Tim Bracken, wtop.com
WASHINGTON – These United States is a difficult band to classify. It possesses all of the qualities a classic American band needs: shades of rock ‘n’ roll and folk, solid hooks and a charismatic leader. This is a group that is deservedly ready for mass exposure.
Originally formed in D.C. by songwriter Jesse Elliott, the band’s output has run the gamut from sparse Americana ballads to fist-pump-inducing rock. Elliott’s strong songwriting is a constant element — literate and heady, exuberant yet deliberate.
The band is gearing up for its fifth album release, available Tuesday, June 12. The self-titled album embodies a confidence that can only come from a group of people who have spent copious amounts of time together. These United States performed almost 150 shows last year and averaged 200 in previous years.
The history of These United States mirrors the adventurous spirit of Elliott’s songs. Elliott initially came to D.C. to assist writer Richard Florida with research and speechwriting.
“D.C. was always one of those places that I had visited and loved, and wanted to spend more time in,” Elliott says. “It ended up being my first sort of serious, in-depth East Coast-city experience.”
During those formative years, Elliott helped spread the collaborative spirit by forming a loose collective of D.C. bands called The Federal Reserve. The idea behind The Federal Reserve was essentially what These United States would become – – a core group of musicians featuring guest appearances from like-minded performers, a sort of mini-community of song. The Federal Reserve saw successful runs at area venues Wonderland Ballroom and the IOTA Club and Caf