The band’s persistence resulted in a recording contract with Side One Dummy records (Irish punks Flogging Molly are label-mates) and a spot on Vans Warped Tour after a parking lot audition for Warped Tour owner Kevin Lyman. Its debut album, Forge & Flagon, came out in 2012. Band members went on to play their self-described “spirited, rum-fueled party music” to sold-out festivals across America and abroad, even making an appearance at Coachella.
This year, Skinny Lister joined veteran Irish-folk-soaked punks Dropkick Murphys for the Murphys’ annual St. Patrick’s Day tour, culminating in a week of sold-out shows in Boston, the Murphys’ home turf. Skinny Lister will appear Feb. 27 at Diamond Ballroom along with Lucero, a folk-punk outfit from Memphis.
“We played a show with the Murphys in L.A. last time we were in California between Coachella shows, and it was an absolute riot,” Thomas said. “It’s going to be a testosterone-a-plenty tour with Lucero along. I might turn into the shyest little mayflower ever.”
There’s a slim chance of that. Thomas is known for holding her own with the rowdy “brothers” in the band; her red-heel stomping and rum-passing energy is immediately infectious. One of her bandmates is actually her brother, Max. The siblings share a love of traditional music, which they come by honestly. Their father, George Thomas — or “Party George,” as he’s known — is a folk musician in England. He composed the Lister hit “Forty Pound Wedding” and can be seen playing the tin whistle in the video.
The Thomas siblings were fascinated by traditional music from both sides of the pond, citing a heavy American roots influence as well as their native folk roots.
“We love the Carter Family, Dock Boggs and Doc Watson … Max even stayed in Asheville, [N.C.], checking out string bands and playing on porches,” Thomas said. “However, our dad brought us up with very strong English folk roots, and we felt that following our own roots made sense.”
On its new album, the band’s songwriting process was pretty straightforward.
“Daniel [Hepinstall, lead vocals and guitar] writes the songs, and we work on the ones that everyone likes as a group,” Thomas said. “There’s usually a good amount of arguing over arrangements, but in the end, we generally come out with something we’re pleased with.”
In the studio with producer Ted Hutt, a founding member of Flogging Molly, the band wanted to do as much to capture its boisterous live sound as possible.
“There’s always a bottle of rum next to me when I’m laying down vocals,” Thomas said. “Purely medicinal, of course.”
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