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.
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