With their sixth studio album Tornillo, the six-piece band has taken their solid decade-plus foundation and pushed themself to further explore new sonic landscapes.
For genre-bending band Whiskey Myers, 2019’s self-titled and self-produced album offered a watershed moment. With Rolling Stone raving that the “irresistible” album was “the record the band was poised to make” while declaring them “the new torch bearers for Southern music” in a story titled “How Whiskey Myers Won Over Mick Jagger and Made the Album of Their Career;” Billboard and No Depression naming the album to best-of-the-year lists; 41,000 first week album sales; and the project debuting atop both the Country and Americana album charts (as well as at No. 2 on the Rock charts, behind only a re-release of the Beatles’ Abbey Road), the band celebrated mainstream success a decade in the making.
Now, after spending 21 days isolated at the 2,300-acre Sonic Ranch studio deep in the heart of their native Texas, just miles from the U.S./Mexico border, the Gold-certified renegades have doubled down on what they do best: sharing honest truths with no-holds-barred instrumentation, letting the self-produced music speak for itself. Yet with Tornillo, named for the border town that is home to the pecan orchard-filled recording complex, the six-piece band has taken their solid decade-plus foundation and pushed themself to further explore new sonic landscapes.
“It’s going to have a little bit different sound,” lead singer Cody Cannon shared recently with Outsider. “It’s still Whiskey Myers at its core, but it’s kind of fresh… We did a lot of brass and horns on this one, which is something we’ve always wanted to do. Just being fans of all that old music and Motown stuff, and a lot of the stuff coming out of Muscle Shoals, old rock and roll.
“We’re going to bend [genres] even more, I think, with this new record,” he continued. “It’s all over the place. But that’s fun, right? I hate the whole ‘Put it in a box. You gotta be this.’ … That’s not art to me. I love the idea of just doing, really, whatever you feel. It comes out a certain way because that’s just how it comes out. Whiskey Myers never really tried to be a certain way. It’s just how we are. So I think that’s really the whole thing about music, or the beauty about music; it’s just that freedom to create.”
Tornillo as a whole does exactly that, drawing as much inspiration from Nirvana as from Waylon Jennings – even adding the legendary McCrary Sisters’ gospel influence to the project on background vocals. With Cannon leading the way on songwriting, the album also features writes from lead guitarist John Jeffers and fellow band members Jamey Gleaves and Tony Kent, as well as rising singer/songwriter Aaron Raitiere (Anderson East, Oak Ridge Boys, A Star is Born).