Pet Moose Project is an emerging independent quintet from Richmond, Virginia who made their professional recording debut in 2020 with the album Goat Tracks. That record introduced a five-piece group of veteran musicians with a country-tinged rock/americana vibe. The band’s sound comes from the same great tradition of Grateful Dead-influenced Southern jam bands that produced legends like Widespread Panic and Little Feat.
Due to the unfortunate timing of the band’s launch, COVID restrictions postponed their original plans to hit the stage. So they retreated to the studio and started writing songs. Now that the world has opened back up, Pet Moose Project is gigging regularly. However, rather than take the place of the studio, that change has only helped to inspire the group to record more new music.
Out West is the brand new album from Pet Moose Project, released worldwide to all major streaming services on April 22, 2022. The eight-song collection pops with an energy only a live band can conjure. The record opens on “Little Farther,” as a jazzy guitar intro lands on a mid tempo mellow southern rock groove. An ensemble of two guitars, bass, drums, and keys down a cool organic groove. The track sets the tone for what’s to come as the band pairs impressive musical sophistication with an authentic, rustic americana feel.
Pet Moose Project’s songs deal in tales of love, loss and wistful memories. True to form, on tracks like the introspective “Some Days” lead vocalist Jimmy Shannon pairs blue collar observations on life with a laid-back hippie philosophy. The band mixes things up a bit with an acoustic arrangement on that track and the sweet love song “Same Old Story,” each featuring some very nice mandolin.
They adorn their bluesy jam-band framework with some nice multipart vocal harmonies on the song “Hold On.” Elsewhere they pick up the tempo and the volume, as on the rockabilly courtroom allegory “Riding High” and the upbeat 70’s-inspired rocker “Look My Way.” During the bridge on the latter song, the band dips into some groovy psychedelia. They trip even harder on the grungy acid-rock closer “On Your Own.”
“Out West” is the sound of five talented musicians having a great time playing together, and that kind of energy is infectious. Check out the entire album below, or listen on your favorite streaming service. You can also hear the songs “Little Farther” on the Deep Indie Dive and “Crooked Road” on the Deep Indie Songwriters playlists. We had the chance to chat with the band about the record. Check out their answers to our 8 questions. Follow the links at the end of this article to connect with the Pet Moose Project. Get on their socials and join them as the long strange trip continues.
8 Questions with Pet Moose Project
Where are you from?
How long have you been making music?
All members of the band have been making music for a few decades, in various bands. Pet Moose Project came together in 2020 and have since recorded 2 studio albums.
Who are the musicians involved in your project?
The band features Nelson Edmunds on drums, percussion, and vocals; Phil Hatfield on keys; Rob Henley on lead guitar and vocals; John Munson on bass; and Jimmy Shannon on rhythm guitar and lead vocals.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
Widespread Panic, Son Volt, Black Crowes, Drivin N Cryin, Indecision, John Prine (to name just a few) – with a heavy dose of Grateful Dead as the foundation.
What is your greatest non-musical influence?
We all have families and kids, and in terms of our writing as well as our time away when writing, recording, rehearsing and playing live – our wives and kids are our greatest influences. Second to that, we definitely incorporate current events and the crazy and difficult geopolitical and economic environment as inspiration when writing.
What inspired you to create this project?
Several members of the band were looking for a new musical outlet at the end of 2019 and almost as soon as we filled out the roster for the new band in early 2020, we were immediately sidelined to adhere to the world mandated slow down. We took the opportunity to finish long ago, started songs and wrote our first studio album, Goat Tracks, which was released in February 2021. We enjoyed recording original music so much we doubled down and while ramping up our live performances, we wrote and recorded our second studio album, Out West, which was released in May 2022.
What are your plans for the future (musically)?
We really enjoy writing and recording original music – and the third yet to be named album has quite a few songs written in draft form. After this summer’s live performance schedule slows down in early August, we plan to take some time and finish and record the “next” album.
Is there anything else you would like to say?
We have definitely taken a non-standard approach to forming a band playing original songs in terms of our ages. We have all played in cover bands throughout our lives, including a few different incarnations of a Grateful Dead cover band for a decade, so as we write and record these original songs, we are enjoying getting our music out to a younger audience.