By Barry Gilbert
Of the Post-Dispatch

December 11, 2003

From misfortune comes strength - and a great band name.

The Lost Trailers earned both, through nonstop touring, over the past couple of years. The band also gained experience, invaluable contacts and a following for two self-released CDs and an EP teaser (culled from its first "real" CD release, which is still three months away).

But along the road, two equipment trailers were boosted by thieves, leaving guitarist-vocalist Stokes Nielson and keyboardist-vocalist Ryder Lee to pick themselves up and start again.

The young, Atlanta-based rockers - drummer Jeff Potter, bassist Andrew Nielson and guitarist Manny Medina complete the lineup - come to the Duck Room on Tuesday, opening for road mates Los Lonely Boys. Their first big-time CD, "Welcome to the Woods," is scheduled for release March 9 on Republic/Universal.

Like Los Lonely Boys, they wear their influences on their sleeve. But the rest of the coat is theirs.

The CD has strong hooks, smart lyrics and a musical sense rooted in Southern and heartland rock that recalls the Band as well as Van Morrison, Memphis as well as Merseyside. Nielson and Lee have written songs - such as standouts "Longfall," "Down in the Valley," "Averly Jane" and "Love and War (In a Small Town)" - that deal with the pursuit of dreams, from love and fame to values and ideals.

The band has landed jobs playing with an array of artists, from mentor Willie Nelson, Pat Green and Robert Earl Keen on the country end of the spectrum to the Allman Brothers, War and Sugar Ray.

"It's like Duke Ellington said, 'There's only two kinds of music - good music and bad music,'" Lee says on the band's Web site (www.thelosttrailers.com). "As long as you're playing the good kind, you're doing all right. We love the fact that we can be put on a bill with Sugar Ray one day and then be on one with the Allman Brothers the next, and still connect with audiences."