… with a Little Bit of Rock and Roll
Words by Sommer Brugal Photos by Eric Morales
According to the members of Harvest Thieves, you can drink a cold beer to any one of their songs. Not craft beer, though; instead they recommend a Lone Star with a shot of whiskey or tequila on the side.
Harvest Thieves blends country music with Rock and Roll seamlessly. Cory Reinisch, the band’s lead singer and songwriter, says many of the band members’ upbringings directly influence the alt-country sound.
“Most [members] come from a rural background with parents who listened to country music,” says Reinisch. “But in learning [how to play] an instrument, you go through a big rock phase, and I don’t think we’ve completely abandoned that.”
Still, the band says their songs are incredibly versatile, crediting the vague messages in their songs as opposed to direct storytelling often found in country music. “Most of our songs [can be] left up to interpretation,” explains Reinisch, which allows them to hold their own at a variety of venues in town. “We can play at Hotel Vegas one night with a group of indie bands and play at White Horse the next where everyone is two-stepping.”
Bands that Reinisch listened to in college, like Uncle Tupelo, Old97’s, and The Jayhawks, employed some rock and roll elements in their music and has inspired Harvest Thieves to do the same.
Harvest Thieves released its first EP in 2013, Lightning in a Bottle, and its first full-length album, Rival, in 2016. The band recognizes the momentum they’ve created and the sizeable following they’ve gained during that time, but admits to the difficulties they—like many local musicians—face in Austin.
Wes Cargal, percussion, who’s been living and playing in Austin for 12 years, says it’s become increasingly hard to develop as a band, not just because venues are shrinking, but because most musicians typically need to have multiple side gigs to afford Austin’s current prices.
Despite the changes affecting Austin’s music scene, Reinisch says the band embodies two characteristics needed to maintain its presence in town: a talented group of musicians and a strong work ethic.
Harvest Thieves’ six members—which also include Annah Fisette on keys and vocals, Mike Mangalindad on bass, Michael Gibson on lead guitar, and Dustin Meyer, the band’s multi-instrumentalist—are currently working on a new album and plan to have some studio time in the spring of 2018. In the meantime, they’ll have a few cold beers and maybe a shot of whiskey, too.
When asked what venue feels most at home to them, the band was unable to choose just one, but Eastside venues like Hotel Vegas, The Scoot Inn, and The White Horse topped their list. Reinisch continued by saying, “Almost every single venue in Austin is run by good people, and they usually take care of you. It’d be hard to say we’ve ever had a bad time anywhere.”
Since the Scoot Inn was converted to a music venue in 2007, there have been many notable acts to come through including The Dandy Warhols, Jackie Greene, and Snarky Puppy. This year, the impressive parade of shows will not slow down. Slated to appear on stage this spring are Clean Bandit, EDEN, and COIN.