Premiere: Teddy and the Rough Riders’ Intoxicating “Martini”

Teddy and the Rough Riders © 2017

Adoring fans of our 26th president and his troops, Teddy and the Rough Riders have spent the last few years steadily developing their musical repertoire down in their native Nashville, TN. Hailing from a city celebrated for its eclectic music scene, this quartet – consisting of Ryan Jennings, Jack Quiggins, Luke Schneider, and Nick Swafford – has a lot to choose from: southern rock, psychedelic pop, and classic country are among the genres that surface across their catalogue.

After a decent amount of performing live, TRR have now focused on working in the studio and have populated their SoundCloud page with a number of their latest recordings. The cream of the crop will be assembled in the group’s debut album, due later this year, but for now it is worth investigating the handful of tracks that have already surfaced on social media.

As song titles such “Slow Rain” and “Jamboree” may indicate, the Rough Riders float around various tempos a considerable amount. Of the three songs on their self-titled EP– to be expanded into a full-length release in due course — “Buckle Bunny” is quite fast-paced and upbeat, while “Goldmine” still moves along briskly but is less straight-up rock ‘n roll than the previous track. Meanwhile, “Martini” is easily the most gradual of these three. It begins with some gentle string-plucking, and picks up when the sounds of a pedal steel are layered on top, courtesy of instrumentalist Luke Schneider.

Outside I look as though I feel well
only one woman ever cooked for me
Burned my supper when it’s time to eat
Francisco don’t come back to me
Oh you can’t trust her words
A Silver tongue, a devil with brown eyes
Listen: “Martini” – Teddy and The Rough Riders

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering “Martini,” the latest single from Nashville’s Teddy and the Rough Riders. “Martini” is largely about a woman with whom the lead singer has a complicated relationship. Other such females have served as subject matter for TRR previously — one of them they described as “a goldmine,” and yet somehow she also appeared to be someone with whom they were “just wastin’ my time.” In the case of “Martini,” the woman described in the lyrics is preparing supper for the boys and burned the food, much to their chagrin.

Teddy & The Rough Riders

Teddy & The Rough Riders

Have you heard I’m merely the guest to be
Well only one woman ever cooked for me
Burned my supper when it’s time to eat
Francisco don’t come back to me
Boy you can’t trust her words
A Silver tongue, a devil with brown eyes

This may be a metaphor for something more sinister, however. The chorus, sung melodiously by frontman Ryan Jennings, portrays the girl in question as “a silver tongue, a devil with brown eyes,” and insists that “you can’t trust her words.” So perhaps there is more that this woman is culprit of than lackluster kitchen skills. It could be that she has been deceitful, or caused her male admirers more trouble than they bargained for, or is smiling her way out of a crime like one of the James Bond girls.

Sitting all alone
crossed my legs, shoot my gaze to the floor
Well only one woman ever cooked for me
Burned my supper when it’s time to eat
Francisco don’t come back to me
Teddy and the Rough Riders © 2017

Teddy and the Rough Riders © 2017

None of this is ever explicitly revealed. In a sense, this is what gives the song its allure. It may just be better not knowing what it is, exactly, about this woman that creates such cause for suspicion. In any case, it makes for a mighty fine lyrical scenario. Stellar guitar and drum work by Jennings, Jack Quiggins and Nick Swafford further boosts the quality of the song, although it is really Schneider’s pedal steel that is the standout instrumental feature here.

When it comes time for Teddy and the Rough Riders to take the next step and release their debut album, fans ought to hold out hope that the record will consist of songs with as much thematic appeal as “Martini.”

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Teddy & The Rough Riders

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I am a Washington, DC native and Tufts University graduate, currently working with the Close Up Foundation and applying to grad school for film and media production. I began writing for Atwood in spring 2015.