where underground country All-Star Jayke Orvis got his start.

According to the announcement from the band’s Facebook page, the decision was made when songwriter and banjo/fiddle player Joe Huber, who released a solo album last year Bury Me Where I Fall, decided to leave the band.

Dear Fans, Friends and Family – It breaks my heart to have to make this announcement, but November 25th and November 26th will be The .357 String Band’s final two shows. Joe has decided that the aesthetic of The .357 String Band no longer represents him; he will be returning to school to study woodworking, and pursue his own musical interests part time. The other 3 of us could not agree on a way to continue The .357 String Band without him.

Keep an eye out for solo projects/tours/etc, and we may occasionally make an announcement or two on here. Thank you all so much for the support over the years, it has meant the world to me. I hope to see you all at one or both of the shows next weekend, so we can celebrate 7 years of Streetgrass, whatever the hell that means…..

Word is guitarist, songwriter, and front man Derek Dunn has a solo album in the works, and is planning a tour to Florida and back this Winter. Stay tuned to Saving Country Music for any further developments.

The band went through some high profile drama in June of 2009, when they let go mandolin player Jayke Orvis. Jayke went on to make the first record on the Farmageddon Records label It’s All Been Said, and join the band The Goddamn Gallows. He was replaced by Billy Cook. The .357 String Band has also toured as the backup band to Bob Wayne.

It truly breaks my heart to read this news. The .357 String Band was one of the elite acts of underground country, one of the best bands to see live, and possibly the best ambassadors and examples to the rest of the world of the type of quality in songwriting and musicianship that the independent country boasts. Their music, influence, importance are truly irreplaceable.

50 Comments to “.357 String Band is Breaking Up”

  • After they got rid of Jayke the sound was not as good IMO……….I really think Jayke’s playing style really made the sound for this band.

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  • Derek’s tour will start Jan 6th in Milwaukee, and will run through February 3rd ending in Chicago. It should be good!

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  • I am so sad to see this happen. These guys were like my brothers! I’ve known Rick since before he even played bass! We played at the Horseshoe BBQ back in the day together as well as a little hole in the wall in Elgin, IL.

    I disagree w/ RepoHellbilly. Billy Cook is an amazing artist! (and my personal musical soulmate) Playing dobro, mando, rhythm, and more plus singing??! He really brought a new/different/fresh energy to the band. His skills are truly unmatched.

    I love Jayke to death—he gets along with the majority of the band. Jayke left just like Joe is leaving because when someone in the band wont learn to be professional, how can you keep going out on stage and pretend that everything is OK???! Rockstar attitudes do not belong in this scene. That being said…. I CAN’T WAIT TO GO SUPPORT MY GUYS THIS WEEKEND!

    Let’s carpool and make it a party!

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    • I’m in. Give me a call.

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      • Didn’t realize they’re playing Friday AND Saturday?!

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    • I’m not saying Billy was bad but when i heard them without Jayke it didn’t have that signature mando sound that i had grown to love. IMO Billy was not as crisp on the mando as Jayke was the handful of times i had seen both of them play.

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    • I’ve seen numerous references to someone having a “rockstar attitude” in the band. I’ve never known who people were talking about, and I’ve never cared to ask because I am one who tries to create opinions through my own experiences instead of what I hear, especially when it comes to people. I guess now there’s only two candidates left, and I’m not saying it’s an unfair accusation, but in the two instances I saw the band live, interviewed them, hung out with them before and after shows, and dealt with them over the phone and through email over the years, I never had a negative experience with any of the members.

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      • Its a sad day indeed. I opened on two seperate occasions for the “original” .357 String Band in Minneapolis at Mayslack’s a couple years ago and they were just amazing. All the talk of Jayke or any body in the band being a “rock star” is lost on me because they were very approachable and went out of their way to say how much that enjoyed my sets.

        I saw them open for the Devil Makes Three a few months ago and they were really solid but the absence of Jayke was discernable for sure. To his credit Jayke seems to have moved on and bares no grudge.

        I think given Joe Huber’s depth of talent he can land on his feet in another entity whether it be a band or solo or as a craftsman.

        Best wishes to all and thanks for the amazing music!!! But you’re gonna be missed.

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  • R.I.P to the best damn band in country music. I have the pleasure of attneding their shows and hangin with the members of the band and have to say that the void that is being left in this scene is going to be huge. Good luck Derick, Billy, Rick, and especially to my buddy Billy “Fuckin” Cook.

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    • Yeah, Billy ‘Fuckin’ Cook is a blast to hang out with. Sorry to see the band is splitting, glad I got to see them play.

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    • Goddamn right. Billy is a hell of a nice guy. Never had met him but had some drinks with him after a show once. Hell of a guy and an amazing musician that (IMO) made up for anything that Jayke took with him when he left.

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  • Man that sucks to hear. Saw them live twice here in Germany. First time as the backup of Bob Wayne which was one of the best concerts ever. They are one of my favorite bands and its just sad…
    Wished I could see one of the last shows…

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  • “Joe has decided that the aesthetic of The .357 String Band no longer represents him”. Is it just me or is that a confusing statement. What does that mean?!?

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    • Maybe he is saying that the other band members were trying to move into a different musical direction that he didn’t agree with?

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    • From what I understand Carla, and this may be second or third hand news so my apologies if it’s off a bit, but Joe is getting more into the singer/songwriter aesthetic, kind of like what you can hear in his album “Bury Me Where I Fall”, which I recommend everyone get a copy of because it is excellent. His concern was .357 String Band was too aggressive, but I respectfully disagree. I think what made them so great was their aggressiveness that didn’t cross a line like so many other bands do. When you boiled it down, it was still just a straightforward string band.

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    • Joe is a true artist beyond his music. Check out JosephHuberArt.com and you’ll know what I mean. Listen to Bury Me Where I Fall and I believe you can sense the divergence from his personal style and maybe his tastes from “the .357 sound”. I’m a big fan of him, and all members of the band and look forward to seeing what is next for Joe and all of the members.

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  • Like Butthead once said, this sucks. This sucks more than anything has ever sucked before. I feel physically ill at the prospect of moving froward with no .357 String Band. My charge of saving country music just got a lot harder. They were the one band that regardless how much of a pop country Kool-Aid drinker somebody was, you could put them in front of, and they would become an immediate convert. They were accessible. They went to the line, but did not cross it. They were the best bluegrass band the world has ever seen. And now they are gone.

    And I don’t want to hear about how Jayke leaving destroyed the band. As true or untrue as that may be, Jayke doesn’t win in this matter, we all lose. Everyone. Because one of the bands that was seminal to all of this, and certainly the formation of this website, is now gone. And I can’t help but wonder if some of the rancor by some people at Jayke’s leaving, justified or not, helped get us to this point. A couple of weeks ago I emailed Derek, concerned that the .357 String Band had been isolated, and that they needed to be brought back into the fold. I don’t care about whatever behind-the-scenes drama there is. It’s all about the music, and the .357 music was good music. It’s is a damn shame that one of the bands that helped form an underground in country music will never play the Muddy Roots stage: one of the underground’s most crowning achievements.

    I’m looking forward to whatever solo projects, but they will not be the same. My biggest priority now is to make sure the .357 String Band, their great music, and the impact they had is not forgotten. Aside from maybe the big 3: Hank3, Wayne and Dale, they were as important as anyone to what we all enjoy now.

    RIP.

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    • The touring aspect had to do with this as well, as one or more of the members have lost the “touring love”

      In my mind, The biggest shame is that the new songs they have been playing live for well over a year, that was supposed to make up their 4th album will never get out there, and, these started to become some of my favorite of there live shows. I hope they decide to record these, but that is probably not a priority to the guys.

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    • Yes u put it into words that I could not …….and Billy Cook was badass asset for sure……..There is nothing like the sound …. I have searched….its not there…..direct to my soul………

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  • This is terrible! In 2008 we first saw them open up for Joe Buck and their set completely blew our doors off. It was one of the jumping points for us to get totally immersed in this genre. It sucks they have to break up, but I thank them for all that they gave.

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  • Wow,what sucks most about this,is that I never got to see them live. I know that is kinda selfish,but I really was hoping to see em at least once. On a positive note it does make me want to shake off my being a puss and not checking out bands when I get the chance.

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  • Shit news. Certainly one of the bands that really got me into this music. I can only look forward to hearing their solo stuff.

    But, shit news.

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  • these guys have been the soundtrack to my life for over 3 years now and i’m devastated. by far my favorite live act and it just won’t be the same without them. with that being said, i’m glad they are not trying to move forward with the same band name trying to re-create what they’ve been doing without Joe there. They’ll all do great things and I look forward to it.

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  • Thanks to this website, I was introduced to this amazing band last year, as well as Joe Huber’s impressive solo work. I read somewhere that they were close to finishing an album to release this fall. Might this still happen…or is this now shelved?

    This is crushing news–the end of another great band. I wish I had seen them when they were in San Diego last summer.

    ….at least we still have Hellbound Glory.

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  • im not really familiar with these guys other then that Restless Man Blues track from the Outlaw Chicago cd..that song is the shit. they’re from my neck of the woods too…sucks they’re breaking up,it’s always fun listening to the southeners piss and moan about the nothern bands getting a little love,lol.

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  • I for am probably one of only a few that doesn’t really like .357 live. I love their albums though. This is likely due to the fact that I live close to Milwaukee, and only have seen them play there. I have seen them a hand full of times. The first time was strickly to see them play. The rest of the times it has been to see opening acts. I usually don’t stick around for their full set. This really isn’t the bands fault, but more of the crowd’s. In Milwaukee their crowd tends to be a bunch of college kids wearing flannel shirts they got at the GAP, and boots they got to wear to the Jason Alden show last year. While not everyone in the crowd is that way, but a lot are. The guys in band are great. I have talked to all of them a couple of times. Hell, I got to talk to Joe last year at a Jayke Orvis show. But, the crowds in Milwaukee at a .357 show tend to not be my cup of tea. I will be there on Friday though. Mainly to see Those Poor Bastards (and to get a Zebras record Vincent is bringing for me). But, it is sad to see them go.

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    • Seeing a band in their hometown can sometimes can leave one with a skewed perspective. The energy, and a lot of times the music and set list can be totally different than a road show. Something I’ve never understood though is how a crowd can effect a music experience. I do pay attention to what type of people are at a show, but that is not going to effect my experience usually….

      Unless their hipsters.

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    • “In Milwaukee their crowd tends to be a bunch of college kids wearing flannel shirts they got at the GAP, and boots they got to wear to the Jason Alden show last year. While not everyone in the crowd is that way, but a lot are.”

      I think we must have went to different shows. The only show I thought had a really odd crowd was the one at Cathedral Square for WMSE a couple years back. It was pretty hippie dippieish. But those shows at Mad Planet and Cactus and Linnemans and Zads and the street festivals, I saw nothing like that.

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      • it’s been at the past couple of shows at turner hall over the past couple of years, and one at summerfest (which is to be expected there). it might also be partially due to the fact that i don’t really like turner hall. if there is much of crowd in there and they start jumping up an down the floor feels like it is going to give at any second.

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        • The bigger the venue, the more mixed the crowd will be I think. I was at the last show at Turner (February maybe?) and now that I think about it, the crowd was a little, fuck, I don’t know, “safe”. The popularity thing is always a double edged sword in regards to what type of crowd comes out to the shows. That goes for every band.

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  • I am sad to hear this. Many folks have already said it, but .357 was one of the very first bands in this scene I got into, back in 2008, and they remained one of my very favorites. If something isn’t working for someone though, it’s not right to fake it. Joe’s solo album is amazing, but I saw .357 as the other side of the coin. And Billy Cook is a great guy and an amazing picker; I was excited to hear the new songs. You said it though Triggerman, we’ll make sure their music is not forgotten. I’ll be going on a .357 kick for the rest of the week, you can count on it.

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  • I have a friend who’s band opened for them a couple months ago, but I couldn’t make the show. Looks like I’ll never get to see them live and that’s a shame, because they are one of my favorite bands. But I’ve had both their cds in my truck’s player countless times for the last couple months since SCM introduced them to me, so I’ve at least got that.

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  • FUCK NO!!!

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  • [...] .357 String Band is breaking up following their last two shows this [...]

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  • I’m sorry to hear this too . . . .357 was the very first underground band I ever went to see. My friend and I were about the only two there to hear these guys play and their talent was amazing to me. I had never heard live music like that before and it was, and is, hard to put into words how it made me feel at the time. I pray these guys find happiness as we are put here on earth to find our way. I know Joe is speaking from his heart as I feel it from his statement. It’s not easy to change, it takes some monumental courage to say “this ain’t workin’ no more” and to shift your direction. I hope with all my heart that it’s for the better not the worse.

    That night at Sam’s Saloon I danced and danced and danced and danced and danced and I felt very happy sharing my happiness with a string band from Milwaukee . . .God bless them all and I wish them the very best. :)

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  • Ghost Town goes down as one of my favorite albums in the last 10 years.. Sad to see them split as I was just wondering what was going on with them as they seemed pretty quiet. Sad to see this happen even though they lost me a little bit after Jayke left..

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  • Damn, this is horrible news. .357 is one of the main reasons that i really got into this scene. I used to listen to whatever was spoon fed to me just because i didn’t know better stuff existed. Then i found this site and .357 was the first band i really got into. I remember watching a video of them on youtube for the first time and was just blown away. I hope they know how much of an impact they’ve made on so many people. Thanks for everything fellas

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  • R.I.P. to one of the best bands that will ever exist…

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    • AMEN to that sir! My band is heartbroken over this new. They truly are such an inspiration to the rest of us musicians and just plain ol regular folk :)

      I plan on documenting their last Milwaukee show—we’ll see about Green Bay with video! Video diary style. I’ll be sure to let yall in on it, since most of their fanbase is from outside of Wisconsin!

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  • 357 changed my whole outlook on the music scene……never such an impact….will be truly missed…..I don’t know whut to type but …..front row turner hall….and good luck guys…..

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  • I wish the best to Joe. He has remained close to my heart for years and will always stay there. I’ve known him, his wonderful gal, and his family for many years and they have always been nothing short of amazing.

    I absolutely have nothing nasty to say about this. I’ve had issues with how I was served my walking papers, sure, but if it wasn’t for that happening, I wouldn’t be with the Gallows now. The songs I wrote wouldn’t have seen the light of day, I wouldn’t be where I am now and I truley believe that I’ve benefited far more than I suffered.

    I also cherish the 5 years I spent with the three of them. From practicing in my basement, to streetcorners, our first tours, europe, and eventually selling out a thousand seat hall in our hometown. I’m so proud of our accomplishments.

    They of course went on to continue being a great band. I really do wish them the best, and I’m sure one day the guys will know that. This is sad news for me too. .357 String Band was everything to me for a long time.

    I think we can all agree that its better they go out like this, than turn into a crappy version of what they used to be.

    This ones for you guys…
    All the best.

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  • Thanks Jayke. You were the one that originally got me into .357, and I think you know that. I wouldn’t be a shitty mandolin player if it wasn’t for hearing you play on Ghost Town many years ago.

    .357 String Band is by far one of the most important bands EVER for us dorks that take the music so seriously. You broke new grounds.

    Thanks for the memories Derek, Rick, Jayke, Joe, and Billy!

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  • I read in a interview on line form “Listen Up Denver!” the .357 saying that they just had a “few more things with mixing and mastering” concerning their new album. this was in june. I would think if they are that close it would may see light of day yet- I hope. I was gettin in to their new tunes from what I heard at thier shows. Any news from them one way or another on their new album?

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    • Well, in their announcement, they mentioned solo projects, but didn’t mention an album, so I wouldn’t hold my breath. Hopefully more info about their future plans is coming soon.

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  • Hearing this sad news takes me back to the only time I saw the Stringband in concert, last july. Supposed to be an open-air-show on a stage only a few meters from the river that passe my hometown Nijmegen, Holland. But stormy weather forced the show into a tent with a soundsystem that wasn’t fit for live music, and caused a few total power-failures. In the end they played totally accoustic, singing without microphones. Glory, Amen on the floor in the audience. Really a night to remember and one of the most fun-shows I’ve seen in a while. Never gonna forget that, as a matter of fact I”m wearing the t-shirt I bought that night right now.
    And I’ll keep playing the cds I’ve got, with Jayke or without, that really didn’t make much of a difference to me. It was their kick-ass approach of bluegrass that got me in the first place, taking it still a bit more to the limit than Split Lip Rayfield did.
    I’ll miss them.

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  • Well, correcting myself, Split Lip Rayfield pushed the limits as hard as the 357s. I never got to see them, but Youtube Live at the Cotillion, the last show with Kirk Rundström, who died of cancer not much later. They were as intense as the 357s.

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  • Sorry to hear that, I have great memories of their shows, also my son, they have been in Europe a lot and I loved the .357 shows, they were great to hang out with, to talk to before or after the show, always nice,and time for meeting and greeting, thanks Rick, Derek, Joe, Billy and also Jayke for all the good times and wish them all best of luck, hope to see how it goes with each and everyone of you, good luck.
    Monica aka Restless In Amsterdam

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  • [...] that fans may never get a chance of hearing a recorded version of now. However as the band stated when they announced their breakup, fans can expect solo projects to be forthcoming, and for those that can’t wait and have yet [...]

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  • [...] op het geweldige Farmagedonn Records. Jayke Orvis is voor zijn solocarrière actief geweest in the 357 String Band en in The Godamn Gallows. In 2012 heeft Jayke intensief in Europa getourd door Europa. Zijn [...]

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