Soulful Southern Rock
Hippies & Cowboys
Nashville's HOTTEST NEW southern rock n' soul band, Hippies and Cowboys. Their debut single, "20 To Life" will be the first of many single drops along with their EP. They bring a fresh vintage flair in their new single, taking you back to the days of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Led Zeppelin, CCR, and Aerosmith. As a new up-and-coming band, they have traveled throughout the country, playing shows in Florida to Detroit to everywhere in between. You can find them regularly playing on Broadway in Nashville, TN at Kid Rock's, Johnny Cash's, and Tin Roof. Their musical influences and taste vary from member to member. Still, the one thing they all have in common is their love for classic rock and soul music.
Catching up with Aaron Sparling, lead vocalist of Hippies & Cowboys, to discuss their new single, "20 to Life" and a bit about, you know, life!
KM: Congratulations on the new single, "20 to Life." Obviously you guys are influenced by 70's southern rock bands like Skynyrd, Marshall Tucker, Allman Brothers. Have you ever heard "Rockin Away" by Brad Delp and Barry Goudreau? Subconscious influence there too?
AS: Until this interview, I had never heard the song. I do indeed love Brad Delp and am a HUGE Boston fan. I did resonate with a few lines in the song, mostly “I never wanted to be anything other than what I am.” It touched me in many ways because I’ve always felt like that. I know the rest of the band feels the same. There is no backup plan or thoughts of doing something else in life.
KM: When you guys got together, did you all share the same vision to bring back that kick ass 70's Southern Rock sound and add your own magic to it?
AS: Honestly, when we got together, we were just doing songs I had been sitting on for a while. They leaned a little more on the alternative / hard rock side. It took about a year to get to know each other and understand each other's past until we all found a strong bond over southern rock and soul music. That's when we decided to create our sound. It totally changed from the material I had introduced at first. I still plan on releasing a lot of the stuff I introduced at first on a solo record sometime in the future. The sound was always inside of us, and it was always meant to be. We just had to put the time in and perfect our craft.
KM: Tell me about the band. Who are you guys?
AS: We are just a group of fellas who got together to create music we love, have a good time, and hopefully touch some lives in the process. The band is made up of me, Lead Singer (Aaron Sparling), Drummer (Scott Metko), Lead Guitarist (Andrew Lambie), Bassist (Kevin Corbo), Pianist (Nolan Brown) and Saxophone (Matty Sax). We believe in the power of music. It can change the world. We all work super hard night and day playing gigs, recording music, writing music, doing photo shoots, or answering interview questions like I'm doing now. I guess you could say we are "slaves to the grind". Though we wouldn't have it any other way. I don't think we could stop working even if we wanted to. It's just who we are!
KM: The first gig you did, what was the reaction by the people there listening? Do you think you caught them by surprise with the band's sound?
AS: I remember the first original show we did as Hippies And Cowboys was at Alley Taps in Nashville. We put the whole show together and worked EXTREMELY hard to promote it. Up to this point, we were unsure how well our music would go over in front of a live audience. As you know, we have horns and are doing something not too many people seem to be doing these days. We are definitely not a “Mainstream” band, if you will. To our surprise, we blew the roof off of the place. We had so many people there that night to support us and beg for an encore at the end. I think we realized at that point we had something special. I believe our music is a sound that has been tested by time and seems to never get old. It's a kinda refreshing touch to an old sound. To answer your question fully, I believe we did catch listeners by surprise and are bringing back something they forgot they loved so much. Everyone seems damn glad we are doing so.
KM: We are too. With so many bands today on the double kick drums, scream vocals and over produced music train, where do you guys fit in? Is there room for Hippies and Cowboys on satellite radio and in rock festivals? My feeling is hell yes but how do you win over those Octane fans?
AS: I think there is absolutely room for us in rock festivals. We are an extremely diverse band of people that can get along with any crowd. It doesn't really matter what room or stage you put us on; even if a single person doesn't know who we are, we will win them over by the end of it. We have such an electric show and a mighty presence it's hard not to be focused on what we are doing anytime we are on stage. We have a soul that pulls people in and gives them something that can resonate with them. Our music is simple. We don't need to over produce or care about it going top 40 to get our point across. Just put us on a stage and let us do what we were born to do. We let the music do the talking!
KM: Who is the primary songwriter in the band? Take me through the process.
AS: I am our main songwriter. Even though everyone is always writing and co-writing together, a lot of the songs that will be on our first record were written by me. The process is kind of different every time. It could be 2am, and I'll come up with an idea, and the next day we are in the studio cutting a demo. It could also go down as we just get together and share ideas we’ve been working on. There are all kinds of ways we create.
KM: Your first single, "20 to Life" has the guitars, piano, horns, vocals and was produced at Muscle Shoals, very appropriate. Aaron, did you do all the production?
AS: Yes, produced mainly by myself. I wrote all of the horn parts myself and mostly all of the songs, I had written. When I write a song, I have a vision of how it should sound in the end. So we had a collection of songs worked up and hit the studio to make the record. The whole band played a part in the production, but it was produced mainly by myself.
KM: When can we expect the next single?
AS: We are working on getting everything prepared for the follow-up single. You should expect to see it hit the airwaves at the end of April, as well as a music video for “20 To Life”.
KM: Any tour scheduled right now?
AS: We have a handful of road dates booked throughout the year. A few festivals and some smaller club gigs around the country. We also play downtown Nashville on Broadway every Monday night (6-10pm) at Nudies Honky Tonk and every Tuesday (10-2am) at Kid Rocks on the Main Stage.
KM: Anyone you'd like to give thanks or a shout out to?
AS: We would like to give a shout out to our family, friends, and fans who have made all of this possible. Our gratitude is forever yours! We couldn't do it without the people. I'd also like to cap this off by saying thank you to all of the musicians in the world who are working hard to make their dreams come true. Follow them, make them a reality, NEVER GIVE UP!!! The world is yours for the taking. Power to the people!!
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Kreig Marks, Publisher / Founder TRR
Kreig Marks is the Founder/Publisher of Tru Rock Revival Magazine.
Rock music has always been his passion, and promoting musicians. In is spare time he is an internationally recognized neuro-fitness trainer/ kinesiologist.