Drawing inspiration to create with the countless blocks you can face can be one daunting roller coaster ride. All three of us find our creative inspiration in different places, many times it seemingly comes out of nowhere, but the place we find the most inspiration from is the road. We’ve had songs come to us from learning about places we’ve been, or learning stories from people we meet. One time in Kentucky we were at a festival and one woman told her drunk daughter not to “rock the table ‘cause you’ll make the watermelon roll” and I found myself holed up in the van for an hour starting a song about getting caught in Kentucky rain. It’s the greatest canvas for creating music, these American back roads we find ourselves on.
A few months ago we played a show in a little town called Cheraw, South Carolina (and then found ourselves passing through there again this week). Cheraw likes to call itself the Prettiest Town in Dixie. Apparently when General Sherman came marching through setting the country on fire he got to this little town and went “Hold it boys, put your torches down this town is too gosh dang pretty to burn”. (Historically accurate word choice I’m sure) A few days later, some of his troops were doing something (as Ben likes to put a little bit of the “naughty, naughty”) and wound up burning the town down anyways. After hearing this delightful tale, we wound up writing a song that has absolutely nothing to do with the story. Below you can watch our video about “Prettiest Town in Dixie” about a rock n’ roll band.
The past 10 days we’ve gone from upstate New York, to lake Erie, to New Jersey then down to Charlotte, Wilmington, Atlanta, Dahlonega, up to Morristown, Tennessee, back to Dahlonega and then back to Atlanta again. (We’re still clearly getting a handle on touring.) The most exciting part of this adventure so far has to be when we were driving through real life cotton fields. We took a little pit stop to go feel what cotton off the plant feels like...and guess what...it feels just like cotton! Yes...we are from the North.
We headed to another Sofar Sounds show, this time in Atlanta, GA, where we played in an Alice in Wonderland inspired tea shop. Apparently state parks in Georgia lock their gates anywhere between 6 and 9 pm (warning all you vanagon travelers) so we were bracing ourselves for our first Walmart parking lot in ages. But...as fate will have it we arrived extremely early to the show and were the only people there aside for one guy, Jan, who was grinding away on a start up he's working on. We started talking and he ended up staying for the show, telling us tales about his swing dancing competitions (yes...swing dancing is still a thing...and yes, The Coteries are going to learn how to do it) and we ended up staying in the comforts of his high-rise apartment looking out at the blood orange moon over Atlanta.
After we went out to dance and play the night away in the first gold mining town, Dahlonega, we headed to Morristown, Tennessee where we played a festival to some real, genuine, country folk. It’s quite intimidating being a band who plays a cover of a Jackson 5 song on traditional bluegrass instruments in front of pickers whose blood runs thick with generations of bluegrass tradition. They fortunately embraced us with open arms and we wound up having one of the best shows in a long time, eating fantastic jambalaya, and hoping we could take a little of their kindness with us. Heading back to Dahlonega on Sunday, we played some music at a vineyard that is Lumpkin County's founding wine grape growers (aka they made booze legal). Holy heck is their wine good!
So here we are again, back in Atlanta, about to start another week in South Carolina and Georgia. More tales to come! - Emily