Truckstop Honeymoon was born of an unromantic getaway.

Like a Hurricane 

Truckstop Honeymoon was born of an unromantic getaway.

A ratty cardboard box of trinkets and a few hardcover books tough enough to weather the weather are the only material possessions that Katie Euliss and her husband, Mike West — known together as Truckstop Honeymoon — managed to salvage from New Orleans' now infamously flooded 9th Ward.

"Our backyard was the levee," says Euliss, the singer and upright bassist for the band. "On any given day, you'd hear clippedy-clop and you'd go out the front door, and there'd be these gorgeous Indians on their horses. Then they'd run up the levee, and as they were going up the hill, some big Russian freighter would be sailing down the river."

For Euliss and West, like so many others scattered now around the country, those are all memories. And for West, so is life without a cell phone. "Bunch of crock," explains the beanpole-skinny banjo player with the mane of straggly hair. "Your mother and father used to break down with no cell phone. They didn't die. You just fix the fucking car."

That stubborn attitude, however, wasn't an option in hurricane-ravaged New Orleans. West got a cell phone — and eventually falsified a press pass to get by security and re-enter his closed-off, waterlogged house. In the end, there was nothing left to fix. So, they headed northwest for Lawrence, Kansas, aided by friend, fellow musician and Lawrencian Kirk Rundstrom of Split Lip Rayfield. They didn't, however, leave behind their attitude — or their sound.

Euliss learned bucket bass, piano and guitar in the smoky bars of New Orleans, living on Lucky Strikes and street-corner gigs. She met West, a self-described snake-oil salesman with a knack for the banjo. Within months, they were married. Somewhere between Lafayette, Louisiana, and Atchafalaya Swamp, they celebrated their holy matrimony at a dingy truck stop, with nothing resembling room service. And just like an old Chevy with a blown-out clutch — all speed and no reverse — the two-member band hit the road moving.

Singing about adultery, oil refineries, one-night stands and the Mary Jane blues, Truckstop Honeymoon revved up for a perpetual tour of North America. Voices howling, these two have dueled and danced with their instruments ever since, stomping their feet, fingers a blur, revealing an explosive sort of chemistry.

Since relocating to Lawrence, they've continued their hillbilly storytellin' style with music that moves at breakneck speed but with a uniquely blended sound: bluegrass, punk-rock and a more than palpable dose of soul. In fact, it's infused with the same driving energy that moved these self-starting, don't-look-back musicians all the way from Louisiana to Lawrence to rebuild — and it's enough to melt your cold, cold heart any day.

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