Country Countdown: Love and Theft, Colt Ford Score No. 1s
Country Countdown: Love and Theft, Colt Ford Score No. 1s

After Starting Over as a Duo, Their Hot Single Hits No. 3 on Country Songs

It's been an emotional two years for Love & Theft. After achieving top ten success with their debut single, "Runaway," they were thrown for a loop with the closing of their label, Lyric Street Records. Then, member Brian Bandas decided to leave the trio. Needless to say, there were some days of uneasiness before the newly minted duo resurfaced on RCA with their current hit "Angel Eyes" (No. 3 on Country Songs) and their self-titled album (No. 4 debut).

"It was definitely very nerve-wracking," says Eric Gunderson. "It's so hard to get a first shot in this town, much less a second -- especially to be on one of the most historic record labels in RCA. We feel very fortunate and blessed."

Fellow member Stephen Barker Liles is also excited with the upswing in their career. "When people are spending their own money on iTunes and Amazon to buy the single, that's a nice honor, because there are so many choices."

Gunderson admitted to Billboard that they had to move at a little faster pace for their current album than their 2009 debut. "For our first album, we had ample amounts of time to write. I guess we had three years to write it. For this one, there was a little bit more pressure to come up with things a little bit quicker. And, we were trying for a more organic sound. It was a challenge, but I think it yielded some pretty cool songs that reflect our personality as a duo because just about everything we wrote, we did together.

The new album was produced by Nashville veteran Josh Leo, which made for some butterflies for the guys -- at first. "We were walking down the halls at RCA, and he did that album, and this album, and that album," said Liles. "You could call one of the halls the Josh Leo wall. To have grown up listening to 'Fishin In The Dark' and all that Alabama stuff was huge." However, once they got to work in the studio, it made for a perfect fit."

Critics are buzzing about the album, which features some deep tracks such as "Town Drunk" and the light-hearted "Girls Look Hot In Trucks." The latter has been getting a ton of response in concert, according to Gunderson.

"We've been playing music live for a long time, and one of the coolest things is when you are doing the hook of a song live, and it resonates with people. When we do that song, and we get to the hook, everybody goes nuts. It's not the deepest hook," he admits, "but it's a good feeling that they get it."