Andrew Shepard was looking for a fresh start. The Athens, Georgia-based guitarist and songwriter had been acting as the frontman for his previous band, Roadkill Ghost Choir, for eight years, playing every major festival, Late Night With David Letterman, and touring alongside Band of Horses. But Shepard was feeling constrained by the expectations placed on him in that band. He wanted to break out of that mold and start with a clean slate. That was when his new project, Lo Talker, was born.
Shepard is joined by his brother Zach (bass), who also played in Roadkill Ghost Choir, as well as Alec Stanley (guitar/keyboard), Rhett Fuller (guitar), and Jeremiah Johnson (drums). Lo Talker performs lush, intricate folk rock augmented by the psychedelic whirr of fractured tape loops. Shepard documents the American panorama of the last few years — jumping from lamentations on the brutality of living, to co-dependent relationships, to the fall of the American empire, and through, of course, the current Trump presidency. To Shepard’s credit, he never wallows. Though each of the songs tackles the kind of heavy life experiences that we’d probably prefer not to think about, he has a gift for writing observational moments with unexpected verve, and sometimes some much needed humor. “Just because of how oppressively strange everything has been for the last four years…I guess that it kind of made its way into these songs,” Shepard says.