Statesboro Revue

Americana band releases "Ramble On Privilege Creek" ... Frontman talks of coming painfully close to a big break on "The Voice"

Stewart Mann, lead singer of the critically acclaimed group The Statesboro Revue, has been around the business for quite a while. That being said, he admits that he tries not to get too hyped or jaded when the good -- or the bad -- reviews come. However, the singer tells Billboard that the reviews for their latest, "Ramble On Privilege Creek," have gotten the positive vibes flowing for the group.

"The response has been overwhelming," he said. "I've never seen anything like it. My brother is our lead guitar player in the band and this is his first record ever. I told him it's ok to get excited about the response being so amazing so far, but to just wait because you will get a bad review at some point." 

Mann says you have to just take it one day at a time. "You can't let it hurt your feelings, because it's just the nature of the beast. You put out records and some people like them, or some people don't like them."

The diverse smorgasbord of musical styles has attracted the band a growing audience, but also serves as a curse, of sorts, says Mann. "We've been a band that incorporates so many different kinds of music. Sometimes that turns people off. We'll play at a country bar, and they will think we are too rock and roll, or we will play at a rock and roll bar, and they think we are too country. We've always been teetering between different genres and it seems like with this record, the rock and the country crowds are both into it. Getting response like this to a record makes you think this is what you're supposed to be doing." 

"Ramble On Privilege Creek" is full of top-notch musical performances, such as "Till I Leave" and "Fade My Shade Of Black." Mann says their music just flows together. "We've been around each other our whole lives, so it's just natural. It's not forced or contrived. I think that's one of the beautiful things about family in a band is if you are having a bad day, we step on a stage and music is our common bond. It's something that nobody can never take away from us." 

Mann admits that his recent audition for "The Voice" took a much different turn. 

"I had never been that fond of the reality music shows, but it seemed like it was different. I had a couple of friends of mine that were on season one, and they told me to go for it. I got a call that they were going to fly me back there for what they call 'executive callbacks.' They flew about 200 of us back out to LA, and we were out there for about a week and a half and went through all the executive callbacks, wardrobe stuff, and a few things here and there. We were all confined to a hotel, and couldn't leave the hotel. Then, we went back home for another two or three weeks, then they flew back another 125 – of which I was fortunate to be one. They took really good care of us, and everything was really professional. I was slated to go on day four, and had gone through wardrobe, hair, and make-up. They flew my family out there for a week, and we were all in kind of a holding cell. Then, one of the producers comes in, and tells us the teams have been filled because each judge only gets a certain amount of contestants. I went through all of it, and never got to audition for nothing, basically – which is really crazy," he says, though he tries to look at it from a philosophical standpoint. "But, everything happens for a reason, and I met a lot of great people. I didn't get to be on television, but maybe that day comes on down the line on my own terms. I hope we continue to get bigger, because technically, we're still struggling. Ultimately, you've got to make a living. You've got to get by."