Pinetop Seven

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Pinetop Seven
OriginChicago, Illinois
GenresAlt country
Indie rock
Years active1994–2006
LabelsTruckstop Records
Empyrean Records
Atavistic Records
MembersDarren Richard
Nate Walcott
Melissa Bach
Mack Hagood
Ned Folkerth
Past membersCharles Kim
Ryan Hembrey

Pinetop Seven is an American band from Chicago, Illinois. The group initially revolved around three core members, supplemented by instruments such as double bass, accordion, slide guitar, banjo, and mandolin; more recent recordings have a more fluid lineup and increasingly orchestral textures. The group is a key representative of the Chicago alt country musical scene.


Bandmembers Darren Richard and Charles Kim first met at Vanderbilt University, and began playing music on the Nashville club scene starting in 1990; in 1994 they moved to Chicago and formed Pinetop Seven.[1] After adding Ryan Hembrey to the lineup in 1995, the band began touring,[1] and eventually landed a record deal with Truckstop Records, who began releasing the band's material in 1997. 1998's Rigging the Toplights featured clarinet work from fellow Chicagoan Ken Vandermark. In 2000, Charles Kim left the band, and the group expanded to a larger ensemble featuring more orchestral musical textures, beginning with 2000's Bringing Home the Last Great Strike.[2] Their 2005 release The Night's Bloom and its subsequent sessions release, Beneath Confederate Lake, feature further orchestral exploration, as well as a revamped core of members, featuring original member Richard, trumpeter Nate Walcott, cellist Melissa Bach, bassist Andy Rader, guitarist Mack Hagood, and drummer Ned Folkerth.

Throughout its career, the band has garnered considerable critical acclaim from outlets such as Pitchfork Media,[3][4][5] NPR radio,[6][7] One Times One,[8][9] The Orlando Weekly,[10] Paste Magazine,[11] and others.

A few months after the release of Beneath Confederate Lake, Richard enrolled in law school, and the group went on hiatus. As of 2010 Richard was working as a lawyer in the music industry.[12]


  • Pinetop Seven (Truckstop Records, 1997)
  • Rigging the Toplights (Truckstop/Atavistic Records, 1998)
  • No Breath in the Bellows EP (Truckstop/Atavistic, 1998)
  • Bringing Home the Last Great Strike (Atavistic, 2000)
  • Lest We Forget (2001)
  • The Night's Bloom (Sky Records/Empyrean Records, 2005)
  • Beneath Confederate Lake (Sky/Empyrean, 2006)


  1. ^ a b Biography,
  2. ^ Jesse Ashlock,Biography at Epitonic, August 14, 2001. Accessed July 6, 2007.
  3. ^ Review of No Breath in the Bellows, 9.0/10 rating. Pitchfork Media. Accessed July 6, 2007.
  4. ^ Review of The Night's Bloom, 8.4/10 rating. Pitchfork Media, October 28, 2005. Accessed July 6, 2007.
  5. ^ Review of Beneath Confederate Lake, 7.6/10 rating. Pitchfork Media, May 31, 2006. Accessed July 6, 2007
  6. ^ Stephen Thompson, A Ghostly Voice That Swoops and Swoons. NPR, April 3, 2006. Accessed July 6, 2007.
  7. ^ Audio Review of Rigging the Toplights. NPR, December 7, 1998. Accessed July 6, 2007.
  8. ^ Review of The Night's Bloom, 4.5/5 rating. One Times One, November 19, 2005. Accessed July 6, 2007.
  9. ^ Review of Beneath Confederate Lake, 4/5 rating. One Times One, July 3, 2006. Accessed July 6, 2007.
  10. ^ Review of The Night's Bloom, Orlando Weekly. Accessed July 6, 2007.
  11. ^ Stephen Deusner, Late, But Great. Paste Magazine, feature, October 13, 2005. Accessed July 6, 2007.
  12. ^ Former Rocker with Pinetop Seven playing up musical skill set in business law career. Columbus Business First, October 11, 2010.