The Driftless Area

Heartland Americana Music: equal parts Mill City Rock-n-roll and pure, Midwestern Twang from Minneapolis, Minnesota

Rarely does the road of life stay a straight, well-planned track. Rather more often, it is each of the small detours taken that add up, slowly and eventually, to our true experience in the world.

Twenty years ago – Andy Jensen and Jayce Roberts' chance meeting on a rocky beach in a small fishing town at the northern tip of the Sea of Cortez could be called the beginning. New friends bonding in the peaceful, early morning quiet after a nearly religious concert experience and the ensuing debauchery of an all-night party became the slow burning catalyst for the formation of The Driftless Area. There were conversations during those wee hours about exceptional bands, desert island discs and nasty great guitar players. There were stories of home town Minneapolis, and there was beer.

After that initial encounter at Circus Mexicus, years passed. In the ensuing decades Andy played bass guitar in several Tempe, Arizona bands while Jayce fronted a project in Minneapolis. Jobs, careers, and gigs came and went. There were passionate romantic relationships that lead to messy heartbreak. There were health scares and unfortunate years lost in the oblivion and hopelessness of depression. Jayce moved to Tempe, but soon found his way back to Minnesota a few, short months later. Andy stuck it out in the desert longer, but ultimately was pulled back home to the Midwest as well.

The Driftless Area Detours

In 2016, the two began weekly writing sessions that progressed further and more successfully than either had intended or foreseen. The resulting songs and sound became the foundation of a new band, The Driftless Area. The music Andy and Jayce created was a fluid amalgam of the various genres both songwriters treasure – classic rock and country, power pop and indie rock, folk and alt country, mixed together with their Minneapolis roots – that can only be labeled Americana.

The Driftless Area's debut album, Detours, comes directly from those first few months of songwriting sessions. Themes of heartbreak, disappointment, disillusion, love, loss, and even a sliver of hope resonate throughout the album's ten tracks. It is entirely fitting, given the nature of Andy & Jayce's friendship, the slowly evolving formation of The Driftless Area and the pertinent content of the music they created that it took some time to finish the album. Recorded in fits and starts, in basements and cabins, Detours is a perfectly appropriate title as well as fitting description of the music it contains.

Of course there are more songs and stories to come. The band's sound is ever evolving - as is their songwriting acumen and musical ability. But that is, fundamentally, where gratification and fascination can be found – around this corner, over the next hill, wherever the upcoming Detours lead.

The Driftless Area Detours

Andy Jensen

Vocals, Guitars, etc.

Holding down a band on bass, shredding lead guitar, honing writing skills, strumming an acoustic tune: Andy is dedicated to music - not only a musician, but also a fan. The Dagnabits, Tramps & Thieves, American Standard, Narc Morman, Simple Men, and The Driftless Area. He also enjoys playing bar trivia every Thursday night.

Jayce Roberts

Vocals, Guitars, etc.

Heart to head, head to hand, hand to pen. Inspired by writers from Steinbeck and Neruda to
Costello and Springsteen, “smithing words” is a passion for Jayce Roberts. After fronting the Minneapolis rock band Spankray for half a decade, Jayce took a break from playing music and earned a degree in commercial photography. He enjoys his record collection, his guitars, and his cat.