In a lot of artists' career, the album that some fear the most is the sophomore effort. After all, you have had your entire life to prepare for your first album, but for that second one -- that window of preparation narrows quite a bit. However, for rising country duo Rosehill - who have just issued their second album, "Crooked Thoughts," they were more than ready for the challenge.
"I've heard that people get scared of the sophomore record, but I think our confidence level was sky high knowing the people we were working with," said the duo's Blake Myers.
Listen to 'When the Flame Goes Out'
Mitch McBain agreed, saying "I think everybody strives to best their last project. You always want to do better. We weren't apprehensive at all. We were ready. The last one, we felt young and green, and a little nervous while working with (producers) Radney Foster and Jay Clementi and all those guys. This time, there was so much more of a comfort level. I think it worked great."
"Crooked Thoughts" is a little more musically varied than their debut, said McBain. "I think we took a lot more chances, musically and vocally. The harmonies on this record are as different as night and day from the first record. It's very Everly Brothers, very Foster and Lloyd. We're not sticking with one type of harmony, the entire song, it's all evolving. We have some straight-ahead songs that we think radio will enjoy, but we also have some curveballs that people will think 'This is a 1960s country song, because it's kind of out there."
The songs on "Crooked Thoughts," ranging from "Playing For Pride" to "When The Flame Goes Out," all were inspired from a very deep place, admits McBain. After all, it's been a very memorable year, one that has given him a lot to ponder and write about.
"I've had a big year this past year, got married, had a child, and released a sophomore album, and all that emotion plays into it. Until we had our child, I didn't realize there were emotions that I didn't know I had. This record, we drew from all sorts of inspirations. Some of the best advice we were ever given was to write what you know. One of my favorite bands was The Band, because they wrote all these great story songs. But, even if you go back to Johnny Cash, he sang a lot of the old folk songs, and we used to try to mimic that and write that type of song, but someone once told us just to write what you know."
But, McBain admitted that they can also use their imagination when creating. "Things changed when we started doing that. There is a lot of leaving on this record, and my wife said 'There's a lot of leaving on this record for someone who is married with kids.' But, I told her, just because things are that way now doesn't mean we hadn't lost love earlier in life. You draw from everything, the past, the present, and maybe the future. Other people can also be an influence."
The band has had a lot of success inside the Texas music scene. When asked what sets that apart from other genres or sub-genres, McBain explained that "We had a conversation with a manager of a friend of ours, and in trying to explain it to him, the main thing is the fan base. These people are crazy and hungry for music, and they are loyal and passionate about people from their state. We do a great job at bridging that gap and making ourselves accessible."
That being said, Myers says they want to spread their music all over the world. "People ask us all the time if we are a Texas country band, and I say that we are a country band from Texas. Hopefully, all of that influence comes through in our music, and we want to take that outside of our state."