Sophie Gault acknowledges that it’s taken long time for her band, the Broken Things, to get its first EP together. And she adds that the self-titled set — from which the track “Johnny” is premiering exclusively on Billboard today (Jan. 30) — came as something of a surprise for the Nashville sextet.
“We were aiming it to sell at shows, just a simple thing to have at the merch table, nothing more than that,” Gault tells Billboard. “And throughout production we kept going, ‘Yeah, this is starting to feel pretty good!’ So it’s more than we thought it would be, but in a good way.”
The four-song Sophie & the Broken Things, produced by drummer Daniel Jones, offers an introduction to the group’s diverse stylistic range, from the honky-tonk flavor of the opening “Paper ID” to the smoothly melodic “Johnny.”
“I guess you can say it’s Americana, but that’s so vague,” says Gault, a Maryland native who moved to Nashville six years ago and took the band name from friend and songwriting idol Julie Miller. “I come from listening to a lot of different forms of American roots music. I was really into Mississippi John Hurt and Son House and people like that, and then I got into people that they influenced, like the Rolling Stones. Now I listen to Shovels & Rope a lot. So it’s just American roots music collectively, all of it.”
“Johnny” is Gault’s homage to another songwriter “who just blew me away when I first moved to town,” often at writers rounds. The two became friends but the title character, whose identity she’s not revealing, moved on, and the song, according to Gault, “is a way to say I miss hanging out with him. That happens a lot around here; You get to know these people really well and they go on and have success and you’re not seeing them as much anymore ’cause they’re out doing their own thing and all that. It’s about that experience more than one person in general. It’s about missing those days.”
Sophie & the Broken Things comes out Jan. 31 and the band are planning to tour regionally, focusing on markets where the group has been getting some love at radio. A second EP is already in progress — “We have a lot of drums recorded and bits and pieces here and there,” Gault reports — and the group hopes to put a full-length album together, possibly by the end of the year.
Listen to “Johnny” below.