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BEST BAND TO BREAK UP IN THE PAST 12 MONTHS Minneapolis 2000 - Trailer Trash

Though they haven't officially bought the farm, things won't be the same for local country wonders Trailer Trash. Frontman Nate Dungan says the band will keep its half-dozen scheduled wedding gigs this year and return for a Christmas show at Lee's Liquor Lounge. But the band as a live, local institution is on what may be a permanent "what-atus" (rather than temporary hiatus). Fans of this charming roots-swing-whatever combo were already mourning the December demise of its Wednesday house gig at Lee's. For years the night had been as much a pop-culture-reference free-for-all (the band covered everything) as an opportunity for the swingers to flex. Now the swing crowd has scaled back and fragmented as much as the band, and TT has sprung members into a wagonload of new incarnations. Dungan plays in Ménage à Twang and the Cactus Pricks, while guitarist Dan Gaarder plays the Hexagon on Sunday nights with his new band, the Country Doctors. Drummer Keely Lane plays in the Naked Cowboys (do you detect a theme?). Still, the band was never just the sum of its talented parts, and many fans will be shocked that the total has been divided. "We've been living out of each other's pockets for so long that we were having trouble keeping it interesting for ourselves," says Dungan. "John Lennon said you get tired of playing tennis with someone if you do it enough." There's no sign of any of this on the band's thoroughly wonderful Nearer My Bar to Thee (Lee's Liquor Records), a sweet, silly, heartfelt collection that emerged as one of the best local albums of the winter. Dungan adds that the group is changing a lot of diapers, and has two members living out of town now, which isn't to say the twangers will renege on their handful of planned shows--flying in the out-of-towners for the occasion. "We started as a wedding band," he says. "We'll finish as a wedding band."

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