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Amigo’s Alt-Country Finds the Humor in the Heartache

Lauren Lothery.jpg
Lauren Lothery
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Charlotte-based alt-country band Amigo.

With such friendly faces and such a friendly band name, you wouldn’t expect Amigo to be one of the darkest rocking country acts in Charlotte. Amigo's punk-infused-country music highlights the struggles of life (and the light that can be found therein), earning rave reviews along the way from the music magazine No Depression and recognition from Creative Loafing for having the “Best Release of 2018.”

"Nobody’s getting rich. We do it because we love it. To me, that’s our role. We’re just one more band making art."
– Amigo

Interview Highlights:

On Amigo straddling the music genres of country and punk:

I think [our sound] really confuses people. It’s too punk for the alt-country fans, and it’s too alt-country for the punk fans. I think that it’s a testament to the eclectic influences that we have. And I don’t think that it’s important to stick to one lane.

On connecting with some audiences in Charlotte:

If it hasn’t been hard to find gigs, then it’s been hard to make people care — or listen — because I guess they have to think a little bit more with the classification. People like to be able to compartmentalize a lot faster than we want to let them, maybe. But I think it turns people off when they have to think sometimes. But that’s the thing with any artist or band: nobody wants to be pigeonholed and told, “This is how you have to sound.”

If we say we’re country, then some people who I know would really like us would say, “Well, I don’t like country, so I don’t like Amigo.” And we had a legitimate fan who bought records from us who said, “You said you were punk rock so I thought I knew what you sounded like. But you’re not punk rock!”

When it really comes down to it, we just have to play what we play. There’s only so much time we can spend thinking about how we can market ourselves.

On Amigo’s wry lyricism:

There’s a juxtaposition of all the bad things that life throws at you. Without all that deep sorrow, there are no legends to be made. We can’t ignore that we’re up against a worthy adversary, but at the same time, it’s what you do with that… and we choose hope and positivity.

On the band’s role in the Charlotte music scene:

It’s about being a part of things, being supportive, and being a voice for inclusiveness and positivity. It’s about taking care of our friends and leaning on our friends when we need help. That’s what it’s about.

Music featured in this #WFAEAmplifier chat:

Amigo - “Best Laid Plans”
Amigo - "Everybody"
Amigo - "I Wanna Live ('Cause I Don't Wanna Die)"
Amigo - "Nothing is Alright"
Amigo - "Kristmas in the Kremlin"
Amigo - "Almost Something Good"

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Joni Deutsch is happy to call Charlotte home as WFAE's manager for on-demand content and audience engagement, where she's led the first Charlotte Podcast Festival (named one of the “best podcast conferences” by Buzzsprout) and helped produce such podcasts as FAQ City, SouthBound, Inside Politics, Work It and the Apple Podcast chart-topping series She Says. In addition to being an NPR Music contributor, Joni is also the creator and host of WFAE’s Charlotte music podcast Amplifier, named “Best Podcast” by Charlotte Magazine and honored for excellence in arts and music podcasting by the local Edward R. Murrow Awards and The Webby Awards (called “The Internet’s Highest Honor” by The New York Times).