Photo by Greg Giannukos
Having multiple points-of-view has been an asset for the Austin group Band Of Heathens, which has boasted several songwriters in its lineup since first forming at the defunct Momo’s over a decade ago. “All the players in this band can write songs, arrange harmonies, come up with hooks, produce records,” says singer/guitarist Ed Jurdi via email. “In general I think having more creative fuel in an ensemble is always a good thing.” For its upcoming fifth album, the Band Of Heathens opened its circle even wider to include Jim Vollentine, a producer and engineer known for working with White Denim, Heartless Bastards, Old 97’s and others.
For a band that started out releasing a pair of live albums, the Heathens have increasingly sounded more comfortable in the studio, so much so that Jurdi calls it the “heart and soul of the creative process.” The group’s roots-rock dynamic still underpins the songs, but on tracks like “All I’m Asking,” the sound is bigger. In fact, it reminds me of the Old 97’s shine-and-grit charm, bouncing on a bubbly arrangement. In a press release, the group mentioned a wariness about technology addiction (who isn’t worried about that these days?). While “All I’m Asking” doesn’t overtly address that, it’s still a yearning ode to direct communication, written by a band that’s been walking that walk for years.
“All I’m Asking” appears on Duende, out January 13.
–Art Levy // host, Sunday 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., producer, My KUTX