Album Premiere: The Band Of Heathens ‘Simple Things’
Photo by Alysse Gafkjen
Today, Austin, Texas’ fiercely independent rock-and-roll ensemble, The Band Of Heathens, release their roots rock magnum opus and ninth studio album, Simple Things, through their own label BOH Records. The project from the ensemble–led by dual lead vocalists and songwriters Ed Jurdi and Gordy Quist–has been exclusively shared with Relix a day before its global release and captures the highflying trailblazing maverick energy that they hold at their core.
The two’s commitment to their music and balanced songwriting chemistry created a united front that resulted in a rarity: an unsigned band with a gold record. This achievement was earned through the 2011 release of “Hurricane,” a cover of a Levon Helm recording, which became a runaway success; however, much has happened for The Band Of Heathens since then, including family life and the pandemic – which resulted in shared epiphanies and the wisdom that comes with becoming a father.
The album’s title track reflects upon said realization. “I started writing this song [“Simple Things”] in April of 2020, right in the first stages of the pandemic shutdown,” Jurdi stated. “I had some time to reflect on the pace of my life over the past 20 years. Traveling, touring, reaching for the next great adventure and hoping for the next big thing and wondering if that was really the goal, or more simply put, is that what makes me happy? I wanted to express that I was and am really thankful for everything I have in my life, and writing this song was really just taking a moment to take stock of all of the little things that really matter and make up a life worth living.”
The album, as a whole, examines what makes a life worth living: “I Got the Time” explores laughs at the absurdity of flaunting and the facade that many people put up and instead touches on truth and genuine emotion; “Long Lost Son” is a homage to Jeff Whitehead and explores the beauty hidden in the mundane or easily overlooked; “Damaged Goods” surrenders to the fact that life can be ugly and inspires self-love through complete acceptance of the moment; and “All That Remains” unflinchingly looks at time – the universal connection people share, the change they experience and the feeling of appreciation for the beautiful days gone by that have led to the current moment.
Simple Things is a lush musical, geographic and thematic return that was self-produced and recorded in their hometown of Austin in the hi-fidelity studio The Finishing School. The studio was founded by their close friend and past collaborator, George Reiff, and Quist took over the studio after Reiff passed away in 2017. Since taking over the space he upgraded it with a 1972 Studer console, along with several other improvements. Through the rebuilt golden ration rooms designed by another friend of the band, acoustician and producer Mark Neill, they touch on and grow upon the sound they’ve been known for since the mid-2000s.
Though the members of The Band of Heathens live scattered across the States, their return to Austin prompted them to write and eventually record the album. Along with the album in its entirety, Relix also has the pleasure of debuting a live video of The Band of Heathens performing the project from The Finishing School.
Currently, The Band Of Heathens are touring the U.S. with appearances set for Nashville, Tenn.’s Basement East, a hometown residency and their debut at another beloved Nashville institution the iconic Grand Ole Opry.
“I see a lot of artists out there screaming, ‘Hey, we’re outlaws, we’re independent!’” said Quist to Relix, in regards to some of their peers, “and they’re signed to a major label and live completely within that model. We’ve been the ultimate indie band for 17 years, and we like it that way.”
Pre-order Simple Things here.
Here is an exclusive live video of the band performing the new album in its entirety, at The Finishing School studio in Austin, TX. It is followed by the premiere stream of the forthcoming record.