Eleven records that influenced the Cousin John Band

The Cousin John Band charms its audiences with a homespun, Heartland stroke and feel. Their new album Broken Heart Tattoo is a collection of frank-and-earnest rock and roll riffs that play well amid outdoor gatherings and other public places.

This Saturday, May 3, CJB will officiate the release of Tattoo at McGinty’s Public House in Silver Spring, MD. They’re the type of band that gets children and adults alike out of their chairs.

The guys from the band took a moment out of their schedules to share 11 albums that influenced their down-home flavor.

Physical Graffiti – Led Zeppelin | The bandmates unanimously came correct on the impact of Zeppelin’s sixth studio album. The magnificent volume and elegant technique of Zeppelin are a major inspiration to the Cousin John Band.

“[Graffiti] hits like a musical reality shift! The sound was so different and so enchanting,” says the band. “It made us crave… this heavier sound and [their] great songwriting!”

Dark Side of the Moon – Pink Floyd | According the men of CJB “[the album] makes you see colors!” That’s what music described as “space rock” will do to you.

The 40-plus year old psychedelic opus with prog-rock tendencies is a likely source for CJB’s technique: twangy country motifs and experimental sounds. The DC-based band jokes some more about the album’s effect on their sense of sight. “[Maybe the visions are] due to something else. Probably a little of both [color and God-knows-what].”

Waiting For Columbus – Little Feat | This amazing live album has a special place in heart of CJB. “It opened up a whole world of swampy bayou influences to groove on!” Little Feat, a Southern rock collaborative from Los Angeles did not do themselves justice in the studio. Their range, which touched on elements of gospel and boogie, hit some major heartstrings among fans at their concert performances.

“Tripe Face Boogie” a notable track from this album could be the soundtrack to such an adventure. CJB can identify with the briny, Southern-folkish rhythms from the golden age of hard rock.

Abbey Road – Beatles | This grand and emotionally radiant album was known as the ceasefire among John, Paul, George, and Ringo. Despite the nasty disputes that festered within the group, Abbey Road proved the Beatles could still make beautiful music together.

“[Abbey Road is] the Beatles at the top of their game,” CJB emphasized. (Let’s root for a much longer run of solidarity for the DC-based band.)

Rumours – Fleetwood Mac | The creative impetus that drives the lyricists of CJB are those written interchangeably by Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham. Nicks and Buckingham are chief contributors to the sad, prosy tone of Rumours.

The most audible contrast to Rumours somber lyrics is the upbeat rhythm, something to which CJB can relate. To them Rumours is full of “amazing songwriting, harmonies, and brave bearing of souls.”

Court and Spark – Joni Mitchell | Folk-rock and dream-pop: those are two genres any musician can adore. The Canadian singer-songwriter’s sixth studio release is a music parable, sprinkled with visuals you might only find in dreamland.

The DC band’s oeuvre of cute stories are undoubtedly reminiscent of those told by Mitchell. They say, “[Court and Spark has] evocative, beautiful songwriting that completely changed our understanding of what the craft of songwriting is.”

Zenyatta Mondatta – The Police | One of CJB’s main inspirations is drummer Stewart Copeland. From Copeland, learning the drums is like learning a new language, as well as its accents. By the high gauge of love CJB has for the Police, the Copeland methodology couldn’t be a better curriculum.

There’s love for Sting as well. About Zenyatta, the band’s ska-reggae classic: “Sting’s writing and vocals are of course amazing, but to this day there has never been a more musical rock drummer than [Copeland].”

Combat Rock – The Clash | To CJB, the Clash “was truly ‘alternative’ at a time when the music scene was desperate for a fresh take. Raw energy and emotion with some really great writing to back it up.”

The protest song shall not be overlooked, as it’s an integral part of the Americana that inspires CJB. There’s a little punk in all music.

American Beauty – Grateful Dead | A love for the Dead is essential for the CJB players. For the DC band, the Dead’s music is a “cultural phenomenon.” Take for instance, “Ripple,” a string of verses that come from the Book of Psalms.

The band says, “while the songs on this album are great, let’s face it—the real power of the Dead is their live shows and all the trading of (mostly) poorly-recorded bootlegs.”

Kind of Blue – Miles Davis | This 55-year-old didactic jazz work “transports you to a different world and makes you hang on every note along the way.” Few can rebuff that statement.

“Freddy Freeloader” took the traditional 12-bar blues motif and simmered it at a cool, laidback temperature. “These live sessions captured a moment of understated and improvised musical genius and passion that has no equal.”

Give It Up – Bonnie Raitt | Bonnie Raitt is the bluesmen’s biggest crush. Give It Up was initially released to nearly unanimous approval and two notable tracks CJB can’t stop talking about are “Too Long at the Fair” and “Love Me Like a Man.”

The guys from the band say, “[‘Fair’] was stunning and heart-wrenching. And “Love Me Like a Man” made us all want the chance to do just that!”


Cousin John Band was founded in 1999 by John Mobley and his cousin Chris Mobley. John is the lead vocalist and comes equipped with a bluesy rhythm guitar. The band is made up of Joe Goltz (lead guitars and vox), Tim Howe (bass and vox), and Dave O’Brien (drums and vox). None of the active members are cousins, but after more than a decade of playing together the seem like family.

The Broken Heart Tattoo release party will happen at McGinty’s Public House on May 3. It’s located at 911 Ellsworth Drive, Silver Spring, MD 20910. 

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