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The Nightowls

  • 3TEN
  • 310 Willie Nelson Blvd, Suite 1A
  • Austin, TX 78701
  • October 28, 2016
  • Time: 10:00 PM
  • Price: $15.00 Advanced// $20.00 Day of Show

FAME. The word means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. But to the ten members of The Nightowls, it means only one thing: soul.

Located in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, FAME Studios achieved an almost mythical status in the 60's and 70's as the host of unforgettable sessions by Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, The Staple Singers, Percy Sledge, Little Richard, The Allman Brothers, and countless others. It was the birthplace of the Muscle Shoals Sound and home to The Swampers, the unparalleled rhythm section that laid down the grooves for an incredible number of timeless classics and influenced a myriad more. For a southern soul band like The Nightowls, it was Mecca.

"Most of us grew up on our parent's record collections, listening to classic soul and Motown," says Ryan Harkrider, who founded The Nightowls in Austin, Texas. "The music that came out of FAME has always been familiar to us and ingrained in who we are. Since day one, we called our trip to record there a pilgrimage."

The band released their debut, 'Good As Gold,' in 2014 to widespread critical acclaim. The Austin Chronicle hailed it as "suave, energetic, blue-eyed soul" and named it one of the Top 10 of the year at the annual Austin Chronicle Music Awards, Austin Monthly named them a Band To Watch, and Texas Music Magazine called the album "a smooth addictive blend of pop, R&B and funk that will delight the band's dance-happy fans." They spent the next year bringing their ecstatic live show to stages around the country, including a triumphant hometown gig at the Austin City Limits Festival, and followed it up with a four song EP ('Good As Gold B-Sides') and a vinyl re-release of the album due to popular demand. When it came time to record their sophomore LP, though, The Nightowls knew there was only one place they could go.

"We had the idea to record at FAME," Harkrider remembers, "but we were really, really worried about whether the studio would be available, or if The Swampers were still around. What were they like? Would they come out and play on our record? But it was the easiest thing in the world. I called up the studio and it was southern hospitality at its finest."

Plans were made for three days of principal tracking at FAME, and the band wrote the entire album in the three months leading up to the sessions, including on the drive from Austin to Muscle Shoals.

"We did a lot of research and a lot of listening to all the music and all the artists that came out of FAME Studios," says Harkrider. "We made a lot of intentional choices, not only sonically but also with the arrangements, to reflect that legacy. Ultimately, because it's a sound that's been ingrained in us for so long, it felt very natural, but we crafted the album to play like a microcosm of the history of the studio, going from the early days of classic soul through the later days with a southern rock sound."

The Nightowls