Album: Sunday Morning Record
Artist: Band of Heathans
Label: BOH Records
Release Date: September 17, 2013
BY LEE ZIMMERMAN
Kudos to Band of Heathens for working their way into the spotlight, from an initial bunch of semi-insurgents to a group so polished and professional that they can make an album like Sunday Morning Record actually appear to echo its title. Not that they didn’t boast an auspicious entrance; their first studio efforts were widely praised in Americana circles before subsequently soaring to the top of the charts, thanks in large part to the fact that each of its members were talented singer/songwriters in their own right.
Given that fact, it’s not surprising that this, their fourth studio album to date, sounds so assured. 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 the graceful opening lines of “Shotgun,” through to the final wistful refrains of “Texas,” Sunday Morning Record 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. Only “Miss My Life,” a sampling of judicious honky-tonk which recalls Elton John’s bombastic “Honky Cat,” and “Shake the Foundation,” a southern stomp and shuffle, breaks the embrace, and even then, not for long.
Clearly, Band of Heathens have evolved into a band of first rate contenders. Seven years on, they’ve earned all admiration they been able to muster.
Since I’ve Been Home, Band of Heathens (from the BOH Records release Sunday Morning Record)
This is music that just makes you feel good. Even when they are singing sad songs, as they are here, there is just a warmth that emanates from the performances. This tender ballad reflects on how the singer and his family re-adjust to life when he returns home from the road. The harmonies are simply magical.
By The Bakersfield Californian – Cesareo Garasa
11/13/2013 – Though they hail from Austin, Texas, the Band of Heathens — essentially the missing link between The Black Crowes and the Eagles — sound more 1970s Southern California on their latest release, “Sunday Morning Record.” Specifically Laurel Canyon in the Hollywood Hills between 1973-75, when Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Linda Ronstadt and Jackson Browne were creating their own style of music that would blur the lines between pop, rock and country.
But “Sunday Morning” is no slavish mimic; it’s the best type of retro: fresh and familiar at the same time. The band will showcase the new material, released in September, on Saturday when they return to Bakersfield to play Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace.
The first album released since the departure of founding member Colin Brooks, bassist Seth Whitney and drummer John Chipman, “Sunday Morning,” understandably, features a different direction and sound. Gone is some of the funky grit, but in its place, remaining members Ed Jurdi and Gordy Quist have emphasized clean tones and contemplation over fuzz (not totally, though; “Shake the Foundations” is so boldly fuzzy and thick that it could carpet your van).
At times each song on the album evokes a different influence: The Eagles (“Shotgun,” a fun blast of 1970s Los Angeles with a “Take it to the Limit”-type ending); The Faces (the jaunty “Miss My Life”); James Taylor (“Texas”); The Band (the excellent “One More Trip”); Harry Nilsson (the gorgeous standouts “Caroline Williams” and “The Same Picture”); and even The Beatles (“Girl with Indigo Eyes” echoes the “Day in the Life” timpani/tom drum sound and vocal/chordal harmony).
Instrumentally, the production is wet and muted — heavy on the towel-on-drumhead drum sound of the 1970s. The guitars are crisp, warm and, at times, as hauntingly pretty and ethereal as “Rumors”-era Fleetwood Mac (evidenced in the super-catchy, soulful “Records in Bed,” which, if I were a radio programmer, would be put on regular rotation. Forever.).
The vocals are clear, although harmonically limited, and even when singing to a faraway love on “The Same Picture” — the highlight of the record — the melancholy delivery is almost playfully bittersweet.
With country music embroiled in a civil war between the new breed of pop-savvy country artists and traditionalist stalwarts, there is, oddly enough, a generation gap happening within the same generation. The legitimate balance between the past and the future is being struck by artists whose use of the past is not a calculated conceit but done out of genuine respect, and whose use of new sounds and techniques aren’t overblown distractions for the sake of being cutting edge but more as embellishment — sometimes as subtle as a caress.
Artists like the Band of Heathens, the impressive Nicki Bluhm (Linda Ronstadt, version 2.0), Ryan Bingham and their rebel outlaw counterparts Bob Wayne, Joe Buck, Hank III and Wayne “The Train” Hancock are playing some of the most exciting and satisfying country-influenced music not being played on the radio.
One thing they all have in common: None of these artists are your dad’s country music, but they’ll never think they’re too good to listen to it — much less insult it.
“Sunday Morning Record” is a love letter to the past and, at the same time, a postcard to the future.
Sunday Morning Record or Afternoon Delight?
I once worked with a project manager named Jake, who was a nice enough guy. Nice enough that, upon finding out that I collected vinyl, decided to lend me some records that he had collected throughout the years that I could listen to. It was a favor from one vinyl purist to another—that kind of thing—and a way to break the ice between two new workers at the same job. It was a great gesture—I’d never share my vinyl pile, even to this day, for fear of it getting scratched—and for a few weeks I was in possession of a few Jimi Hendrix bootlegs and a couple of, dare I say?, Supertramp albums. A word about the latter: when Jake presented his copies to me, he pointed to 1977’sEven In the Quietest Moments and told me that it was a real Sunday morning record. I only wound up listening to the album once, so I might not be the most qualified to talk about that particular disc, but my recollections of listening to it was that Jake might have been right: there was a real soulful quality to the album that stood out, and I could kind of see where he was going with labeling it as something to listen to on the morning of the Lord’s day of rest. Anyhow, it was a great thing to do on his part, and I’m saddened in many respects that I no longer work with the guy. I’d love to borrow some of those records again. Maybe even own some of them.
This brings us to the new Band of Heathens record, which comes right out and proclaims itself in the title to be a real Sunday Morning Record—the sort of thing you might listen to with the sound of church bells tolling in the distance. I’m satisfied to note that the title is, in many respects, accurate, as this is a relatively lush and hush album of scaled down tunes. And it couldn’t have come at a more tumultuous time in the Band of Heathens’ discography. Vocalist and guitarist Colin Brooks left the outfit in 2011, and bassist Seth Whitney and drummer John Chipman quickly followed Brooks out the revolving door. That left remaining bandmates Ed Jurdi and Gordy Quist having to fill a void to make the record that turned out to be the one in question up for review here. But you listen to the album and have to wonder if there was such a great upheaval in the band: the songs generally come across as being peaceful and easy, and there’s a real Ozark Mountain Daredevils vibe to the proceedings. While the latter may have had their “Jackie Blue”, the former, on this disc, cough up the outstanding “Caroline Williams”. So there’s that. And, yes, the Band of Heathens have, on this outing, earned comparisons to the Band, squarely, in other corners of music criticism. And you can see where other writers are going by drawing that line. While nothing comes close to the grandstanding of “The Weight” or “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”, there’s a vibe that’s squarely late ‘60s and early ‘70s country-rock (if not farther along) to be had here.
But insofar as this is a Sunday Morning Record, it really works well no matter what time of the day you put it on. While it comes startlingly out of the gate with “Shotgun”, a song that offers shifting tempos that liken it to the musical equivalent of sands blowing around, and the aforementioned “Caroline Williams”, which is an all-around great deep-fried tune, the album really picks up steam somewhere around the midway point. “Since I’ve Been Home”, all three minutes and four seconds of it, might be the very best thing to be found on the album. It’s a sparse acoustic guitar ballad filled with dollops of melancholy and longing, and burrows itself deep inside the ear. Reserve this for the nighttime and the long dark tea time of the soul, if you must. “The Same Picture” with its plucked guitar notes and lavishly harmonized vocals, is another relative stunner; it comes across as outright jazzy and offers a left curve in the proceedings.
That’s not to say, alas, that the album doesn’t have its share of shortcomings. “One More Trip” feels like it could have been stolen from the Eagles’ songbook, which is delusory depending on your point of view (and I happen to think that the Eagles only had a handful of truly great material), and sometimes the lyrics come across as being too crude for their own good. “I Miss My Life” opens with the following cringe worthy bleating: “Everybody’s talking ‘bout / How they just can do without / They don’t know their ass / From a hole in the ground.” And songs like “Shake the Foundation” feel rather rote and lethargic.
Still, despite all of this, when you take the album as a whole, the lumps more or less smooth themselves out and what you’re left with is a record that you can take on either a Sunday morning or anytime else, really. Some might chafe at the soft rock strains that Jurdi, Quist et al have hammered out here, but for those willing and ready to go along for the ride, Sunday Morning Record has a number of tunes that are sweetly hummable and worthy of visitation. With final song, the six-minute “Texas”, the band even gives a shout-out to their home (they originated in Austin: “But I’ve never wanted to leave this town / Oh, Austin’s been a friend of mine / Texas we’re out of time,” goes part of the chorus), which feels like a brilliant summation of their roots.
And roots rock are where one might be tempted to file this record. It’s a countrified album in the best sense of what was done in the mid-‘70s with records such as It’ll Shine When It Shines to a certain extent, just with more emphasis on the country end of the pop spectrum. Still, there are enough gems to be found here that, while not the sort of thing that might be readily apparent on anyone’s radio dial, hit the mark. This is a disc during which you can simply sit back and let yourself glide away into a state of relaxation, so laid back are its general vibes. Which, to put it another way, is the sort of thing that a Supertramp-loving former co-worker of mine might have been quite enamored by. Sunday Morning Record is, quite easily, a record that lives up to its own promotional billing and then some. I hear the church bells chiming in the background every time I listen to this one, and that should tell you a thing or two.
October 23, 2013
CLAMS & JAMS VOL 1
As many of you know, we record most of our live shows and make the recordings available at the end of each night on a USB drive as well as at live.bandofheathens.com. Today, we are releasing what we hope to be the first of many compilations as a FREE download called Clams & Jams Vol 1. It’s a ”best of” of sorts, taken mostly from this last East Coast tour.It’s a free download, and if you dig it please share with your friends. To DOWNLOAD, click the cover image to the left or click here.
NEW: KEEP AUSTIN BEARD SHIRTS – FREE SHIPPING FOR A LIMITED TIME (US ORDERS)
Yes you’ve probably heard of “Keep Austin Weird”, but we’re pleased to share the “Keep Austin Beard” shirt, featuring the face (and beard) of our own keyboardist Trevor Nealon.
These shirts were circulating around Austin and went out of print, but we’re bringing them back and offering FREE SHIPPING for a limited time. Get one and help keep Austin Beard.
#2 AT AMERICANA RADIO
Sunday Morning Record is sitting at #2 on the Americana Radio Chart! Many thanks to all of the DJs and stations who have supported the band and continue to spin the music. We’re gearing up for the 2nd leg of the release tour with stops in NC, TN, GA, AR, and TX before heading to the West Coast. Thanks to everyone at press and radio for helping to pave the way for us as we continue to tour to support Sunday Morning Record.
On the album release front, we couldn’t be happier with the support we’ve been getting from all of you with Sunday Morning Record. We started recording the album almost a year ago, worked on it in short bursts, and then we kept adding more and more songs to the list of what we wanted to record, so it took a while. It’s been satisfying finally working up these tunes for the live show and getting some energy back from all of you at the shows. They’re still evolving, but they’re feeling good. I guess they’re really never done evolving anyway.
WHAT WE’RE LISTENING TO
Some new (and old) music to check out… We’ve been listening to Bobby Charles self-titled album, as well as Zeus’s album “Busting Visions”. It’s crazy. And do yourself a favor and pick up the Wood Brothers new album “The Muse”. It’s fantastic start to finish. Produced by Buddy Miller.
Check them out below. We hope you dig it. You can stream on Spotify and/or we hope you’ll support the artists by purchasing these records.
Bobby Charles – Bobby Charles
Zeus – Busting Visions
The Wood Brothers – The Muse
Thanks for your support! We feel so fortunate to get to make the music that feeds
The Band of Heathens
Oct 24 – Asheville, NC – Grey Eagle
Oct 25 – Knoxville, TN – The Bowery
Oct 26 – Charlotte, NC - Visulite Theater
Oct 27 – Atlanta, GA – Vinyl
Oct 29 – Raleigh, NC – The Pour House
Oct 30 – Chattanooga, TN – Rhythm and Brews
Oct 31 – Nashville, TN – High Watt
Nov 1 – Little Rock, AR – Revolution Music Room
Nov 2 – Dallas, TX – Oak Cliff Music Festival
Nov 8 – Fort Worth, TX - McDavid Studio
Nov 7 – Fischer, TX – Rice Festival (Ed and Gordy Duo)
Nov 9 – New Braunfels, TX - Gruene Hall
Nov 13 – Odessa, TX – Graham Central Station
Nov 14 – Los Angeles, CA – The Hotel Cafe
Nov 15 – San Luis Obispo, CA - SLO Brewing Co
Nov 16 – Bakersfield, CA – Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace
Nov 17 – Berkeley, CA – Freight & Salvage
Nov 18 - Garberville, CA - Garberville Theater
Nov 21 – Portland, OR – Mississippi Studios
Nov 22 – Eugene, OR – Sam Bond’s Garage
Nov 23 – Seattle, WA – The Crocodile
Dec 12 – Salt Lake City, UT – The State Room
Dec 13 – Carbondale, CO – PAC3
Dec 14 – Denver, CO – Cervantes’ Other Side
Dec 19 – Austin, TX – The Saxon Pub
Dec 20 – Dallas, TX – Granada Theater
Dec 21 – Houston, TX – Fitzgerald’s
Dec 22 – Austin, TX – Armadillo Christmas Bazaar
10/31/2013 - The Band of Heathens were almost a text book case of how to do Americana music right. They burst onto the scene in 2005, building a local following in Austin, a town known for supporting musicians. They followed this up with a pair of self-produced live albums that paid homage to two of Austin’s favorite music venues. The first, Antone’s, is a blues-rock club that has featured heavily in the careers of such artists as Muddy Waters and Bonnie Raitt, and spawned Clifford Antone’s record label. Momo’s was a quieter club, better known for intimate showcases and as a venue for breaking local talent. These two albums introduced the band as home town boys with their eyes on both the past and present of Austin music. 2008 saw the release of their first studio album, one that saw them recording with Texas music icon Ray Wylie Hubbard. The band seemed to be hitting its stride in 2011 with the experimental Top Hat Crown and the Clapmaster’s Son. However, that became the year that the center fell out of the band. Colin Brooks left to work on other projects, and bassist Seth Whitney and drummer John Chapman soon followed. Sunday Morning Record finds founding members Ed Jurdi and Gordy Quist in a contemplative mood, creating some of the most lyrically stunning work of their careers.
“Shotgun” opens the album with a lush dose of melancholy surfer rock that draws it inspiration from Harry Nilsson. “All I hear now is the wind blow riding shotgun in through the past, the band croons in close knit harmony. Sunday Morning Record is a quieter affair than “Top Hat Crown and the Clapmaster’s Son,” one more concerned with story and substance than with style. It does lack the free wheeling spirit and reckless wonder of their previous release, but it matches the artistry with carefully crafted melodies that perfectly fit every song. “Caroline Williams” is a beautifully sparse blues rock ballad. This is not to say that The Band of Heathens have fallen into some sort of Antone’s inspired funk.
“The Girl with the Indigo Eyes” is a sweet and sunny ballad that falls almost half way between The Byrds and Simon and Garfunkel. There is a distinct vibe to the album, one that speaks to the late 60′s and early 70′s that lends a comfortable sense of familiarity, a reminder of earlier times spent listening to records. “Records in Bed,” the songs that gave the album the title line, is an homage to lazy days spent listening to albums and pondering how they relate to ones life. Sunday Morning Record is that sort of record, one that invites close listening on thoughtful meandering mornings. “Since I’ve Been Home,” find the boys contemplating the work of building lives with their families around working on the road. The simple, pretty melody and honey sweet harmonies belie the songs overall melancholy. The album closes with “Texas,” a breezy slice of folk rock that gently lulls the listener even has it sticks with them.
Autumn in Texas is an odd season, one that those from colder climes would likely not recognize as such. Its a time when leaves stay the same drought infused brownish color they turned in late August, The temperature drops into the upper 80′s, which offers respite from the recent triple digits, but hurricane season brings a rash of storms across the gulf raising the humidity. Its a season of football games watched by tank top clad girls and their shirtless boyfriends. In short, it is like Summer, only with the traditional events and beginnings that mark the season elsewhere. Sunday Morning Record is the perfect album for an Autumn in Austin. It is fueled by the same nostalgia that hits most adults around the start of a new school year. This is echoed by a sun drenched retro vibe that hints vaguely at an endless summer. In short, Sunday Morning Record is the perfect band of Heathen record. It is the prefect reflection of Austin, and a damn fine rock album for the rest of the world.
Oct 31, 2013 - There are fewer – and more far-flung – Heathens these days in the Band of Heathens, who have been one of the more acclaimed groups in Austin, Texas, for nearly a decade.
In 2005, three singer-songwriters who all had their own solo careers noted the chemistry among them when they sang with each other, and decided to throw in together. Gordy Quist, Ed Jurdi and Colin Brooks became the Band of Heathens, which released seven albums (four live and three studio).
Two years ago, Brooks left to pursue other interests. Quist and Jurdi are continuing, having also gotten a new rhythm section.
The band has also enjoyed success in central Arkansas. In fact, the band performed here as recently as July 20, also at the Revolution Room, where they’ll perform Wednesday.
“We’ve been hitting Little Rock for a number of years, but we didn’t have this new album out in July,” Quist says, referring to Sunday Morning Record, which was released Sept. 17. “It’s more of a wooden, acoustic record, maybe a little more introspective.
“We tried to put the distractions of the world on the back burner, and while the name of the album isn’t that literal, it is sort of like a time for reflection, for recovery from a week or a weekend.”
Among the other changes for the band were impending parenthood for Quist and his wife and a move to Asheville, N.C., by Jurdi and his family. Modern technology, of course, makes it easy for bands to exist no matter where the members choose to live.
“Ed’s moving kind of accelerated our desire to tour for two, three or four weeks and then take some time off,” Quist says. “In the past, we were constantly going out, picking up gigs around Texas. Now, with digital technology, we can work on songs, send them back and forth and not just make a living, but embrace it.”
Jurdi and Quist sing, play guitars and harmonica. The rhythm section now consists of Trevor Nealon on keyboards and Richard Millsap on drums. A rotating cast of bass players has gone out on tour with the four band members.
In their transition from a three-man front to two singers, Quist says the band has listened to a lot of soul music, along with the music of Jackson Browne, Neil Young, The Beach Boys and lesser-known British singer Michael Kiwanuka.
In live shows, the Band of Heathens likes to sprinkle in a few cover songs, ranging from the Grateful Dead and Gillian Welch to David Rawlings, Bob Dylan and The Band. And The Band, especially, holds a firm place in the hearts of the Band of Heathens.
“When we heard the news about Levon Helm’s death, we were actually driving through his old stamping grounds, near Helena,” Quist says. “So when we got to Little Rock, Ed and I wrote a song for him, it’s just called ‘One More Song,’ and recorded it on a laptop. That night we played it as our encore at the Rev Room.
“There’s a song he did a long time back that we especially are impressed with – ‘Hurricane,’ from Levon’s … album, American Son. The song, which had kind of been forgotten, is about a hurricane like Katrina coming through New Orleans.”
Band of Heathens
Opening act: Joe Fletcher & the Wrong Reasons
9 p.m. Friday, Revolution Room, 300 President Clinton Ave., Little Rock
$10 advance; $12 day of show
Technically, Band of Heathens was born in Austin, Texas, but the more time its members spend behind the mikes, the more their hometown seems to dart around the South, from the Florida Panhandle to Muscle Shoals to New Orleans.
“If you go back through our catalog, stylistically, it’s all over the map,” says Gordy Quist. “That’s one thing that we’ve always embraced about the band, that everyone in the band is into different styles of music, and we haven’t been afraid to explore those.
“It’s fun to not feel trapped in one genre.”
Independent songwriters Ed Jurdi, Colin Brooks and Quist began collaborating after joining forces for an impromptu show at Momo’s, a now-shuttered club in Austin. The trio officially joined forces, added bassist Seth Whitney and began performing under the name The Good Time Supper Club. (Band of Heathens is a newspaper misprint that stuck.)
Quist and Jurdi are the sole founding members who remain of that lineup. They were joined by keyboardist Trevor Nealon in 2007 and drummer Richard Millsap in 2012. In addition to the membership shifts, Band of Heathens has weathered significant changes in the last year, including growing families and Jurdi’s cross-country relocation to Asheville, N.C.
Instead of allowing themselves to be shaken by all the upheaval, however, the band members instead channeled the energy creatively.
Last year, Quist says, he and Jurdi found themselves caught up in a writing spree that yielded dozens of songs, which they sifted through to provide material for the band’s fifth album, “Sunday Morning Record.” The album was released on Sept. 17, and Quist says the audience can expect to hear at least half of it Wednesday, Oct. 30, when Band of Heathens takes the stage at Rhythm & Brews.
Looking back on the last eight years, Quist says he’s staggered by Band of Heathens’ growth from a Wednesday night diversion with no grander ambitions to a nationally touring ensemble that racks up 150 to 200 dates annually.
“The fact that we’re still a band is something that would probably have surprised us,” he says. “If we could go back in time and ask ourselves if we would still be doing this eight years down the road, I don’t think any of us would have believed it.
“We’ve been fortunate that people got behind us and supported the band and allowed us to keep doing it. That’s not something you can take for granted. … It’s awesome to have people dig what you’re doing.”
Contact Casey Phillips at cphillips@timesfree press.com or 423-757-6205. Follow him on Twitter at @PhillipsCTFP.
October 25, 2013 – The Band of Heathens have always balanced the urge to rock out with a wide introspective streak. Yet even for this contemplative crew, new LPSunday Morning Record is particularly pensive. Change prompted BOH’s current concerns.
In 2011, co-founder Colin Brooks and the band’s rhythm section flew the coop, leaving songwriters Ed Jurdi and Gordy Quist as keepers of the Heathen’s flame. In addition, Gordy started a family while Jurdi relocated from BOH’s beloved Austin to Asheville. Not surprisingly, Sunday Morning Record is focused, if not obsessed, with moving forward. Yet Jurdi and Quist have not simply soldiered on; they’ve blossomed as songwriters, crafting sparkling soft rockers tinged with regret.
The Heathen’s longstanding 1970s influences are still present. Lead track “Shotgun” channels Harry Nilsson’s take on “Everybody’s Talking.” The country soul of Van Morrison pops up in “Caroline Williams,” as does a delicate Cat Stevens guitar figure in “Girl with Indigo Eyes.” Some elements are new to the BOH arsenal. The harmonies of “The Same Picture” suggest a trailer trash Beach Boys, and “Shake the Foundation,” the LP’s funkiest, hardest rocker, echoes the ’70s glam of Slade’s “Coz I Luv You.”
Yet the album’s centerpiece is “Texas,” Jurdi’s adios to Austin and hopeful hello to the Carolinas. Here, James Taylor jostles with The Faces’ “Cindy Incidentally” before the song stretches out into a gospel coda that harkens to Sticky Fingers-era Stones, when Mick and Keith were most enthralled with Gram Parsons’ cosmic Americana.
With this final cut, BOH moves past acceptance to transcendence. Although concerned with degrees of doubt and hope, Sunday Morning Record is primarily about shades, not just the dusty browns of Texas and the verdant greens of North Carolina, but also the emotional gray scale where feelings are not simply black or white. The band will perform at the Visulite Theatre on Oct. 26.
The Band of Heathens roar back to life on ‘Sunday Morning Record’
By Steve Wildsmith | (email@example.com)
October 24, 2013 – When three of the five members of The Band of Heathens decided to split in 2011, the conversation between co-founders Ed Jurdi and Gordy Quist about whether to keep going was a brief one.
In that brief span of 3.5 seconds, Jurdi told The Daily Times recently, the two old friends had no doubts about whether the group — which performs Friday night at The Bowery in Knoxville’s Old City — should go on.
“We both said, ‘Are you still into this? Do you still want to do it? Good. Done. Cool. Let’s put a band back together,’” Jurdi said. “It had come to a point where we were having conversations with the other guys, and it was obvious they didn’t want to do it anymore, that it wasn’t working out, and we don’t want to force anybody to play in a band where they feel it’s run its course. But me and Gordy, we wanted to really have a band together and go out on the road and play shows.”
Over the past two years, Jurdi and Quist have slimmed down, tightened up and put out what may be the crowning achievement of the band’s career — the album “Sunday Morning Record,” released earlier this year. It’s the audio equivalent of a pair of granddaddy’s boots pulled on by the man who remembers them as a boy: timeless, well-worn, familiar and comfortable. The two men made keyboardist Trevor Nealon, a longtime friend of Quist’s who first started playing with The Band of Heathens in 2009, a permanent member, and rounded out the lineup with Richard Millsap. Before committing “Sunday Morning Record” to tape, Jurdi said, they hit the road.
“The aesthetic of the band is that we’ve always had our sea legs under us and performed as an ensemble, and we record like that, too — tracking live, being in the same room with each other and collaborating,” he said. “To do that, you’ve gotta be familiar with people a little bit. Trevor’s been with us for five years, and after we brought in Richard, it was a great shot in the arm. He came in and was really enthusiastic about it.
“I guess in terms of how the record sounds and it being a recalibration or reconfiguration, in retrospect that seems more apparent, but at the time, these were the batch of songs we had, so these are the songs we ended up recording.”
Band of Heathens came together when Jurdi, Quist and fellow singer-songwriter Colin Brooks often found themselves sharing a bill and the stage at the Austin club Momo’s. Eventually, they began collaborating, putting aside their solo careers in favor of a new band that would grow to include bassist Seth Whitney and drummer John Chipman. Two live albums followed and in 2008, Band of Heathens released a self-titled studio debut that made waves on the Americana charts.
The record hit No. 1 on the Americana Music Association Radio chart, spent two months at No. 1 on the Euro-Americana Radio chart and came in at No. 8 on the AMA’s Top 100 albums of 2008 list. The group was nominated as one of the Emerging Artists of the Year for the following year’s Americana Music Association Honors and Awards, and the band’s live show — a combination of Southern soul, gentle folk and barn-burning, foot-stomping country rockers that would do Little Feat proud — earned the guys a rabid fanbase.
Brooks, Whitney and Chipman, however, decided to leave the group following the release of 2011’s “Top Hat Crown & The Clapmaster’s Son,” and listening to that record now, Jurdi said, he can hear that version Band of Heathens slowly unravelling.
“I love that record, but listening to that record in retrospect, it’s the sound of the band coming apart to me, even though we weren’t aware of it at the time,” he said. “But that’s life. It’s up to you to try and make it happen, and while you’re doing that, all the other stuff happens, the stuff you don’t plan for.”
The solid foundation of his friendship with Quist, however, kept their shared dream alive. From the beginning, he said, the two men gravitated toward one another, and on “Sunday Morning Record,” their reliance on one another musically is stronger than ever, calling to mind comparisons to the Gary Louris/Mark Olson harmonies and playing on the mid-1990s Jayhawks classics “Hollywood Town Hall” and “Tomorrow the Green Grass.”
And the songs on the new record, he added, translate well from the more mellow vibe of the studio to the incendiary possibilities on a live stage.
“Right now, we’re just having a good time playing these songs live,” Jurdi said. “People say it’s different, that the songs are mellow, but when you plug in and get them up in front of an audience, they sound totally different. That’s always been the thing for this band: We make records that sound cool and pleasing to us, and when you play songs over time, they really start to open up and become a vehicle for something else. It’s just a lot of fun.”
October 24, 2013
Don’t expect laid-back versions of the songs on Band of Heathens’ latest release, “Sunday Morning Record,” when they play in concert.
They might have a relaxing Sunday morning feel when you listen to the music at home, but get the four-piece Texas band on stage, and the songs become as raucous as a Saturday night bar party.
“They have the energy of a rock ’n’ roll band,” Gordy Quist, guitarist and vocalist, said about the group’s shows.
Band of Heathens will play The Grey Eagle in Asheville, N.C., at 9 tonight. Barton Carroll is the night’s opener.
Quist and Ed Jurdi, the group’s other singer, recently played a duo show in Asheville, N.C., but the full band will play this gig. Keyboardist Trevor Nealon and drummer Richard Millsap round out the band.
“Sunday Morning Record” was released in mid-September and is the group’s fourth studio album.
They didn’t play the songs to an audience before recording them, as they wanted the material to be fresh when it hit the studio. For half a day, they’d work up the songs and then they’d record the second half of the day.
This recording method “let everyone have an open mind (about a song’s direction), and no one is married to any part of the songs beforehand,” Quist said. “I think everyone is a bit more experimental. We tried to keep an open mind about what we thought they were going to be.”
They took 30 to 40 songs into the studio and recorded 20. Eleven songs made the cut.
A few weeks into the ensuing tour, the group has learned how the songs make the transition from studio to stage.
“The songs change quite a bit live from how they sound on the album. We spend a lot of time trying to figure out how these songs will have the most impact live,” Quist said.
“We’re not really interested in replaying it like the record every night. The record is done in a way for the songs to come across in that listening experience. A live show is a completely different thing.”
Quist enjoys the give-and-take with the crowd as the group performs.
“Performances are living and breathing entities that people are trying to figure out how to send the energy out and let it come back to us and keep the circle of energy going,” he explained.
Don’t Call On Me-Fairfield_CT-2013-09-27
You’re Gonna Miss Me-Cambridge_MA-2013-09-28
Bessie Smith – Northampton_MA-2013-10-03 (with Joe Fletcher)
Shake The Foundation-Austin_TX-2013-10-06
Nine Steps Down-Ann_Arbor_MI-2013-09-21
October 22, 2013 - There is a retro feel to “Sunday Morning Record” from Austin-based The Band of Heathens with touches of the Beatles and ’70s country rock. The Beatles influence appears strongest on Girl With the Indigo Eyes, which features harmonies and drums reminiscent ofLong, Long, Long, and the opening track Shotgun with a guitar riff that recalls Here Comes the Sun.
Other tracks with Beatlesque harmonies are The Same Picture andSince I’ve Been Home, the latter also referencing retro technology (“The needle falls heavy on the soul/Wearing out the grooves until the song is just a ghost”). Similarly the tune Records In Bed looks back nostalgically (“Remember when?/ Rock and roll was sacred in your world and on the street”) with the refrain “We are golden” seeming to reference Joni Mitchell’s Woodstock.
An influence from The Eagles appears strong on such tracks as One More Trip and Caroline Williams, while the bluesy Miss My Liferecalls both Little Feat and The Band. One of the stronger tracks is the ballad Texas, which seems to indirectly address the upheaval within the band due to personnel changes (“Spent some time to count the reasons/Loss and pain, the changing seasons”).
The overall feel is more mellow than past efforts, presumably in part due to the departure of singer/songwriter and guitarist Colin Brooks, bassist Seth Whitney and drummer John Chipman. Founding members Ed Jurdi (guitars, keyboards) and Gordon Quist (guitars, lap steel) carry on nicely as the creative duo composing all 11 tunes, well supported by new band mates Trevor Nealon (keyboards) and Richard Milsap (drums). Fans of the Band of Heathens will enjoy the solid tunes and strong performances by this new lineup.
October 16, 2013 - If you have been lamenting the fact that artists who make full length LP’s who also tour and musically expand on the recorded material are extinct, rest easy there has been a sighting! Touring in support of the just released, critically lauded, Sunday Morning Record the Band of Heathens (tBoH) hit Cambridge on September 28th.
The Sinclair’s 500 person plus capacity was almost full with the crowd buzzing in mid-Saturday night form. At about 10:30 PM the five piece band (Trevor Nealon keyboards, Richard Millsap drums, Scott Davis, Bass, Gordy Quist, guitars and vocals and Ed Jurdi, guitars and vocals) opened with the stripped down, bluesy “Your Gonna Miss Me”. The tune was brilliantly extended in what is sometimes referred to as a “mind left body” jam. It was to be the first of many improvisations throughout the night. The new rocker “Shake the Foundation” followed.
The night was all about the music and musicianship. The stage was simply backlit throughout the show and the band for the most part did not engage the audience in between songs. The band’s trademark, angelic harmonies shined through on fan favorite “Jackson Station”. A briefly disguised, swamp bluesy “Medicine Man” complete with psychedelic bridge/coda found the band and audience in full groove.
The night showcased some of the songs on the new release, although not technically new as some have appeared in set lists for a while. The seventies, Eagles’ sounding “Shotgun” with its time changes played well, however, the pop sounding “Caroline Williams” struggled to connect.
The high point came about two thirds through the show with the prison spiritual, “No More Cane” featuring each member taking a turn on lead vocal. The delicate “Gris Gris Satchel” followed and the trifecta concluded with the dark, brooding “Hurricane”. “Look at Miss Ohio” started slow and built into another “liver left body jam”. The show ebbed and flowed perfectly throughout the night as blues, folk, gospel and rock tinged jams were separated with stunning harmonic hooks.
The set concluded with a searing “LA County Blues” with a final jam befitting the “Steal Your Face” patch Jurdi proudly displayed on his jacket. Opener Joe Fletcher joined them on vocals for the encore “Bessie Smith” a deep, deep cut from The Band’s 1975 Basement Tapes.
Over the course of a month we receive upwards of 250 CD’s or digital files of new music from artists we know and are anticipating and many from artists we don’t know or are hearing from for the first time. The amount of new music we see is staggering. Bands change, line-ups change, directions change and new collaborations arise from this American Roots community we call home. A few months back we published a list of the Top 50 Bands Right Now. We limited that to bands even though many of the top 50 “artists” were solo acts. Well that was the landscape 7 months ago and it has shifted dramatically. We decided to publish a new list…keep it to the Top 30 Artists, not just bands. We used the criteria that the artists on the list had to have a recent project and that was pretty much it. So here it is…The Alternate Root’s Top 30 Artists, Right Now! – See more at: http://www.thealternateroot.com/what-s-trending/1685-top-30-artists-list#sthash.4dwBfT6f.dpuf
(see the full list at http://www.thealternateroot.com/what-s-trending/1685-top-30-artists-list)