Who’s New: Midland

Who’s New: Midland

Members: Mark Wystrach, Cameron Duddy, Jess Carson
Single: “Drinkin’ Problem”
EP: Midland
Twitter: @MidlandOfficial
Website: Midlandofficial.com
Influences: Willie Nelson, Keith Whitley, George Strait, Brooks & Dunn, Gary Stewart

INSIDE SCOOP:

Lead singer Mark Wystrach, lead guitarist Jess Carson and bass player Cameron Duddy make up country’s hippest new trio, Midland. Formed in Dripping Springs, Texas, the band boasts a mix of sounds from the ’70s, ’80s and early ’90s country, with heavy influences from George Strait and the Eagles. The band’s self-titled EP, produced by Dan Huff and Shane McAnally, features five tracks, including their current single, “Drinkin’ Problem”—giving fans a taste of what they’ll hear on the upcoming full-length album that’s currently in the works. You can catch the traditional trio on their first major tour—covering four dates in Canada—with Tim McGraw and Faith Hill on the Soul2Soul tour in April.

MUSICAL BEGINNINGS

CAMERON DUDDY: “My parents are separated and have been ever since I was a little kid. So, seeing my dad sometimes only once-a-month and being sort of estranged from him—it’s hard to catch up with them in a weekend. Sometimes you don’t get to talk about all the things that you maybe want to talk about and the ice breaker started to be music. That was just an easy thing to sort of ease into and it went from listening to music, to playing music. My dad gave me my first guitar, it was one of his guitars. It was an electric Epiphone—that was sort of my entry point into playing music. That was very important for me as a child. It helped me find my identity. It helped me communicate with my dad.”

JESS CARSON: “I grew up in a little farm, outside of a farm town, in a valley in Oregon—growing Christmas trees and strawberries and raspberries. Country music was the main genre of music in that area that I grew up around. We didn’t have T.V. but we had a piano. My sister played piano and my dad played guitar. So I kinda picked up guitar at a pretty young age. We’d all kinda play music as a family and then I wanted, of course, to get into rock—Nirvana and stuff like that when I was in my teens. I played rock and Americana stuff through my 20’s. I had that sort of early country ingrained background and knowledge and that familiarity and the stuff that I grew up on.”

MARK WYSTRACH: “For me, music was always just everywhere. My parents are both huge music fans and fans of live music, with very different backgrounds. My dad is an immigrant. He grew up in L.A. in more of the rock n’ roll, R&B, Motown stuff like that. My mother grew up on the ranch that I grew up on in Southern Arizona. So I grew up on my grandfathers ranch, where she grew up. My mother sang choir, she always dreamed of being a singer when she was in high school and middle school. My parents owned a live country music venue, they bought it in the late 70’s so by that time I came around the 80’s, we were there every Friday, Saturday and Sunday—live country music and rock ‘n roll. Sundays they played Jarocho music, traditional Mexican harp music. So I was exposed to music all the way round and my mom was always singing. When we were doing work on the ranch, I was always singing along with her, to that stuff, so music’s always been just a integral part of my life I guess.”

FORMATION OF MIDLAND

MARK: “Me, Jess and Cameron, like a lot of young early 20-year-olds, moved out West and chased a lot of different dreams, and we all met in the music scene. Cameron and Jess were playing in bands for a while. Fast forward to a few years later, the three of us had never all played together, but we all had collaborated—in parts—with each other for a long time. Cameron asked us both to be groomsmen at his wedding up in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and that was the first time Jess and I had ever come together with Cameron and played music. There was a lot of song swapping going on that week up in Jackson Hole. After that week I think we realized that there was a certain kinda kismet—that pretty special energy when we all performed at Cam’s rehearsal dinner. We kinda looked at each other and said ‘Hey man, we should do something’ and it really emanated from that.”

“DRINKIN’ PROBLEM”

MARK: “I think ‘Drinkin’ Problem’ is just a song that we feel really represents what Midland is about, as far as the sound goes, as far as the songwriting goes. I think it’s just a great peek into what our influences are. But essentially it’s a song about an archetype, about a guy or a girl, that either we’ve all known and I am assuming that all of us are of the age and have spent a lot of time in bars. We all know this person and maybe it has been us at a certain time, but it’s kind of a beautiful song about a dark place, I guess.”

SOUNDING BOARD

MARK: “Somebody said a couple weeks back, they said, ‘Your sound sounds like George Strait and the Eagles went and had a wild bender and you are the bastard sons from the product of that.”

JESS: “I can tell you what we hope for and that’s to make music that is timeless and that people will want to listen to now, but also in 40 years. You know, like a lot of the people that we listen to— Willie Nelson, John Conlee, Eddie Rabbitt, Alabama and …”

MARK: “God, Keith Whitley is in there, Gary Stewart, George Strait.”

CAMERON: “Eagles, Brooks & Dunn. Early ’80s, late ’70s. But also we love what was going on in the early ’90s with Alan Jackson and Dwight [Yoakam] and Garth [Brooks], you know. They all came on the scene in the late ’80s but their time was the early ’90s and boy, that was some great music they were putting out then. It also happened to be a time where country music crossed in to pop culture. Not pop music but pop culture.”

MARK: If you put ‘Rose Colored Glasses’ by John Conlee on right now, that song stands the test of time. And that is that timelessness that communicates with people from all different backgrounds. You don’t even have to be a country fan to go, ‘That’s good music.’”

CLOTHES MAKE THE MAN

CAMERON: “I remember distinctly buying this jacket because Rick Danko from The Band was wearing almost this identical jacket in The Last Waltz [The Band’s concert-film] in an interview he did. I said, ‘I got to have that jacket.’ I went and hunted one down. I think we all have inspiration. Mark is wearing that vest because he loves Keith Richards.”

MARK: “[I’m a] big Rolling Stones fan. I think it is just about expressing yourself both musically and artistically. I think it is a continuation of that.”

CAMERON: “It is all inspiration from something that gets stuck in your mind, that you may not even know when your looking through a sale rack at some vintage store.You can’t see us right now but we’re all wearing matching polka-dot suits and it’s really, really incredible.”

ON THE HORIZON

JESS: “We are about to be back in the studio and we are hoping to have our full length [album] out in September of this year. It is going to be an extension of the EP. It’s going to be an extension of that sound.”

CAMERON: “We are going to be doing radio and playing some dates with Tim and Faith on the Soul2Soul Tour up in Canada [May 31-June 4]. We are going to play four dates. That will be really cool because it will be such a big venue. We’re actually going to do it, just the three of us.  We’ve really zeroed in on our harmony acoustic performance. So it will be cool to do that in such a large venue.”

MARK: “Thanks to Tim and Faith for giving us the great honor—to believe in us, to believe in the sound, and to handpick us. To be handpicked by two of your favorite artists, two iconic artists, and global artists is one of those kind of validating moments where you look around and say, ‘Alright, we are doing something right.’ It is just really fuel for the fire—to keep on going.”

 

Photo by Harper Smith / BMLG

Daily Dose

Nashville New Year

Nashville New Year

You can ring in the New Year in Nashville with a free show featuring Keith Urban, Brett Young, Peter Frampton, Judah & the Lion, Caitlyn Smith, Devon Gilfillian and Fisk Jubilee Singers. The free event—dubbed the Jack Daniel’s Music City Midnight: New Year’s Eve in Nashville—will take place at the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park. Gates will open at 4 p.m. CT on Dec. 31.