Dead Ball Era is an LA-area Americana roots and blues band that sounds like it’s been around a LONG time, and it has – even though the band’s members are still in their teens. Brothers Alex and Jack Strahle and childhood buddy Blake Russell started making cassette recordings of early demos in the Strahles’ living room, sometimes asking neighbors to pay with nickels and dimes to come hear their latest tunes.
For the last 10 years, they’ve been playing small clubs and local shows around the Los Angeles, Pasadena and Redondo Beach area, along the way collecting songs like those showcased on their first eponymous album, DBE. In 2009, they released their first single on a collection of LA bands called “SuperBall,” for the annual arthouse event of the same name.
Baseball fans will know that Dead Ball Era got their name from an almost-forgotten era when “formulas” and “rules of the game” were still being worked out, when mastery trumped the mass corporatization of everything, and when audiences could still be surprised by an artful play out of nowhere.
Dead Ball Era’s main influences have been master songwriters from the “heyday of classic rock,” names like Dylan, Young, Cash, the Band and Zeppelin. More current influences include B.R.M.C., Tom Waits, the intoxicating songwriting of Sam Phillips (whose violin virtuoso husband Eric Gorfain is featured on DBE's “My Strength”), Radiohead, Wilco, the haunting harmonies of Buddy and Julie Miller….
Singer/songwriter Blake Russell thinks some definitions of Americana are too narrow for DBE – “I think our sound is an American sound, big enough for blues, gospel, fuzz guitar rock, jazz riffs. Our music is full of a love of the American landscape, a love of hardscrabble work, and a love of receiving the harvest of that work. It’s a folk kind of feeling, but we want to play it loud.”