captain kudzu

Not to put too fine a point on it, but kudzu – in America anyway – is a southern thing. It can start small, and quickly overwhelm the landscape. It’s beautiful, conspicuous, and occasionally overwhelming.  It thrives in a sunny, humid climate, so you’ll find it even in unexpected places –stitching everything together.

Captain Kudzu’s music does something similar. What started out as a solo project – a single cell – has grown into a proper band – a living, breathing organism that has created one of the finest psychedelic pop albums that the Southeast has produced in years. Originally the brainchild of Jackson Gafford, the band now features a core group of Birmingham, AL multi-instrumentalists – drummer Abby Anderson (Holy Youth; Dommel Mossel) and bassist Timothy Collier (Dogwood Lung) – whose individual instincts bring greater vigor and complexity to the proceedings. Aptly named, Arboretum is home to Captain Kudzu’s rich growth.

Often a shorthand for fuzzy guitars, time-warped effects, and washed-out textures, lots of “psychedelic rock” might provide a fun soundtrack for your next vision quest, but it’s a poor approximation of the experience itself. Scientifically-speaking (sort of), certain chemicals smear the boundaries of our brain by flooding them with serotonin. When those receptors are properly overloaded, they make fewer distinctions between sights, sounds, time, space, feelings – hence the feeling of “one-ness.” It’s amazing that such a profound journey is born from a single drop.

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40 Notable Albums from Alabama in 2018

“A budding song-scape mastermind for the hoodie nation.”

50 songs by Alabama musicians from 2018 to know

“The bedroom-pop force is strong with Birmingham singer/songwriter Jackson Gafford, who goes by the pseudonym Captain Kudzu.”

Guide to Slossfest 2018

“Although he may be a one-man show, Jackson Gafford is far from one dimensional. Performing under the stage name "Captain Kudzu," this Opelika, Alabama native puts on an impressive show of ambient loops, folk, and "fuzzed-out psyche rock." His live shows are marked by frequent switches between rock, ambient pop, and a splash of R&B. Currently working on a few projects, Gafford is the kind of artist that takes experimentation to a new level. Go into his performance with an open mind, because he's likely to surprise. Listen to: Porch, Months, Cruel”