Interview: New Reveille

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It’s been said that diversity is the art of thinking independently together. Rarely do life’s paths form in straight lines—and in the case of North Carolina-based Americana outfit New Reveille, those paths were varied and multi-directional.

“We call it reverse engineering because we made the record, then we took a picture, and then we made a music video, before ever playing together as a live band,” laughs guitar/banjo player Daniel Cook, who had made a series of demos and placed an ad looking for musicians to help him flesh out his compositions. “Amy and I met on Craigslist,” Cook reveals of lead vocalist Amy Kamm. “It’s because I want to be murdered,” she laughs as Cook interjects, “We met like at a coffee shop first, in public!” Kamm, admittedly not a lifelong “musician,” was encouraged by her husband to sing in places other than around the house and in the shower. “I really didn’t know that I could even sing,” she laughs. “My husband was like ‘You’ve got a beautiful voice, you should do something with it.’ We were going to a church at the time and he thought I should be in the choir. so I did that. I noticed that the choir director would pull me out for solos every now and then, and when I looked out in the congregation, some people would cry or become emotional. I thought maybe I’d tapped into something,” she continues. “That’s when I responded to Daniel’s ad.”

“I’d done some demos, she heard them and she responded,” Cook explains. “I was looking for other musicians, steel players and guitar players were sending me stuff, and other vocalists too. You never know what you’re gonna hear when you listen to a demo,” he laughs. “I was starting to get kind of jaded on it when I opened hers up. I called my wife in there to come listen to it—I didn’t think it was real.” Kamm then sang on some of Cook’s recordings, giving them a new life. Autumn Brand and Kaitlin Grady joined in as session players on fiddle and cello respectively, and George Hage, Cook’s friend who was designing the album art for the recording, joined in on guitar.

As the music took form, the group—without a final lineup—booked their first gig. “That’s what was going to make it happen. You gotta plan the show because then you’ll really do it,” Kamm laughs. The show sold out, and much to their surprise, the audience knew the songs and sang along. It was the band’s first show, but it was also Kamm’s first time singing in front of a crowd outside of church. “It seemed like she was nervous, but as soon as we played that first show and it was just like a switch came on and was very obvious that she was a natural performer. Two shows later, she was standing on PA speakers and stuff,” Cook laughs.

On September 7th, New Reveille released the product of those converging paths—The Keep, their first on Loud & Proud Records, made in Nashville over a dedicated and deliberate three-week period. With three different songwriters behind the music, each tune is fresh, new, and captivating, and allows the members’ individual influences to culminate in one multi-faceted, delicious blend.

I feel like this is our first full-length record. I feel like we’re getting our legs as far as who we are as a band, what our sound is, and it’s evolving,” says Hage. “We’ve learned so much already.” “Our minds are so focused and honed in on this creative process and making the album together,” adds Kamm. “The fact that we’re able to be in this creative headspace, to come up with different ideas, and it just allowed us to do way more than I think we ever thought we could.” “We’re having multiple epiphanies a day. It’s all being constantly reimagined in a really beautiful way,” says Cook. “Happy accidents happen when you’re afforded the space.”

[New Reveille is in Nashville for shows on Wednesday, December 5th, and Thursday, December 6th. Click HERE for more information.]

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Susan Hubbard

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