Photo by Alysse Gafkjen
Today, the fiercely independent rock and roll ensemble from Austin, Texas, The Band Of Heathens, release their roots-rock masterpiece and ninth studio album, Simple things, through his own label BOH Records. The ensemble’s project, led by two lead vocalists and songwriters Ed Jurdi and Gordy Quist, has been shared exclusively with relic one day before their global release and captures the high-flying, pioneering maverick energy that is 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 huge hit; however, a lot has happened for The Band Of Heathens since then, including family life and the pandemic, resulting in shared epiphanies and the wisdom that comes with becoming a parent.
The album’s title track reflects that realization. I started writing this song [“Simple Things”] in April 2020, right in the early stages of the pandemic lockdown,” Jurdi said. “I had some time to reflect on the pace of my life over the last 20 years. Traveling, touring, looking for the next big adventure and waiting for the next big thing and wondering if that was really the goal, or more simply, is that what makes me happy? I wanted to express that I was and am truly grateful for everything I have in my life, and writing this song was really taking a moment to take stock of all 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 the laughs at the absurdity of the glitz and facade many people put up and instead touches on the truth and genuine emotion; “Long Lost Son” is a tribute to Jeff Whitehead and explores the hidden beauty in the mundane or easily overlooked; “Damaged Goods” surrenders to the fact that life can be ugly and inspires self-love through total acceptance of the moment; and “All That Remains” looks unflinchingly to time: the universal connection people share, the change they experience, and the feeling of appreciation for the beautiful days gone by that have brought them to the present moment.
Simple things is a lush musical, geographic and thematic comeback that was self-produced and recorded in their hometown of Austin at The Finishing School hi-fi studio. The studio was founded by his close friend and longtime collaborator, George Reiff, and Quist took over the studio after Reiff passed away in 2017. Since taking over the space, he’s updated it with a 1972 Studer console, along with several other improvements. Through rebuilt golden ration rooms designed by another friend of the band, acoustician and producer Mark Neill, they play and develop the sound they’ve been known for since the mid-2000s.
Although the members of The Band of Heathens live scattered across the United States, their return to Austin spurred them to write and eventually record the album. Along with the album in its entirety, relic is also pleased to release a live video of The Band of Heathens performing The Finishing School project.
Currently, The Band Of Heathens is touring the US with appearances scheduled for Nashville, Tennessee’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 yelling, ‘Hey, we’re outlaws, we’re independent!’” Quist told relic, regarding some of their peers, “and they’re signed to a major label and they live entirely within that model. We’ve been the best indie band for 17 years and we like it that way.”
Make an order Simple things here.
Here’s 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 sequence of the next album.