Interview: The Band of Heathens Tonight at The Taft

Courtney Chavanell


The Band of Heathens is back with its first new album of new material in two years: Sunday Morning Record. They will be appearing at The Taft Theatre tonight!We sat down with Ed Jurdi prior to the show tonight.

I really enjoy the idea of “Sunday Morning Record” being a tool to help people sit back and reconnect with living real life, enriched by their real surroundings; verses the strange human disconnect we experience as a result of our technologically over-connected world.
What aspects of this record do you think best embody that notion?  

I think the wooden sound and acoustic base of the record really embodies that notion sonically.  Lyrically and content wise, the songs really focus on some of the larger universal themes that all people are dealing with in their daily lives. Love, loss, longing, redemption and transcendence.

Was the desire to pursue that idea partly a result of starting families yourselves? Having children often seems to make people re-focus (like a laser beam) on what matters to them, and re-charges their passion, despite the exhaustion of it all.
I don’t think so.  The idea for the title of the album came after we had assembled the songs and put the pieces together.  

Is that what you are partly conveying on the new record?
Having families has certainly been an amazing source of joy and has opened so many doors of learning and growth that we never knew was possible. In the end, I’m not sure we ever really know where some of the ideas and themes of songs come from. I guess the short answer is that they come from living and being in the world.

Lastly, what can Cincinnatians who’ve never experienced BoH live expect from your show?
First and foremost a really fun evening of music.  We’ll explore a bunch of different parts of our catalogue and try to create a unique and special night, for starters. From there, the possibilities are limitless!


 27 March 2014 10:10 AM

 Austin quartet Band of Heathens hasn’t worn out the band’s fourth studio album, Sunday Morning Record. The group will play tunes from the record, and older material, too, on Tuesday night at Dan’s Silverleaf, 103 Industrial St.

In 11 songs, Band of Heathens eases into the well-worn seat of indie-folk, seasoning the lot with Red Dirt twang without compromising the record’s rock and roll posture.

Sunday Morning Record was born in the midst of change,” said one of the Heathens’ founding guitarist and singers Gordy 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.”

Ed Jurdi, the other founding guitarist and singer of the Band of Heathens, said the latest record, which is the seventh the band has produced if you count the albums made without studio help, is a snapshot of the band’s most recent upheavals.

“We set out to make a record that chronicled the journey of the band through a really difficult and uncertain time,” Jurdi said. “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.”

Doors open at 4 p.m. Show starts at 8 p.m. Advance tickets are $10. Cover costs $15 at the door.

March 26, 2014 – While Austin, Texas’ South by Southwest extravaganza continues to jump the shark due to corporate excess and misdirection, the capitol city continues to be an exceptional music town. The Band of Heathens came out of Austin’s rich music scene with a lot of buzz in the mid-’00s. The group’s first two albums were live projects, showcasing the band’s ability to bring its brand of Americana/Rock & Roll to the masses.

The Band of Heathens’ latest studio recording is Sunday Morning Record and it features new compositions by founding songwriters and guitarists Gordy Quist and Ed Jurdi.

The group has seen some personnel changes over the years, which, along with the usual personal things that happen when one grows older and matures (yes, even musicians), led to Sunday Morning’s more introspective nature.

The current lineup of Heathens features Jurdi and Quist, along with keyboardist Trevor Nealon, who has been in the band for five years now, and new drummer Richard Millsap.

As with all combos that value their time onstage, the subdued nature of the songs on Sunday Morning Record are evolving as the group brings them to life in concert, allowing the electric guitars to take the lead.

THE BAND OF HEATHENS plays the Taft Theatre’s Ballroom Friday with Josh Eagle. Tickets/more infohere.


MUSIC REVIEW | Band of Heathens at the Turf Club: Rock and country, blues and gospel Texas style

March 23, 2014

The Band of Heathens at the Turf Club

Saturday night I went to the Turf Club expecting to see Communist Daughter. Much as I like Communist Daughter I was delighted to get there and see that the Band of Heathens was playing. (Johnny and Molly from Communist Daughter played before them.) Luckily I happened to sit next to a huge Band of Heathens fan who filled me in on their backstory. They’re from Austin Texas, they have played for about 10 years and they have a huge following; they concentrate on live shows. As my new friend suggested – if you like rock and country, blues and gospel Texas style, you’ll love them. I do – and I did.

The band recorded the show; you could buy a copy on the way out the door. Apparently they have been doing this for a few years, recording live shows and making them available immediately at the show, however, clued in by my new friend, I knew I could wait until the next day and download the archive from their website. Such a great idea!

The Turf Club was a great location for their music. I always think music with a country twang bounces off the walls of the old polka hangout better than any other genre. From You’re Gonna Miss Me “post romantic haze” to Medicine Man, the music sounds familiar the first time you hear it in an old school rock-country crossover way. The drum beat is consistent and pushes the song along, the twangy guitar pulls it back abut it’s a nice balance. LA County Blues has that more defiant pure country sound. Gris Gris Satchel was a highlight for me, a post-Katrina song about New Orleans, it touching in tune and detail. It’s a song that’s led with guitar and vocals and a 60s-sounding chorus.

I’ll have to catch Communist Daughter when they play next month at the Kill Kancer Benefit (April 18) but I’m pleased to have a new band to follow with the Band of Heathens.

©2014 Ann Treac


“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,” says Ed Jurdi, member of Americana-leaning The Band Of Heathens. On the Austin band’s fourth and latest studio project, “Sunday Morning Record,” they explore just these kinds of subtleties, in perhaps their most understated effort to date. Their 2011 “Top Hat Crown And The Clapmaster’s Son” album garnered my review that it “is all the time about the band’s musicality and groove. It’s vibrant with a capital V.” Still about musicality and groove, they have taken things down a notch here, and the sound is now easy with a capital E.

Released on their BOH Records label, the band’s album shows a natural evolution, undoubtedly stemming, in part, from a change in the lineup. Three members left since “Top Hat;” new drummer Richard Millsap and various bass players join original members – songwriters/musicians/vocalists Jurdi and Gordy Quist, and Trevor Nealon – and along with producers George Reiff and Steve Christensen, they’ve put together a stripped back, introspective collection of eleven tracks.

Interesting musical transitions within songs stand out, such as the waltz/shuffle combo in opener “Shotgun,” but the meat of the album reveals solid growth. Celtic drum and guitar is squared with lilting harmonies on “Girl With Indigo Eyes,” and remember-when song “Records In Bed” is lots of bass and slippery lap steel with a psychedelic outro. “Since I’ve Been Home” is tender and exquisite in a Beatles’ “Blackbird” kind of way. This band never tries too hard to impress, which creates an attractive welcome-mat soundscape for listeners.

Visit their website

March 20, 2014 – Scenario: You’ve just bought the new album by The Band of Heathens. “I wonder what this sounds like,” you wonder aloud, instead of just putting the album on and listening to it.

Hint: The title isn’t false advertising.

“Sunday Morning Record” is the latest studio release from the Austin, Texas-based Heathens. It’s a subdued but not sleepy piece of Americana and the prevailing mood fits the title. Put another way, “Record” is not a Venom record.

According to the Heathens’ Ed Jurdi, the title immediately makes sense to the sort of people who listen to albums on Sunday mornings. He also said the songs on “Record” have “kind of a nice little narrative, sonically.”

Goshen listeners can hear part of that narrative live Tuesday night, when The Band of Heathens plays Ignition Music Garage downtown.

A “Record” listener can hear hints of non-Heathens on the album — Nilsson, the Stones in country-ramble mode, The Dead, ’70s singer-songwriter sounds. That said, the influences are pretty deftly incorporated into the band identity.

“I think that’s the idea,” Jurdi said in a phone interview with The Goshen News this week. “…The way you learn how to do what you do is by studying.” And in the case of most musicians, that means listening to other artists.

“I did that by putting on records that I liked and listening to them and learning how to play those songs,” Jurdi said. “Then taking those tools and figuring out how to use them with my own voice in mind.”

Discussing the Heathens’ creative process, Jurdi said, “You’re inspired by something, and you grab that idea out of the air and you start running with it. …You’re using these little touchstone points more as inspiration than as a template.”

“Sunday Morning Record” is the Heathens fourth studio release, and seventh altogether. The band itself, made up of simpatico musicians from the Austin scene, assembled in 2005. In the near decade since, Band of Heathens has released albums that have reached the top spot on the Americana music charts. The group has been honored as Best New Band at the Austin Music Awards, and performed televised sets on PBS’ “Austin City Limits” and the German music program “Rockpalast.”

The group has undergone a line-up shift since its last studio record, 2011’s “Top Hat Crown and the Clapmaster’s Son;” Jurdi and Gordy Quist are the remaining Heathens from the formative days. Jurdi describes a productive creative relationship with Quist in which differences are key.

“We work well writing together because I think we bring different stuff to the table,” he said. “If you ask me exactly what that is, I’m not sure I could tell you. But I do know that after working with him for a while, I think we’re different enough in some ways but also the same enough in some ways in terms of what we’re looking to get out of the music.

“There’s always been a really good yin and yang in our relationship,” Jurdi added. “I’ve kind of found, I guess just in life, that’s a pretty important component in being in a relationship with anyone, whatever the context may be.”

Ignition concert-goers can expect “Sunday Morning Record” to be well-represented. Jurdi indicated the band is having fun playing “Sunday” tracks because those songs are new.

“We’re kind of at a point now where those songs are starting to really develop and take on a life of their own in a live setting,” he said.

On the road, The Band of Heathens also enjoys the freedom of a fluid set list.

“There’s only a few songs we play most of the time,” Jurdi said. “Other than that, though, it’s kind of a mixed bag — which really keeps it interesting for us, and we’ve found it actually keeps it interesting for our fans. Fortunately or unfortunately, we haven’t really had any big hit songs, so we’re not really beholden to have to play a song every night. …We’ve found our fans have a lot of different favorite songs.”


If you want to go The Band of Heathens is scheduled to perform at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Ignition Music Garage, 120 E. Washington St., Goshen. Tickets cost $25. For ticket and other information about the show, visit the website or call 574-971-8282.

- See more at:



JIM VOREL H&R Staff Writer

3/14/14 BLOOMINGTON — For every band there come forks in the road, moments where members must either reaffirm their passion for a project or go their separate ways.

When Austin-based Americana group Band of Heathens lost three of their longtime members in 2012, it was one of those moments. Founders Ed Juri and Gordy Quist were left, musical partners who had been in the band together since 2005. It was their call to decide what to do. Thankfully for Band of Heathens fans, their choice seemed obvious.

“It was like a three-minute conversation that we had,” said vocalist Juri, who will lead the band in a Thursday night appearance at Bloomington’s Castle Theatre. “I looked at Gordy and was like, ‘You still want to do this thing?’ We felt there was still a lot of potential and space to explore, and we had a good nucleus to build around.”

Still, replacing half of a six-piece group is by no means an easy feat. This process, coupled with the personal evolution and changes experienced by all members, made the 2013 recording of the band’s most recent album, “Sunday Morning Record,” a more challenging experience than usual. The things that take the longest aren’t even aspects of the band that fans can see or hear. Ultimately, it’s all about relationships.

“The most difficult aspect is really an internal thing,” Juri said. “This is all based on trust, so even when you’re playing with great musicians, it takes awhile to truly come together. In a way, that was reinvigorating, but it was also a challenge to bring all those new guys in. We’re just now getting to the point where I feel like we’re the best we’ve ever been.”

Juri has his bond with Quist to thank for at least some of that. They no longer live in the same half of the country, as Juri moved to Asheville, N.C., last year, but the singer said he and his partner had always possessed the ability to roll and adapt to each other’s lives. Through everything, their friendship and commitment to the band have always won out.

“We have been compatible and flexible as our lives change, and we have a healthy respect for each other,” he said. “The whole group genuinely enjoys each other’s company and is committed to making the music as good as it can be.”

The Americana music of the group has often been reflective of their city of origin, Austin, Texas. The band’s inspiration was discovered there by Juri, who was drawn by the prospect of an unusually vibrant scene for singer-songwriters.

“I initially came there because of all those great songwriters,” he said. “What strikes you is the fact that those guys are doing their job all the time, whenever they’re in town. They gig every weeknight. The city certainly has a love affair with music and supports so many original bands. There’s not a lot of other places like it.”

In many ways, Band of Heathens are still evolving on a nightly basis. They regularly record each one of their gigs and offer the “bootlegs” for purchase and download at the end of the night. Fans collect these bootlegs ravenously and use them to form their own unique mixes of live material. But Juri is listening along as well, analyzing each show with an eye for the future.

“The bootlegs are the clearest indication for us of what’s working and what’s not,” he said. “Lately, it’s working pretty well. I’m excited about how the band is sounding.”

by Janet Goodman

February 7. 2014 – “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,” says Ed Jurdi, member of Americana-leaning The Band Of Heathens. On the Austin band’s fourth and latest studio project, “Sunday Morning Record,” they explore just these kinds of subtleties, in perhaps their most understated effort to date. Their 2011 “Top Hat Crown And The Clapmaster’s Son” album garnered my review that it “is all the time about the band’s musicality and groove. It’s vibrant with a capital V.” Still about musicality and groove, they have taken things down a notch here, and the sound is now easy with a capital E.

Released on their BOH Records label, the band’s album shows a natural evolution, undoubtedly stemming, in part, from a change in the lineup. Three members left since “Top Hat;” new drummer Richard Millsap and various bass players join original members – songwriters/musicians/vocalists Jurdi and Gordy Quist, and Trevor Nealon – and along with producers George Reiff and Steve Christensen, they’ve put together a stripped back, introspective collection of eleven tracks.

Interesting musical transitions within songs stand out, such as the waltz/shuffle combo in opener “Shotgun,” but the meat of the album reveals solid growth. Celtic drum and guitar is squared with lilting harmonies on “Girl With Indigo Eyes,” and remember-when song “Records In Bed” is lots of bass and slippery lap steel with a psychedelic outro. “Since I’ve Been Home” is tender and exquisite in a Beatles’ “Blackbird” kind of way. This band never tries too hard to impress, which creates an attractive welcome-mat soundscape for listeners.

Visit their website





■ 30 DECEMBER 2013 | 1:37 PM

The Band Heathens – “Sunday Morning Record”

Joining such lauded contemporaries as the Deadstring Brothers and Dawes in carrying the banner of rocking Americana is the Austin-based Band of Heathens, still a tragically overlooked group.
Maybe with its fourth studio album, the band will receive the recognition it deserves.
The group is blessed with two distinct singers and songwriters in Ed Jurdi and Gordy Quist. They each add their own personalities, tones and points of view to their original songs, a la the Band or Buffalo Springfield.
And like those bands, along with Gram Parsons and early Poco, The Band of Heathens creates a unique roots-based sound that brims with rustic rock, country, gospel and folk touches. But on this latest, the band slightly refines its sound and songs to add a jumpy Little Feat punch and the occasional pop refrains and melodies.
“Sunday Morning Record” is a recording that fans will play throughout the week, as it dances and sways to a spirited rock ’n’ roll heavily immersed in American roots influences.
– Eric Feber, The Pilot

Change. It can either kill a group or ascend them to a new level of greatness. With Sunday Morning Record, the winds of change helped to push Austin, TX’s Band of Heathens into a whole new realm of craftsmanship that places the creative process of chief songwriting duo Ed Jurdi and Gordy Quist into the stratosphere of the heroes they emulate. And that homebrew of Texas outlaw country and classic college jangle pop they’ve been slow cooking for nearly a decade comes to fall-off-the-bone perfection on their excellent fourth album. The 11 new songs on Sunday Morning Record adroitly chronicle the whirlwind of events surrounding their collective creation and go down as easy as the time of day represented in the album title, highlighted by such winning numbers as “Shotgun,” “Caroline Williams” and “Records in Bed.” Mr. Jurdi took some time out of BoH’s current touring schedule (which includes a performance at the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar in Austin on 12/22) to chat with Jambands about Sunday mornings and Texas politics.

What is it about a Sunday morning that inspired you to title the new record as such?

Sunday Morning symbolizes a bit of a quieter time, it’s really the last bastion of time and space where we can kind of turn off the outside world for a little while and take things at a bit more of a leisurely pace.

What is your favorite thing to do on a Sunday morning, personally?

Hang around with my family, enjoy a nice long breakfast, listen to some good music and take a walk. It’s always a good time to clear your head and entertain some simple pleasures.

How did you approach the writing of these songs following the departure of Colin Brooks?

The only thing that really changed about the writing is that Colin wasn’t there to collaborate with, but Gordy and I wrote individually and together, as we always have and there wasn’t a whole lot of change in that dynamic.

Do you feel writing as a duo rather than a trio has brought about different ideas?

I do think it’s allowed us to bring in different ideas and explore particular musical avenues in more detail. Within having more ideas to work from, we were also able to have a bit more focus and direction because we were really able to create a unified vision, which I’m not sure we ever really fully realized in the past.

What albums were you listening to during the time you were making Sunday Morning Record and how did they slip into the creation of the album, if they did?

Michael Kiwanuka – Home Again
Vetiver- To Find Me Gone and Tight Knit
Jackson Browne- Late for The Sky
Bahamas- Pink StratBar Chords
Pink Floyd- Meddle
Gregg Allman- Laid Back
Blake Mills- Break Mirrors

These records just gave us some ideas about the sonic palette that we were shooting for. They all are pretty atmospheric and have a lot of space and air in them. We wanted to strip it back a bit on this record and really let the lyrics and melody breathe by creating space in the arrangements. Plus, these records are all killer and were super inspiring to listen to while we were hanging out.

How did working on the record inside someone’s house as opposed to a conventional studio affect its outcome?

It created a more relaxed environment and really helped foster the creative atmosphere. There was no clock watching or pressure to get stuff done in a hurry. We had time to develop ideas and see them through.

Do you feel the warmth of a lived-in home crept into the sound of the album?

For sure. Vibe is so important when you’re making art or music, it really informs everything. We had our records going between takes, to clear our heads, the Daigen-Koh incense burning, good coffee, wine and sundries. Early in the day, we’d sit around in the living room and play the songs down on acoustic guitars or piano and just build it up from there. By the end of the day we’d have one or two songs tracked, so the workflow was really good. It was easily the most conducive environment to being creative that we’ve ever worked in. Everyone was in a very positive open space. I have to give George Reiff and Steve Christensen a lot of credit for allowing us to be loose and focus solely on playing music and creating moments, which is ultimately the goal when you’re making records.

Given that you guys are from Texas, what are your thoughts on Ted Cruz?

He pretty much seems like he’s towing a pretty predictable and boring party line. He’s playing off of people’s fears and I don’t see much original thought or solution based work being done by him.

How about Rick Perry?

He has nice hair.

Are you optimistic that Texas has the potential to be a more progressive state given the rise of such political figures as Wendy Davis and the Castro brothers? Does Wendy Davis have a shot at defeating Greg Abbott in the next gubernatorial race?

I think Wendy Davis was able to bring some attention to an important issue and create a bit of a public dialogue, which is always a good thing. That’s ultimately the first step in people becoming educated about issues and allowing them to vote or make decisions based on facts and knowledge as opposed to just voting blindly one way or the other. In terms of her having a chance in the gubernatorial race, that would really be a question best answered by James Carville and Mary Matalin, they get paid to talk about that sort of thing.


Succumbing to the pressures of personal relationships, creative differences, financial hardship, and the strain of life on the road with the same group of people day in and day out, bands come and go. The best bands are the ones who brave the changes and uncertainties that come with life as an artist and continue pushing forward. Austin country rockers the Band of Heathens are no strangers to the type of unexpected changes that can compromise the longevity of a band. Since Ed Jurdi, Gordy Quist, and Colin Brooks formed the group in 2005, the Heathens have built a loyal following in Austin and the rest of the country through relentless touring and a reputation as an impressive live act. Despite finding success over the years, it was only a matter of time before the Heathens encountered a series of changes that threatened the future of the band. The group’s recent Sunday Morning Record, their fourth studio album, almost didn’t happen after the departure of founding member Colin Brooks and drummer John Chipman.

“Basically we were at this point where we were like, do we want to keep doing this, should we keep doing this as a band,” says guitarist and singer Gordy Quist.

These questions loomed as they prepared to enter the studio to make Sunday Morning Record, uncertain if it was possible for the Band of Heathens to exist in any way, shape, or form without the full lineup. Time passed and recording was delayed, but instead of calling it quits, Jurdi, Quist, and longtime keyboard player Trevor Nealon decided it just wasn’t time for a world without the Heathens. Instead of calling off the record or hiring studio musicians, Quist and Jurdi connected with drummer Richard Millsap and decided that the best way to get comfortable with the new members was to do what they do best: hit the road.

“There was a period of having to find a new drummer and bass player, and we found a couple guys and wanted to go out on the road before going into the studio so we could get our legs under us as a band and play live a bunch. We were probably ready to go into the studio about a year earlier, but with all of the change happening we decided to put it on hold and make sure the band [was] healthy and feeling good playing together before we went into the studio,” says Quist.

Taking the time to get comfortable as a band paid off when the band finally returned to the studio. Sunday Morning Record is more mellow than the band’s previous work, with Quist and Jurdi using the songs to reflect on the changes in the group and in their own lives as well. During the recording Quist and his wife gave birth to a daughter while Jurdi announced that he would soon be moving with his family to North Carolina, both of which only added to everything else that had happened and can be heard in the reflective, somber, but ultimately uplifting tone of the album.

“We’ve always tried to embrace change and let each album sound different than what we’ve done before. We knew we wanted to go into this record trying to capture more wooden acoustic sounds, and I think that was both because we were listening to a lot of records that sounded like that and we were also looking to those records for inspiration,” says Quist, who cites artists like Michael Kiwanuka, Jackson Browne, Vetiver, and Bahamas as influences on Sunday Morning Record.

The songwriting talents of Quist and Jurdi shine through with lyrics that are simultaneously an ode to the past and an optimistic outlook on the future. Instead of stressing over the fate of the band, there is a sense that Sunday Morning Record was exactly the kind of album the Heathens needed to make to cope with the unexpected changes brought on by the previous two years.

“In this case I think we’re really proud of the record. It’s a different record than anything we’ve done and it also reflects some of the sentiments that were floating through our heads around that year,” says Quist.

One could spend a lifetime reminiscing about the way things used to be, but for the Band of Heathens it is the changes that come with growth that have only pushed them to keep moving forward. While other bands may look back on the good old days and call it quits when times get tough, the Heathens made the best of the situation, and through it all they came out stronger than ever.

Gordy Quist sums up the bands optimistic attitude towards their future best when he says, “All of those things were kind of feeding some uncertainty and change in general, which personally can be tough and cause a little anxiety, but creatively sometimes it can bear really good fruit.”

The Band of Heathens
Saxon Pub on Thursday, December 19
Armadillo Christmas Bazaar on Sunday, December 22
Tickets and more info at



1. The Band of Heathens – Sunday Morning Record -  The Band of Heathens head back to a time when the depth of a Sunday morning was taken apart your favorite song. Ed Jurdi and Gordy Quist were keeping a path forward amid personal and career hurdles. They found that space in their songwriting. The tracks are more personal; though quieter, there is sharp clarity to the album. There is no doubt, that this is music from The Band of Heathens brand. Heart and mind are both represented and appealed to in their songs, and Sunday Morning Record continues to deliver smart stories of real lives, with all the bumps, bruises, and smiles left in.

Listen and buy the music of The Band of Heathens from AMAZON or iTunes

December 12, 2013 – When Gordy Quist listens to “Sunday Morning Record,” the new album by the Band of Heathens, in which he sings and plays guitar, he hears things that separate it from the group’s previous three previous studio albums: Acoustic guitars; lyrical sentiments of an obviously personal nature; mellowness; the influence of Neil Young and Jackson Browne, who were among the musicians he was listening to a lot during the making of “Sunday Morning Record.”

But to Quist, none of that adds up to a record that reflects a band that has aged, or is even becoming aware of aging. Quist is just 33, and he notes that the Band of Heathens, who got their start in the mid-‘00s in Austin, Tex., have recently been infused with younger blood. Drummer Richard Millsap, who joined the group last year, is in his early 20s.

“The band is younger, younger than it was before,” Quist said. “The record is not so much about age. It’s life changes.”

Quist said the sound and the lyrical expression of “Sunday Morning Record” come from shifts that the band and its members have gone through since their last studio album, “Top Hat Crown & the Clapmaster’s Son,” from 2011. Ed Jurdi, a singer and multi-instrumentalist and co-founder of the group, relocated from Austin to Asheville, N.C. Colin Brooks, another original member, left the group entirely. Quist, who has also been around from the beginning, became a father.

“This is the most personal album we’ve written, much more personal than anything we’ve done in the past,” Quist said from Austin, where he was spending a day handling chores (a busted water heater) and his 13-month-old daughter. “That comes from what was going on in the background — my wife was pregnant with our first child; Ed moved to Asheville. A lot of change. We weren’t necessarily setting out to make a statement meant to change somebody else, but just a reflection of what was going on in our world. We’ve been a band for seven, eight years and this album we chose to go personal with the material. That’s just where we were at.”

The sound of “Sunday Morning Record” is a reflection of that mood. Instead of a Saturday night album — ripping guitars, crashing drums, living loudly in the moment — “Sunday Morning Record” is quiet and slower moving, encouraging contemplation. “Sonically, it’s the more wooden sounds, the acoustic nature of the record,” Quist, who will appear with Band of Heathens for a show on Friday, Dec. 13 at PAC3 in Carbondale. “It’s not mellow, but mellower than what we’ve done before. That was a reflection of the mood of the band, and also of what we’ve been listening to lately: Michael Kiwanuka, Bahamas, a band called Vetiver. A lot of Neil Young and Jackson Browne.”

The band itself is a whole lot different than what was put together eight years ago. At Momo’s, a now defunct bar that had been a center of musical activity in Austin, there were four bands who regularly shared the bill on Wednesday nights. The lead singer-songwriters of each band eventually pooled their songs in one group, the Band of Heathens, which celebrated a let-‘er-rip aesthetic.

“Back then it was no rehearsals,” Quist, a Houston area product who grew up on his parents’ albums (Dylan, Rolling Stones, a lot of Beatles) before discovering the songwriting riches of his native Texas (Townes Van Zant, Lyle Lovett, Willie Nelson, Guy Clark) and learning guitar, at the age of 10, from his father. “You show up, everyone falls in. As Ray Wylie Hubbard” — the Texas singer-songwriter who produced the Band of Heathens’ self-title, 2008 debut album — “put it, ‘You fall in. Then you fall apart.’ We weren’t going to rehearse the beginnings of songs, not rehearse the endings — just figure it out as we go along. We still try to keep that improve spirit, but we’ve tightened it up. It’s gone from four singer-songwriters with a rhythm section, which is where it started, to a real rock ‘n’ roll band.”

Exactly what sort of rock ‘n’ roll band they were, though, depends on which moment in time you were listening. Quist describes the first album as “swampy country blues.” “One Foot in the Ether,” from 2009, was closer to straight-up roots rock. “Top Hat Crown & the Clapmaster’s Son” ventured into psychedelic ideas.

“Sunday Morning Record” began with “Shotgun,” the first song written, the album’s opener, and a tone-setter for the rest of the record. The lyrics are personal, a rough kiss-off to a former companion: “Airing out your dirty laundry/ Hanging all your so-called friends out to dry, dry, dry.” “It’s about things changing, people coming and going in life, everybody moving forward,” Quist said.

“Shotgun” was also meant as an innovative way to use rhythm and voices. “Ed and I wrote it mostly together,” Quist said. “We were experimenting with time changes in the middle of a song, and with unison singing — singing the same melody, then splitting into different harmony parts. Like the Everly Brothers, a duo-style singing deal where you get two voices melding into one.”

Quist said “Sunday Morning Record” could have gone in other directions. The group recorded approximately 20 songs for the album, not all on the mellower, introspective side. But they wanted a focused, cohesive statement, and stuck more or less to a particular type of song. “Girl with Indigo Eyes” echoes singer-songwriter Iron & Wine; “Since I’ve Been Home” has a hushed, confessional feeling.

Fans of “Sunday Morning Record” might not want to get overly attached to this facet of the Band of Heathens. Quist doesn’t believe that the group, not even a decade into its history, has settled into one style of making music. He’s not sure if they ever will, or if that should ever be the goal.

“It feels, even from the beginning, that the band has been on an evolution,” he said. “I think we’ll always be evolving, changing, not afraid to do things different. Our fans expect us to do something different with each record. It’s refreshing to know that people want to keep hearing something different from us.”

Band of Heathens– ‘Sunday Morning Record’: With this new release the guys were really letting their jammy-ness shine through in a  light that works commercially. Great hooks, killer grooves, and just an all around awesome feel to this record. The Band influence and Levon in particular is very evident in this work, which is always a good thing. Sometimes I find myself walking down the street just singing “Caroline Williams don’t live here anymore” to myself and think, “damn, those dudes got me with that one”. A solid record all across the board.
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The Band of Heathens

Sunday Morning Record

(BOH)  #6

The Band of Heathens
Sunday Morning Record

After the 2011 departure of co-founder Colin Brooks and the pursuant departure of the band’s rhythm section, remaining Heathens Ed Jurdi and Gordy Quist were faced with some serious band rebuilding. Thankfully, the two were able to more than just put the pieces back together, coming out the other end of the near-dissolution for the better and turning out their best studio album yet. The opening track, “Shotgun”, says it all: pairing a warm, folksy melody to an ingenious set of time changes, common time verses against a waltzing chorus. Boasting a clean and polished sound, Sunday Morning Record is as smooth as Americana gets, harking back to the days when “AOR-ready” would have been just the right description. Strains of circa-1972 Eagles simmer under the surface of these songs, though Jurdi and Quist often do the original soft-rockers one better, digging into a thoughtful and serious vein of nostalgia that would have caused Don Henley to turn tail and run. The acoustic apology, “Since I’ve Been Home”, offers a bruising look at the itinerant lifestyle, the narrator observing as he settles back into being home, with all the sad weight of retrospection, “You know we almost had it good / We break like bad habits never could.” All in all, this fixation on retrospection serves them well—Jurdi and Quist look musically backwards, but don’t necessarily want to return there.  Taylor Coe


That Nashville Sound’s Top Albums of 2013

10. Band of Heathens - Sunday Morning Record- The Band of Heathens has evolved its sound on each of its four studio albums, andSunday Morning Record may be the most apparent departure from the band’s rock and roll-ish debut – a decidedly more mellow, mature, worn sound.  They time travel back to when the Eagles were putting some of their most timeless “Hotel California”-era material. There is a healthy mix of swirling organ, rock guitar, and on point harmonies that are combined with some smart and engaging lyrics: a recipe for success.

Posted by on December 9, 2013 at 6:24pm

The Band of Heathens continues to surprise. While their new album offers up the Americana and Little Feat-styled funk fans have come to expect, there’s a thread of late 1960s production pop that’s a welcome addition. This opening track, “Shotgun,” tips the album’s surprise with its nod to “Everybody’s Talkin’.” Gordy Quist sings the opening “I heard that you were talkin’ ’bout me, I heard you had a smile on your face while you cried, cried, cried,” with a rhythm and melody that easily brings to mind Fred Neil’s original couplet. The song quickly establishes its own sound, but the unison singing, keyboards and electric sitar-like guitar preview echoes of Curt Boettcher, Gary Usher and Brian Wilson heard in several of the album’s tracks.

Ed Jurdi opens the album’s second song with a voice as warm and soulful as Quist’s. Where the opener was pleased to see an indiscreet ex-lover (or, perhaps, a recently departed, smack-talking founding member of the band) receding in the rear-view mirror, “Caroline Williams” is rife with the pain and confusion of the left behind. Recently arrived drummer Richard Millsap adds both rhythm and melody with his tom toms, and a short instrumental pairing of piano and wordless vocals echoes another element of late-60s studio pop. Jurdi and Quest wrote this album amid both personal and band changes, and transition is a running theme. In addition to relationships in formation, reformation and dissolution, there’s a longing for stability and simplicity.

The Heathens’ complexities come to the fore in the personal inventories of “Since I’ve Been Home,” the funky “Miss My Life” and the media-saturated world of “Records in My Bed.” The latter, with some terrific 70s-styled electric piano by Trevor Nealon, fondly remembers the thrill a favorite record brought in a world not yet fragmented by always-on media. Jurdi and Quist are memorable vocalists, ranging from husky soul to fragile Elliot Smith-like falsetto, but  the variety of duet styles they manage is even more impressive. In addition to rootsy blends of country and soul, they bind tightly for pop harmonies that suggest Simon & Garfunkel, CS&N and the Beatles. Nealon and Millsap have added new elements to a band that was already multidimensional, making the Band of Heathens’ fourth studio album their most adventurous yet.



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