In 2015, Whitney Rose relocated to Austin from her native Canada for a residency at the famed Continental Club, but fell in love with the Lone Star State and decided to make the stay permanent. That fondness for the state coupled with her time at the historic club and the richly diverse music city all informed her new EP, South Texas Suite - which can only be described as an homage to her new home. The six-song project mixes Rose originals, covers and an instrumental in a record that’s confident, charming, and enduring. In advance of her heading to Nashville to work on her next full-length, Rose graciously took the time to talk about the album, her love of the state and more.
You initially came to Texas for a two-month residency at the Continental Club, but ultimately decided to make the stay permanent.
I fell in love with Austin, the food, the people, the weather – really everything. The residency was going well and I had gained a little local following such that all of the signs pointed in the direction of staying – and I’m really glad that I did. Austin is such a supportive musical community; everyone is really rooting for one another to do well and that’s a beautiful thing.
The EP includes songs you wrote as well as a couple outside cuts including Brennen Leigh’s “Analog.” What drew you to that song?
I discovered and fell in love with her music a few months before I moved to Austin. Then when I moved, her show was one of the first I caught. We became friends and I asked her if she would mind if I included "Analog," which is such a great simple song very much in the vein of what I do and how I live, on the record and she was all for it. It’s pretty simple how it all came about.
The Band of Heathens’ - Ed Jurdi: (guitar, keys, vocals), Gordy Quist (guitar, vocals), Trevor Nealon (keys, vocals), Richard Milsap (drums, vocals) and Scott Davis (bass, vocals) -
fifth studio album, Duende, released on January 13th, marks their tenth anniversary as a group. The album, a groove-heavy ten-track collection, centers around the themes of connection and communion in a technology-fueled world. Taking some time during their current tour, Quist kindly answered a few questions via email about the album, the songs and more.
The meaning of Duende and how it encompasses the theme of
the record has been well documented, but since it’s not a word you see every day, who had the idea to use it for the title and did the title come after the recording process, during, or somewhere in between?
I first heard Ed use the word a couple years ago and I had no idea what it meant. After he enlightened me to it's meaning it immediately struck me as a great album title, and it became our mantra as we worked on material and eventually went into the studio to try to find the soul of these songs.
It was mentioned that you guys brought 40 songs to the table before narrowing it down to the tracks on the record. Were they all written after your last project or were some ones you had in your pocket?
It was a little bit of both. A lot of the songs were brand new (I think "Green Grass of California" was only days old when we cut it), and then some of the songs we had been carrying around for a couple years. On those, we would re-write and re-work to get them how they needed to be. Sometimes a song arrives fully formed immediately and you have to capture it, and sometimes you gotta chew on a song for a year or two until it takes shape.
To me, two of the deeper tracks on the album are “Keys to the Kingdom” and “Cracking the Code.” Could you choose one and tell the story behind the song?
"Cracking the Code" is a song I wrote with my buddy Owen Temple after we had a good laugh at how compelled some people are to be taking pictures and movies on their cell phones throughout an entire concert. The song is a reflection on how "connected" we supposedly are, but how lonely and disconnected it feels being in a room full of people (or a dinner table full of people) glued to their phones because they're busy being "connected" to the rest of the world.
After two albums, seven charted radio singles, and co-bills with some of their musical influences, Saints Eleven returned with their latest offering Coming Back Around on January 13th. The project, produced by Walt Wilkins, contains eleven songs – ten originals and one cover - that chronicle heartbreak, love and life on the road. Frontman Jeff Grossman kindly took the time to talk about the album, share stories behind the songs and more.
It’s been said that this record reflects a different, wiser you, how so?
Well, I think I’ve grown as a songwriter. This record is still Saints Eleven, but it’s a more grown up version of us that shows a softer side.
All of the originals were penned by you. Are you writing from personal experience, the experience of others, stories or a combination?
They’re all from my own experiences. I don’t really know any other way to write because I think it’s easier to make the audience feel what you feel when what you’re singing comes from your heart and soul.
I think that's definitely something the audience picks up on.
When you bring a song to the band then, is it largely completed or do they help tweak it?
When I bring a song to the band, it’s pretty much finished. We dig into it, see what works, and try and make it a better song, and if we’re not feeling it, we toss it and start over. We never try to force anything – we all have to feel the song because if we can’t feel it when we’re playing live, it’s hard to expect the crowd to feel it.
Boston’s Girls Guns & Glory released their latest album, love and protest, on November 4th. The all-analog recording includes eleven tracks penned by frontman Ward Hayden, as well as a rendition of "Hot Burrito #1", that showcases the band's unique musical approach which mixes rockabilly, country, and rock and roll in songs that mine the highs and lows of love. In the midst of a tour supporting the album, frontman Hayden graciously took the time to speak about the album in detail, what's ahead and more.
Your newest album, love and protest, was made via a successful Pledge campaign. You’ve used Pledge previously when you needed a new van, but was this the first time you used it to make a record?
The van was the first full-fledged campaign we had ever done and it went very well - to the point where we surpassed our goal, allowing us to get a brand-new van instead of a used one. That experience was definitely encouraging, so we decided to do it for the record. We set a goal and once again the fans really stepped up, allowing us to raise 115%. We’re so grateful for their involvement and support.
Seattle’s Country Lips released their latest album, Till the Daylight Comes in August. The thirteen tracks feature a classic country feel on tunes with quirky lyrics and honest emotion that highlight accordion, fiddle, piano, and dynamic harmonies (and the rotation of three lead vocalists) producing a diverse and unforgettable sound that lends itself to a good time. Before the holidays, front man Trevor Pendras kindly took the time to talk about the band's roots, the album, and more.
The new record and your fourth overall, Till the Daylight Comes, was released August. Going back a bit, how did the eight of you come together to form Country Lips?
We all started out in different bands and when they dissolved, we came together as a collective of musicians who hung out and listened to old country music, which we were all fans of. We thought we’d learn some old country songs for fun, and even though we were a little unpolished, we started booking gigs and found that people really liked the old school, honky tonk sound. In addition to playing the covers, we eventually turned to writing our own songs which allowed us to gig non-stop in town because we knew hours worth of material to play. All that led us to this year  when we finished out our second full-length record and are preparing for our fourth major west coast tour beginning in January.
You have a pretty unique blending of musical styles that you call “Party Country,” which to me, upon listening, really seems like music for the working man who after a long day wants to relax and unwind.
I could see that. Calling it that originally came from the vibe in our earlier shows when we played house parties. There was literally a houseful of people who were excited to party and the music, which has Tex-Mex, polka, accordion, twang, and a bit of the Bakersfield sound, really encouraged people to have a good time.