The Band of Heathens
Sat Apr 22 2017
Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm
$27 - $45 (Fees Included)
This event is 14 and over
Goes Great With: Ray Wylie Hubbard, Todd Snider, Robert Earl Keen, Townes Van Zandt
Paying dues at the Steve Earle school of whiskey-soaked country rock.
Doors @ 8 | Band of Heathens @ 9 | Hayes Carll @ 10:20phttp://www.granadatheater.com/event/1469771/
I think "Lovers and Leavers" comes closer to reflecting that than any other record I've made.
I didn't worry about checking boxes, making sure there was something here for everybody, or getting on the radio.
I just took some much needed deep breaths and let them out on tape.
It's been a while since my last album by some measurements of time. Not "history of the universe time", or "getting a bill through congress time", but in the lives of dogs and recording artists, five years and fifty-three days is only a little less than an eternity.
I went through a divorce. I fell in love.
Changes were made, realizations were realized, and life was lived.
But, I kept on writing songs, on my own and with a cast of accomplished characters who combined their own stories and perspectives with mine.
Songs about my friends.
Songs about my son.
Songs about beginnings and endings.
Songs about songs.
Songs about acceptance and regret.
Songs about lovers and leavers.
With these songs in hand, I needed a co-conspirator to help me get them to you.
I called on Joe Henry, a gentleman poet and an elegant artist who seemed a trustworthy steward for my collection.
We recorded this record live in five days, using just an acoustic guitar, a mix of bass, percussion, pianos and organs, and a touch of pedal steel.
I didn't have one song that I knew would be a sing along or would make people dance. I felt vulnerable in a way that I hadn't in a long time. But I got what I wanted – a record with space, nuance, and room to breathe. It felt right for my art. It felt right for my life.
"Lovers and Leavers" isn't funny or raucous. There are very few hoots and almost no hollers.
But it is joyous, and it makes me smile.
No, it's not my "Blood on the Tracks," nor is it any kind of opus.
It's my fifth record — a reflection of a specific time and place.
It is quiet, like I wanted it to be.
Like I wanted to be.
January 1, 2016
Sunday Morning Record, the Band of Heathens' fourth studio album (and seventh overall), marks a milestone in the resilient outfit's development, capturing the musicians' remarkable creative chemistry along with the deepening melodic and emotional resonance in the songwriting of founding singer-guitarists Ed Jurdi and Gordy Quist. The 11-song set, produced by Austin studio vets and longtime BoH collaborators George Reiff and Steve Christensen, is the product of an intense period
of change within and around the group.
"Sunday Morning Record was born in the midst of change," agrees Quist. "Life changes, lineup changes, geographic changes. It was a rollercoaster of a year, but that change served the album well and became our muse."
"We set out to make a record that chronicled the journey of the band through a really difficult and uncertain time," Jurdi states. "In the midst of all of this, Gordy and I were writing songs, starting families, moving families and trying to find a thread to hold onto with our music."
The musicians' journey is documented with insight, humor and empathy on such compelling new tunes as "Shotgun," "Caroline Williams," "Miss My Life," "Girl With Indigo Eyes" and "Records in Bed," which embody the catchy tunes and punchy performances for which BoH is known, while showcasing the subtlety and
introspection that have become increasingly prominent in the band's work, with an added emphasis on the acoustic textures that have long been present in its arsenal.
"I really think that this is the most personal group of songs we've ever released," asserts Quist. "We had over 30 to choose from, and they were written while we were pondering some major life changes and digging to find the essence of what the band is."
Sunday Morning Record — released, like all but one of its prior albums, on the band's own BOH Records label — also benefits from the powerful rapport between founding members Jurdi and Quist, longtime keyboardist Trevor Nealon, and the most recent addition to the band, Richard Millsap on drums.
"We closed the circle smaller around us," Jurdi notes. "We worked at George Reiff's house and kept the vibe as relaxed as possible. We worked fast, cutting a song a day. We worked in the moment, creating songs during the session, changing others, and eliminating the ones that didn't fit."
The qualities that make Sunday Morning Record so compelling have been built into the Band of Heathens from its origins in 2005. It was then that Jurdi, Quist and Colin Brooks — all of whom had already issued solo albums and were working separately as singer-songwriters around Austin — joined forces after informally sitting in on one another's sets at the now-defunct West 6th Street club Momo's. The like-minded tunesmiths soon forged a long-term collaboration, and the aggregation became a full-fledged rock 'n' roll band.
The Band of Heathens' imposing reputation as a live act was reflected in their decision to launch their recording career with a pair of live albums, 2006's Live From Momo's and 2007's CD/DVD Live at Antone's. 2008 saw the release of an eponymous
first studio effort, produced by iconic Texas troubadour Ray Wylie Hubbard. That album won widespread fan approval and copious critical acclaim, as did 2009's One Foot in the Ether, which, like its predecessor, reached the #1 slot on the national Americana charts. Also in 2009, the band gained substantial TV exposure,
performing live sets on PBS' Austin City Limits and the legendary German music show Rockpalast, as well as being honored as Best New Band at the Austin Music Awards.
In 2011, the Band of Heathens' third studio album, Top Hat Crown and the Clapmaster's Son, became the group's most expansive and adventurous statement to date, expanding its sound with a dose of psychedelic sensibility. That effort was followed by the two-CD/two-DVD set The Double Down: Live in Denver, which once
again spotlighted the band's mastery as a live unit.
Later in 2011, the Band of Heathens experienced its first major personnel shakeup, with Brooks deciding to move on to new projects, and founding member/bassist Seth Whitney and drummer John Chipman soon exiting as well. Jurdi and Quist reorganized with keyboardist Trevor Nealon, a longtime friend of Gordy's who had joined in 2009, and new drummer Richard Millsap, who had been recommended by his predecessor Chipman, along with a revolving assortment of bassists. The retooled lineup proved its mettle through some diligent road-testing before getting to work on
Sunday Morning Record.
Meanwhile, other changes were afoot, with Gordy and his wife preparing for the birth of their first child, while Ed was in the process of relocating his family to Asheville, N.C. The longtime bandmates both agree that the finished results on Sunday Morning Record justify the extra effort that went into the album's creation.
"This record's a bit on the quieter side dynamically, but I feel like it's sharper around the corners, both lyrically and musically," adds Jurdi. "I think people see us as a rock 'n' roll band, which we are. But for us, a lot of the best stuff we've done is our quieter stuff, and we did more of that on this record. The further into life you get, the more you realize that life isn't black and white, and that there are millions of shades of grey in between. And as we become better songwriters and better musicians, I think we're better able to explore those grey areas a little more."
Sunday Morning Record's more intimate focus is also reflected in the album's title, which was inspired by a line in "Records in Bed" and nods to the value of escaping from the noise of everyday life in order to absorb music, art and life in a more
personal and immediate way.
"It seems like it's gotten harder and harder for people to turn off the constant stream of information and distractions and just lose themselves in art for a little while," says Quist. "Now we're connected to everything in the world at all times, and maybe that makes our lives richer in some ways. But I think that there's also a
richness that we miss out on, of just being present in the now and experiencing the world directly. I hope this album moves people to turn off the noise of life for a morning to connect with themselves and with some friends through our music."
"I'm interested to see how these songs are received when we take them out on the road, because I think that they may make people think differently about the band," Jurdi concludes. "In all of the chaos surrounding us, music has been a refuge from all of the madness. We chronicled our trip through a strange, weird and intense time. You can hear it all here: the joy, the heartache, the disappointment, the longing and ultimately the resolution that this band has found to continue to make albums and perform shows together."