When Jason’s wife, Renee, went to Kenya for six months to volunteer in an orphanage, he decided to use the time to write songs and record an album with friends James, Meghan, Laura, and Jeff. ACW set out to achieve two simple goals: write and record in the spirit of collaboration, and make an album they would like if they heard it somewhere. The final product is an album that we all proudly put our names to, celebrating the making of music and the company of friends.
From the Badger Herald - Roland Nimis
ACW sounds like what I imagine to be going through Tom Joad's head as he looks at his land laid to waste. To me at least. ACW can sound like a lot of things to a lot of people because their lush, morose style lends itself to thinking deeply while staring into the distance. To say that they make sad music would be an injustice to their craft because the sadness that emanates from their instruments, posture and eyes is not about a broken heart but a much more tragic apathy"
Scenenewspaper.com - Elaine Schultz
"What started out as a project grew into a very interesting band. Madison's A Catapult Western offers up a CD of well writ tunes that move easily from folk-influenced to slow burn. Violin, mandolin and keyboards give way to tube-driven guitars. They build a codeine haze that recalls Opal's David Roback at his best."
Joshua James Dane 101
Reviewing the Neighbors: A Catapult Western does it right
It is simple to explain why you dislike something, really simple. To describe exactly why you like and love something, now that is a daunting task. I had never heard of A Catapult Western before their self-titled debut showed up in cellophane in my mailbox three weeks ago. I unwrapped the package with trepidation hoping beyond hope that I wouldn't have to write a harsh review, but I didn't expect this.
Jason Nyberg (Guitars, Organ, Synthesizer, and Vocals) has a haunting voice that compliments Meghan Rose's Gillian Welch-esque angelic backing, creating a wonderfully stirring album. A Catapult Western, the album not the band, is filled with moments of quiet contemplation and deep regret that shake the core and move the listener to feel as if s/he is the one who wrote songs and had gone through the range of emotions it took to get the words to page. The band pulls you into their world through melodic instrumentation which is often reminiscent of Austin alt-country band Knife in the Water (who - if you are unfamiliar - you need to discover).
Not all is gloomy with A Catapult Western. Songs like "Moving Day" and "That Familiar Story" serve as reminders that life is worth living, with twangs commonly seen from more no-depression influenced bands such as Whiskeytown and the Jayhawks. It is tracks such as "Back Up to the Wall" and "Brian Died" that drive the album to a place of near perfection. They start out with a minimalistic approach and slowly build on the foothold they form thanks in part to Laura Detert (Viola, Bass, and Keyboards) and Jason Bourne (Guitar, Mandolin and Vocals.) This is a trick typically incorporated by post-rock and appropriately tweaked for the sound of ACW.
With it's poignant lyrics and lonely sound, A Catapult Western fits into the season well. Lock your doors, turn off the lights, and turn up the stereo because you're in for an evening. Oh, and don't forget the whiskey, it's the only way you're going to shake the cold. I can't say enough about this band that actually hearing them wouldn't resolve so...