The Texas Gentlemen Release Their Debut EP "Outta the Blues"
What makes the Texas Gentlemen so special is that what they are, and who they are, can’t be defined in the traditional sense of a band. While the Gents have a core group of talented musicians (Beau Bedford, Ryan Ake, Daniel Creamer, Scott Lee, Nik Lee and Matt McDonald), there is also a rotating cast of headlining artists like Leon Bridges, Paul Cauthen and Jonathan Tyler who have fronted the band. Inspired by groups like The Swampers and The Wrecking Crew, the Texas Gentlemen started playing a few years ago mainly as a backing/studio band for other musicians.
Last year big things started to fall in place, starting with an opening on the bill of the Newport Folk Festival, providing the Gents with an opportunity to play alongside the legendary Kris Kristofferson. Shortly thereafter, some unexpected studio time in Muscle Shoals lead to a recording session that would birth the Texas Gentlemen’s first album, (to be released later this year).
As a teaser to the upcoming full length album, the Gents are releasing a limited four track EP this Saturday, just in time for their Record Store Day performance at Good Records. The group’s vinyl debut was pressed locally at Hand Drawn Pressing. Excited to hear more about their upcoming album releases and the future of the Texas Gentlemen, we sat down with their unofficial leader Beau Bedford.
You’re releasing your debut EP Outta the Blues for Record Store Day, what can you tell us about the songs on that album?
The EP, I guess, is the Gents B sides. It’s just material that we recorded over the last 6-12 months — we just didn’t know what we were going to do with the tunes. Good Records hit us up for Record Store Day, so we said, “If we're going to play this we should get something together, we gotta do something with these songs”. What really drove the EP was a track called “Outta the Blues”, which Daniel Creamer wrote the night of the election. Daniel had a really strong reaction to Trump like a lot of people have. I remember him telling me that he felt the weight of the world, but on the other hand it felt very cathartic to have that immediately release.
I understand you also recorded a full length album last year. How did recording that album come together?
We had recording time at Fame Studios scheduled with an artist who ended up having to cancel. Since we had the studio time booked already, we decided we would still go down there and see what happens. We didn’t have one song picked out. I told everybody that was coming out to have no expectations and just come enjoy band camp for a week. And if all we do is hang out in a classic studio for four days and just enjoy hanging out with each other then great. But if we can get great music on top of that, then what an even bigger blessing. That's how we approached it, we didn’t talk about songs, we didn't know who was even going to be there, it was just an open invitation to whoever can make it.
It sounds more impressive than it really is, but we did 28 songs in four days — part of that is what we played through our live covers set. What's really funny about the covers set is that we hated it. It was the only real time we got mad at each other while we were out there. We were working on all this new material, it was the first time we were hearing some of these songs. An artist would come in with a new song and the moment we heard it, it was like, “Cool, let's cut it”. Then we would go record it over the next hour or two. When we sat down and played a bunch of songs we knew, there was so much tension in the room. The energy was very raw. That's kind of why I like it, there’s nothing polished or exceptional about The Gents’ record, it's just honest.
Do you have an official name or release date for the album that you can share with us?
Nothing official yet, but it will be late August I believe, which is right on par with recording an album and putting it out a year later. The name of the album of is TX Jelly, and it's all material that we cut over those four days in Muscle Shoals. Almost everything on that record is a live take by the band. We just found a label partner with New West records, we’re very excited about working with them, they have amazing vision.
The Gents have always been this brotherhood of musicians, how does that translate into an album? Will you have some guest appearances outside of your core members?
Yes we have four feature vocalists: Paul Cauthen, Dan Dyer, Keite Young and Noah Jackson. And then there are songs by Gent core members Dan Creamer and Nik Lee. The mystery of the Texas Gentlemen is something that even our featured members are all keenly aware that it's something special and sacred. That's something that I hope we always continue, it's such a unique relationship. Like any relationship it does have its growths and growing pains, but it's something to be really celebrated that we can persevere through hard times and the relationship grows stronger. Family comes up a lot in our group, we very much consider one another like extended family. The thing that's elusive about The Gents is that you can show up to any show and know loosely what it's going to be, but you never know what person might show up to that show. And we don't even know, we’ll see them and ask if they’ll come up and do some songs.
Last year The Gents played their first music festival and you are playing a few more this year as well. With an album coming out later this year do you have any plans to go out on tour?
We definitely will be touring the record. It's our hope that we can do that jointly with an artist we support out on the road. We’ll see what happens, some of that is a little beyond our control. When we went out to Newport Music Fest last year, it was like meeting our spirit animal in a music festival. We're still ironing out the details, but I think we will be back there this year as well. This year we kind of came on to the scene a little late for all the festivals, but were excited about what can happen next year.
Be sure to pick up a copy of the Texas Gentlemen's debut EP on vinyl this Saturday at Good Records. They will be performing two free shows as well at Good Records and Earth Day Texas at Fair Park.