I still remember the day I was introduced to Folk Soul Revival.
A friend of a friend who knew I did some festival booking ran into me at a local coffee shop and told me about this band that had started on the grounds of our local college and were danged good.
I needed to book them, she told me.
So I looked into them. She was right. And, as luck would have it, our festival needed a band for a couple slots.
Soon thereafter, Folk Soul Revival was drawing legions of fans to shows across Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee. I have witnessed crowds of thousands singing along to favored songs and caught a hometown show once with 400 of my closest friends in a sweltering room better suited for a crowd half that size.
Folks outside the region are catching wind, too. The band’s latest record, which dropped August 17th, has gained notice on the Billboard, Americana Music Association, and iTunes Country charts.
Ten years and four records later, the band is still hard at it. Though the line up has changed over the last decade, the roots of the music have remained the same – honest, heartfelt lyrics echoing the grit and gravel of life in Appalachia.
I recently caught up with singer Daniel Davis to chat about the new record, writing songs about your spouse, and the group’s upcoming trip to England.
BRO – You guys have been going at this since for over ten years now. What’s the secret to keeping the band together as you all now juggle real world responsibilities like 9 to 5 jobs and kids?
DD – Obviously, to keep a band together is always a challenge. Anytime you have a group of five grown men, all bringing in their own opinions and baggage, it’s going to be trying. But, at the end of the day, I think knowing that everyone’s opinions matter, communicating as a group, and also knowing that we don’t have to be best friends makes for a solid bond and working environment most of the time. As far as balancing real world and music, I think the two have to remain separate as much as possible.
BRO – For aspiring songwriters out there, what’s a good ratio for songs you write about your spouse that are sappy versus songs you write that might get you slapped?
DD – You know, I’m not sure there’s a magic number. I’d just say write something honest and it will all be okay. I think all people want to hear something that they can relate to, plain and simple. I can’t be the only person that’s ever stuck his foot in his mouth, can I?
BRO – Chad Brown, a Grammy winner, has a long history with the band. What does it mean to you to have him behind the board in the studio?
DD – Chad Brown! He’s an endlessly talented individual who never ceases to amaze me with what he can hear in a song without having any actual musical capabilities in the traditional sense. You haven’t lived until you’ve played or sang a song fifty times trying to achieve a specific sound or note that Chad can only convey through a series of off key hums coupled with interpretive dance moves. Ultimately, Chad is like a sixth member of the band who always has some left field idea that somehow brings a song to the next level.
BRO – The McCrary Sisters . . . . is there a better group of singing sisters out there?
DD – It’s awesome to have the McCrary Sisters sing on anything. Those gals are incredible and we’re just thankful that they’d take the time to sing on one of our tunes. We were fortunate enough to have them sing on one of our other albums. Luckily, they were available again. I suppose the next option for sibling harmonies was Hanson.
BRO – What kind of music was playing in the Davis house when you were a kid and how did it impact your songwriting?
DD – My parents, luckily, listened to things like Bob Seger, CCR, Rod Stewart, and Elton John. Also, I was obsessed with Disney’s Robin Hood as a child, which was my first exposure to Roger Miller, who did the music for the film. Still, he’s one of my absolute favorite songwriters of all time.
BRO – You guys are heading to England next month. Cockles. Toad In The Hole. Bangers & Mash. Movies that would make your mama blush or just the fare at your local public house?
DD – We’re certainly looking forward to England. It’s an opportunity to bring what we do to a fresh audience and hopefully expand our fan base. As for your specific question, I don’t reckon you can say words like that in Wise County, can you?
Folk Soul Revival celebrates the release of their latest record on Saturday at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum. The show is already sold out, but you can catch a live webcast right here! Otherwise, you’ll have to catch the band in Leicester, England, at The Long Road Festival on September 8th and 9th or back here in the states at Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion later in the month.
For more information on the new record, the band, or when they hit a stage near you, check out their website. And be sure to take a listen to “Other Side,” along with tunes from The War & Treaty, American Aquarium, and Couch Jackets on this month’s Trail Mix.