The story of the Railers began in a grocery store. So says the band's Cassandra, who was studying opera at North Arizona University.
"I walked in through the 'out' doors and ran into Jonathan," she recalled to Billboard. "We realized that we were both studying at the same music school. We started a conversation from there and realized that we both had plans to go to Nashville and pursue music. We just hit it off and went from there."
And go to Nashville they did. "I moved to Nashville in 2003," Jonathan recalls. "We both were at Belmont. She was finishing her degree, and I was doing my masters. While we were there, we met Tyler, and she was determined he was going to be our buddy," he says with a laugh. "I think I remember a phone call where she said, 'There was this dude in my class who rode a bike from Indianapolis to Niagara Falls, and I think he's going to be our friend.' During that time, my brother Jordan had moved out here. He had finished at NAU a year after I did."
The four found they were of a like musical spirit and were all soon making a living with their talents. "We all had other jobs. Jordan was playing for Josh Turner, Tyler was playing for a lot of different acts at the time, Cassandra was plugging songs for a publishing company, and I was working with Sara Evans. So we all had pretty good gigs, but we knew we needed to commit to the band, because this was where our future was going to be. We sat down at CREMA, this coffee shop on First Avenue, and Cassandra pulls out this napkin and wrote on it September 1, 2010 -- band or bust,' and we all signed our names to it. That was our contract to each other. We basically gave us six months to become a full-time band, and six months later -- almost to the day -- Jordan quit Josh's band, and Sara actually invited us to open up her entire fall tour, which was an amazing way to get kicked off."
And it has just gotten better from there. The band became highly sought after in Music City, with Sony/ATV signing them to a publishing contract, which led to a recording deal with Warner Bros. Their debut single, "Kinda Dig the Feeling," is starting to make some noise at radio, peaking at No. 49 so far on Country Airplay. Cassandra said she feels it's the perfect introduction to what their sound is all about. "We call it our 'Shake and Bake' song, where you feel like it's about to come off the rails at any moment. Our biggest goal was to try to capture what we do live in the studio so that when it started to play on the radio, people would want to start dancing in their cars or screaming at the top of the lungs in their shower."
Jonathan says Warner Bros. was a perfect fit. "We knew off the bat that this would be the place for us to go. We talked to every label in town, and each is different and have their own thing, but Warner Bros. said, 'We get you guys for who you are right now. We don't want to change you. We want you guys to go make an album and let us know when you're done.' They gave us the creative license to go out and do our thing. Nobody heard any of the first batch of songs until they were mixed -- including the single. We put our trust in the right hands."
The band is currently putting the final touches on their debut full-length album, due in 2015. This fall, the band can be seen opening dates for Hunter Hayes on his Tattoo Your Name Tour. Jonathan says that the timing of everything just feels right.
"We've been doing it for so long, and it's really cool to see all the fruits of our labor start to pay off. It seems like there is such providence in the timing of everything. Back in August, Hunter Hayes broke the number of shows in a 24-hour period in the Guinness Book of World Records, and we got to open up three of those shows for him. Hunter came out and watched our entire set. By the end of the night, they had asked us what our plans were for this fall. The next day, we had an offer to open up the fall tour. The timing of that and releasing the first single has been awesome."