Heading East: Grand Rapids Outlaw-Country Band The Bootstrap Boys Perform July 22 at Saline's Acoustic Routes Concert Series
The Bootstrap Boys are driving their outlaw-country anthems eastward to Saline later this month.
The show serves as The Bootstrap Boys’ debut appearance at the decade-old Saline concert series. It’s also the only Washtenaw County stop on a current summer tour in support of their latest album, Hungry & Sober.
Throughout the album, vocalist-songwriter Jake Stilson (Big Jake Bootstrap), guitarist Nick Alexander (Nicky Bootstrap), bassist Jonny Bruha (Jonny “Bubba” Bootstrap), and drummer Jeff Knol (Jeff Bootstrap), share “cheerily nihilistic road tunes” and “sincere ruminations on family and queer identity” alongside hard-hitting, country-rock instrumentation.
“This album has more honest poetry to accompany the storytelling that’s always a part of my work,” notes Stilson on the band’s website, which credits Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and Bob Wills among the band’s biggest influences. “I edited myself a lot less.”
The band’s latest single, “You Got That Right,” provides a nod and a wink at Stilson’s sexuality as he sings, “Well, it don’t matter if you do or you don’t / If you can or you can’t or you will or you won’t / I’m gonna do my thing until I die / I’m gonna do my thing until I die.
In June, The Bootstrap Boys released a black-and-white lyric video for “You Got That Right,” which features a dancing cowboy.
Another notable track from Hungry & Sober includes “City Livin’,” a respectable ditty that pays tribute to “the workers that do the jobs nobody else wants to do for frequently less than desirable wages,” writes Stilson via the band’s YouTube page.
Other standout tracks include “Why Bother,” a contemplative story about dealing with one’s demons and the demons of those around them, and “Call My Bluff,” a classic rock-fueled reality check about life on the road.
Lori Stratton is a library technician, writer for Pulp, and writer and editor of strattonsetlist.com.
The Bootstrap Boys perform July 22 at Stony Lake Brewing Co., 447 E. Michigan Ave in Saline, as part of the Acoustic Routes concert series. For show information and tickets, visit Stony Lake Brewing Co’s website.