Spring 2014: Check In from Ol Cozmo

the 2014 spring equinox has been mighty kind to us dirties as we embarked on a crusade to promote our new album “hearts on fire”…we released this album back in march, the 11th to be exact, and we’re really proud of the way it turned out…its a solid, dynamic album with some high guvs, low guvs, happy guvs, sad guvs, fast guvs and slow guvs…wanting to share it with the rest of the world, we mounted up on our mule and set out like eagles of freedom…soaring through the night sky…looking for fat worms to feed their crying young…

we decided it would be a grand idea to start off in the southeast because we love it so much …little did we know, this was gonna be the best tour yet…the cities included in the spring tour of happiness were charlotte, chapel hill, charleston, chattanooga, birmingham, louisville, nashville, atlanta, auburn, knoxville, athens, and wofford college…each of our markets had grown exponentially including sold out shows in birmingham, atlanta, nashville, and athens…in addition to the bigger crowds, our fans were also familiar with our new music…this made us excited, so sometimes we would chug some brewskis and eat mountains of doritos after the shows because we like to party…

in order to make our show fresh and awesome, we decided to dress differently and add lights to our production…the wardrobe change was a great idea cuz normally we just look like a bunch of dudes that like to eat frozen yogurt all day…we aimed for consistency with our new look so the decision was made to go with black suits…so far we have had a great response and we never have to worry about what to wear at the next show…it also makes it easier to pack, leaving more room in your bag for cheez its and capri suns…next, we brought on dave “the wave” schultz of special event services to direct our lighting for the tour…the wave is awesome and full of passion about what he does…we would like to thank SES for providing us with “the wave” and some amazing lights to help enhance the visual experience of our rock and roll…Lastly, we asked an incredible band, cereus bright, to come out on the road with us…every one of them is super cool and extremely talented, and they’re from knoxville so the chill was so chill…as the tour progressed our friendships with the brights grew stronger…they have a really cool sound, great songs, and they’re very easy to work with so that was a strong chi booster for the tour…for the last song of the encore, they would join us on stage for a friendly sing along version of “i shall be released”…it was so rockin by the end, that people were pouring beers on their heads and making out with strangers because they couldn’t handle it…

of course, with every tour there are some highlights and shenanigans involved, so im just gonna touch on a few here…i’ll try to keep it short so you all don’t get mad and call me a big ol douche…

Charlotte: beers on their heads, beers down their pants…awesome rowdy crowd, great energy…one guy tried to jump on stage at the beginning of new salvation, then fell right off…not sure what he was trying to accomplish but we love his fire and passion anyway…maybe he was gonna give a toast to the nations, but we’ll never know…til next time young man…i wish you great prosperity

Chapel Hill: another great crowd and an amazing venue…our friends from high point never let us down…great to be in chapel hill again…much love

Charleston: loved this show as well cuz we started syncing up on the new material in a live setting…the comfort level started to rise…packed house and an amazing crowd…there was a few dudes in the front that kept yelling “show me your penis” to the cereus brighters but i think they were just doctors so it’s cool…

Chattanooga: always love playing track 29 in the “noog”…best crowd we’ve ever played to there…saw a lot of new faces that seemed to like what was going on…thank you all so much for supporting us and letting us play in your beautiful town…

Birmingham: sold out!!! by far the best show that we have played in that city…rowdy crowds complete with fist pumps and sing alongs…tasty times were had in the ham

Louisville: we had a great day…we were invited to play their live lunch series at 91.9 wfpk to a packed house…they had fresh krispy kremers sittin out in the lobby and i ate like 7 of em…then, that evening we played at headliners for the biggest crowd we’ve ever played to there…it was a full and bountiful day for us

Nashville: sold out biiiig baaaabay!!! this was a special show for me cuz all my best friends were there for the vestallion’s bachelor-ette party…the vibes were pure, the night was beautiful, and the crowd was feelin it…the evening was ripe for us…

Atlanta: sold out again and again!!! our best atlanta show hands down…the sixthman crew was strong up in it…shoutout to the pizzle, christina maria, mize tavern, and brad broadrick for making an appearance…nothin like old friends

Auburn: we opened for alan jackson so that was awesome…got to hang and listen to an amazing set executed by our good friends from the drake white band…there was a rodeo going on about 50 yards away…motthew scurphy (scott murphy) broke his knee bone in route to catch a football…that sucked really bad, but he did catch the ball so touchdown…in your face

Knoxville: opened for fitz and the tantrums at thompson boling arena for volapalooza…they killed it…also, got to see amazing performances from crab apple lane and the delta saints…apples, saints, and tantrums…doesn’t get any better than that folks…horn of plenty

Athens: sold out the georgia theatre, our home away from home…the crowd was wondrous…the venue and all of the humans that work there are heavenly…one day i would like to live in the georgia theatre…just for like a year…

Wofford College: first time at the woff…we were asked to play their spring concert and very glad that we were able to take part in that event…beautiful campus, great stage, rockin crowd…we hope to be invited back sometime soon…earlier that day, miguel le jenkerstein (michael jenkins) and josten hogskins (justin hoskins) got in an argument about which one of them was more american…it escalated to the point where we had to settle the score…the only true way to determine how american you are is to take the actual u.s. citizenship test…we looked it up on googler dot com and administered the test in an actual classroom on the campus…hogskins made a 100%, le jenkerstein made an 85% …the test didn’t stop there though, there was a second phase…the artistic interpretation…in this phase, each participant was required to hand draw a map of the united states of america, to scale, with all the borders…hogskin’s map was pretty close to the real thing…u could look at it and tell that it was a map of the united states…le jenkerstein’s map, not so much…it looked like he taped the pen to his left elbow and drew it with his eyes closed…the finished product kinda looked like a pile of vomit…maybe he was going for the abstract vibe…

anyway, the spring tour was the best tour we’ve played in this life…we’d like to thank each and every one of you for your continue’d support and believing in our music…

HEARTS ON FIRE AVAILABLE TODAY!

Hearts on Fire is now available to download or purchase! Tears were shed and relationships were stretched during the year of writing and recording it took to make Hearts on Fire, but if we’re honest we’ve been working on it for our entire life. Being in a band and writing songs isn’t just about trial and error with chords and melodies. It’s a place of exploration, for pouring your heart and soul into your work, into your bandmates, and into the honest places that hurt, tear, and break you. In the end, it’s the hard work in those honest places that refines us all and produces the most beautiful results.

Much Love,

James, Justin, Aaron, Kevin, Cozmo, and Michael

New Album HEARTS ON FIRE Available Now! Click Here To Download

NEW MUSIC TUESDAY: Canyons

I spend way too much time comparing myself to other people. Insecurity and jealousy that I didn’t even know existed seeps from the corners of my heart and drives me deep into a canyon where the only thing that I know how to do is surf the internet, watch TV, build up walls, and silently or verbally compete with other people who are going through the exact same struggles that I am. That’s not exactly how I want to live the rest of my life.

7 days until the release of HEARTS ON FIRE. Glad to have yall on this journey with us.

James

We’re Giving Away Copies of Hearts On Fire in Cities All Across the USA!

From Monday, March 3rd – Monday, March 10th we will be hiding advance copies of our new album all across America! Each day we will leave a CD in a different city and let you know where to find it. Check our Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram each day to see if we stop by your hometown. New city every day!

Paste Magazine Premieres Lyric Video for Where We Stand

We’ve got another new song for you! “Where We Stand” is the opening track off of Hearts On Fire, due March 11th.

Big thanks to Paste Magazine for the premiere, and to Loch & Key Productions (www.lochandkeyproductions.com) for creating the lyric video!

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE WHERE WE STAND LYRIC VIDEO

NEW MUSIC TUESDAY: Dear Jamie

This song started coming together in October 2012 after a close friend of mine told me the heartbreaking story of her 25 year marriage getting torn apart by the addiction and drug use of her spouse. A couple of their kids still lived at home during this tragedy and had to witness not only the drug use, but also the accelerated screaming and fighting that ensued when divorce eventually came into the picture.

I kept thinking about how one day I would have a few kids of my own, and how the two parents in this story were once young just like me… with hopes and dreams and tons of uncertainty ahead of them. What drove the husband in this story to becoming a junkie? How many years of poor communication did it take to get there?

There is no solution offered in this song. Only pain and disappointment is expressed. However, the MLK speech at the end of the track does offer an alternative.

Thanks for listening.

James

NEW MUSIC TUESDAY: Someone To Love

This isn’t a love song, but it is a song about hope.

If you’re like me, then you probably make a ton of mistakes. You do things that you wish you didn’t do, and in your lowest moments you promise yourself that you won’t do them again. The bad news about these demons and these vices is that they never stop. Most of us won’t admit to our struggles and so instead we just keep ourselves really, really busy and we avoid any conversation that has actual substance or value to it. We fill up our brains with social media, alcohol, gossip, sarcasm, competition. We’re weak. I’m weak.

Somehow amidst all of this obvious weakness, we believe that we have the strength and mental stamina to mute the noises and voices that run around in our head. We don’t. These noises can’t be stopped on our own. The only hope we have is when we share these struggles with other people.

This song is me admitting to you that I can’t do it by myself any longer. It’s the drum that I’ll beat until the day I die.

James

American Songwriter Premiers Three Little Angels

Thanks to American Songwriter for premiering our new song “Three Little Angels” today! Another track from Hearts on Fire, “Three Little Angels” features guest vocals from Amy Helm. Check it out below and let us know what you think!

Click Here to Hear Three Little Angels

NEW MUSIC TUESDAY: Lovin

Sometimes you think that a song is finished, but in reality it’s still a long way’s off. Such is the case of Lovin…. which might be more appropriately named “Lovin 3.0”.

This song started as an acoustic riff that Jenkins had been playing for a while and we thought that it was going to have that “Beast of Burden” / Rolling Stones vibe to it. Originally the chorus to this song was the sexually charged:

“Your sweetness really turns me on,
making me the weakest man you’ve ever known”

and the outro to the song was the repeating phrase:

“I’ll make a living out of lovin you.”

We started working up some demos and we realized that this song had a lot of potential but that honestly it wasn’t really hitting any of us as hard as we had hoped.

A few months later a friend of ours suggested that we move the “Your sweetness really turns me on…” chorus part to the front as the intro and to move the “I’ll make a living out of lovin you” part from the Outro to the chorus… so we did.

Confused yet? So were we… the song just wasn’t done.

Well, the good news is that sometime last summer we were throwing some wiffle balls around the backyard when Jenkins said to me, “What if something bad happens in the story at the end of this song? Or there’s some kind of confrontation between the couple that is having this sweet romance story?”

Thus…. the turning point. We dropped our wiffle ball and plastic yellow bat and ran back inside to chase down the inspiration. Luckily, we found it… I ran into the vocal booth and we recorded the melody and most of the words that filled out the outro to Lovin. It was an absolutely fantastic afternoon.

Truthfully, completing a song is really all about capturing a moment. It’s about cutting to the bone of a situation that you’re in, and letting the honesty bleed out. If I knew how to do it on cue at any time then I would, but I think the only answer for a songwriter is to be ever open to the creative muse and the opportunity of a song.

James