Scotland Barr & the Slow Drags began in 2004, primarily as a studio project to record Scotland Barr's rapidly expanding catalog of songs. It became clear that these songs needed, wanted to be played live; the band began playing out in early 2005, releasing the album Legionnaires' Disease in September of that year, to uniform acclaim.
Scotland Barr & the Slow Drags quickly became fixtures in Portland's roots-rock scene, logging over 200 shows in the three years following the release, playing venues across the Western U.S., including a stop at the South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas, in 2008. That same year, they released their second album, All The Great Aviators Agree. By this time, the sound of the band had evolved: what began in 2005 as a classic four-piece was now six, with keyboards, pedal steel and four-part vocal harmonies playing prominent roles in the band's textures. Critics saw fit to compare the band to such luminaries as The Beach Boys, The Band, The Allman Brothers, Wilco, Steve Earle, and Merle Haggard, among others.
In the fall of 2008, the band embarked on what was going to be the farthest-reaching and most promising tour yet. But after only a week on the road, they received an unexpected and devastating blow: Scotland Barr, the lead singer and songwriter of the group, was in the advanced stages of pancreatic cancer. The tour was canceled and the band rushed back to Portland to regroup. As Scotland's focus turned to his health, the band's focus turned inward, to recording a long-planned but stalled double album.
Progress over the next year was slow and halting, as Scotland was often too ill to record. A year after his diagnosis, Scotland Barr passed away. The unfinished album, already a landmark in the band's progress, became so much more—an ultimate tribute to Scotland Barr. Slowly, painfully and carthatically the band finished writing, recording, and mixing the album,
and in July 2011, 22 months after Scotland Barr's death (and two and half years after
the first tracks were laid down), the album, We Will Be
Forgotten, will finally be released.