• Continuing the tradition of socially-conscious singer/songwriters like Woody Guthrie and Billy Bragg is Chicago’s Al Scorch.

    — Utne Reader
  • Like the most compelling preacher, when he sings, you want to listen to him, and most importantly, you want to hear him. When an artist jumps out at you like Scorch does, you pay attention, and without a doubt, you stomp your damn feet, too

    — Glide Magazine
  • Let’s get one thing straight – Al Scorch can fucking pick it. His banjo playing is the sort of shit that leaves your jaw on the table.

    — HearYa.Com
  • For years, Chicago-based musician Al Scorch has been the living embodiment of how punk’s spirit has crossed over into other genres of music. Though his music is an amalgam of bluegrass and country, Scorch’s attitude has been that of an energetic punk kid.

    — Onion AV Club
  • The singer and banjo-player from Chicago plays Prohibition-era-inspired music with incredible intensity and punk rock tempos.

    — NPR All Songs Considered
  • Scorch’s music possesses blistering energy, smart and insightful lyrics drawing from traditional American string band music, European and American folk, including klezmer, and, of course...punk.

    — PopMatters
  • The arrangements are tremendous, the playing and the vocals, whilst excellent, have an appealing rawness, again so befitting this edgy music. Al Scorch’s songs are incredibly literate and tell some quite compelling tales.

    — Americana Roots
  • What if The Mountain Goats' music was made during prohibition?

    — NPR Music
  • Scorch’s music is bluegrass at its core, but driven by the energy of punk and the courage to mess around and see what works.

    — Wrong Highway
  • There is something captivating, earnest and honest about the way he shreds his banjo, eyes squeezed tight, drenched in sweat, hollerin' with smoke rising from his banjo's backside. He plays every show like it is his last, and that fierce energy creates an undeniable spirit that his audience can feel as well as hear.

    — Soapbox Music
  • The finest country-punk-folk-bluegrass banjo player in the country.

    — Huffington Post
Chicago, IL

Al Scorch grew up in Chicago, with its storied history of corrupt power at the top and righteous fighters and big dreamers at the bottom. From the town that gave the world characters like Studs Terkel, Upton Sinclair, and the anarchists in Bughouse Square, Scorch adds his voice to the choir with the enthusiasm and charisma of a Maxwell Street preacher. He eyes the prize of that ever-elusive promised land that’s worth scrapping for, wherever or whatever it may be. With a stentorian bullhorn of a voice, he exhorts, not with a holy book in his hand, but a banjo and guitar. He’s a messenger and a conduit, a believer that a soul-stirring song will march you forward.

Balanced on wedges of punk, old-time string band, American and European folk, and soulful balladry, Al is an entertainer, road warrior, storyteller, and one helluva musician. His second album and Bloodshot debut Circle Round the Signs is built on a sonic framework sharing an intersection with the Bad Livers’ lawless next-gen take on traditional country & bluegrass, and Black Flag’s burn-it-all-down revolt and breakneck tempos.

If you’ve been around the Chicago music scene over the last few years, it’s likely that you’ve seen Al Scorch. While the city can be a mishmash of punk bands, free jazz, hip hop MCs, and everything in between, Scorch finds a way to traverse genres and get the crowd’s feet stomping in unison, no matter the venue or demographic breakdown.

We’ve seen him in varying scenarios both in and outside our collective hometown, always bringing audiences into his corner before his blistering sets are through. He has crushed crowds with his mutating Country Soul Ensemble, opening for acts like Screaming Females and Saintseneca. He’s had listeners hanging on every word during solo performances, while sharing the stage with heavy-hitting songwriters a la Chuck Ragan (Hot Water Music) and Jim Adkins (Jimmy Eat World). He can hold his own on bills with progressive wizards like Danny Barnes and Peter Rowan, too. And he’s even encouraged local voters to get to the polls in the hilariously rapped “The City Hall Shuffle” video.

Scorch’s music and lyrics straddle the line between bone-chilling, literary testimonials and boisterous, revival tent revelry. There are elements of bluegrass and country throughout, at times evinced by his breakneck clawhammer banjo technique and poignant acoustic guitar takes. Balancing wedges of punk, old-time string band, American and European folk, and soulful balladry, Scorch is an entertainer, DIY road warrior, storyteller, and one hell of a musician. We couldn’t be happier to have him join the Bloodshot family.

Here's a taste of the mayhem Mr. Scorch has to offer...

Compilation Tracks: 
Recommended if You Like: 
Pete Seeger
The Avett Brothers
Billy Bragg
Old Crow Medicine Show
Pokey LaFarge
Frank Turner

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