Lester T. Raww from Arkansas started the Pine Box Boys in 2003, originally planning to perform new versions of old murder ballad classics like “The Knoxville Girl,” and “Fair Eleanor.” Shortly after that, however, he found he was composing his own murder ballads, and it is this that lead to their first album, Arkansas Killing Time.
“In my mind, I wanted something that sounded like Willie Nelson in a punk band,” Lester states.
Lester blames the emphasis of murder, misery, and zombies on his mother:
“My mother grew up REAL country, and she raised me on all those old songs. Before I went to bed, she would sing murder ballads to me such as “Pretty Polly,” “Skin and Bones Lady,” and “The Knoxville Girl.” She also liked horror films.”
Lester then combined all of this into his own unique brand of music: not exactly bluegrass—more like “bloodgrass.”
Bassist Colonel Timothy Leather and drummer Steven “Your Uncle” Dodds joined him in those early days. Uncle Dodds suggested that they bring banjo-picker Alex “Possum” Carvidi into the group. These four became the core of the band and entered the exciting world of nomadic musicianship, traveling the States and parts of Europe.
STAB! was their second release. While Arkansas Killing Time included many slower songs, STAB! album was the result of playing faster songs for live performances and remains their best seller to date.
These first two albums, combined with their third release Child of Calamity, tell the disjointed story of a killer named Willie and his many victims. The fourth album, Tales From the Emancipated Head, was released in 2011. It is a collection of 13 stories as told by a decapitated head as it rolls down a hill.
The Pine Box Boys’ latest album The Feast of Three Arms was released in the Fall of 2016.