Local Music Monday: Joe Schlaak

May 16, 2016

This week DeBraun talks with bassist Joe Schlaak of the Restless Leg String Band.

Joe Schlaak and his standup bass are a familiar sight on the Lexington music scene.
Credit Tom Wickstrom

The song you’re listening to right now is When You’re Down by the Restless Leg String Band, written by Casey Baumgardner and Joe Schlaak.

Schlaak, a Lexington native, got his start playing bass in orchestra through school. Schlaak says playing the bass is something he has wanted to do for as long as he can remember.

“In the yearbook when I was in elementary school, like fifth grade, they asked you what you wanted to be when you grow up and I said professional bassist, it’s always been my dream, but I’ve not always followed it, so I really wanna follow music.”

In 2013 Schlaak along with guitarist Casey Baumgardner started playing downtown in front of crowds after Thursday Night Live would end. This eventually led to the formation of the band Restless Leg String Band. The duo had played in different bands before, but Schlaak says inspiration from the Cincinnati based band Rumpke Mountain Boys was just the spark they needed.

“I had played with Casey in a few other bands before that and the Rumpke Mountain Boys were a big influence on Casey and he saw what they were doin and I’d played upright, but hadn’t been doing it a lot cause I like bass guitar as well, we decided to start playing acoustic and people seem to like that a lot [laughs].”

Restless Leg String Band has released their self titled debut album. The album was recorded at Graytful Garden Studios in Gray, Kentucky. While he’s proud to have the album finished, Schlaak says the release is time for the band to continue to look forward.

“Now that we have a record to sell people that’s polished and packaged, we wanna get outside of Kentucky as soon as possible, the record’s gonna help us do that and we have a lot more songs to record and that’s what we’re gonna do, we have a whole idea for the next album and lookin forward to getting that finished or start working on it, you know, soon.”

Joe Schlaak performs with Restless Leg String Band. Restless Leg String band performs every Sunday at Cosmic Charlies. More information about Schlaak and the band can be found on facebook.