Posted: Thursday, July 16, 2015 11:30 am

The fourth annual Ride Festival will go down as the year the event blasted into the stratosphere. Top to bottom, the acts in the two-day rock ‘n’ roll music festival were outstanding. What made the festival so memorable was not just the headliners, who everyone knew were going to be great, it was the bands who no one had ever heard of that really carried the day (or the weekend, as it were). So, here are my top seven moments of the fourth annual Ride Festival:

7. The Temperance Movement was one of the bands on the undercard that made the biggest impression on Ride audiences. The British band started their weekend Friday at the Sunset Concert Friday night in Mountain Village and absolutely rocked that venue as hard as I have ever seen. Guitarists Luke Potashnick and Paul Sayer traded ferocious leads. Lead singer Phil Campbell bounced around the stage like a puppet held by a mad puppeteer, gyrating and spinning while delivering powerful vocals that recall Chris Robinson from the Black Crowes and early Steven Tyler.

When the show was finished Friday night, the crowd let out a thunderous roar that has never been heard at that venue. They continued their two-day, Godzilla-like rampage through Telluride Saturday on the main stage, leaving audiences thinking, “I may have just had one of those ‘I saw them when they were just starting out’ moments.”

6. The pinch hitter award goes to The Band of Heathens from Austin. They were scheduled to play High Pie Saturday night but the gig had to be moved to the Elks Lodge for noise reasons. Then, in the middle of their set at the Elks, there was another noise issue, so the band played their second set acoustic. On Sunday, the band Baskery had to cancel their main stage performance and The Band of Heathens was asked to fill in. This laid back and malleable band from Austin happily obliged and proceeded to crush their one-hour set. The Heathens have had some personnel changes since their fantastic records “One Foot in the Ether” and “Top Hat Crown and the Clapmaster’s Son,” but the band played material from their new album “Sunday Morning Record” that was equally stellar.

5. Mike Farris kicked off the Sunday line-up with an hour-long set of music that recalled the old gospel tent revivals. But it’s a good thing there was no tent because the band would have simply blown it off.

Farris and his band had an extremely dicey flight into the Telluride airport. The shaky landing had to be aborted and the band diverted to Montrose. Farris said the experience put extra emphasis on his frequent calls for thanks and praise to the heavens above.

Their set was the musical equivalent of a triple shot of espresso with some Praise the Lord half and half.

4. The “Can’t find my way home to the sandwich shop” award goes to Widespread Panic. A stellar Saturday night set concluded with Warren Haynes joining the band for a stunning version of the Blind Faith classic “Can’t Find My Way Home.” It was one of the great moments I have witnessed on that stage.

The Sunday show was cooking along nicely when the band kicked into overdrive and delivered a double sandwich that looked something like this (in Panic speak): Driving>Papa’s>Drums>Papa’s>Driving>Arlene>Red Hot Mama. While that might look like gibberish to most people, to the Panic faithful it says one word: HEAT. Needless to say, the Panic fans were ecstatic.

3. Gov’t Mule’s set Saturday was musical butter. In addition to Mule classics like “Railroad Boy” and “Captured,” the Mule went on a Beatles kick and played “She Said,” “Tomorrow Never Knows,” “Working Class Hero” (John Lennon) and a Reggae version of “Love Me Do.” And they brought out Widespread Panic’s Jimmy Herring for a fantastic version of the Allman Brothers classic “Dreams.” Warren Haynes is a musical monster.

2. Trigger Hippy and the North Mississippi All Stars played Saturday and Sunday nights at the Sheridan Opera House and both shows were arguably the best two shows of the weekend. Trigger Hippy is Jackie Green and Steve Gorman from the Black Crowes, Joan Osborne, bassist Nick Govrik and guitarist Guthrie Trapp. The band plays greasy southern blues rock backed by great vocals by Greene, Osborne and Govrik. In addition to songs from their eponymous debut (which I put in my top 10 records of 2014), the band played back-to-back JJ Cale songs “Clyde” and “After Midnight” that were over the top.

The All Stars lived up to their name by playing two and a half hours of high octane North Mississippi Hill Country Blues. The All Stars seemingly do something I’ve never seen every time I see them play. Brothers Cody and Luther Dickinson are now joined by fellow Mississippi blues slinger Lightning Malcolm on bass. Each member of the band is a multi-instrumentalist and at one point Luther and Malcolm switched guitar and bass in the middle of a song without missing a beat. Ever seen that before? Me neither. Cody Dickinson won the Iron Man award of the festival for playing four gigs in 24 hours.

1. The best moment of the weekend did not happen on the Fred Shellman Memorial Stage. It did not even happen on any of the Night Ride stages. It happened back stage at the Sheridan Opera House. Zella Day, the 20 year-old rock ‘n’ roll chanteuse, was told there was a developmentally challenged young man in the audience who wanted to meet her because she was his favorite singer.

Day agreed and the young man was escorted backstage where she greeted him with a hug, sat him down on the couch and talked with him for 20 minutes like he was the only man in the world.

On the way out of the theater, the young man stopped, turned to his mother and said, “This is the best day of my life.”

It doesn’t get better than that.
BY CESAREO GARASA For The Californian

7/8/2015 – Anytime the Austin-based quintet Band of Heathens visits Bakersfield, the Texans are mindful to show reverence for “the house of Buck,” as singer/ guitarist Ed Jurdi calls the Crystal Palace.

“We usually end up doing a couple of different tunes in Bakersfield than we normally do just because it’s inspiring to be in the home of all that great music that goes on there. It’s one of the dates on our calendar we have circled in terms of being a cool musical spot,” said Jurdi via phone interview from a tour stop in Arlington, Texas.

“The band is heavily in the idea of creating a dynamic, musical evening. That’s been the thrust of the band since the beginning. It’s always a fun night there so hopefully we get a bunch of people out and get rowdy and have a good time.”

The band is a mixture of country-tinged rock, blues and folk with an audiophile’s aesthetic in musical gear and tones — richly earthy and heady at the same time. Every guitar, every effects pedal, every cymbal serves a purpose for each of the songs. They’re deliberate players with a deep awareness of songwriting, lyrical subtleties and feel, and demonstrate an artist’s understanding of how music can sometimes re-shape itself over time.

“Certain songs have a central integrity that needs to remain intact,” Jurdi said. “People know a song a certain way and if you go out and turn it on its head, it might not have the same resonance that it once would. “For some people, it doesn’t matter. Bob Dylan could play ‘Tangled up in Blue’ and you might not even recognize it at first, and that’s totally cool because that’s Bob Dylan. He can do that.

“But for us, we kind of pick our spots where we are going to turn stuff around. With some songs we can stretch out and go on a more musical path, but with others, the melody, lyrics and everything fits right in a certain way and to try to play them differently it almost sounds forced and not a good hang, y’know?”

Fans of 1970s-era Laurel Canyon rock such as The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Harry Nilsson or even The Band would enjoy the show the most. Certain songs, like “Records in Bed,” “Caroline Williams,” and the excellent “The Same Picture” off of the 2013 album “Sunday Morning Record,” are standout nuggets that will bring you back to the days of leaded gasoline and soda-bottle dispensers with a pop-top bottle opener on the side. The sound is both warmly familiar and fresh.

“The band sounds really good right now — it’s probably the best it’s ever sounded,” Jurdi said. “The rhythm section is tight and everyone is singing really good and playing really well. We have a good rotation of songs and found a pretty good stride. There are a handful of songs that our fans want to hear every night, so we’ve figured out how to get those in there.”

Jurdi can’t guess how long the band has been coming west to play but long enough for the Austin icons to form some local connections.

“We’ve been coming to Bakersfield for a long time,” Jurdi said. “Our old tour manager’s family was from Bakersfield, and we know a handful of people that we’d see every time we’d play there. It’s going to be great to see them and hang in such a great venue.”

Band of Heathens with special guest Uncle Lucas

When: 7:30 p.m. July 21

Where: Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace, 3223 Sillect Ave.

Tickets: $10, plus fee; 328-7560

ATLANTA, June 2, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Sixthman, the industry leader of festivals at sea, is coming together with Renegade Circus to bring you the inaugural Outlaw Country Cruise to set sail Spring 2016. This four-day music festival will take place February 7-11, 2016aboard Norwegian Pearl, sailing from Miami, FL to the sun-kissed port of Grand Cayman.

Outlaw Country’s finest, including Blackberry Smoke, Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle, The Mavericks, Bobby Bare, Bobby Bare Jr.,Lukas Nelson & POTR, Shooter Jennings, Waymore’s Outlaws, Elizabeth Cook, Dale Watson, Black Oak Arkansas, The Band Of Heathens, Nikki Lane, Preacher Stone, Roger Alan Wade, Mojo Nixon, Sarah Gayle Meech, and more to be announced. Fans of the famed SiriusXM Outlaw Country channel can look forward to special onboard programming and performances from SiriusXM Outlaw Country hosts including Steve Earle, Shooter Jennings, Elizabeth Cook, Roger Alan Wade, and Mojo Nixon and live radio broadcasts hosted by Elizabeth Cook and Mojo Nixon as they MC the event out at sea. Theme nights, contests, workshops, engaging activities hosted by artists, rare collaborations, and late night jam sessions make this a one-of-a kind experience for any Outlaw Country music fan.

Norwegian Pearl will stop in beautiful Grand Cayman where guests can stroll along tropical beaches, explore local cuisine, shop for one-of-a-kind souvenirs, or choose from a host of exciting excursions offered onboard. A destination of her own, Norwegian Pearl offers guests access to 13 bars and lounges, 19 dining experiences, one outdoor pool, two hot tubs, a full menu of luxurious spa treatments, and so much more. Guests will have access to other entertainment on the ship as well:  Whether it’s a game of soccer or basketball on the sport court, bowling a few frames at the onboard lanes, or tempting lady luck with a few hands at The Pearl Club Casino.

Fans of SiriusXM’s Outlaw Country can enter for the chance to win a cruise prize package for two including round-trip airfare, one night’s hotel stay and a mini-suite cabin on the Outlaw Country Cruise at



Sixthman Media Contact: Alaidriale Derway
Phone: 877-749-8462

Video –

ABQ Journal – May 29, 2015 – Gordy Quist is a little fried after getting no sleep. That’s because he’s been staying late in the studio producing an album for a friend.

That, and he’s still got dad duties in the morning.

“I don’t feel like I’m quite awake yet,” he says during a recent phone interview. “But I love everything I’m doing and it makes it worth it.”

Quist is one of the founding members of rock outfit The Band of Heathens. Along with Ed Jurdi, Trevor Nealon, Richard Millsap and Scott Davis, Quist has been making music for 10 years.

There have been lineup changes over the years, but the sound remains the same.

The band hasn’t released an album since 2013’s “Sunday Morning Record.” But Quist says there is new music on the way.

“We’ve been working on some songs and there are a few that are being played in the shows right now,” he says. “We’re taking our time with the new record.”

Quist says each member has been balancing a few projects at a time for the past few years. In fact, Quist has been producing for a few artists over the years. He says having another outlet for music helps him learn more about music.

“I think it’s been great to know how both sides of recording works,” he says. “It’s helped me to pull some songs out of myself that I wouldn’t normally do. I remember when I’m producing, I’m trying to push bigger things out of the artists I’m working with. It’s been really helpful to have that knowledge.”

For the last six months, The Band of Heathens has been touring sparingly as it tries to focus on a new record. Quist says there are a few tracks completely done and the band has been road testing them in the shows.

“It’s nice to get the immediate feedback on the new songs,” he says. “It helps us gauge what we’re doing.”

‘Heathens’ set to invade celebration

This year’s Due South will start during the Rose Festival on April 25th at 11:30 a.m. at the Thomasville Center for the Art’s recently renovated Studio 209. The event will last until about midnight.

Band of Heathens (BOH) from Austin, Texas, is the event headliner. The group has racked up many accolades and recently collaborated with Kid Rock on his latest album, “First Kiss.” Additionally, Grassland String Band of Athens is the opening act for BOH. Evan Barber and the Dead Gamblers, The Gatorbone Band, Grant Peeples and the Peeples Republik, The Fried Turkeys and Royce Lovett are also slated to perform.

Simultaneously, TCA Studio 209 will host an open house for its new artists-in-residence. During the grand opening, people can meet the 2015 artists and view their work. The new residents include Abby Barber, a chef and gardener; Caprice Kelly, a ceramicist and photographer; Jay Snodgrass, a printmaker and poet; and Denise Boineau, Emily Arwood and Robert Copper, all painters.

“The best part about Due South is exposing our area to a variety of topnotch, live musical acts that otherwise may not come through Thomasville,” says David Middleton, Due South co-chair.

Haile McCollum, Due South co-chair, added, “Land, family and tradition are what makes the South great and Due South combines the very best of these three things. We love that people come out, bring a chair, grab a beer and kick back – all for a good cause.”

Due South benefits Thomasville Center for the Arts programming and experiences.

Admission to the all-day event costs $10. The event will proceed rain or shine.

Additionally there will be a Due South VIP party starting that night at 6:30. Tickets for the party start at $150.

For the Herald-Journal
Published: Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 3:15 a.m.

There are plenty of musicians Ed Jurdi enjoys listening to but will never get a chance to perform with or sit down and watch their shows.

“The thing with musicians is we are all like ships passing in the night. You don’t get to see your friends too much,” the Band of Heathens singer said. “You don’t get to share the war stories with the people whose music and art you like a lot. This (performing with two of his favorites) is cool on a lot of levels.”

Jurdi and two other singer-songwriters, Seth Walker and Edward David Anderson (of Backyard Tire Fire), have teamed up for a 10-date tour called The Circle of the Song, which will conclude with a performance at 8 p.m. Sunday at The Grey Eagle in Asheville, N.C.

They’ll sit in a semicircle on the stage with each member of the trio taking turns sharing songs from his respective catalog.

Jurdi, who is one of the founding members of the Austin, Texas-based Americana/rock band, said the group began with 30 songs but has added others during the run of shows. He had to spend some time delving into the others’ repertoires of songs before the tour began.

“That was cool, too, on a musical level to dig into the craft of their songs and see what’s going on in their heads as they put songs together,” said Jurdi, who now lives in Asheville. “That’s really fun to dig into.”

This special tour was thought up by Walker, the North Carolina-bred musician who found renown in the blues and rock scene in Austin; he posed the idea to Jurdi. When Jurdi moved to Austin, Walker was one of the first musicians whose music he liked.

The two played shows with Anderson and added him to the mix. Anderson released his debut solo release, “Lies & Wishes,” last year.

The show is unscripted and gives fans a look into what happens on stage.

“We can share the internal battle of guys being in a band and being on stage,” Jurdi said. “We’re able to share that dialogue with the audience and I think that’s appealing. It’s like they are a part of it.”

The trio plans to record the show, like it has the others, and offer it to concert-goers after the event.

No Depression – Feb 1, 2015 – Band of Heathens songman Ed Jurdi, North Carolina troubadour Seth Walker, and one-man band/SSKTDA alum Edward David Anderson, of the late-great Backyard Tire Fire, set off on a ten-date Northeast run that’ll prove nothing short of dynamic. The Circle Of The Song Tour, kicking off on February 19 in Washington, DC, will feature the trio in the round and in the raw, picking on each other’s songs, and without a doubt will include some surprises along the way. The tour focuses on the smaller clubs for that intimate, up-front feel — a chance for show-goers to capture the emotion and spirit of the songs in an almost altruistic setting. We had the chance to catch up with Ed Jurdi about The Circle Of The Song Tour:

SSKTDA: How was the tour born?

Ed Jurdi: Seth Walker called me and said, “Hey, we should get together and do some shows. It would be fun.” I immediately agreed, because I knew it would be a great opportunity for us to hang out and make some music together. I’ve always been a big fan of his sound. He was one of the first people who I met and whose music I really dug when I first moved to Austin.

We wanted to have a third person on the show, and Edward David Anderson’s name kept came up. I really dug his band Backyard Tire Fire and had heard his solo stuff and loved it, so Seth and I both thought, well that would be pretty cool if he would want to play some shows.

Will there be three individual sets or will it be set up old school, guitar pull style, with the guys trading off songs and such as well as playing together?

It’s going to be a big, collaborative, dynamic show. We’ll pass the ball around and sing and play on each other’s songs. I’m really excited about the sonic possibilities, both rhythmically and musically.

We’ll have a lot of sounds at our disposal, from different stringed instruments to keyboards, percussion and drums. We’ll be able to cover a lot of ground musically, which should be a blast for both us and the audience.

The three of you complement each other so well, Is there a chance of a record together?

We haven’t made any definitive plans, but you never know. Right now, I’m just excited about us all getting into a room together and making some noise and seeing what it’s all about.

Are there plans for more shows other than the east coast run?

Again, not at this moment, but if all goes well and schedules permit going forward, I could definitely see us doing some more shows.

+Words: Ed Jurdi/Scott Zuppardo+

DETROIT, MI — Kid Rock’s new First Kiss album won’t be released until Feb. 24, but details are starting to slowly leak about its sound and creative direction.

Nobody knows the behind-the-scenes work it took for Rock to get it together quite like Gordy Quist, of the Austin, Texas-based group The Band of Heathens.

Quist and his band’s five members spent a week with Kid Rock at his Clarkston, Mich. home working on at least half of First Kiss’ 11 tracks and also kicked it with him on two Chillin’ the Most Kid Rock fan cruises.

Band of Heathens also has touring experience as it was part of the bill at two Kid Rock shows at Clarkston’s DTE Energy Music Theatre in 20013. The band experienced the wild Kid Rock Best Night Ever Tour with ZZ Top that had $20 tickets, $20 t-shirts and $4 beers.

“He seems to be connected to some pretty interesting people and has done some amazing things,” said Quist of Rock, whose real name Robert James Ritchie. “And he’s earned it; he’s worked hard for a long time.” caught up with Quist to get some insight about working with Kid Rock onFirst Kiss and more about The Band of Heathens, a group that has performed in Ann Arbor and hopes to make a stop in Detroit this spring.

Kid Rock released Tuesday a video for his title song “First Kiss” that appears to show him reminisce about a long lost love.

How did you get connected with Kid Rock and start working with him?

The first we ever heard of any connection with Bob was when our Facebook and Twitter worlds started exploding because he went on ‘Howard Stern’ and said that we were one of his favorite new bands. We had never talked to him, met him or anything! We had no idea he was even aware of our band. And so, I think we connected — somehow. Maybe our manager told his manager about us or something that kind of set things. About a month later (after the ‘Howard Stern Show’ appearance) he invited us to go on his (Chillin’ the Most) cruise; he has a rock festival on a boat.

We became friends that year on the boat and he was really cool to us and encouraging. He seemed to generally be a big fan of the band. It was really awesome, and then he invited us again the next year (2014) and we got to hang out a little bit more. Then right after that second cruise was when we started collaborating together. He then invited us to Detroit for a week to crash at his house and do some recording. We rode around in a golf cart for a week and had a good time!

What do you learn about Kid Rock on a Kid Rock cruise?

He definitely had a fire lit to make this record great. He just kept writing songs.” – Band of Heathens’ Gordy Quist on Kid Rock’s new album

We definitely got to see what the sunrise looks like many nights out on the middle of the ocean. It was late nights and a lot of good times. He’s obsessed with music in a really good way; he’s a true music fan. Pretty much all of the time we were hanging out with him he was playing DJ and spinning really cool, obscure records and old records. It was was just all about music; we’re obsessed with music in a very similar way. It’s fun hanging out him. Another thing I learned on the cruise is that his fans are absolutely nuts about him. I’ve never seen anything like it. I’ve never been around any kind of celebrity like that before where people are really going crazy just to be in his presence. It’s pretty amazing.

What do you think Bob likes about your band?

I think … I’m not exactly sure. I’ve never asked him that. But I think he likes our songwriting and all the harmonies. We tend to use a lot of two, three, four-part harmonies in our songs. And our vocals are kind of centerpieced to our songs — I think. I think he really dug that. I think he likes the songs. He’s really all about song. And I’ve gotten a chance to do some songwriting with him and he puts a lot of importance of a good song. That’s awesome. That’s the magic of an album, I think. It’s the songwriting.

Do you have an idea how Bob approached this First Kiss album compared to some of his previous ones?

I didn’t really know him before this record. I really wasn’t around him before he recorded the previous record, so I don’t have anything to compare to. But he definitely had a fire lit to make this record great. He just kept writing songs. We went up there for a week (as a band) and tracked a bunch of tunes, and then we headed to Europe for a tour for about a month. But then when we got back, he wrote a bunch more songs. I could tell he was just hunting for those gems of songs. It’s hard to write songs; it’s hard to write a great song. And you can’t always control the outcome, so I think you just keep writing and mining that until you find something great. And I know he was on the hunt to keep finding those (songs), and I think he did. When we went up there we hadn’t heard any of the material; we just sort of showed up. Then he just started playing these new tunes, and I thought they were great. It was pretty exciting.

How much work did you and your band do with Bob for the First Kissalbum while at his house?

I think we tracked 10 songs that week we were up there. But I know he wrote a bunch more, and we weren’t able to come back up there (due to our busy schedule). I think that we’re on at least half the record, but I’m not actually positive. I don’t have a copy of the record. I haven’t dug in to hear all of it. Some of the guys in my band have. Bob was in Austin (Texas) for the F-1 race 212; he was performing — and we went out and had dinner with him. It ended up being a very late night hang. I wasn’t feeling well and I missed out on the playing of the record. And I don’t think the band got through the whole album that night. They might have gotten interrupted. I haven’t heard the whole finished product, but I’m excited to hear it.

What kind of things do you and your band have in common with Bob?

I think of Bob’s great talents is combining genres and putting them together in a way that’s original and great. I think that’s one thing that my band … we’re not necessarily into huge genre-bending music in the way he is, but we’re all into different styles of music in our band. That’s one of the cool things about Bob’s live shows. It’s kind of like a revue of American music; it’s everything from hip hop to country music to soul music to rock n’ roll. To me, that’s exciting. It’s cool to feel like you don’t have to fit into a box or a specific genre. That’s one thing with our band (we’re trying to emphasize). Maybe you’d say we have struggled with that.

Our sound kind of reaches into a few different areas and sometimes it doesn’t fit into the neatly packaged boxes you can fit into a certain group. Maybe that’s something Bob likes about our band. It’s certainly something we enjoyed about getting to play music with him. It was something where we didn’t have to think ‘Hey this has to fit for mainstream country radio or this has to fit the rock radio format!’ It was more like ‘Hey, anything goes!’ And we now see what happens.

What do you hope happens for the band now that you have this experience with Kid Rock?

We’re just going to see what happens. If nothing happens for us, it was already a great time. It was a real blast getting to record with Bob. It was a lot of fun. Obviously it would be awesome if a bunch of his fans are curious to hear what our music sounds like. That would be great. We’d love to meet those people musically. I don’t know if we’ll go on the road with Bob or not, but we’ve done some shows with him in the past. We’ll be involved as we can be and hopefully make some new fans. We’re pretty much on the road all the time. We try to go out and try to meet people and connect with them musically.

It’s become a holiday tradition in Arkansas for Hayes Carll to make an appearance and 2014 was no different. This was the second year in a row that Hayes played the Rev Room in Little Rock on the day after Christmas, but this time he brought with him The Band of Heathens for a night full of incredible music. The Band of Heathens served as both the show opener and Hayes Carll’s backup band. December 26, 2014 was the first stop on this holiday tour, making it the first time The Band of Heathens played many of Carll’s songs in front of a live audience. They did a phenomenal job.

Hayes Carll plays the Rev Room in Little Rock on Friday, December 26, 2014.
Hayes Carll plays the Rev Room in Little Rock on Friday, December 26, 2014.
Jerry Tucker


The Band of Heathens kicked off the show at 9 p.m. to a completely packed Rev Room, and played an hour of their music, including favorites like “Shake the Foundation,” “You’re Gonna Miss Me” and “Hurricane.” After a 20 minute break the band came back out with Hayes Carll, kicking off his part of the show with “Beaumont.”


They then played an incredible set of Hayes Carll songs that included “I Got a Gig,” “KMAG YOYO,” “Wild as a Turkey,” and, of course, “Little Rock.” Hayes did an acoustic set that featured “The Magic Kid” and a holiday tradition, “Grateful for Christmas.” They then rocked out at the end with the crowd all singing along to Hayes’ popular tunes like “Drunken Poets Dream.” They wrapped the show up with another crowd favorite, “Stomp and Holler.”

After a 3 song encore, Hayes and the Heathens left the stage with a fully satisfied audience. The tour will continue throughout the first of the year and is a show that you don’t want to miss. To find out more about Hayes Carll, visit and to find out more about The Band of Heathens, go to


Thank you for downloading the second installment in the BOH Clams & Jams series.  There a few reasons why we record every show.  For starters, all of us in the band and crew truly enjoy listening to and collecting live shows of our favorite bands, past and present.  Therefore we feel it’s appropriate and it behooves us to follow suit, so that those who are into this sort of thing and are interested in us have a way to do the same–collect and share.  Another reason we record is that each night is a little different with this band.  There are many factors at play here.  For instance, we play in a lot of different settings, most of which have a significant effect on what happens musically during the show.  Over the course of say, a two-week run of shows, it’s not uncommon for us to play a large club, a smaller listening room or café, an outdoor music festival, a theater, a honkytonk or dance hall, etc.  These different environments not only dictate what songs we play but how we play them.  This can lead to some interesting stuff.  Which leads to another reason for recording…A lot of our tunes are structured the same nightly but tend to change within the given context.  Other tunes are much more open-ended and go places, sometimes leading to some unexpected surprises.  Recording the shows is a way to (hopefully) catch ‘lightning in a bottle’.

Finally, a big part of why we are able to do this is we have a great team of people who are behind it.  Joshua Cain Daugherty, our tour manager, has been taping shows for well over a decade and is the executor of our recordings.  Night in and night out, he gets everything set up and sounding good.  He has a great ear and understanding of what makes for a good live recording.

Thanks for listening, and we hope to see you on the road in the new year.

Clams and Jams Vol 2

“‘Rebel Soul’ was a bad album,” says the singer. “This one is more pressure”

Kid Rock

Clay P. McBride
Kid Rock in the studio in Nashville. He promises his tenth studio album won’t be “politically correct.”
BY |

It may be hard to believe, but Kid Rock is about to release his 10th studio album. Rock has spent his career learning how to move easily between old-school hip-hop, classic rock and country. First Kiss (out February 24th), which he self-produced, features all of those sides, from the Aerosmith-style rocker “Ain’t Enough Whiskey” to the melancholy country ballad “A Beer With Dad.” At his Nashville home recently, Rock blasted some of his new songs and provided plenty of commentary. Here’s what we learned:

Kid Rock

He switched up his process on the new LP.
Rock recorded most of the album with Austin rockers Band of Heathens. “I was like, ‘I really like your band.’ I said, ‘Why don’t you guys come up [to Nashville]? I wrote some new songs, let’s just get in the fucking studio and turn the fucking 24-track fucking on and start cutting.’ So we did.”

He wants to top 2012’s Rebel Soul.
“That was a bad album,” Rock says. “I didn’t spend enough time on it at all. So this one is more pressure.”

Cheap wine is good, Coldplay is bad.
A rocker tentatively titled “Good Times and Cheap Wine” takes aim at Coldplay, Coachella, social media and hipsters. “I’m fucking old,” says Rock, 42. “I’m not going to fit in, I’m fucking fine with that, I don’t fucking understand the Internet or Coachella or any shit. And I just can’t fucking try to pretend like I know. I like good times, cheap wine and back-beat rock & roll.”

Like “All Summer Long,” the title track has Rock looking back to his teenage relationships.
“First Kiss” has Rock howling over “Summer of ’69”-style power chords about cruising with his high school crush in his first truck. Rock sings about the nostalgia that washes over him when he drives through a small town, remembering the days he cruised through his hometown while listening to Tom Petty, smoking cigarettes with “No money just time to spend/An old Chevy and a couple friends.” “That’ll probably be the first single,” he says.

He pays tribute to his brother.
Rock returns to old-school hip-hop with “Hopping Around,” a tribute to his brother, Billy, who lost his leg in a tractor accident when we were kids. “We grew up together like that, so, this is funny as shit.”

The album highlights Rock’s country side.
“Drinking Beer With Dad” is a pedal steel-laced back-porch booze ballad Rock calls “one of the best songs I’ve ever written.” Elsewhere, Rock tips his hat to his country heroes; “Jesus and Bocephus” is one of his weirdest songs ever, with Rock paying tribute to Hank Williams Jr. over little more than a church organ. (Watch Rock premiere it on the Tonight Show here). “Johnny Cash” is a love song dedicated to the marriage between the singer and June Carter Cash. “Their whole relationship, fuck, it’s pretty fucking sweet,” he says. “[It’s] coming to a wedding near you!”

He doubles down on right-wing politics.
On the vintage Aerosmith-style boogie “Ain’t Enough Whiskey,” Rock slams politicians who “talk about taking my guns away.” “It’s not going to be considered politically correct,” says Rock, who campaigned for Mitt Romney in 2012. “But it says what’s going on.”

By Lee Zimmerman


Referring to the Band of Heathens as an overnight sensation isn’t exactly accurate, even though, by the band’s own admission, it ascended into the spotlight fairly quickly.

What began initially as a series of Wednesday-night jam sessions at a club in its native Austin — an event the group dubbed “The Good Time Supper Club” — coalesced into an outfit that quickly gained national attention and soon after, climbed to the top of the Americana charts. It was due in large part to the fact that it possessed all the goods it needed from the very beginning, thanks to a pair of seasoned singer/songwriters in Ed Jurdi and Gordy Quist, each of whom had pursued solo careers prior to participating in those impromptu gatherings.

Not surprisingly, then, the group’s initial albums were recorded live prior to releasing its eponymous studio debut in 2008. And while concert recordings continue to find a place in its catalog, Band of Heathens has shown a decided studio savvy as well. With the core outfit currently consisting of Jurdi and Quist on vocals and guitar and later recruits Richard Milsap and Trevor Nealon — on drums and keyboards, respectively — it can proudly lay claim to its most fully realized effort to date, Sunday Morning Record.

“I think everything about our band, in terms of the way things are usually done, has been ass backward,” Jurdi told us earlier this year.

“We all were doing solo stuff and then this thing came together and took on a life of its own. You have moments in your life where things just sort of happen. We were all doing our own thing and just happened to start playing together, and it just sort of took off.

“It was a pretty unique sound, and we all agreed it might be something worth exploring. It wasn’t like a discussion ever happened early on, but as we got into it, we were kind of getting back what we put into it. We were feeling good about where it was taking us, so following that muse led us to where we are now.”

Indeed, its momentum has been increasing at a rapid rate in 2014. The past year Band of Heathens has toured consistently, both here and abroad, and entered the studio on a couple of occasions, first in April to work on some sessions for Kid Rock’s upcoming album and, more recently, to record a new single, a rollicking and robust new titled “Carry Your Love.”

“Kid Rock was a fan of the band, and we ended up connecting with him last year,” Jurdi explained recently. “He’s invited us to play on his Kid Rock cruise the last couple of years and then asked us to open a few of his shows. We just generally had a good time hanging out and jamming on old tunes together. So then he gave us a call and asked us if we’d come up to his studio outside Detroit and do some recording. So the whole band went up there for a week and we made some music and generally had a great time, just hanging out as friends. He enjoyed our aesthetic and wanted to capture it for the songs he was working on.”

About the tune, he continued, “We really wanted to capture the vibe of an endless-summer type of rock ‘n’ roll song. I think the song evokes that joy that comes with being wild and free in the summertime but also has a wistful sentiment where you know it can’t last forever.”

Most important — at least as far as fans are concerned — the band is currently writing and compiling new material that it plans to demo before the end of the year. “That’s ultimately the most exciting part for me, writing and recording new material,” Jurdi confided in that earlier interview. “That’s a very satisfying part of this whole world for me.”

Band of Heathens, 10 p.m. Saturday, November 15, at Funky Biscuit, 303 SE Mizner Blvd., Royal Palm Place, Boca Raton. Tickets cost $25 to $45. Visit

Exclusive Song Premiere: Band of Heathens Will “Carry Your Love”
TUE SEPTEMBER 16, 2014 11:20 AM

In the year since the release of its most recent album, Sunday Morning Songs, Band of Heathens hasn’t been taking it easy. The band is still been writing and recording new songs, and looking for inspiration in new places: namely, by asking the question “what would Tom Petty do?”

“Carry My Love,” a new single the band wrote and recorded after the release of its 2013 album, was in some ways an exercise in creative freedom. “This is the first time we’ve gone into the studio not thinking about the song in the context of a whole album,” says the band’s co-frontman, Gordy Quist. “We booked one day in the studio to track just this one song, mixed it the next day, and mastered it the day after that. It feels fresh being able to finish a song, record it quickly, and then set it free.”

The song that Band of Heathens has set free (and is also the namesake for their current tour) is a big, poppy, anthemic piece of rock and roll, and it makes sense that—when contemplating how to develop the chorus to “Carry My Love”—they’d look for inspiration in the work of Petty, whose Damn The Torpedoes album they had covered from start to finish as part of their most recent Halloween show. “When we got to the chorus, we thought, ‘Man, what would Tom Petty do here?’ There wasn’t one particular Petty song that we were using for inspiration, but it was helpful to imagine what we thought he might do for a chorus in this song.”

Give a listen to “Carry Your Love” below and decide for yourself if you think Band of Heathens nailed it.


(Photo by Courtney Chavanell, courtesy Band of Heathens)


September 9, 2014 – The Band of Heathens “Carry Your Love Tour 2014″ kicks off this Wednesday in Phoenix, AZ at the Rhythm Room and continues throughout the western US and mountain states.  The band will be debuting the new song “Carry Your Love” and we’re excited to announce that Texas Monthly will be exclusively streaming the track starting next week!

Until then, here’s a brief video of the making of the song.  We hope you enjoy it.  Please check for the latest schedule and share with your friends!


Wed Sep 10 – Phoenix, AZ

Thu Sep 11 – Los Angeles, CA

Fri Sep 12 – Bakersfield, CA

Sat Sep 13 – Templeton, CA

Sun Sep 14 – San Francisco, CA

Mon Sep 15 – Folsom, CA

Tue Sep 16 – Eugene, OR

Wed Sep 17 – Bellingham, WA

Thu Sep 18 – Bainbridge Island, WA

Fri Sep 19 – Seattle, WA

Sat Sep 20 – Portland, OR

Tue Sep 23 – Boise, ID

Wed Sep 24 – Salt Lake City, UT

Thu Sep 25 – Steamboat Springs, CO

Fri Sep 26 – Evergreen, CO

Sat Sep 27 – Austin, TX

Sun Sep 28 – Bryan, TX

Thu Oct 2 – Little Rock, AR

Fri Oct 3 – Shreveport, LA

Sat Oct 4 – Greenville, MS


July 15, 2014 by 


Songwriting and guitar playing were front row center at the Scoot Inn in Austin on Saturday night with a double bill shared by Band of Heathens and Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real. The show took on added significance given that both acts have roots in the “Live Music Capital of the World”; Band of Heathens got their start in Austin and made a name for themselves gigging at local clubs, and Lukas just happens to be the son of a certain Red-Headed Stranger with the last name Nelson, which basically makes him royalty in these parts. The two bands were a fitting match given their penchant for writing quality lyrics balanced with a level of instrumental prowess that makes for top notch live performances.

Band of Heathens got the fire started with a set of charming country rock. Much like The Band – who are clearly a major influence on these guys – the members of the Heathens each possess a strong singing voice and lyrical ability. They also tap into a range of genres relating to various types of Southern music, which they put on display with opening tune “Should Have Known Better,” a song reminiscent of the Black Crowes with a gospel-tinged clap along beat. On “Miss My Life” singer Ed Jurdi wailed out vocals like the estranged son of Levon Helm and Chris Robinson while engaging in dueling slide guitar play with Gordy Quist, all on top of a boogie woogie piano.

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Seizing on the momentum of those songs and catchy rocker “Shake the Foundation,” the band turned towards their latest album, Sunday Morning Record, with the somber but uplifting “Caroline Williams” and a “Shotgun” that brought to mind Harry Nilsson’s “Everybody’s Talkin.’” “LA County Blues” saw the Heathens letting loose and tapping into more free form jamming, and keeping the spiritual mood high with the hippie gospel of “Sunday Morning.” The audience went wild for the band’s flawless rendition of the Beatles classic “Maybe I’m Amazed,” only to explode when they broke into an all out psychedelic dance jam. Between their heartfelt lyrics, rich harmonies and grandiose instrumentation, the Band of Heathens set the stage just right for Lukas Nelson and showed Austin once again why they are one of the finest bands this town has produced in recent years.


At the young age of 25, Lukas Nelson comes across as a confident bandleader with plenty of bravado but none of the ego you’d expect from the son of one of country music’s greatest heroes. When he hit the stage at the Scoot Inn with a beaming grin, Nelson and his band appeared genuinely happy and surprised to be playing for the large crowd. Those who hadn’t seen Nelson yet and came to the show expecting a younger duplicate of Willie quickly realized that you won’t find that, but rather an eager musician searching for his own voice.

Throughout their set the band seemed to take pride in being adventurous, switching their sound from funk to soul to reggae and pure rock ‘n’ roll on a song by song basis. Slicing through it all was the scorching guitar work of Nelson who, while no doubt rooted in the psychedelic blues of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix, took on the role of musical chameleon by complimenting the mood of each song without overdoing it. That being said, it was hard not to marvel at Nelson’s uncanny ability to jump so high and shred the guitar with his teeth. The band even slayed an unexpected cover of Paul Simon’s “Diamonds on the Souls of Her Shoes.” Nelson and his band closed the night with a bang when they invited the Band of Heathens onstage for a group hoot of the Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy For the Devil,” sending the audience into the night with the feeling that they are both acts capable of taking their music to the biggest stages.

Photos by Suzanne Cordeiro. 


July 10, 2014 – Ed Jurdi of The Band of Heathens describes the art of songwriting as a way to connect with people with big-picture ideas that strike a common chord.

“Everybody sees the world through a different lens, but when you’re writing about those things you’re able to communicate your experiences with people who don’t know you at all,” he said. “The magic about music, literature and films is that other people have been through those things.

“When you can listen to what somebody has done, understand where they’ve been, understand that they have loved before or miss somebody or they want to be somewhere else, it lets us feel a little less alone in the world.”

The Band of Heathens will perform on Friday with Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real at Sam’s Burger Joint.

The band’s fourth studio album, last year’s “Sunday Morning Record,” captured some of the trials and travails of lineup changes, births of children, separations on the road and moving Jurdi’s family to Asheville, North Carolina, from Austin, where he’d lived for eight years.

Jurdi, Gordy Quist and Colin Brooks — all songwriters with solo albums — joined together after sitting in on each other’s sets to form the band that soon would be known for pleasing harmonies, powerful wide-ranging lyrics and an American roots blend of country, rock, blues, R&B, gospel and soul that won honors as best new band at the Austin Music Awards.

Their self-titled debut studio album in 2008 and 2009’s “One Foot in the Ether” both shot to No. 1 on the national Americana charts.

While touring to support the 2011 album “Top Hat Crown and the Clapmaster’s Son,” Brooks left to pursue new projects. Founding member/bassist Seth Whitney and drummer John Chipman soon followed. Only keyboardist Trevor Nealon stayed on.

Jurdi and Quist took stock of the situation and moved forward, recruiting Richard Millsap on drums and Scott Davis on bass.

“The new guys were sympathetic with the vibe and they brought a new energy and fresh inspiration,” Jurdi said. “I can’t articulate how it affected the sound; it’s an esoteric thing. But when you figure out how to work with people when playing music, you just do what sounds good.”

Jurdi said the band continued to evolve, and he and Quist did as collaborators, writing songs that entertain and move themselves while trying to mine new territory.

“’Sunday Morning Record’ is a snapshot of time, like all our records have been, but it’s a little more introspective,” Jurdi said. “It runs the gamut from joy to sorrow, to pain, longing and redemption during the time period when that stuff was happening.

“Movement and transition also are big themes — people changes, geography changes, life changes.”

He said the response from fans has been great. New songs that stand out before the crowds include “Shotgun,” about living through a bitter breakup; the upheaval-strewn “Miss My Life”; and “Shake the Foundation,” about betrayals.

Meanwhile, they’re compiling material for the next album.

“We’re finishing songs, getting them in working condition and then we’ll look at what we have,” Jurdi said. “If I had to guess, it will be more up-tempo than ‘Sunday Morning Record,’ more rock ‘n’ roll. We won’t really know until we get the songs together in the studio.”

One thing’s a given, though — the songs will work that lyrical magic to connect with listeners.

June 17 , 2014 – Ed Jurdi has made a name for himself as co-founder of Texas group The Band of Heathens.

And while the band started in Austin and has rocked PBS series “Austin City Limits” as well as many a Texan venue, Jurdi actually grew up in Andover.

So it will be something of a homecoming for the Massachusetts native when The Band of Heathens takes the stage at the Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River on June 18. Don’t miss out on this one. These guys have earned a reputation as an epic live act.

Since forming in Austin in 2005, The Band of Heathens has been nominated as a Best Emerging Band at the Austin Music Awards and in various categories at the Americana Music Awards. They’ve performed at massive national music fests such as Lollapalooza, SXSW and Bonnaroo, as well as in venues of all sizes around the United States and Europe.

The Heathens have a great Americana/folk/rock twang, with a catalog that swings from foot-stomping rompers to acoustic thinkers.

And they sure have great taste: Their song “LA County Blues” about Hunter S. Thompson — one of my heroes — starts with a riff that smacks of “Homegrown” by Neil Young, another one of my heroes. Great stuff. Look up the YouTube clip of the band playing the song on Austin City Limits in 2009.

While you’re at it, look up their song “Cornbread.” It sounds like a 1930s blues song sung on a back porch down South.

Their latest and fourth studio album, “Sunday Morning Record” (2013), is as rootsy and soulful as the “clubhouse” in which it was recorded. Google “Shotgun” and “Records in Bed,” which embody the band’s punchy-yet-introspective style.

“We recorded it in Austin at George Reiff’s Finishing School, which has a great clubhouse kind of atmosphere,” Jurdi told me. “It’s a great place for making music and creating with your friends. That was the vibe we were going for — sort of a lived-in, homey type of feel.”

Jurdi told me he has “too many influences to list properly. Everything from Miles Davis to Kris Kristofferson and some stuff in between. Just a few of the artists that we listen to in the van are Dawes, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Bahamas, Luther Dickinson and Lake Street Dive.”

Jurdi has “a lot of memories of music growing up” in Andover, he said. “There was always lots of music around the house when I was a kid. My dad played guitar and sang songs a lot; my mom cleaned the house listening to (The Beatles’ classic) ‘Abbey Road.’”

He attended University of New Hampshire before heading out to Texas. “I didn’t major in music, but it was a part of my minor, along with hanging out and listening to records.”

He met Quist and the other original member, Colin Brooks, when they all ended up sharing the bill one night at Momo’s, a now-defunct Austin club. Brooks has since left the band, and the line-up has changed a few times over the years; the current incarnation is Jurdi, Quist, keyboardist Trevor Nealon and drummer Richard Millsap.

“When we started, we were really only interested in having fun and jamming together. Anything else was just gravy,” Jurdi said.

I asked him how they came up with their name — there are various reasons stated online — but it seems not even Jurdi knows:

“That’s become a bit of a mystery,” he said. “It was bestowed upon us by perhaps a high-ranking member of the clergy of Austin Music. It was either that or a friend came up with it. I’m not sure.”

The Band of Heathens plays the Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River on June 18 at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance and $23 at the door. For more information, visit or call (508) 324-1926.

Lauren Daley is a freelance writer and music columnist. Contact her at


The Band of Heathens is making the touring rounds through New England and New York this week at some of our most warm and intimate venues – it’s a real treat to see and hear THIS band perform in such tiny rooms. Click on the venue link in your area for more info on the specific performances. And press play on some of the bands music to listen while you read The Live Beat’s interview with Ed Jordi, guitars and vocals. The band is touring in support of their latest studio recording, Sunday Morning Record, which puts some of their most personal and heartfelt story songs together with gorgeous and melodic, country soul music.

As always, we’ll see you at the show!

Tuesday June 17 – Fairfield, CT – Fairfield Theater Company

Wednesday June 18 – Fall River, MA – Narrows Center for the Arts

Thursday June 19 – Northampton, MA – Iron Horse

Friday June 20 – Boston, MA – Cafe 939

Saturday June 21 – New York, NY – Hill Country Barbecue

New England Roots?

The Live Beat – I understand that there is a New England connection to the Band of Heathens? Can you put that into perspective for our New England based readership?

Ed Jurdi LiveEd Jurdi – “No, the band was formed in Austin. I just grew up in Andover, Massachusetts, and spent many years kind of touring around New England and doing my own stuff up here. You know, I still have a lot of friends and family up there and a lot of nice ties, so it’s always nice to be back up there and see some old souls and stuff like that.”

The Live Beat – How was it you wound up in Austin?

Ed Jurdi – “I always kind of traveled a lot playing music and was interested in traveling and exploring new places. At some point I just kind of wanted to try going somewhere else and checking it out and Austin kept coming up on the list, you know? So I just wound up flying myself down there, living there and meeting all the guys that wound up being in the band. We all shared a night at a club in at a club in Austin doing a residency. We just pretty loosely fell into a collective and started doing shows together on Wednesday nights and did that for about a year. We were doing Wednesday nights at a club called Momo’s in Austin, which is no longer there. I met a lot of musicians and Gordy happened to be one of them, we just clicked pretty well. Each of us was doing a solo thing, and just kind of condensed our things into a band. It was just a lot of fun and that’s where it all started for us.”



The Live Beat – The music of Band of Heathens has a very laid back, acoustic and western feeling, as well as a feel and sound of early seventies music, such as The Eagles, The Harmonies on “Miss My Life,” stick out to me for instance. Who were some of your Influences, and how have those influences affected your musical choices and songwriting/lyrical choices?

Jordi mentions having listened to everything from The Beatles and Stones and James Taylor and Cat Stevens, old soul and R&B, Wilson Picket, Otis Redding, Sly & The Family Stone, and really anything and everything in between. But, he adds, those influences worked into his songwriting from the background.

Ed Jurdi – “I think, like anything else, your influences maybe inform what you do on a deeper subconscious level, you know? I just think it’s the kind of thing where, as you’re becoming a musician, or whatever it is you’re doing, these pieces get put into your tool box, for lack of a better metaphor. You start to be able to call on these things. That’s kind of how you learn what you’re doing, you listen to stuff and you figure out how it was done. And then, hopefully, you take that and make it into your own thing. I do think the last record we did was a more acoustic thing and a laid back kind of thing, with a early ‘70s singer songwriter vibe like you’re saying. I think the band live, and in general – like if you look at our whole catalogue – it’s kind of an interesting progression of sounds. So we just happened to have been in that mind set when we made this new record, representing the quieter side of our songs.”

Cha… cha… cha… changes!

The Live Beat – You’ve described SMR is “…a record of changes.” Can you describe some of the changes and experiences that each of you were going through at the time frame that you were recording songs for this record? How did these experiences influence the song writing for this record?

Ed Jurdi – “Well, you know, I think it’s hard for me to say on that because I’m so  a

The Live Beat – But somewhere along the line you lost a band member or two, Colin Brooks? Did he leave or was he pushed out? Are you all in good terms? Wasn’t he a co-vocalist and songwriter as well with the two of you?

Ed Jurdi – “He left, and we’re all on good terms. I think like anything else, it gets to a point where you have to make big decisions and try to find different paths in your lives. You know, to do this at a high level and to be good at it and feel like you’re plugged into something, it’s kind of gotta be all or nothing, and I think other people that do it know what I’m talking about. In terms of it being all or nothing, I me an it’s really gotta be you’re first priority, to be a part of it, to chase the songs, you know? To be a part of touring, to be a part of writing, to be a part of being on the road. Just being a part of a fraternity, there is a long tradition of minstrel singers and…[pauses] I guess for some musicians and I think certainly for us, that’s the way it is, you know, it is kind of all or nothing. I kind of just think it was time [for Brooks] to recharge the batteries.”

The Live Beat – Did the band members’ departure cause you both to consider the future of the band?

Ed Jurdi – “Well certainly it caused us to consider the future and how are we going to put something together and what’s it going to look like? But in terms of us wanting to continue on and do it no it didn’t. We were pretty sound, we still had trevor in our band – he was our keyboard player and is still with us and still wanting to do something too, so it felt like we still had a good nucleus in place and we could forge forward and still make something good, you know? That was always the idea.”

Grey Areas between black and white

“A lot of stuff is up for grabs and you don’t know what’s going to happen, and a lot of times that you think you know what’s going to happen, the opposite happens. And almost never in life what you think is going to happen, actually happens.”

The Live Beat – You’ve called SMR a record of exploring the “grey areas” between the black and white, and Gordy called the songs some of the “most personal songs” the band has written and released. Can you offer some examples of those grey areas and personal experiences and how they fit into the songs on SMR?

Ed Jurdi – “Yea I think a lot of the record is more of a narrative story in terms of not knowing what’s going to happen at the end of the story. It’s something that’s still in motion. I think a lot of times in life, there’s this evolution of fate! What something meant at one point in time may not be what it means now. So rather than these short songs that are that are just sort of character driven or some sort of story song, I think a lot of these songs are more about an emotional state, or a state of being, you know? Whether it be longing or love or loss or some sort of resolution, or affirmation or some sort of release. I think there is a lot of that kind of vibe and I think the music supports that as well. It’s just kind of more of a mood or an atmosphere and I think we were after that more so than we have been in the past.”


The Live Beat – How and when did you write “Texas” in particular? An emotional goodbye to a state where you spent so much of your life?

Ed Jurdi – “I guess in retrospect yea. At the time I’m not sure I was totally cognizant of that, but I think that song is a good example of some of the grey areas and muddy waters and this idea of things being in transition; of there not being a beginning, middle and an end. A lot of stuff is up for grabs and you don’t know what’s going to happen, and a lot of times that you think you know what’s going to happen, the opposite happens. And almost never in life what you think is going to happen, actually happens. Let me put it another way, very rarely when you get somewhere does it look the way you thought it was going to look.”


The Live Beat – Was the recording done at George Reiff’s home studio? What made this place so conducive to writing and recording songs?

Ed Jurdi – “Well George is a great engineer and producer first of all, so that was kind of the reason we ended up working with him. We had done Top Hat Clown… [& The Clapmaster’s Son] with him as well, and we’d known him for a while and he’s also a good friend, so that was another part of it. We really wanted people that we knew and that we trusted to work with on this. And he just happened to have a studio in his home so that is kind of a whole other level of it just being a good atmosphere and a good mindset to play music in. Not really rigid, as playing music in a traditional studio can be, you know? This was just sitting in a house playing music and being really relaxed and in a good headspace to create. All those things kind of made he place an ideal option for this record.”

The Live Beat – The Live element and environment obviously means a lot to both you and Gordy as songwriters and musicians – you’ve released a number of live recordings as albums, and you record most of your shows and allow fans to purchase the recording after the show – isn’t that correct? Why does the band put such an emphasis on performances?

Ed Jurdi – “Well I think it’s the other half of the equation. If you’re making records or you’re a recording artist, going out and playing live another big component of the profession. I guess it’s not for all artists and The Beatles would be a classic example of a band that was just amazing that just at some point just decided it was just not playing wise. But for us, it’s an opportunity to connect with music fans, with an audience. And I think there is something very unique and special about that connection. You’re only going to have the chance to make that connection one time. Ever…no matter what. You can only be in one place, one time, and have it go the way that it is going to go. There are so many variables. So it’s been kind of our focus to just say ‘…hey, every night is going to be different, let’s really try to make something special of this.’ We’re not really the kind of band that plays our stuff the same way every night, or that plays the same songs every night. So it’s really just our opportunity to make something special happen so that the audience and the band both have a good time with it. Sometimes you can be part of the most special moments, both the band and the audience, and when it’s really good, your all sharing in that moment. I don’t know if there is another word for it except magic!”


The Live Beat – speaking of magic, What do you hope someone who comes out to your show, a new fan or someone who has been with you for years, comes away with from a particular performance?

Ed Jurdi – “Well, to have a good time really. Not to be to simplistic about it, but at the end of the day that’s what music is supposed to do really. I mean, whether it’s identifying with a sad song that helps make you feel better about yourself, or if it’s a happy song and the tempo just makes you want to jump out of your seat and clap your hands and dance! It’s really simple stuff that we tend to take for granted, it’s just kind of a release, a little bit of something that soothes your soul, you know? Cause when we’re playing, that’s what we’re after, and it definitely feels like the audience gives it back to us. That’s really it, be a part of something that’s bigger than yourself, be a part of an audience and having a shared moment with some other people.”

The Live Beat – “And you release your recordings on your own, with no label to put marketing and promotion and press behind it as you go on the road? Is the music distribution system broken? Can a musician/band have any hope to make a living any more recording music and hoping to sell it? Are you a fan of the Spotify/Pandora subscription/streaming model?”

Ed Jurdi – “No, I don’t think the music distribution system is broken at all; for us, we still sell CDs and records, so were going to keep on making them. For certain kinds of music, it’s really singles driven and most of their sales are digitally based. I have seen, since this band started, the amount of music that we get to people through the digital realm has certainly increased tremendously. So I think people are pretty aware that going forward that digital is going to be the future of music delivery. That being said, I think there is always going to be this niche market of people that want to purchase vinyl and want to buy records and do that sort of authentic thing and that’s great too.”

The Live Beat – Your preferred choice for listening to music?

Ed Jurdi – “ All of them, I mean ideally vinyl if I’ve got the time, if I’m home and I have a moment to sit and relax and enjoy something – it’s always vinyl. I just enjoy the whole aesthetic of it. I’m one of those people that really likes to look at the art work and read the liner notes and do all that stuff. But I’m totally aware that a lot of people don’t care to do that stuff, just don’t have the time to dedicate to it. I certainly don’t have the time either, so it’s nice if you’re taking a drive and you have an iPod around, or if you have spotify around, the ability to be able to listen to the music that you might want to listen to. That’s an amazing convenience, an awesome gift. If someone could have told me fifteen years ago that I would be able to have all my music in my pocket – I would have been like, that’s amazing!”

The Live Beat – What’s in the tour van CD player on your current road trip? What music are you guys listening to? Anything new? Anything classic? How do you all go about choosing what to listen to?

Ed Jurdi – “We were listening to this guy this morning, Stargell Simpson, he’s kind of an old time country singer. He’s got a really cool record that just came out. I’ve been listening to this band Lake Street Dive a little bit, it’s pretty cool. Chris Robinson’s Brotherhood‘s new record is very good, those guys are great. And there’s always a great rotation of older stuff too, older country or blues stuff; seventies singer songwriter or rock n roll. it’s pretty diverse, everyone is pretty all over the map in what we all listen to.”

  • By Jay N. Miller
    For The Patriot Ledger
    Posted Jun. 13, 2014 @ 7:00 am

    They call themselves Band of Heathens, but the Austin, Texas, quintet could just as well be called Band of Songwriters, as no less than four of them contribute to the band’s songbook.

    Band of Heathens’ fourth studio record – and seventh overall –“Sunday Morning Record” was released last September and they’ve been touring behind it ever since. Next week they kick off their latest national tour with a couple of dates in the Boston area. On Wednesday (June 18) they’ll be headlining the Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River ( 8 p.m. show, tickets $20 in advance, $23 at the door), and on Friday June 20 they’re performing at Boston’s Cafe 939 (939 Boylston St., Boston, 8 p.m. show, tickets $15 in advance, $18 day of show.)

    Band of Heathens formed in 2005 in Austin, when three musicians who’d been playing as solo singer-songwriters joined forces. Ed Jurdi plays guitar and keyboards, Gordy Quist plays guitar and lap steel, and original member Colin Brooks was also a guitar-playing singer-songwriter. Keyboardist Trevor Nealon joined in 2009, and he began adding to the songwriting mix.

    The most recent album came after a period of some upheaval for the group, as Brooks left at the end of 2011, and the rhythm section they’d had departed soon after. Richard Millsap, a friend of their first drummer, slid easily into the drummer’s chair, while the band used several bassists for a while. About a year ago, songsmith Scott Davidson, who’d been playing guitar in Hayes Carll’s band, was recruited into Band of Heathens, where his pals convinced him to play bass.

    In the current lineup, Jurdi and Quist are the main songwriters, but Nealon and Davidson also pen plenty of material too. The other side of the group’s topsy-turvy period a couple years back involved Jurdi moving to Asheville, North Carolina. Both he and Quist have young families, and so a lot of the songs on “Sunday Morning Record” involve characters trying to balance that with a musician’s life on the road. It’s a heady mix of roots rock with a twang, but also with some superb rock dynamics, and the advantage of two or three exemplary vocalists, who are also able to harmonize sweetly.

    The new songs, and the group started with 30-odd numbers before settling on 11 for the album, were more mature, a little introspective, and most notably, predominantly acoustic-based. That was a big step in a new direction for a group that built its reputation around Austin’s bustling music scene with sizzling concerts, whose first two albums were live performances, and who released a later concert album that included two CDs and two DVDs.

    “When we recorded that album we knew we were doing something different, and we wanted a different approach,” said Quist, from his Austin home. “The interesting thing we found was when the record first came out, everybody wanted to talk about how acoustic and mellow it was, how personal the songs were, and what a departure it was from our previous albums. But when we began touring, and people got to hear and see how the new material works into the live show, they could see how it isn’t necessarily mellow or even acoustic in our shows. We’re still primarily a rock band.

    “We were definitely going for a certain sound on ‘Sunday Morning Record,” said Quist. “All that is true, and I think we achieved that. But I also think that playing that music live adds another layer to it, and it fits into our previous work very well.”

    Songwriting with this group comes in many varied methods, as you might expect

    “Ed and I work solo or in collaboration,” said Quist. “Sometimes one of us will come in with a song that came out close to completely finished. At other times, one of the other of us will have just a verse, maybe just a line, and we’ll send it to the other and start working together. Then when we finish, the band guys take their crack at it, and the songs always end up very different from where we started. In fact, I’m usually surprised where some of our songs end up.”

    Band of Heathens has the advantage of being able to write new music almost constantly, whether on the road or while taking a break at home. The quintet just returned from a European jaunt, and took a couple weeks off before embarking on the U.S. tour.

    “We can write just about anywhere,” said Quist. “We’re all different but basically we’re all reaching into the truth of humanity in our songwriting, trying to find ideas that resonate with all kinds of people. We don’t start with any special notions, or try to write in specific styles. A song could be anything – a rock song with the full band, or a solo acoustic number. As a writer I think that attitude is very freeing, knowing you could go either way, or take something in any direction. We can let a song go wherever it wants to go.”

    That open-ended approach also translates to Band of Heathens’ performances, where the quintet follows its instincts to expand and extend the tunes. A Band of Heathens concert is more than likely to include some lengthy jams, where the songs evolve over time and morph into new shapes.

    “I think the band, with this lineup, is in a really good place right now,” said Quist. “We’re all healthy, musically it is the best the band has ever sounded, and everybody is having a good time. The new people in the mix allow the music to go in different directions.

    “Scott Davidson is the latest member to join, a year ago, and he’s a better guitar player than I am,” Quist pointed out. “Scott can essentially play anything with strings, has really good ears, and is also a good songwriter who gels with all the rest of us. Trevor, who’s been with us five years now, also writes, so we’re compiling a lot of new songs. In the next few months we’ll start going through all the new music and figuring out what we want on the next record.”

    Band of Heathens has performed before in the Boston area, “about four or five times,” according to Quist, at various venues, including Great Scott in Allston, and The Sinclair in Cambridge.“We’ve been off the European tour a couple weeks now, and I can’t wait to get back on tour with the guys,” said Quist. “That’s how well things are going – we all love what we’re doing, and enjoy being around the other people in the band, the audiences have been very receptive, and it’s just a good time for everybody.”

May 16, 2014 – Unlike many outfits who take years to reap their just rewards, Band of Heathensworked their way into the spotlight fairly quickly. It wasn’t that they had any grand designs early on, or even had any thoughts about becoming a band in the first place. What began initially as a series of Wednesday night jam sessions at a club in their native Austin — an event they dubbed “The Good Time Supper Club” — eventually coalesced into an outfit that quickly gained attention and soon climbed to the top of the Americana charts. They certainly possessed all the goods they needed from the very beginning, thanks to a pair of seasoned singer/songwriters in Ed Jurdi and Gordy Quist, each of whom had pursed solo careers prior to participating in those impromptu gatherings.

True to form, the group’s initial albums were recorded live prior to releasing their eponymous studio debut in 2008. And while concert recordings continue to find a place in their catalog, Band of Heathens have shown a decided studio savvy as well. With the core outfit currently consisting of Jordi and Quist on vocals and guitars and later recruits Trevor Nealon on keyboards and Richard Millsap playing drums, they released their finest effort to date last year, the aptly titled Sunday Morning Record. Accessible to a fault, and exceedingly mellow to boot, it flows with a natural ease usually accomplished by those with far more track time under their belts. From its graceful opener “Shotgun,” through to the final wistful refrains of “Texas,” it proves its mettle as both a set of songs that’s radio-ready, and a disc that might even offer sweet salvation on a particularly demanding morning after. Seven years on, they’ve earned all admiration that they’ve managed to muster. We recently caught up with Ed Jordi on the phone from Asheville, N.C. and offered him the opportunity to delineate the band’s unlikely trajectory.

Your band came together in an unusual way, recording solo albums before the band even started.

I think everything about our band, in terms of the way things are usually done, has been ass backwards. We all were doing solo stuff and then this thing came together and took on a life of its own. You have moments in your life where things just sort of happen. We were all doing our own thing and just happened to start playing together, and it just sort of took off. It was a pretty unique sound and we all agreed it might be something worth exploring. It wasn’t like a discussion ever happened early on, but as we got into it we were kind of getting back what we put into it. We were feeling good about where it was taking us, so following that muse led us to where we are now.

Was there ever any second thoughts about putting your solo careers on the back burner?

The evolution was so slow and natural that that thought never entered into it. We were doing our weekly gig for like a year. That’s all we did was play once a week in Austin while doing our solo stuff at the same time. So it was like, what if we do a week of shows in Dallas or Houston? So we started doing that and it was going great. We were doing the other stuff all along, and it was kind of like this is going so well and we’re really having fun, and where the solo stuff was once a priority, let’s make this a priority for a little while and see how it goes. We all felt there was room to do what ever we wanted to do on an individual creative level. Whenever you’re playing in an ensemble, that’s kind of what it is. It’s kind of a balance of knowing what the group is doing while also being creatively fulfilled individually. The answer was yes to both of those things. So it was really a no-brainer. Let’s give this a shot for a little while and see what happens.

So from the way you describe it, it sounds like a very gradual transition.

Yeah, and on another level, all of us, as individual songwriters, we still got to present our own material and we had a great band that everyone could play off of and with, and in effect do only a third of the work. For me, being in a band has always been the goal. Even when you’re doing your own thing, you want to have a group of people around you that can play off of and with. As a music fan, that’s the thing that always resonated with me. Watching a group of people onstage playing music together and interacting and having things happen in the moment. And so being a part of that interaction, that’s the thing about making music that’s special for me at least.

Still, was there ever a feeling that you had all these songs that you had written and now you have to share space with some other songwriters and maybe it could be a bit inhibiting?

[Chuckles] I’m sure that could come up, but we’ve done a pretty good job of balancing it all. If anyone has a wild hair about that, go ahead and do a solo record. We’ve been so busy with this. that never came up in a big way. In fact, I think it’s allowed us to be more prolific. We pretty much release an album every year, which is a pretty nice deal because we keep creating new material. So when we go out on the road, there’s always fresh material to play.

Your music was received really well at the outset. You garnered a lot of acclaim from the first note you released and instantly hit the highest peaks of the Americana charts. But did that in turn put a lot of pressure on you, knowing that you already had a high bar to maintain?

On a business level, it does, but creatively that’s always been a very secondary thing to us. I never equated our albums going to number one with the quality of the work. Maybe it was an affirmation of the quality of the work, but the only judges of that are the guys in the band. Do we like it and do we feel good about putting it out? If it’s the best work we’re doing in the time that we’re doing it, then that’s it. When we finished the new record and played it out, it felt like the best thing we had ever done. That’s just my opinion though. Everyone receives it differently, from critics to fans and everyone in between, and that’s their right to have that opinion. But at the end of the day, all we can do is base it on the work that we’re doing. Because otherwise, it’s kind of unachievable. I have no idea how to make music that I think someone else thinks is great or going to be number one. It’s such a nebulous field of reference.

Are you guys working on something new now? Are you constantly writing?

I try to. We’re on the road a lot so it gets tough to finish stuff. But we’re always mining and cultivating. I keep a bunch of journals and I’m always writing stuff down. I jot down my musical ideas or record them on my digital recorder, maybe a little hook and little chorus. I’m always compiling this stuff, and then when I think it’s time to start finishing off some of these ideas, I’ll do some serious writing. Hopefully, we’ll have time to get into the studio and do another record this year. That’s the goal right now. That’s ultimately the most exciting part for me, writing and recording new material and seeing a project through to its conclusion. That’s a very satisfying part of this whole world.

Do you guys co-write together or compose individually?

There’s a little bit of everything. Most of our stuff kind of starts from zero, and then we co-write the rest of it. Other stuff we write individually and then bring it to the band and we all contribute to the arrangements. Some stuff is a little bit of both. At very least, the songs get bounced around within the group and everyone gives some feedback on what they want their role to be or if they have some ideas on what can improve the song. It’s always a very collaborative process going to that end result.

Your name was actually the result of mistaken identity, was it not?

That’s totally true. We were doing this Wednesday night thing and had been doing it for a few months and we were calling it “The Good Time Supper Club,” because it was kind of like an evening of different entertainers. We started it off and then some of our friends came down, and it became a big deal. Everybody started coming down just to see what was going to happen. Someone made some posters for the show and they started calling us ‘those heathens” or something like that.

How did they come up with that?

I have no idea. But it got to be known around town that on Wednesday night, you could see Those Heathens. So everyone just started called us Those Heathens. It was just kind of like, well, OK, that’s cool. At the time it was funny because there was a little bit of controversy about religion and how it’s got its place in our society and how the conservatives were banging the drum about family values. If nothing else, it leveled the discussion in a tongue-in-cheek kind of way. So it just sort of stuck, it was kind of serendipitous like everything about this band.


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