The One Eleven Heavy story
One Eleven Heavy is the transatlantic rock band formed by long-time friends Nick Mitchell Maiato and James Toth who met when the latter was on tour in the UK in 2010. They bonded over a shared love of psychedelic rock, improvised music, Americana and indie rock and, over the next few years, loosely talked about working together.
It was only in December 2016, when Nick was asked to contribute a track to a forthcoming (but to-date unreleased) album of Bert Jansch covers that they decided to finally do something about it. They invited former Royal Trux bass player Dan Brown and Ryley Walker band drummer Ryan Jewell to the session and, over the course of one revelatory afternoon, turning Jansch’s “Open Up The Watergate (Let The Sunshine In)” into a Crazy Horse inspired choogle, realized that they should do this more often. Distance permitting.
A clutch of songs were quickly written, drawing on the cosmic American music, country rock and classic rock of the early 1970s, and a session was set up the following summer at Sound of Music in Richmond, VA with veteran engineer John Morand (The Black Crowes, Sparklehorse). Jack Rose and D. Charles Speer & The Helix collaborator Hans Chew was drafted in to play honky tonk piano and, in May 2018, One Eleven Heavy’s debut album, Everything’s Better, was released on the band’s own label with their manager, Scott McDowell, Kith & Kin Records, to a wave of hype that put the band at the heart of a new Grateful Dead inspired indie rock jam band scene alongside peers such as Garcia Peoples, Chris Forsyth & the Solar Motel Band, Wet Tuna and Elkhorn.
Coverage from the likes of Alice Cooper and NPR led to One Eleven Heavy being signed to New York label Beyond Beyond Is Beyond who released the band’s sophomore album in September 2019. Tapping deeper into the southern rock influence of The Allman Brothers Band and Marshall Tucker Band, as well as the slow, simmering jams of early Funkadelic, Desire Path presented the band to a larger audience thanks to widespread critical plaudits from the likes of The Wire, Classic Rock and Uncut magazines.
One Eleven Heavy toured the US in late 2019 with Jake Morris of Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks at the drum stool, which resulted in the live album, Live at Jam Castle, released on Phoenix, AZ based imprint Was Ist Das? in May 2020. After the Covid-19 pandemic temporarily grounded the transatlantic band, Nick and James began plotting for a remote recorded album, working with collaborators ready and able to overcome the challenges of not being in the same city, let alone the same room. Alongside Jake on drums, One Eleven Heavy was joined by British bass player Guy Fowler, along with sax player JayVe Montgomery and Michael Troutman (Weirding Module) on synth. Everything else on the band’s third album, simply titled Three, was played and sung by Nick and James.
While the same infectious positivity and rural rock of the first two albums is very much present, the songwriting and musicianship on Three is significantly more sophisticated. Take the twists and turns of eight-minute epic “Fruit Loops”, which traverses a Crazy Horse-esque guitar solo, Led Zeppelin-style crescendo and dreamy samba between Nick’s devil-may-care verse-chorus refrain of, ‘Shame, shame, shame, shame…’ It is One Eleven Heavy’s most ambitiously crafted song to date and just one example of an album whose elements confound and reward in equal measure. Coming soon!