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Sounding like a top-shelf honky tonk band running through their favorite songs with furious abandon before last call, Banditos are a group who throw together a little bit of everything that might be called "roots music" -- blues and country of several eras, garage-seasoned rock & roll, soul, and gospel, among other things -- along with a big spoonful of hard rock and psychedelia, and serve up a healthy portion of sweet-and-dirty roadhouse stomp. Founded in Birmingham, Alabama, Banditos were the brainchild of Corey Parsons (guitar and vocals) and Stephen Pierce (banjo and vocals), two local pickers who knew one another from the city's punk/indie rock scene. Parsons and Pierce had eclectic tastes, and mixing up their interests in country and blues, the two began busking together, making enough of an impression that they were invited to play a show at one of their favorite saloons. The duo decided they needed a larger cast of musicians for a proper gig, and they invited three friends to join them -- guitarist Jeffrey David Salter and drummer Randy Taylor Wade, who were music students studying jazz and classical styles, and Mary Beth Richardson, a vocalist whose previous experience came from singing in church. The show was enthusiastically received by the audience, and after the addition of bassist Jeffrey "Danny" Vines, the Banditos lineup was complete.
Banditos soon made a name for themselves in Alabama, and began hitting the road, criss-crossing the South and playing any venue that would have them. They found themselves playing Nashville, Tennessee often enough that they relocated to Music City, though declaring it their new hometown was something of a stretch; over the space of three years, Banditos played more than 600 shows, so wherever home may have been, they didn't spend much time there. In 2014, Banditos played the South by Southwest Music Conference in Austin, Texas, and representatives of "insurgent country" label Bloodshot Records caught their show; the folks from Bloodshot were bowled over by the band, and they soon struck a deal with the group. Banditos' self-titled debut album was released in May 2015. The band supported the release with extensive touring, stopping long enough to visit Dripping Springs, Texas to record their second album, 2017's Visionland. ~ Mark Deming