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, one of which they are releasing, free 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 No. 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 and Awards – this year for “Best Group,” last year for “Best Emerging Artist.” The band appeared on PBS’ Austin City Limits program in 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.
The Americana Fest at the Sheridan Opera House features Rod Picott, Amanda Shires, Stacey Earle and Mark Stuart Thursday, July 22; The Band of Heathens, with Jason Eady opening, Friday, July 23; and Joe Ely with Sam Baker opening, Saturday, July 24. Doors open at7:30; showtime, 8 p.m.