The Recording Academy Texas Chapter recently played host for GRAMMYs On The Road at Utopiafest in the Texas Hill Country community of Utopia. GRAMMY.com conducted exclusive backstage interviews with artists performing at the festival, including guitarist Jimmy Herring, eclectic collective Sorne and country/rock quintet Wheeler Brothers.
Herring discussed the various styles explored on his latest album, Subject To Change Without Notice, artists with whom he has collaborated and career highlights, among other topics.
"We really don't think, 'OK, we're going to play a country tune now, or we're going to play a rock tune or a jazz tune,' because to us music is music," said Herring. "If we wanted to achieve anything with [this] record, it was to get people to not care so much about labels in music."
An alumnus of Berklee College of Music and Musicians Institute, Herring is the lead guitarist of the Southern rock/blues collective Widespread Panic. Adept in styles such as rock, country and jazz, he has collaborated with artists including Grateful Dead's Phil Lesh, drummer Billy Cobham, Allman Brothers Band, and Derek Trucks. As a solo artist, he released Subject To Change Without Notice in August. The album contains seven original compositions and covers of Horace Ott's "Miss Poopie," John McLaughlin's "Hope" and the Beatles' "Within You Without You."
Sorne frontman Morgan Sorne discussed the project's beginnings, performing live and his favorite GRAMMY moment, among other topics.
"In taking what's on record and presenting it to an audience, the biggest thing that I feel is important is to be as sincere as possible," said Sorne. "[I] allow myself to be as vulnerable as I can be as a performer."
Featuring Deano, Kevin Naquin and Sorne, Sorne are an Austin, Texas-based collective blending visual art with poetic lyrics, pulsating drums and visceral chanting. The group's debut album, House Of Stone, was released in 2011 and features 13 tracks written by Sorne, including "Golden Death Chant." Sorne are currently on tour in the United States, with dates scheduled through November.
Wheeler Brothers discussed recording their upcoming album, the Texas music scene and music education, among other topics.
"Whenever we're off the road, we head down to [our] ranch and record," said vocalist/guitarist Nolan Wheeler. "This [new album] will be different from Portraits in the fact that we're recording it from the ground up in the studio."
With a sound fusing traditional folk with blues, country and Southern rock elements, Wheeler Brothers feature three brothers, Nolan, Patrick (drums) and Tyler (bass) Wheeler, A.J. Molyneaux (guitar/vocals), and Danny Matthews (vocals/guitar). Their debut album, 2011's Portraits, was released on GRAMMY winner Ray Benson's Bismeaux Records. Wheeler Brothers won the Best New Band award at the 2011–2012 Austin Music Awards. Fresh from their appearance at the 2012 Austin City Limits Music Festival, the band have U.S. tour dates scheduled through January.