Interview: The Grand Southern

“My dad was the lead singer in a band called Three Dog Night, so I was kind of thrust into music, and totally supported in it,” says drummer Dash Hutton, who, with guitarist Jesse Tyre, makes up folk rock duo The Grand Southern. “I started playing the drums when I was a kid, and my brother and I started a band. I found Jesse at a local bingo night, no I’m just kidding,” he laughs. “No we met on Tinder, kidding again. We met through our producer, and discovered we had the same interests. I admired Jesse’s music, and we got along and started writing. Jesse, you don’t get a backstory by the way,” he says, but Tyre wants his voice to be heard. “I was raised on John Prine and Bonnie Raitt; my parents were hippies, and there was a drought that year, and they almost named me ‘Drought,’ but ended up naming me after Jesse Winchester and Jesse Colin Young. I got lucky,” Tyre declares. “I played in bands and everything, but none of it meant anything until I met Dash.”

At times, it is difficult to determine whether I’m chatting with a band or a comedy duo, but these brilliant senses of humor definitely explain The Grand Southern’s ability to craft infectiously clever and catchy songs. “Most of the time, when we write, it’s with an acoustic guitar or a piano. The players we work with make a big difference, and it just so happens that we know some amazing pedal steel players,” explains Tyre of their twangy style. “When you put pedal steel on anything, it all of a sudden becomes country or Americana. There wasn’t ever really a goal to have a certain sound, it’s just what came out. We didn’t have a plan, it was just fun to write, and we played acoustic shows,” Tyre adds. “It’s more fun when there are two of you playing open mics and heckling other artists together.”

After unleashing their EP, Traded Heaven, earlier this year, The Grand Southern released a video to accompany the title track, featuring Evan Peters from American Horror Story and directed by Blacklist star Ryan Eggold. “We’ve been friends with Evan and Ryan for almost 10 years,” explains Tyre. “We love their work; we’d never watched them practice their craft, and it was neat to see them interpret our music through that medium, see them work, and find out how talented they are,” he adds. “They were super generous with their time, and they were a fun part of the process.”

The band now has a brand new single, “Sleeptalking,” out now ahead of another EP in the works. “We’ll release the whole thing soon,” says Tyre. “Or maybe just one verse at a time.”

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Susan Hubbard

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