Sand & Matter / Tyler Fields


In Muncie, Indiana, it happens like in so many Midwestern towns. The snow is deep, the ice is thick, and the wind is strong. At first glance, these towns are the picture of winter desolation—but in the still of the night, a the bare sidewalks tremor with poetry, dancing, and music. A Midwestern underground scene plays host to an eclectic and varied bunch of young artists, many of whom will only be artstars during their stints as students. But there do arise the occasional few who manage to shake the snow off their backs and take on the wider world. One such act is Bonesetters, an Indianapolis via Muncie band whose roots are laid deep beneath the dive bars and basements of the rust belt town.

During their early years, Bonesetters underwent a series of lineup changes as the band transformed their image and solidified their genre. Lead singer and guitarist Dan Snodgrass remained a constant, taking hold of the band’s sound and thematic integrity. A local news source once described of the genre-hopping, stage-stomping act, “Heartbreak, betrayal, adultery, handclaps and old westerns are just a few of the things that Muncie-based band Bonesetters can weave into a story for an audience.” This testament was proven true in late 2011 when Bonesetters released their debut album, Savages, which featured a sparse, much less eclectic lineup. The tracks, which vary in style from folk-acoustic sets to anthems about youth, tell lofty tales of love, friendship, freedom, and youth—all set against the bleak context of their rural conception. Even the title of the album tells a story: Savages is the name of a downtown dive bar, often the focal point of the community’s youth gatherings. This homage to a hometown bar demonstrates just how much stock the band places in their underground origins.

As much as Bonsetters believes in its community, the community believes in Bonesetters. When te band was set to launch their debut under a local Indianapolis label, the label folded. Bonesetters were forced to turn to their family, friends, and community for support and donations with which the band pressed and independently released the very first full-length album.

Despite the Savages release setback and the series of lineup changes during the early years of the band, Bonesetters managed to gain traction in 2012 and 2013. They relocated to Indianapolis and began a small cross-country tour to support their new album until several national news sources began to take notice of this small town act whose intoxicating music was garnering a larger and larger audience. Indeed, in August 2013, Paste magazine wrote a small post of their top ten bands out of Indiana which included Bonesetters.

The band, which has stabilized to include Dan Snodgrass, Drew Malott, Sam Shafer, and Cody Davis, have recently begun dropping small hints regarding their newest project including, “FIGUREITOUTCOMINGSOON…” which recently appeared on one of the bands social media platforms. Despite the rapidly broadening attention garnered by Bonesetters, it seems unlikely that they will soon forget their heritage. In addition to the many homages made in their debut, the band has solidified and perfected their music to represent their small-town conception, incubated beneath the bars and rental homes of Muncie, Indiana.

Tyler Fields lives in New York via Indiana via Texas. He is the founder of Lone Empire.