Brother Trucker
Americana band Brother Trucker will perform at 9 p.m. Saturday, April 4, at the Redstone Room, inside the River Music Experience, Davenport. Contributed photo

Davenport native Andy Fleming - vocalist, guitar player and principal songwriter for the Des Moines-based band Brother Trucker - says he's always looked at writing a song as telling a story.

But with the band's just-released fourth album, "The Flyover," he upped the ante.

"With this one, I tried to have one narrative where the story relates all the way through," he said. "As opposed to having several short stories on one album, I tried to make kind of a little short novel."

The task wasn't as difficult as he thought, Fleming said.

"It was just more of a question of telling a bigger story," he added.

The music matching the lyrics met the challenge as well.

"We tried to remember to let the music serve the purpose of the song," said guitarist Mike Fitzpatrick, another Davenport native.

"(Fitzpatrick) creates kind of a lyrical bent himself," Fleming said. "He's a real journeyman guitarist, and he incorporates so many styles across the Americana spectrum."

The CD debuts Saturday night at the Redstone Room, inside the River Music Experience, downtown Davenport.

"Flyover" will be played during the first half of the set, from beginning to end, and the rest of the concert will be songs from the band's three previous CDs.

"From the very first performance, we had people caught up in the whole thing," Fitzpatrick said.

Whereas the other three CDs have debuted only in Des Moines, this release tour includes Davenport, Cedar Falls and the small northwest Iowa town of Pomeroy, all places where the band has developed a following.

"We're doing the CD release parties now for fans who are actually waiting for the disc," said Mike Fitzpatrick, yet another Davenport native. "That's exciting."

David Zollo, who produced the album, will be the opening act as well as sitting in with the band.

Fleming and Fitzpatrick, both 40, have been friends since second grade and were tight through their years at Williams Intermediate and Davenport West High schools as well as the former Marycrest International University.

Keyboard player Matt Jesson, a Bettendorf native, has been with the band for about two years.

The Quad-City natives outnumber the other two in the band: Bass player Lyle Kevin Hogue is from Ankeny, Iowa, and drummer Jim Viner is from Des Moines.

The band's sound is appropriately and unapologetically Iowan, Fleming and Fitzpatrick said, mixing blues, country and "meat-and-potatoes rock," to use Fleming's words.

Fans around the state are embracing the sometimes Davenport- and Des Moines-centric lyrics whether they're among the growing fan base in Cedar Falls, Dubuque, Iowa City, Marshalltown or Pomeroy.

"The cool thing about it in all these towns is how they relate to the Iowa lyrics. Even if it takes place in Davenport or Des Moines, people relate to the characters in these songs," Fleming said.

He and Fitzpatrick hope "Flyover" will expand Brother Trucker's geographic route. The band already has played venues from Kansas City to Minneapolis to St. Louis, but the success of this disc may expand their horizons.

Last summer included playing several festivals - even without a new CD to plug - and both men expect this year's schedule to be even fuller.

With both its sound and its big-rig handle, Brother Trucker most often gets compared with another Americana band, the Georgia-based Drive-By Truckers.

"They have a very Southern lens in how they view Americana, and we are very proudly Midwest, proudly Iowan," Fleming said.

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