While the Band of Heathens’ new song “Free Again” will keep fans happily humming and tapping, it will probably raise some eyebrows as well. The track — available for free on the band’s web site on July 15 — references the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. “It’s sure to be the feel-good hit of the summer,” quips band member Ed Jurdi. “Imagine the Silver Surfer making his way through Brian Wilson’s brain and ending up on summer holiday in the Gulf of Mexico. That’s the loose plot of the tune.”
In between tour segments, the band took a couple of days in the studio to record some new material. The two-day session yielded three songs showcasing the group’s wide musical horizons. In a move that that echoes the hallmark of the Heathens’ independent spirit, they’ve decided to release one song from those sessions as a free track to fans.
“A big belief of the band is that we shouldn’t put limitations on when we release material,” says Jurdi. “We are always available and open to the creative muse. If we’re working on something that feels good, the next logical step is to share it with people who have helped us create our own little space in this weird and woolly time.”
The Band of Heathens’ One Foot in the Ether made it to #1 on the Americana airplay charts as did its eponymous predecessor. For the second year in a row they are nominated for Americana Music Honors & Awards – this year for “Best Group,” last year for “Best Emerging Artist.” The band appeared on PBS’ Austin City Limits program last November on a bill with Elvis Costello. In the past year they have toured ceaselessly hitting such festivals as Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits and Wakarusa. Maverick magazine called One Foot in the Ether album “a quality album from a quality group,” adding, “If you haven’t caught up with this group, why not?
“Free Again” takes the view that as long as there’s gas in the tank, food in the fridge and America’s Got Talent on TV, we’re good, right? From the lyrics: “Flip the channel, turn the dial, watch tomorrow going on today. We go sinking further down the mess that we have made. Just asking for forgiveness ’cause we all know that Jesus saves.” Someone somewhere, the song hopes, has figured it out and will fix it and put it back together again.
So sit back and enjoy the summer, bring the family and enjoy the sand. If a few tar balls wash up on the beach, not to worry.
As much as the Band of Heathens would love to join the ranks of beach-goers, they remain on tour all summer and into the fall.
Wed., July 21 DURANGO, CO Abbey Theatre
Thurs., July 22 FRISCO, CO Band in the Gazebo
Fri., July 23 TELLURIDE, CO Telluride Americana Music Weekend
Sat., July 24 CARBONDALE, CO Carbondale Mountain Fair
Sun., July 25 DENVER, CO Bluebird Theater
Wed., July 28 SALT LAKE CITY, UT The State Room
Thurs., July 29 VICTOR, ID Thursday Music on Main, Victor City Park
Fri., July 30 KETCHUM, ID Whiskey Jacques
Sat., July 31 STANLEY, ID Sawtooth Music Festival, Pioneer Park
Sun.-Mon., Aug. 1-2 MOSCOW, ID John’s Alley
Tues., Aug. 3 SEATTLE, WA Tractor Tavern
Wed., Aug. 4 OLYMPIA, WA State Theater
Thurs., Aug. 5 EUGENE, OR Sam Bond’s Garage
Fri., Aug. 6 PORTLAND, OR Alberta Rose Theatre
Sun., Aug. 8 CHICAGO, IL Lollapalooza, Grant Park
Thurs., Aug. 12 SANTA ROSA, CA KRSH Radio’s “Backyard”
Fri., Aug. 13 BAKERSFIELD, CA Fishlips Bar
Sat., Aug. 14 WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA The Viper Room
Tues., Aug. 17 TUCSON, AZ Club Congress
Wed., Aug. 18 EL PASO, TX State Line Barbecue Music Series
Sat., Aug. 21 NEW BRAUNFELS, TX Gruene Hall
Wed., Aug. 25 AUSTIN, TX KVET FREE TX Music Series, Hill’s Café
Thurs., Aug. 26 CHINA, TX Courville’s
Fri., Aug. 27 THE WOODLANDS, TX Dosey Doe
Sat., Sept. 4 AUSTIN, TX Red Dirt Festival at the Backyard