Rockabilly band plauyomg
Union Suit Rally performing live - spring 2024 (photo courtesy Union Suit Rally)

Listen Local: Union Suit Rally

Central-Indiana based Union Suit Rally recently put out their second full-length album, “Sin It Up Now – Hash It Out Later.”

Formed about a decade ago, the band is what happens when you combine seven longtime friends and a shared passion for music.

“Me and Randy Sharkey, USR’s banjo player and sometimes vocalist, have played in a lot of bands and written a lot of songs together. We’ve been helping each other musically forever,” says singer and guitarist Brad Powers. He credits the 2014 release of Bob Dylan’s “The Bootleg Series Vol. 11: The Basement Tapes Complete” as the spark for him and Sharkey to begin writing what would eventually become Union Suit Rally’s first songs.

“We’ve always been huge Dylan fans,” he says. “When ‘The Basement Tapes’ dropped, we got a chance to really dig in. It just seemed like a really cool moment in music where the band was down there jamming, doing their thing and I just imagined Dylan upstairs, sitting on the couch, typing up lyrics until his fingers hurt, right?”

Powers says they invited friends from Beech Grove, Batesville, Franklin, Greenwood, Lawrence, and Fishers over to jam and flow through music and lyrics.

Group of musicians backstage at a show
Union Suit Rally after the Irvington Halloween Festival in 2023

Those sessions evolved into Union Suit Rally forming and playing their first live shows.

“We were just so damn proud of what we were doing,” Powers says. “I just don’t think we could contain it anymore. So we just started grabbing at any opportunity that came our way to play in front of people just because you’re so excited about it. And I think that’s kind of how it happened.”

At first, they played a couple house parties and opened for the now-defunct Creme De La Femme burlesque troop. Over time, word-of-mouth spread about the band’s raucous live shows.

“I want to grab your attention. I want it to be unexpected. I want the first song to make you look and say, ‘okay, These guys aren’t hacks. they’re tight band and this seems pretty exciting.’ We try to start big,” says Powers. “Play a couple of hard strumming, footstomping tunes and then we give you a break right and then I try to keep that way of going in the set because I know, as an original band, that you only have people’s attention for 35 to 45 minutes.”

Union Suit Rally performing live

Alongside an EP and their first full-length, “Midwest at its Midbest,” the new album is available by contacting the band through their Facebook page or for streaming digitally in all the usual spots.

Their next confirmed live show is September 26th at the historic Melody Inn on Indianapolis’ north side.

“I’m not ashamed to say I think we have chased down and caught that ’Midwest Sound,’” Powers says. “ I don’t know who else is doing it quite like us right now. I mean, I’m not trying to say that we’re a hundred percent original. We’ve got some sort of Midwest flavor that maybe you’re not getting from a lot of other places.”

Check out Union Suit Rally on Spotify.

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