“Each of us brings something different to the band,” says Banditos’ Jeffery Salter (far left).
Photo by Albert Kuhne

He loves Roy and Chet. He studied jazz and classical guitar. He’s played in thrash and punk bands. He even builds his own guitars. And his sextet has just released one of the most compelling roots-rock albums of the year.

There’s no shortage of artists having a go at classic Americana, roots, and country music, but few do as impressive a job of revitalizing the tried-and-true as Banditos. Now based in Nashville, the group emerged in Birmingham, Alabama, and their eponymous debut LP is a soulful celebration of all that is great about traditional country music served up with a rock ’n’ roll twist. While successfully avoiding the Dixie-rock clichés many young country acts rely on, Banditos sound simultaneously familiar and fresh. Punctuated by fiery Tele licks and tasteful flourishes of lap steel, their music also boasts sophisticated arrangements by lead guitarist Jeffery Salter, who studied jazz and classical guitar in college.

When Salter isn’t on the road with Banditos, he’s busy building unique, Fender-inspired guitars under the name Pyrose Wood Works. His instruments feature premium parts and killer wood-burned decorations, and he plays them exclusively—both in the studio and on tour.

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