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Lean Canteen is a band from the Salt Lake Valley in Utah.
One of the hottest new bands to come out of the “WILD WEST”
With mixture of Rockabilly, Hillbilly and Western Swing this band are sure to get your feet tapping.
They have played some of the of the top festivals for roots music around the globe and can be heard on Go Cat Go radio, KRCL 90.9fm radio as well as being seen on the outstanding Bopflix channel.
After the success of their debut album “Come Git Some” with the majority of the music being self penned along with a couple of awesome covers from the bygone era, "Lean Canteen" are back in the studio finishing off their new album "It Don't Matter" 14 killer tracks all penned by the band themselves. 
“Don’t be mistaken”, although the band is all about having fun and enjoying the music they play. This is a professional band with a professional sound.
With around 100 years of combined touring experience, this is a band not to be missed.

“A breath of fresh air, not seen a band like this outside of Memphis or Texas”
“You can close your eyes and think you are listening to Bob Wills”
“The mix of covers and originals knit together seamlessly”

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James Melillo (Guitar and Vocals)

Paul Woodmansey (Bass and Vocals)

Steve Child (Rhythm guitar and Vocals)

James Cherry (Steel Guitar and Vocals)

Craig Gawreluk (Drums and Vocals)

Picky out the Stingers

Picky Out the Stingers is a four piece, acoustic string band with the same musicians.

They play original music in styles across the bluegrass spectrum, including newgrass, country, honkytonk and more.

The band draws inspiration from the original bluegrass founders, classic Americana folk,  and mountain music from the South, Appalachia and the West.

Based in Salt Lake, the band travels and plays festivals, events, and local hot spots around the Rocky Mountain West.   Picky Out The Stingers

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James Orome, UT

Lean Canteen
It Don’t Matter

Lean Canteen = Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys + Wayne Hancock

As far as mainstream culture is concerned, rockabilly was a ’50s fad that ended quickly. To me, rockabilly is the exciting nexus point of honky-tonk, blues, western swing and R&B—and like all great music, it has continued to survive. Here in the SLC area, we have our own pocket of a rockabilly scene, and Lean Canteen is right at the heart of it with their monthly rockabilly nights at Piper Down Pub carrying the torch for the past few years. 

Lean Canteen does lean (pun intended) toward the country side of rockabilly, and with a steel guitar player like James Cherry in the band, they can do country stompers such as “Lean Canteen Boogie,” which lets you know that these guys are all about a good time and good music. Not many bands can rock and swing, but they do it with a sophistication that many rockabilly acts lack. It’s difficult to stand out as a rockabilly band, since there is such a devotion to the past within the genre that creativity starts to feel forbidden. Lean Canteen have found a rare balance that allows them to use traditional elements in their own style. 

The cheeky track “Back Side Of The Moon” shows the band’s lighthearted sense of humor, as well as lead guitarist James Melillo’s jazzy licks. A tune like “Red Hot Mama” displays how they can play with rhythms and put Paul Woodmansey’s stand-up bass slappin’ to good use. Craig Gawreluk’s mighty drumming will have you on your feet, cha-cha-ing around the room. I get the feeling from this record that the band has a passion for this kind of music—they put a lot of effort into these songs, and it shows. To keep up with their rockabilly nights and other performances.


Tom Doel, UK

Lean Canteen

It Don’t Matter

Recorded at 1-4-5 studios in Huntsville UTAH

Reviewed in April 2023 by Tom Doel

Lean Canteen are a band from Salt Lake Valley in Utah.

Track review

1. It don’t matter (Melillo) – The title track on the album this track starts with

the acoustic guitar and vocals with the Steel picking out some

accompaniment for around 48 seconds before the rest of the band comes in.

This is a strong start to the album a proper Country song.

2. Lean canteen Boogie (Woodmansey) - I love a boogie track there great

to play and always get your toes tapping this is written by the band but has

all the familiarity of the boogie tracks from back in the bay strong rhythm backline allowing the guitars to do their stuff plus you must have a Bass lead break I would be very happy doing the Canteen boogie.

3. Red Hot Mama (Melillo) - Rockabilly with a Country edge something a little different I like it.

4. Think again (Melillo) – A danceable track which should get the couples on the floor a swinging rhythm section drums and bass keeping things moving along but leaving room for the steel and lead guitar breaks should make this a popular number.

5. If you only love me (Melillo) – Again these two steps should get the dancers or the strollers hitting the floor.

6. Rodeo queen (Gawreluk) - Addition of a piano on this number plus the backing vocals and hand claps gives this a more Rock and Roll feel which really shows the depth of the bands ability to play a variety of music sounds great.

7. Back side of the moon (Woodmansey) – Hillbilly bop pure and simple reminds me of the hillbilly bop albums I have in my record collection this could have been recorded in the late 40’s early 50’s love it.

8. Don’t break my heart (Melillo) – You can’t really have a Country album with a heartbreak song the type of track that wouldn’t be out of place at the Honky Tonk whilst drowning your sorrows.

9. Li’l darlin (Melillo) - A track on the hillbilly side of the band’s sound, nice vocals and instrumentation throughout with very fine guitar and steel.

10. Back seat to you (Melillo) - The band has a real natural swing that is evident in this number I really like the steel and take off guitar break.

11. Town hall party (Woodmansey/Melillo) - This track reminds me a little of Ray Condo and even Jimmy Roys 5-star hillbillies Western swing style number.

12. Take me in your arms (Melillo) - Rockabilly/hillbilly bop a solid drum beat on this track keeps it bopping along I like the track well written.

13. Muskrat (Melillo) - The pace picks up on this number the bass sounds great slapping away on this Rockabilly track I like the lyrics as well top track.

14. Writing on the wall (Melillo) - Western swing type number this track really swings tight rhythm section and guitar picking out the tune and with shout backs everything that should be there is. Love it.


I really liked this album, 14 great quality songs written by the band and played with a high level of musicianship, what’s not to love. The variety in the tracks also shows the quality in the band as they cover effortlessly the Country, Honky Tonk, Hillbilly, Western Swing and Rockabilly music genres that’s not easy to do believe me. You can tell the band enjoy what they do with a high level of professionalism the songs are well written the playing is top notch and the recording and mixing are all quality. I would certainly recommend this band to everyone who likes this type of music. I can personally see them playing a lot more of the big festivals in the future.

I am looking forward to seeing this band live soon as they will be playing in the UK at The Rockin Round Up in June.

Eamonn Doyle, IRE

Lean Canteen

Come Git Some

Recorded at 1-4-5 studios in Huntsville UTAH
Review by Eamonn Doyle
Right, let’s git some music, the album kicks off with a song named after the band themselves “Lean Canteen”. It’s a gentle track on the hillbilly/swing side of the bands sound, nice vocals and instrumentation throughout with very fine guitar and fiddle solos. It is already clear to me this band can find a swinging groove and fully inhabit it. My only question is, which came first song or band name? . The pace increases on track 2 “Keep On, Keeping On” which is a fun western swing track written by lead singer James. It tells the story of one man’s adventures wandering from town to town trying to avoid trouble in honky tonks. We move further into rockin’ territory with “Another Fine Day” which is a nice Jiver with Woody’s bass prominent in the mix and more cool guitar (both electric and steel) solos. We return to country music for the next track and the first one written by the bass player. Like its title suggests “A Man’s Best Friend” is about a dog but sadly he’s not living up to his billing as “best friend”. It’s another fun lyric and the vocals are very reminiscent of Roy Kay on this.
Track 5 “Much, Much to Do” finds a great rockin’ groove punctuated with electric guitar licks, and as the track develops, these are overlaid with some lovely steel embellishments. I like the backing vocals as well and this song really grows on you with repeated plays. The pace increases again for “Diamond Ring” which is a jewel of a fast country song with melancholy vocals and instrumentation about a man who feels “taken for granted”, heck we’ve all been there. Next up is a great country jiver with lovely steel playing and fantastic solos which also feature some great electric playing. “Every Time” really gets the blood racing and I defy you not to toe tap to this on. The fiddle returns for “Way Up In My Barn” which is more on a ‘train’ tempo but swings just as much as the rest of the album and the combined guitar and fiddle solos are sweet, Daniel and James are both top class musicians. So after 8 originals we get into covers territory and these of course reflect the bands influences, first up is “Tulsa Straight Ahead” written and recorded by Leon McCauliffe who rose to prominence with Bob Wills who was based in Tulsa. This is classic western swing and the boys really do it justice. McCauliffe was a steel player himself and would be happy with Daniels version of his own classic sound, superb track. The band next dive deep into their rockabilly influences with their rockin’ version of “Love Me” the Jimmy Lee and Wayne Walker 1955 track. The cover is similar in style to the original which won’t raise an argument here, this is rural rockabilly played as it should be and I like the harmony vocals which nicely recall the original.
The next two tracks return to original writing and first up is “Bridger Boy”, a song written by drummer Craig and it has a nice Latin flavoured intro which builds into a great swing groove where the drums are particularly prominent. I like the contrast between the rhythms which is repeated again, and the band are really cooking as we swing to the songs close. I’m not sure what a bridger boy is but I like it. We now get to the final original track on the album and we’re in rockabilly twang territory with “Sweet Sensation”. This is the purest “guitar” track on this collection and is at a slower stroll tempo but still has a groove that kicks ass and has a nice western feel to it, this is possibly my favourite track on the album. At 14 tracks, the canteen is far from lean and the bands adds to the value they offer with two closing covers. Once again these are well chosen and “Ghost Memories” continues the gothic stroll vibe of the previous track. The original by Gene McKown is a wonderful slice of 1964 rockabilly (not often we say that). Once again, the boys stick close to the original arrangement which doesn’t surprise me as its simply superb with slightly haunting vocals and another highlight for me. We’re trucking to the end of the album now and the closer is a song made famous by the “Bard of Bakersfield” Red Simpson in the mid 60’s “Diesel Smoke, Dangerous Curves”. The band have really excelled in their choice of covers and it speaks volumes of their own excellent taste in music and deep knowledge of roots music. It brings the album to a suitably explosive climax.
So in summary, I really enjoyed this album, everything is quality, the playing, the song writing, the arrangements, and the vocals. There wasn’t a weak track on the album but my personal favourites are the more rockabilly tracks but that is probably just my own natural bias, I love all roots music but pure 50’s Rockabilly is always number 1. I had a superb meal in this Canteen and if you dig the spectrum of styles I describe in this review you will love this album and it comes highly recommended. I sincerely look forward to my next visit to the Lean Cantina.
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