If there are two things I’m a sucker for it’s old school country music and Pittsburgh, PA. Why? Well, for one thing I was born and raised in the bustling metropolis of that steel city. Secondly, my father, who is a punk rock drummer and raised me to have impeccable taste in music, is also from the mountains of Kentucky and loved that old school country sound filled with tears, blues, heartbreaks, and love. I mean, musicians like Patsy Cline, Hank Williams Sr., George Jones, Dolly Parton, Kitty Wells, and, well, I could go on and on; the point is, none of that pop/stadium country BS you hear now.
Well, I’ve found a band that ever so gently strikes all my heart strings—it’s not only a country inspired band, but they’re also all from Pittsburgh! They’ve got that old school country sound—putting the passion back into the melody, and that rock’n’roll pizzazz that all bands need to keep their listeners on their toes these days.
Meet Dan Getkin & The Twelve Six!
Just this past Saturday, Jan. 21, they released their first full-length, self-titled album. It took them two years to create and has 11 tracks filled with indie rock juiciness, with, of course, a country music sound. Getkin’s vocals have a smooth touch of that country twang, even though he was born and raised in the suburbs of Pittsburgh—his voice rises over a steady, melodic, beat that goes from cheerful to desperate, creating catchy tunes that makes you want to close your eyes and just give into the music.
Tracks like “Old Wounds, Old Scars” and “Train From Jerome” embraces more of their alt-country/Americana side with choruses and guitar breaks that get stuck in your head and your heart. Then tracks like “Fire Underground” and “Got Nothing” take a more rock position where they’re not afraid to let go and get chaotic on their instruments.
Getkin tells BTRtoday that his time studying in a seminary helped influence much of this album—and will inspire material to come. “Things that you held on to, things you believed unquestionably started to unravel—so like, what did that feel like, what did that mean for the relationships in your life that grew out of that or were rooted in that,” he explains about the theme that runs throughout the album. “It’s weird to go through that experience, and seminary is just a weird place in general for people who have never been to seminary—shout out to people who have never been to seminary, which is like 99 percent of the population!”
Album artwork courtesy of Dan Getkin.
Pittsburgh isn’t quite known for its music scene, although it’s got a great underground one! They’ve got dozens of indie/punk rock DIY venues, dive bars, and new venues throughout the city that put on killer shows. Getkin think’s it’s amazing how much talent one can find in Pittsburgh if you just dig a little.
“Pittsburgh isn’t getting any credit for being a hub for anything and the size of the scene wouldn’t warrant that,” Getkin explains. “But that doesn’t mean there’s not incredible musicians writing incredible songs here.”
He adds that sometimes he’ll see a musical act that is so good that he straight up thinks about quitting. “It makes you think like, ‘I will never be able to do that,’” he says. “That’s not a good reason to quit music, but I feel like if you’re a creative person you’ve definitely had that moment.”
A few Pittsburgh bands that Getkin admits he gets wowed by and that don’t get enough credit are The Harlan Twins and André Costello & The Cool Minors. Getkin confesses that he’s the type of person to stand at the back of a show with his arms crossed, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t enjoying the show.
Getkin describes their live shows as more of an emotional rollercoaster, filled with powerful emotional impact that can start quiet, but then build up into something very passionate—because of that he tries to keep the in-between banter from song to song light and funny.
“The music has lots of feelings in it, so it’s a balance of trying to sing songs that tell a story and go somewhere on stage… I also don’t want the shows to be real downers,” he describes about their performances. “You want them [the audience] to have an experience and an emotional reaction, but at the same time you want them to come back—you don’t want people to associate your band with the ‘sad boy party club,’ we try to really rock it and have a lot of energy on stage.”
When Getkin spoke to BTRtoday, he and the Twelve Six had full-concentration on their album release show that was at Pittsburgh’s Mr. Smalls, a church that was converted into a now popular music venue. He intends to get working on new material immediately after and hopefully come out with a new full-length album within the new year.
If you’re the type of person who has a biased opinion on country music because of how it’s been tainted by pop country, I’m going to only tell you this once: broaden your horizons and open your mind a little! The great thing about country music is that it has influenced people in all kinds of genres—Jack White, Alex Turner, Kid Cudi, Beck, Snoop Dog, even Beyoncé have all expressed their appreciation and admiration for country music.
So stop being so judgmental and go check out Dan Getkin & The Twelve Six—they may just be your new favorite band!