When Greyhounds decided it was time to make a new album — Cheyenne Valley Drive, which comes out April 13 and is premiering exclusively below — the Austin outfit was not wanting for material.
“We have a pretty deep catalog of tunes Anthony (Farrell) and I have written over the years,” singer-guitarist Andrew Trube tells Billboard. “We’ve been playing together for so long we can whip out whatever we have and figure it out in a few minutes and it’s ready to rock and we can get in there and knock it out. The key is just not to overthink it; So many people stew on it, especially now when you can go really deep on the computer and spend months and months on one song, editing and fine-tuning. But then all the little fun curve-ball things usually get taken out, and to me that’s the good stuff.”
Greyhounds, including drummer Ed Miles (whose home address inspired the album title), had an empathetic partner in that process in Memphis producer Matt Ross-Spang (Margo Price, Jason Isbell). They’d met him several years ago when Ross-Spang was working at Sun Studios, and when he moved to Sam Phillips Recording as one of the chief designers he began bugging Greyhounds to come check out the facility. “Finally I was like, ‘How about June?’ and he was like, ‘June’s perfect. What dates?'” Trube recalls. “I gave him the dates and it just happened. I looked at Farrell and said, ‘I guess we’re doing an album.’ But Matt’s been blowing up big, so I was like, ‘Let’s get in there before we can’t afford this place or Matt anymore.'”
The 10 songs on Cheyenne Valley Drive, from 13 recorded, range from 15 years old to some they wrote a few months before the sessions. Recording was done in just three days, tracking all 13 songs on the first and then bringing in guests — including Will Sexton, Amy LaVere, Dante Schwebel and Art Edmaiston — for overdubs during the next two.
“Y’know, back in the old days when Sam Phillips was recording, a lot of guys would go in and rehearse and be ready to go and lay it down, boom,” Trube says. “I like that. I have a studio here in Austin and work with a lot of artists and we usually get what we need down in three takes — and usually 90 percent of the time the first track is the most honest, the one for real. It’s all about having it as real and as natural and right there in the moment as possible. If you’re not happy by the third take, you probably need to try a different song.”
Greyhounds will celebrate Cheyenne Valley Drive‘s release with a hometown show in Austin, then hit the road, with U.S dates scheduled into September. Nobody’s guessing how long it will be before it’s time to record again, but Trube says he and Farrell will be ready. “Yeah, we’re always just continually writing and working,” he says. “I’m part of a song group where we write a song a week; Through that I’ve been lucky enough to work with a lot of artists who need songs and are looking for songs and are fans of our music. They come to us to kinda help them connect the dots, which is pretty flattering.”