Over the course of 3 LPs, 2 singles, and some compilation action, Moonshine Willy endeared themselves to the nascent "alt-country" scene with a whiz-bang melding of rockabilly rumble, bluegrass chicanary, and punk chutzpah. It was head-scratching stuff for a lot of folks at the time---too country for punk, too punk for country---but their energy onstage was undeniable. And irresistible.
Holding the dubious distinction of signing the first Bloodshot Records contract (at Lou Mitchell's northside breakfast joint), Moonshine Willy were also the first Bloodshot band to start criss-crossing the country (in their RV--the Willybago) spreading the good word of our peculiar blending of punk and country. They worked the phones, blazed the trails, made the connections at clubs and record stores and strung together scenes in far flung places like Dallas and Phoenix and Denver. Sadly, they had the misfortune of coming along before anyone knew what to do with them.
We always thought Kim Docter was one of the most consistently underrated songwriters in our humble little stable--songs with pathos, brains, wordplay and hooks aplenty seemed to jump from her devilish brain. Original guitar player Nancy "The Bluegrass Hellcat" Rideout, who was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident in 2007, consistently amazed the crowds with her unschooled, but fiercely unique, guitar/mandolin/banjo fireworks. We also consider violinist Rachel to be the first Bloodshot sex symbol (other than, naturally, Jon Langford, and while doghouse bassist Mike Luke always ranked in the top three of nicest people on the planet, we definitely liked having him on our side in bar fights.
- "Turn The Lights Down Low" live on No One Got Hurt: Bloodshot's 15th Anniversary @ The Hideout Block Party
- "Complicated Games" (XTC cover), "George Set Me Strait," and "Alone" on Making Singles, Drinking Doubles
- "Way Out West" on For of Life of Sin
- "Roulette Wheel" on Hell-Bent
- "Turn the Lights Down Low" (bluegrass version) on Down to the Promised Land: 5 Years of Bloodshot Records