Taking its name from the nearby scenic highway, Bellingham, Washington band Chuckanut Drive's sound often weaves over the lines separating musical styles. Chuckanut Drive counts such rock icons as The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, The Band and The Beatles among its many influences; the band also tips its hat to earlier American songwriters such as Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson, as well as contemporary artists like Wilco and Whiskeytown.
The band started to take form in 1999 when songwriter/guitarist Steve Leslie and longtime partner-in-crime, bassist Aaron Ansley, talked about starting a band. Leslie had originally moved to Bellingham to get away from music and finish college; Leslie's previous band Bloomsday had called it quits after a year on the road, a full-length album and two EPs. Bellingham's budding music scene and wealth of talented musicians, however, kept Leslie from abandoning his musical ambitions entirely.
After early rotations in the lineup, Leslie and Ansley began to jam with jazz drummer Erik Anderson and guitarist Mark Sobolesky. Nearly two years of gigs and dues-paying followed before the band parted ways with Sobolesky and entered into a short hiatus while searching for a new guitarist.
In February 2003, Leslie spotted Wastelanders guitarist Loren Huggins at the famous 3B Tavern - long-time heart-and-soul of Bellingham's live music scene - and approached him about joining the band. After a brief session, Huggins was on board as Chuckanut Drive's new lead guitarist, giving the band the energy it needed to get back on stage. With its self-titled debut album in the can, the band is once again hitting the road with a newfound fervor to share its music.
The band isn't afraid to blend old sounds with new, and does so with soul and skill. Leslie's songs radiate a human warmth rarely heard in today's popular music. Chuckanut Drive plays pop music, but Leslie's lyrics often have an intimacy you would expect to find in a folk singer. Chuckanut Drive plays rock music, but Huggins' twangy guitar lines evoke a sprit of the by-gone honky-tonk era. The result is the vibrant sound of an American band carrying on an American musical tradition