The Kentucky band the Mertons plays a rollicking brand of roots rock or grain belt rock, with the emphasis on the "rock." A lot of their material is bolstered by amped-up guitars that garner comparisons to Uncle Tupelo, early Son Volt, or Soul Asylum.
The band, consisting of singer/songwriter J.P. Hanly, drummer Preston Gorman (who was later replaced by Brad Frank), and brothers Steve and Jason Simpson (guitar and bass, respectively), came together in Frankfort, KY, in 1996. The group released their debut album, Girandole, a muscular blend of heartland rock, in 1999 on Blackdog Records. The album was produced by Jeffrey Reed and Chris Hudson (who are responsible for labelmate Blue Mountain's Home Grown).