Embracing the rough, expressive textures of postwar blues and boogie while filtering the sounds through an edgy post-millennial sensibility, Lonesome Shack was born in New Mexico by guitarist and vocalist Ben Todd.
Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Todd relocated to New Mexico's Gila Wilderness shortly before the turn of the century, where he shared a trailer with his girlfriend. Todd built a shed next to the trailer where he would practice his guitar and work on songs, focusing on his interest in vintage blues; in time, he named the shed "Lonesome Shack," after a song by Memphis Minnie, and he used the handle for the music he began to make. In 2006, Todd relocated to Phoenix, Arizona, where he learned to build and repair guitars. A year later, Todd settled in Seattle, Washington, after taking a job in a guitar shop. In Seattle, Todd met percussionist Kristian Garrard, who played with the group Thousands and convinced Todd that his solo guitar performances would work better with a drummer. Lonesome Shack expanded to a duo, and in early 2010 they released their first album, Bound to Die. A second album, Slidin Boa, appeared late the same year, and in 2011, bassist Luke Bergman (one of Garrard's bandmates in Thousands) joined the lineup. In April 2012, Lonesome Shack recorded a show at Cafe Racer, one of their favorite Seattle venues; in late May, tragedy struck Cafe Racer when a gunman entered the hall and without provocation began shooting, killing four patrons and injuring a member of the staff. Lonesome Shack released the Cafe Racer tapes in October 2012 as City Man, dedicating the album to the victims of the attack. In June 2013, the respected independent label Burger Records reissued Slidin Boa and City Man on a two-for-one cassette, and later that same year Lonesome Shack signed with Alive Naturalsound Records. The group's debut for the Alive, More Primitive, was released in May 2014. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi