(AUSTIN, Texas) -- In the course of their evolution from loose assemblage to world-class rock 'n' roll outfit, the Band of Heathens has built a potent body of recorded work that's won the Austin, Texas ensemble a reputation as one of its hometown's most vital musical resources. They've won a fiercely loyal fan base and a reputation as one of America's hardest-working touring acts, while revealing a musical and lyrical depth that consistently enriches the band's infectious songcraft.
Sunday Morning Record, the Band of
Heathens' fourth studio album (and seventh overall), marks a milestone
in the resilient outfit's development, capturing the musicians'
remarkable creative chemistry along with the deepening melodic and
emotional resonance in the songwriting of founding singer-guitarists Ed
Jurdi and Gordy Quist. The 11-song set, produced by Austin studio vets
and longtime BoH collaborators George Reiff and Steve Christensen, is
the product of an intense period of change within and around the group.
Morning Record was born in the midst of change," agrees Quist. "Life
changes, lineup changes, geographic changes. It was a rollercoaster of a
year, but that change served the album well and became our muse."
set out to make a record that chronicled the journey of the band
through a really difficult and uncertain time," Jurdi states. "In the
midst of all of this, Gordy and I were writing songs, starting families,
moving families and trying to find a thread to hold onto with our
The musicians' journey is documented with insight, humor
and empathy on such compelling new tunes as "Shotgun," "Caroline
Williams," "Miss My Life," "Girl With Indigo Eyes" and "Records in Bed,"
which embody the catchy tunes and punchy performances for which BoH is
known, while showcasing the subtlety and introspection that have become
increasingly prominent in the band's work, with an added emphasis on the
acoustic textures that have long been present in their arsenal.
really think that this is the most personal group of songs we've ever
released," asserts Quist. "We had over 30 to choose from, and they were
written while we were pondering some major life changes and digging to
find the essence of what the band is."
Sunday Morning Record
released, like all but one of their prior albums, on the band's own BOH
Records label also benefits from the powerful rapport between founding
members Jurdi and Quist, longtime keyboardist Trevor Nealon, and the
most recent addition to the band, Richard Millsap on drums.
closed the circle smaller around us," Jurdi notes. "We worked at George
Reiff's house and kept the vibe as relaxed as possible. We worked fast,
cutting a song a day. We worked in the moment, creating songs during the
session, changing others, and eliminating the ones that didn't fit."
qualities that make Sunday Morning Record so compelling have been built
into the Band of Heathens from its origins in 2005. It was then that
Jurdi, Quist and Colin Brooks all of whom had already issued solo
albums and were working separately as singer-songwriters around Austin
joined forces after informally sitting in on one another's sets at the
now-defunct West 6th Street club Momo's. The like-minded tunesmiths soon
forged a long-term collaboration, and the aggregation became a
full-fledged rock 'n' roll band.
The Band of Heathens' imposing
reputation as a live act was reflected in their decision to launch their
recording career with a pair of live albums, 2006's Live From Momo's
and 2007's CD/DVD Live at Antone's. 2008 saw the release of their
eponymous first studio effort, produced by iconic Texas troubadour Ray
Wylie Hubbard. That album won widespread fan approval and copious
critical acclaim, as did 2009's One Foot in the Ether, which, like its
predecessor, reached the #1 slot on the national Americana charts. Also
in 2009, the band gained substantial TV exposure, performing live sets
on PBS' Austin City Limits and the legendary German music show
Rockpalast, as well as being honored as Best New Band at the Austin
In 2011, the Band of Heathens' third studio album
Top Hat Crown and the Clapmaster's Son became the group's most expansive
and adventurous statement to date, expanding their sound with a dose of
psychedelic sensibility. It was followed by the two-CD/two-DVD set The
Double Down: Live in Denver, which once again spotlighted the band's
mastery as a live unit.
Later in 2011, the Band of Heathens
experienced its first major personnel shakeup, with Brooks deciding to
move on to new projects, founding member and bassist Seth Whitney and
drummer John Chipman soon exiting as well. Jurdi and Quist reorganized
with keyboardist Trevor Nealon, a longtime friend of Gordy's who had
joined in 2009, and new drummer Richard Millsap, who had been
recommended by his predecessor Chipman, along with a revolving
assortment of bassists. The retooled lineup proved its mettle through
some diligent road-testing before getting to work on Sunday Morning
Meanwhile, other changes were afoot, with Gordy and his
wife preparing for the birth of their first child, while Ed was in the
process of relocating his family to Asheville, N.C. The longtime
bandmates both agree that the finished results on Sunday Morning Record
justify the extra effort that went into the album's creation.
record's a bit on the quieter side dynamically, but I feel like it's
sharper around the corners, both lyrically and musically," adds Jurdi.
"I think people see us as a rock 'n' roll band, which we are. But for
us, a lot of the best stuff we've done is our quieter stuff, and we did
more of that on this record. The further into life you get, the more
you realize that life isn't black and white, and that there are millions
of shades of grey in between. And as we become better songwriters and
better musicians, I think we're better able to explore those grey areas a
Sunday Morning Record's more intimate focus is
also reflected in the album's title, which was inspired by a line in
"Records in Bed" and nods to the value of escaping from the noise of
everyday life in order to absorb music, art and life in a more personal
and immediate way.
"It seems like it's gotten harder and harder for
people to turn off the constant stream of information and distractions
and just lose themselves in art for a little while," says Quist. "Now
we're connected to everything in the world at all times, and maybe that
makes our lives richer in some ways. But I think that there's also a
richness that we miss out on, of just being present in the now and
experiencing the world directly. I hope this album moves people to turn
off the noise of life for a morning to connect with themselves and with
some friends through our music."
"I'm interested to see how these
songs are received when we take them out on the road, because I think
that they may make people think differently about the band," Jurdi
concludes. "In all of the chaos surrounding us, music has been a refuge
from all of the madness. We chronicled our trip through a strange, weird
and intense time. You can hear it all here: the joy, the heartache, the
disappointment, the longing and ultimately the resolution that this
band has found to continue to make albums and perform shows together."
UPCOMING TOUR DATES
Aug. 23 FRISCO, TX Grover's Grill & Bar
Aug. 24 BRYAN, TX Grand Stafford Theater (Ed and Gordy duo)
Aug. 25 HOUSTON, TX The Mucky Duck (Ed and Gordy duo)
Sept. 14 MIDLAND, TX Yucca Theater
**RECORD RELEASE TOUR**
Sept. 18 NASHVILLE, TN Americana Music Conference
Sept. 19 NEWPORT, KY Southgate House
Sept. 20 EVANSTON / CHICAGO, IL SPACE
Sept. 21 ANN ARBOR, MI The Ark
Sept. 22 CLEVELAND, OH Beachland Ballroom & Tavern
Sept. 24 ANNAPOLIS, MD Ram's Head Onstage
Sept. 25 VIENNA, VA Jammin' Java
Sept. 26 PHILADELPHIA, PA World Cafe Live
Sept. 27 FAIRFIELD, CT Stage One
Sept. 28 BOSTON, MA The Sinclair
Oct 1 NEW YORK, NY Mercury Lounge
Oct 3 NORTHAMPTON, MA Iron Horse Music Hall
Oct 4 FRYEBURG, ME Fryeburg, ME
Oct 4-6 AUSTIN, TX ACL Festival
Oct 11-13 AUSTIN, TX ACL Festival