Fence Sitters/Fence Cutters

This may start out a little confusing, but it’ll make sense shortly.

My friend Chip Tait and I had been talking about starting a band, and we put together a collection of friends to play at a Texas Brewers Festival. We called that band The Fence Cutters (after a line from Edward Abbey), and it had folks from Lovejoy’s (Mike Jasper and Alex Crump) and from my high school crew (Kurt Huffman and Shelly Leuzinger) and it was pretty fun.

Oliver Franklin asked us to play at a museum event for the DRT. We said sure, lost Alex and Mike, added Denman Shelton, and renamed the collective The Fence Sitters. The next thing we know we were on John Aielli’s show and he loved us, so we decided to make a record. We gathered Dave Sugeno and Tim Ziegler, went to Allan Gill’s studio with Jeremiah Ball and made a record of our songs (and a couple from our friend John Howard).

More Blue Than Green is a hell of a lot of fun.”

Austin Chronicle

After a few gigs, we lost Denman, Dave, and Kurt, changed our name back to the Fence Cutters, and started to experiment with electricity.

“Where their debut CD, More Blue Than Green, was a charmingly rough batch of original bluegrass tunes, their second release in as many years, Extended Play, is a short collection of smartly written and thoughtfully played country rock & roll.”

Austin Chronicle

“What I find refreshing is the fact that they don’t sound like they’re trying to jump on the “Alt.Country bandwagon”, (whatever that is and wherever it’s going). Like Southern Culture On The Skids or the Bad Livers… they’re just having fun!”

– Bill Frater, Freight Train Boogie

We played with Jennifer Summers for a while, then lost Chip and Jennifer. Next we got Hugh Bradley and Jim Keaveny to join up. We felt even more like a rock band now and recorded our third record.

“There are plenty of country-fried South Austin bar bands, but thanks to this collection of 15 original tunes that display maturity, humor, and subtlety, the Fencecutters rise above the mundane fray. The fivepiece sounds as if it started playing acoustically minded bluegrassy country, but then the beer kicked in, and the amps got turned up. The result is an hour’s worth of Sixties- and Seventies-informed, booze-fueled, twang-powered rock, with some banjo thrown in for fine measure.”

Austin Chronicle

Around this time, the band started to fizzle a bit, so we quit rocking for a while. The fourth album, Mission to Mars, was a return to our More Blue Than Green acoustic roots and we got back Denman, Dave, Kurt, Chip and added John Howard and Amy Sugeno to the singing, playing, and songwriting mix. It is an amazing record that never got a proper release. Soon I hope to remedy that. It’s quite beautiful.