How does it feel to be nominated for Top New Duo or Group and Top Vocal Group this year?
That's an amazing honor. Our very first nomination was an ACM a year ago. It's special to be nominated again. Especially, not only just the new group but it's such a surprise to be in the group category with Rascal Flatts and bands like that that have had so much success. So, it feels fantastic and we're very grateful.
You have a new single & video out now for "A Little More You"... Where was that video shot and how long did it take to shoot?
Let's see. The video was shot down in... It was on a ranch in Central Florida, outside of Sarasota. I can't remember the name of the little town but this particular ranch had about, I think 6000 acres -- just gorgeous. They had all these natural springs which is what you're seeing in the video. And, it's just a beautiful piece of property down there. We spent all day there... That was the nicest, easiest, most relaxing and fun video we've ever done. Not that we've done a ton of videos anyway, but for the few that we have done, that was the best one ever. It was a beautiful, dry, cool day outside and sunshine all day. We got started early in the morning with hair and make-up for Kimberly and I and we finished at about dusk. It was Phillip's birthday so we ordered in, what seemed like an entire sushi restaurant onto the bus and had a great time on the way home.
One of the great things about your band is that you change lead vocals on different songs often... How do you decide who gets to sing lead on which song?
Well, that's kind of an interesting process. Even yesterday [working on the new record] there's a really pretty ballad that we wrote with our co-writer Wayne Kirkpatrick and our co-producer... And, we were trying to figure out who should sing this song and not that any of us couldn't have sung it, but we were looking for the right voice -- that sweet spot for somebody. Just trying to land on that. We even put several of us, different ones in the vocal booths singing, trying to figure out what key is best and who should sing it and eventually we just land on it -- we always agree like okay Kimberly should sing this and here's why. There's never any ego involved or arguing or that kind of stuff. It might go on in other bands but it doesn't go on in our band. We are looking for the best performance and the best storyteller -- whoever that might be for a particular song.
Can you tell us more about the new album you're working on? Did you do a lot of writing or co-writing on this album like you have in the past?
Oh, yeah... We're about 8 songs in and still writing. We're going to keep going until the last minute. If we make it for the record to come out in the fall, which is what we're hoping for... we'll just be writing until the last second. Just seeing if we can beat what we've already written. So far, of the 8 songs that seem to be sticking around, we've written all 8 of those. I'd say the record is definitely a cousin to The Road To Here, yet there's some growth and evolution that I think makes a lot of sense and our fans will not be surprised at some of the tracks. And, where we went with some of them, just a little bit different, yet it's still the same familiar sound from The Road To Here. We're really excited about some of the things that we've been writing. Things about road life and how sweet the journey's been and definitely more serious somber things. We still just want it to be a true reflection of real life. And there are good days and bad days and I think the writing shows that.
Where do you find the ideas and inspirations when writing songs?
It can come from anything. Jimi kept singing a melody one day... this little guitar rift and melody -- over and over and over again. And, he had a hook idea. I don't even know where that came from. It was just a melody that popped in his head. We just cut the track on that song. That one's called "That's Where I'll Be" -- and it's just a really beautiful love song. There are a couple of other things -- inspirations that came from being on the road and watching our fans enjoy the music the way that we do. And, that connection that we have with them. So, there are some songs about that. There's a more somber song that Kimberly is singing -- called "Evangeline." Of course, all of these that I'm talking about, we'll see if they all make the record but these are things that we're excited about. "Evangeline" is about being in a relationship for a girl where she allows herself to be mistreated. Not physically, but emotionally and how often girls get into situations like that and won't get out and allow themselves to be talked down to and abused in an emotion way. That's a really powerful song and I'm proud of that one and very excited to see the final version of it. We've been working on it for awhile.
Do you have a favorite song on The Road To Here? If so, what is it and why is it your favorite song?
It changes. I would probably say "Bones" is probably my favorite song on the record right now. I'm also a big fan of "Lost." It hasn't ever been a single -- neither one of these have ever been singles. But "Lost" is a heart-wrenching ballad about losing the love in your life so those are my two favorites right now.
How would you describe the whole process of recording The Road To Here and what is a typical day in the studio like for you?
A typical day is... well, right now we get pulled in so many directions which is a good thing. So, somebody might be doing an interview in the front room and we might be cutting guitar in the back room -- It's a little nutty these days. But, we all get there in the morning and start wood shedding - whether we're going to cut vocals or guitars. Wayne Kirkpatrick -- he has a studio and that feels like home to us. That's where we cut The Road To Here and the record that we're working on now. So, it's almost like it's our studio in a way. There are big posters on the walls where we're writing song titles and ex-ing out song titles and making notes on keys and things that need to be finished. There's just always a lot of wood shedding and discussing going on all day long no matter what we're doing - if we're cutting vocals of things that we should write or we need this moment on the record. It's a great environment there, very relaxed and it's a great place to hang. It's very cozy and it's important that you feel comfortable when you're making music and that's kind of like a second home to us...
In what ways do you feel you have changed if any since your debut album and even since The Road To Here?
I think we've just matured and understand better who we are as a band and the kind of music that we're able to make and that we want to make that's unique to us. And, we're better at telling that story and getting that music out there. The first record that we did just wasn't a true reflection of the band. We intended it to be and at the time so did the label that we were on but we just didn't get there for various reasons but now, we know who we are and we know the kind of music we want to make and we really protect that at all costs. So there's a maturity there that I think maybe wasn't there before.
What goals have you accomplished and what do you still hope to accomplish with your music career?
Well, we've accomplished more this last year than I would have ever dreamed. One of the biggest things that shocked us and was such a blessing was the Grammy nomination for Country album of the Year. That's something that you always dream of getting nominated for awards, and for a Grammy because that's the entire music industry giving you props for what you've done. So, that was a monstrous accomplishment. And, of course, we didn't win and we didn't ever think that we would but that nomination can't ever be taken away from you. That's just really a lifetime achievement. That and the CMA nominations, the ACM nominations, and CMT nominations it's all been so good, it's hard to imagine it getting any better but we're going to give it our best shot... that's for sure! (Laughs) We don't want to quit now. We want to work really hard and keep it all going and make music that the country fans want to hear and sing along with.
Who has been the greatest influence in your life (music related or not)?
That's a tough question. Well, the greatest influence in my life would have to be my parents. I come from a great family. They were just always around for everything - whether it was softball games or piano recitals and practice - all the things that made me who I am. It's because of them and the nurturing that I got at home and the belief that I could do anything that I wanted to do if I put my mind to it and I worked really hard. And, I didn't grow up in an unrealistic home about chasing your dreams... It was very realistic -- it was that if you put your mind to it and work harder than anybody else, you can make it happen. And, so they would have to be the biggest influence for me.
If you could collaborate with anyone else musically, who would it be and why?
That list would be so long. Hmm, there are several people. Lord, I don't even know where to start on this. Inside the country format: We had some of the Union Station guys play on The Road To Here. I would love to do something with Alison Krauss. I think she's just the best; she's so talented and I just think it would be fun to dive off into a song or something with her and get her take on what we do. That would be really interesting and then to get her to play and sing on something. Gosh, there's so many. I guess I'll just stick with Alison for now. Emmylou [Harris] is another favorite, especially for Kimberly. We've always talked about how cool it would be to do something with her. And, I don't even know... the list goes on and on but those are a couple in our format that we would love to do something with.
You've had the opportunity to tour with several great artists like Keith Urban and now Martina McBride... What is one thing that you've learned the most from being on the road with other artists?
Well, Keith, I learned a lot from just watching the show. Learning how to reach to the very back of the audience. The person that bought the last ticket on the last row and engaging them and pulling them in all the way to the front of the stage. Keith is an amazing entertainer and he's so good at that. The energy is so high, it's just electric and contagious. And he really draws you in no matter where you are. The professionalism from him and from Martina. Martina: right now I'm completely in awe of just her vocal ability and the consistency. She just never misses anything... Unbelievable. And, just the business woman that she is, the way that she runs her business out here and the crew that she has assembled together is so talented and so kind and hard-working. I'm looking forward to getting to know her more. We've been out here a month and I've already learned a lot.
What do you like about touring? What do you dislike?
I love touring. I think once it gets in your bones -- once you sit at home too long, you are all of a sudden looking for a hotel room (laughs). You're like "I don't feel at home... what happened?" So, I can't imagine not traveling. I love it. I love the hour on stage at night or however long it is and the connecting with the fans... That's the best part of the day. And, I like getting out in cities. Today we're in Pittsburgh and I'll probably wonder around downtown and look for little boutiques and antiques. We like to try and get away and see the city which often we don't get to because we're too busy. The hardest thing about traveling is missing family and not seeing them as much. And, then not sleeping in your own bed. Occasionally, we do like to sleep in our own bed. (laughs) But, the hardest thing would be just keeping in touch with family and friends and that becomes a real challenge.
Finally, is there anything you would like to say to all your fans and all our readers?
Just thank you, thank you, thank you for embracing the music and coming out to the shows and really giving us a career. The fans are the ones that demanded to hear "Boondocks" on the radio and wanted to see the video on the video channels. We just could not be more grateful and we're going to do our best to not let them down and to keep giving them music that they can sing along to and so we just need to say thanks, over and over and over again.
Special thanks to Jensen for setting up the interview... and to Karen for taking the time to talk with us!
All features, interviews, and articles are copyright © by Country Music Online unless otherwise stated and may not be reprinted or used without the written consent from us. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us. Thank you!