At first glance, the local bands sharing the bill at the Manship Theatre in Baton Rouge next week make for a dramatic contrast.
Dalton Wayne and the Warmadillos play swaggering alt-country. Wayne, the band’s principal singer and songwriter, recalls a young Steve Earle or Jay Farrar of Son Volt and Uncle Tupelo fame.
Seemingly from another planet, Minos the Saint combines Peter Simon’s poetic songwriting with instrumentation suitable for a classical music chamber concert. Violin, French horn, trombone, saxophone and keyboards complement Simon’s emotive vocals.
Leave it to Ben Herrington — Minos the Saint’s multi-instrumentalist maestro — to make the connection between his band and the Warmadillos.
“We’re both true to our own voice,” Herrington said in advance of his band’s double bill with the Warmadillos at the Manship Theatre on Thursday, Aug. 12. “And we’re both bands that value original music that’s a twist on traditional styles.”
Formed in April 2018, the Warmadillos are the younger of the two bands by five years. Nonetheless, the group was quite active until the coronavirus pandemic closed down public performances in March 2020.
“We didn’t have a whole lot of time before the pandemic hit,” Wayne said. “But got a lot done in that period of time, that’s for sure.”
Things happened quickly for the Warmadillos after Wayne met bassist Jonathan Tillman.
“I’d been writing songs, pretty much for myself, for a few years at that point,” Wayne said. “I never expected to have a band, ever. But then I met Jonathan and everything kind of fell in place.”
Tillman immediately heard something special in Wayne.
“I was like, ‘Man, he’s got the sound,’ ” Tillman remembered. “A distinguished voice and he writes his own songs. That’s what I was looking for.”
In the Warmadillos’ less than two years of existence prepandemic, the band wrote, recorded and released its debut album, “Foul Mouthed & Fool Hearted.” They also performed at area venues including the Varsity Theater, Dyson House and Red Dragon Listening Room and opened for touring acts including Turnpike Troubadours and Reckless Kelly.
Performing at the Manship Theatre will be another impressive credit for the Warmadillos. Like Minos the Saint, Wayne and the Warmadillos bandmates will make their Manship debut.
“That’s special to us because we mostly play in smaller venues, small clubs and bars,” Wayne said. “This is the biggest headlining opportunity we’ve had so far.”
During the pandemic, Minos the Saint performed at Beauvoir Park, an outdoor venue, multiple times. The Manship Theatre show will be the group’s first indoor performance since the pandemic began.
“The way I’m seeing it,” Herrington said, “it’s an opportunity to present all the things we’ve been learning during our unconventional performance opportunities in the past year.”
Herrington, Simon and their Minos bandmates — Micah Blouin, percussion and vocals; Joel Willson, violin and mandolin; and Arisia Gilmore, French horn — also used their pandemic downtime to focus on making their second album.
“We made good with the time we’ve had,” Simon said. “It’s been useful for working through some of these songs that we’ve been sitting on for a while.”
“We had so many experiences during the past year that we would not have had otherwise,” Herrington added. “Those experiences affect the way we’re finishing the album.”
Simon applied a literary term, magical realism, to the nearly completed album, tentatively titled “Atchafalaya Child.”
Dalton Wayne and the Warmadillos also played Beauvoir Park during the pandemic. Despite their stylistic differences, the two bands admire each other’s work. But technically, at least, the Warmadillos are topping the bill at the Manship.
“Which is shocking to me,” Wayne marveled. “Those guys are really good.”
New Warmadillos member James McCann, a pedal steel guitarist, will be joining Wayne, Tillman, drummer Mark Dupont and guitarist Joey Holaway at the Manship. Auxiliary Warmadillo Josie Menard adds piano and keyboards.
“James gives us more of a country edge,” Wayne said. “And Josie’s honky-tonk piano rounds everything out. It’s really fun performing with all the guys."
Dalton Wayne and the Warmadillos/Minos the Saint
7:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 12
Manship Theatre, 100 Lafayette St.
$30 at manshiptheatre.org