The Local Music Scene: Cody Carithers of The Moonshine Outlaws

I (Anthony Crosby) have mentioned this before in AAT, but I was not blessed by the good Lord with any sort of musical abilities. However, as the oldest of five children, I can proudly say that two of my brothers are very musically inclined. In fact, growing up in Reno, they had a band of their own. And not just any type of band, a heavy metal band! Yup, complete with mosh pits, lots of screaming, and angst.  I loved it. I was downtown at some random warehouse rocking out every Friday night. But, that was just a bit of my experience with the early 2000’s, Reno music scene. What’s the local band culture like for Elko nowadays? Let’s talk with someone who’s currently heavily involved with this topic to find out!

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I was able to get the insight of Cody Carithers, member of the local band “The Moonshine Outlaws” on what it’s like to be a local band in Elko’s music scene, and his responses were great! However, before we dive into today’s subject matter, let’s learn a little bit more about Cody and The Moonshine Outlaws, themselves. “I (Cody) grew up here in Elko and have lived here my entire life. Growing up in Elko was difficult for me because, as a kid, I didn’t know what to do for fun or how to keep myself occupied. So, besides being on the little league football team for a few years in Jr. High, I got into trouble quite often. However, when I turned 13, my parents bought me my first electric guitar. I didn’t even know what a chord progression was at that point, but I still messed around with it. I instantly got hooked on the idea that I could play music to stay busy while keeping my nose clean at the same time. My parents also bought me a drum kit that same year and I learned to play drums just by playing along to my CD player in my room. I kept up with trying to figure out how to play guitar and eventually got it. I learned to play by ear, and I would play along to CDs and recordings. As I grew up, I stuck with music and eventually got married at the young age of 19. I played with a few bands, but I was always just a guitarist never really a front man. I wanted to be able to sing and play guitar in front of people, that’s what really made me want to start performing. So, I started my current band back in 2015: The Moonshine Outlaws. Adam Nichols is my lead guitar player, and he’s unlike anyone’s ever seen. I merely posted on Facebook that I was looking for other musicians to play music with and I got contacted by a guy who had literally just moved to Elko that same day from Arkansas. We got together the day he came into town and played our first show together; we’ve been in the band together since. My drummer Tommy Monson joined up about two years ago and has experience touring with major country artists, so he knows so much about music it’s ridiculous; he puts in so much effort between working a full-time job out of town most times and being a father of two, with a third on the way. It’s hard not to respect the guy. Jason Stevenson, our bass player, has been with us since January. He’s a real personable guy, always the life of the party when people are around. Nicholas Palacio joined up just this year as an additional lead guitar player. I wasn’t too sure about having two lead guitar players; however, since he joined up, I haven’t regretted the decision. This guy is gonna be the next John Mayer, I’m pretty sure. We each come from different backgrounds of music, but when we play its unlike anything, anyone’s heard before.”

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It sounds like you guys have a pretty awesome and talented group! Now, let’s get to the heart of what we want to talk about today, Elko’s music culture. As a local band, what’s your view of it? “My opinion on the local music scene is that it’s been dead for a long time, but it’s starting to pick back up again. With other local bands playing at the Red Lion, Stockmans’ showroom, and other venues, it’s really cool to see how we’re keeping things local and supporting each other. Being a local band has its pros and cons for sure. It’s awesome to be able to support local businesses, but at the same, time there are limited places to play in Elko. And, unfortunately, some places want to pay with “exposure” which, as a local musician, takes away from what we’re trying to do. When we play somewhere, we always just remind people it’s not just the music they’re paying for, they’re paying for equipment, gas for travel, strings for guitars.. the list goes on. And most places around Elko understand this, and they’re really good about supporting the local music scene. For us as a band, we would like to be able to play more shows and get some more support from the community. I’m not saying we haven’t received any, because we have a lot of people who continuously show up to every show, but we’re working on a lot of original music that we’re starting to record, and we’re hoping we can start branching out as a band and play in some bigger venues and for bigger names.”

That’s a nice, inside look into the realities of what perhaps some current local bands may be working through. What would you say to someone who may be getting a few people together, right now, to start up the next local band? “If you’re looking to start something with music my advice would be, even if you have to start out with just you and an acoustic guitar, playing in a coffee shop for nothing but tips, do it. I started there, and that’s how you can experience the real feel of how it is for most musicians. It allows you to actually strip a song down to its bare bones and experience a beautiful raw song. It allows you to understand why people sing the songs they sing and how they make the musicians feel when they sing them. My favorite all time musician is Justin Furstenfeld from Blue October. He sings such powerful music, and some of the words may not make sense, but when you actually listen to his acoustic album, you can FEEL the music and actually understand what makes him such a great songwriter. I would say aspire to be that kind of musician the one who makes people FEEL your music.”

That’s great/passionate advice! Is there anything else you’d like to share before we let you get back to making some tunes? “We’re a really good group of guys who enjoy playing music, and all of my guys are so down to earth! It’s crazy how nice and fun these guys are. We’re always looking for new opportunities to help out in Elko and surrounding areas and if ya ever need some music get ahold of us!”

We’ll keep that in mind! Thanks for speaking into this, Cody! Best of luck to you and the rest of The Moonshine Outlaws! Never stop doing what you obviously love!

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See you at the next open mic night, Elko!


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