Southern Charm and Biker Gritt with DUCAIN
Hailing from the hollers and hills of West Virginia, Ducain crafts music in the Southern tradition. Steely guitar, blues feel, mixed with a revved up Rock drive.
The band is Southern Rock with Americana and Blues infusion. Their inspiration comes from bands like, Kings of Leon, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Free, The Rolling Stones, and more. Band members are vocalist /guitarist, Jeremy Sargent, Austin Lewis on lead guitar, Rich Mills keeping it locked in on bass and keys, and Jared Holley, providing the solid drumming. This is downhome, honest, Rock 'n Roll.
by: Abbe Davis, April, 2021
AD: Hey Jeremy, your cool tune, "Thick As Thieves," I hear that to you guys, it's about how family has your backs, is that how you see the album?
JS: I would say the main themes of the record are about family ties, having the backs of those we love, right and wrong, What we consider the general values of people here in West Virginia. Jared coined the term “Holler Mob” (Hollow* Mob) when we were talking about the theme of the record, and I think it sums it up perfectly. If you’re in the family, you’re IN the family, and we look out for our own!
AD: I love the intro, it just smacks of Southern Rock, and a lot of soul in your voice. Strong and loyal, ya know? It’s like a great motorcycle gang song, right? Do you get Harley guys coming over to you to tell you that? Have you played it out and gotten that feedback?
JS: I’m impressed…you really seem to grasp what we’re about! Haha. A motorcycle gang song is another perfect way to categorize "Thick as Thieves" for sure! Sadly, every time we’ve had the opportunity to perform at some type of biker club gig, bad weather or conflicting schedules have gotten in the way. I think it’s safe to say we’ll have our chance soon enough. This was one of the early songs of the band, and we actually had it on the backburner for quite a while. (Like a year or more) and didn’t really play it out, then we decided to tweak it a little and get it back in rotation. It’s now become one we love playing. It’s just fun and aggressive, and in your face.
AD: How or where did you write it?
JS: Strangely enough, this song started from a dream I had. In this dream, I heard the pre-chorus section that says, “He’d run you down” repeated a few times, but it was sung by a group of female backing vocalists, which would be amazing to have on it now. It wasn’t those same lyrics but the general idea for the song was sparked from that dream. I wrote the lyrics and guitar part pretty quickly after I woke up. I took it to the guys, and we hit the ground running with it easily, and had the song completed within a really short time. When we revived it, we decided to tone it down some in the verses, and instrumentally everyone followed Richie’s bass line, which is always nasty, and it just felt right and gave the song new life.
AD: It is a gritty bass line, it keeps it driving! "Mt Mama," who is that about, your woman?
JS: "Mountain Mama" is about all West Virginia women! I wanted to speak to the strength and resilience of the women of West Virginia. Obviously, this could apply to all women, but we’re particularly proud of where we come from and the women we’re lucky enough to have in our lives.
AD: Nicely stated. Amen! "Hurricane," the livestream of that was so good, your harmonies. You guys sound great. You and your drummer, Jared Holley on those cool vocals. Then the studio version, well. I love it! I also think it is cool on the live version, even off mic your band is singing along with you. I always dig that, band of brothers, tight harmonies.
JS: Thank you! I really appreciate that, and the fact that you watched the video of "Hurricane," as well as listening to the album cut! Harmonies are something that is a must for me. It’s what sets groups apart, in my eyes, when I see them live. I’m so lucky to have Jared there to sing with me. He destroys it, when he sings and even does it while he’s beating holes through his drumheads, haha. It was a lot of fun adding more vocal harmonies in the studio. Singing harmonies is one of my favorite things to do, and in the studio, I actually get to join in and help Jared out with it. Austin and Richie are right there with us when we play live. They might not have mics, but they’re singing along with me either way, which is something I also love to see when I watch a band play live. It just seems to complete the feeling of unity we have on stage, and I love it.
AD: It's great to see vocal chemistry and support like that in a band. On your new album, what are your favorite five tunes that you guys do? And why do you like those songs a lot?
JS: That's a really tough question for me. Every one of these songs is a part of me, so it’s hard to pick favorites. If I have to pick, I think my list, in no particular order, would have to be this:
"Pocket Bullet Deputy" is, to me, a powerful slap in the face that speaks to the disgust of those who feed off and capitalize on the hard work of others (Possibly inspired by someone in particular, but that’s another story). Some lyrics I like a lot in this song, “Even vultures leave the bones. Of the scavengers, you’re a king.”
"I’m Right Here" is a tune that almost hurt me to write, and also hurt to sing during a certain time in my life....but while writing it, it also helped me realize that I was done with the game that lead me to the low place I was in. I open my heart in that song, and I’m proud about how you can hear the emotion when we play it, and I’ve grown since I wrote it, yet it's now an anthem for the way I want to continue living my life.
"Killer" came out of Austin and Richie, and their great chord progression for me to sing over. It’s about a guy we met after one of our first “out of town” gigs, where we ended up staying at someone’s house overnight to keep us from driving until the next morning. However, we didn’t end up getting much sleep at all, because a fella named ‘Killer’ was standing in the driveway waiting on us when we got there, and he was NOT going to sleep and expected us to hang out…all night, haha. Long story short, you get to know a lot about someone when they aren’t going to remember it the next day. That’s exactly what happened with "Killer." It was a fun and interesting night, and I learned enough about him that I was inspired to write a song about him almost immediately.
"Pray" is the newest song on the record, which is a bit different from our harder music, and also how the vocal is. It’s also fun to just get down and grind on it when we play it live.
"Tenacious Soul" is one of the first songs I wrote during the early days of our band. Most of our songs are more high energy rock, but this one is more of a slow, blues tune that is an emotional ride for me. I feel like everyone shines in this song.
AD: Thanks for sharing how you feel about your songs. So, what is the oddest way you have written a tune, the place, or how it came about? Any stories about that? I'm guessin this will be about "Killer" some more, right?
JS: How'd you know, yes....I’m going to go ahead and continue the story. We played our first “out of town” gig and didn’t want to drive all night (something we always do these days.. but this was early on! Haha). Our drummer’s girlfriend, now wife, had a relative who lived in the area, and he offered to let us stay at his place. He came to the show and brought a few people with him. After the show, we, of course, had to tear down and pack up the van. After that we stopped and got some food before heading to the relative’s house. After driving for a VERY long time (about half the time it would’ve taken us to just go home), we arrive, and as we pull into the driveway, we see a guy, (nicknamed Killer) who was at the show, standing in the driveway waiting on us. By this time, it’s about 3AM, and he had to have been waiting on us for a good hour and a half or two. We get out of the van and he’s immediately ready to party, but he was already past the point of "party" as it was. We stood outside in the winter night/morning until about 6AM. There was a dog that looked half bear and half wolf that ate rocks and cigarette butts just roaming around, and we were surrounded by a beautiful forest. We mostly listened to Killer talk.. about anything and everything. He quoted the Bible, he told us about losing the love of his life and how it went down, his love for fighting, and much much more. I learned that this 24-year-old man had really lived, and he was wise beyond his years, and even though he had a very tough exterior, he was an extremely kind and gentle person. Everyone trickled off to bed by around 6AM. Austin and I slept downstairs on a sectional couch, and I was so excited to SLEEP. Well, after what felt like about 15 minutes of sleep, Killer walks down the stairs, throws on the light, and tells us to wake up, because breakfast was ready. Austin still talks about the rage he saw in my eyes, LOL. After Killer walked back upstairs, I looked at Austin and said, “If he wasn’t being so nice, I would stab him,” and we got up to eat our breakfast. This breakfast consisted of bacon, eggs, toast, waffles, and….fish sticks! In the short time we were asleep, Killer managed to look over our newly acquired van (Wet Betty), fix a vintage vending machine, and make us breakfast. All while he shouldn’t have even been able to stand up! AND HE DIDN’T EVEN LIVE AT THIS PLACE! Killer, who I still don’t know his real name, inspired me that night. He is all of us. He just wasn’t afraid to show it, as most are. He had nothing to hide, and I met a truly good man that night, who happened to have a rough go every now and then. He was real, and he was good. The song lyrics for that song basically wrote themselves, and by the time I sat down in the van to drive home, I knew we were going to write a song about him.
AD: That is a "Killer" story. Wow, how human can ya get? You were patient, I would have been like, "Killer, man, we have GOT TO get some sleep here, lemme make you coffee man, you need to just lay down, dude." Tell me about your family, your dad is a singer/songwriter, right? And your mom plays music? How did they know you liked music or did they lead you to it at a very young age?
JS: My dad has been in bands for as long as I can remember and is still doing it today. As a kid, I remember hearing tons of great music and waking up to my dad learning or writing new songs. Not exactly what you want to have happen when you just want to sleep, but it obviously made an impression upon me. I always thought it’d be an awesome thing to get to sing a song on stage with him, and I finally got to do that a few years ago. My mom and dad used to play and sing songs together when they were young, but my mom is such a shy person that she never really did it in front of anyone much. They’ve both got great taste in music, and it was always around me. Neither of them ever pushed me to play guitar or sing, it’s just what we did in our house. It was the norm, so it was only natural that I eventually took it upon myself to pick up the guitar. I always sang and so did/do both of my sisters. Music was and is just a part of life in the Sargent home, and I’m happy to continue in those footsteps.
AD: That is really a cool to bond as a family with Music everywhere in the house. Which festivals in the US do you guys have your eyes on as far as touring goes?
JS: Some that come to mind that we’d love to get the opportunity to play are The Peach Festival, Railbird, Firefly, Aftershock, and Forecastle.
AD: Well, no doubt! Looking forward to hearing that you guys are there soon. Pretend I’m a fly on the wall and your band is on a touring bus for about three weeks straight, what does that look like? Are plates flying or are you guys mellow, what is the band about?
JS: I think we know ourselves and each other well enough that we can separate ourselves from a situation to prevent it from escalating to plates flying haha. Even when stuck in a van or bus, a cell phone is a wonderful thing, because it makes it possible to escape for a little bit when necessary. One thing I’m sure of is that we’d be eating good food as much as possible. Three of the four of us love to cook, and nothing brings people together like a good meal. No matter what might happen, at the end of the day we all have to eat, and we’d do it as a family.
AD: Ain't that the truth! If you could hang out for one day with your dream band, as a vocalist and performer, create a band of guys who have passed on, or guys alive and guys passed, who would you have on lead guitar, drums, and bass?
JS: This is a really hard question to answer! These guys are interchangeable with many others, but I’ll pick one of each.
On lead guitar – Paul Kossoff, bass – Pino Palladino, and drums – John Bonham.
AD: That's tight! I'd wanna show up and jam with you guys. Is it fair to say that you guys are all about Southern Rock? Is that how you guys see it?
JS: I think Southern Rock is the basis for our sound, especially when it comes to my writing style, but I think our sound is more expansive than simply Southern Rock. Our influences are vast, from Southern Rock, metal, country, R&B, blues, grunge, and even classical, and lots more. My favorite part about our band is that when we put all of our styles together, something new is created. I’m proud of the fact that when people ask what we sound like, it’s hard to compare us to anyone for reference. I’ve been told that we have a classic vibe done a new way, and I’m happy with that. I think it’s time someone name a new genre. Someone needs to come up with a name for “Modern Classic Rock with a Southern Flare”ASAP!
AD: Well you're right and it will probably be here so, genres and titles of Rock categories change so quickly these days. Doyou guys jam on covers and mess with other styles or not? Any favorites?
JS: We’re constantly having fun with covers. We typically sprinkle covers into our sets, and they range from Southern Rock basics like Skynyrd to the Grunge of Alice In Chains and everything in between. A favorite of ours right now is "Bulls on Parade" by Rage Against the Machine.
AD: That's a kick butt tune! I like Rage... they are great to go running to, ha. Tell me what is up ahead this year for the band? Also who do you wanna thank or shout out to?
JS: This year we plan to tour as much as possible on the current release of our debut album. We hope to expand our fanbase and our reach into new territories. We’ll continue writing new songs and trying them out on the road to prepare for a follow up album, too. I’d like to shout out to all of our people at Mon Hills Records. Josh Swiger, Chris Kuskey, Sarah Giles, Courtney Alexandra Myers Herndon, Samir Ali Nomani, and the rest of the crew at Mon Hills Records and Blues Alley Studios. Also, Davin Seamon for his amazing keys on the record. All of us would also like to thank our families and friends, for always supporting us and understanding all the missed events and special occasions that we’ve had to skip in the last few years. We love you all!
Abbe Davis, Editor, TRR, Musician
Abbe Davis is the lead singer and songwriter for Sordid Fable, a Hard Rock band, currently recording an album for release in 21/22. Abbe has played alongside Buddy Guy at the River Walk Blues Festival in South Florida, and in the northeast with prior band, Day of Colors. She loves promoting Rock music, and co-hosts the livestream Tru Rock Show with Kreig Marks.