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

National Release Day For Youth Is In Our Blood

Today is the day.  The national release of “Youth is in Our Blood” is finally here.

The making of this album has taken up the last year of our lives.  It’s crazy to look back at the amount of time and work that went into getting this thing done.

We had just finished playing at Bonnaroo last June when we were approached by someone with a connection to Levon Helm Studios in Woodstock, NY.  They asked us if we would be interested in recording up there if something could work out.  Naturally, we said yes, even though we had just released our self-titled CD six weeks earlier.  When you get an opportunity to go to a place like Levon’s, you just make it happen, whether or not you actually are ready for it.

Shortly thereafter, we booked a couple weeks for December 2009.  At this time, the reality sunk in that we didn’t really have any new material and that it would be a long fall.  Then comes Michael Jenkins to save the day.

Michael, as many of you know, is the source for the majority of our music.  During this time, he was living in a cabin by himself and relentlessly writing. We knew that, but weren’t aware actually how much he was writing.  He came to practice one day and gave me a CD of 10 instrumental full songs (him playing all the instruments).  Many of these ended up being on “Youth”.

We had a show that next week down in Atlanta opening for Band of Skulls on a Tuesday night.  I remember having to drive down separately to meet the rest of the band because of some sort of conflict.  Anyway, I played Michael’s instrumental CD the entire way down and the entire way back to Knoxville afterwards.  Six hours worth.  I loved it. My wife was with me and she didn’t even get sick of it. It was that good to us.

It was at that time that I thought for the first time, “this is going to be a great album”.  I saw the potential in these early cuts, particularly in what is now “Wide Awake” for some really special music. I knew that it would be hard, but that if we worked like crazy on this thing, we could make an album that we were extremely proud of.

As the fall went on, our days were spent in cubicles and classrooms, while our nights were spent working on the new material, arranging, writing, and playing together.  Cozmo joined on in October and it was full steam ahead.  This album was our life.

By the time December came around, we were ready to jump in head first and record these songs for the world to hear.  We thought they were great, but we had to get them out to you all.  As many of our long time readers know, our time in Woodstock ended up being very difficult, but equally great.  For whatever reason, we had a hard time getting going up there.  Many of us ended up being very sick.  We were frustrated.  Songs weren’t tight.  Things were generally not good.  But we fought through, had a breakthrough day, began to heal, and worked like mad to get as much done as we could.

After two weeks in Woodstock (and being stranded in Hershey, PA on the way home, thanks to SNOWPOCALYPSE), we were back home with the skeleton of this album.  However, there was still much to be done.  James spent his evenings in between shows and practices re-doing vocal tracks.  Many other overdubs had to be done, whenever we could find any time at all. Everyone was extremely tired, and at times we wondered if this thing would ever be finished.

We began testing out a few of the songs live around this time.  People responded very positively to the new songs, giving us more motivation to keep working hard.  We knew we had to keep pushing through and that it would be worth it in the end.

So, as you know, we did finish.  We fought through.  We got this thing done.  And we couldn’t be more proud of it. We sincerely hope that you all will enjoy it.

The last year has been a year full of sacrifice.  We have devoted hundreds and hundreds of hours to this because we truly believe in it.  It’s been worth every single minute we have spent, because we think it is a big step forward for us. Most everything that you care about involves sacrifice, and we deeply care about this band, each other, this music, and our fans.

So today, July 20th, “Youth is in Our Blood” goes from our heads to your ears.  We cannot thank you enough for your support.

– Justin