Anyone who pays any attention to music in Florida has heard about The Takers at some point in the past year, and since Suburban Home picked them up, the hype machine has been doing nothing but gaining momentum. By the time Virgil reached out to me with a copy of the band's debut album, Taker Easy, I was already wondering if they'd be able to match the advance billing. Now, after spending some two months with the CD and managing to catch them live at the Citrus Circuit Tour, I can readily proclaim that yes, The Takers are worthy of the hype. Now hopefully with the CD finally coming out the rest of the country will get behind this little Florida band.
The Takers are a ragtag collection of bike mechanics, cooks, restaurant managers, cashiers and recycled ink salesmen out of Tim Tebow-land (Gainesville). They came together almost by accident when Devon Vlasin (singer) found himself in need of a backing band to open for an upcoming Willie Heath Neal show. A few phone calls and free beer bribes netted a temporary ensemble that decided to keep at it beyond the one-night gig. After some member revisions and additions, the band finally settled in with singer Devon Vlasin joined by Chad Smith and Ronnie Holmes on electric guitars, Jerome Goodman on bass, Mike Collins on pedal steel and drummer Jon Reinertsen.
Having caught his ear, Coody from Suburban Home's Ninja Gun started talking them up to Virgil Dickerson, who took more than a passing interest (psst: Virgil, check out Truckstop Coffee from Lake Worth). After some phone calls, the label and the band agreed that Suburban Home would put out the "Curse of A Drunk" single and that they should all meet during Virgil's trip to an 08 fest to discuss a future relationship. The rest, as they say, is history, and we're now blessed with Taker Easy.
Taker Easy is, at the risk of sounding trite, exactly what I think of when I think about "Florida Country", which is to say they're as much rock and roll as they are shit kickers and twang. Suburban is selling the album as their "outlaw country" band, a modern version of Waylon Jennings, if you will. I'd say they have a little more rock and roll in them than that description suggests, but otherwise I have no qualms with it. I could go into long, descriptive, RIYL tangents, but why should I? Suburban Home has been gracious enough to allow us to stream the entire album over on ninebullets, so why not just check it out for yourself. Personally I think, like me, that you'll find Taker Easy to not only be Essential Listening, but also that it'll probably end up being a Top 10 of the year. And as a Floridian, I am proud that these fellas are from my state.