Getting together for rehearsals and gigs as a 10-piece band is never easy, but since 2011 Austin soul band The Nightowls have been doing just that, and at a remarkably steady pace to boot. Fronted by the charismatic singer Ryan Harkrider, The Nightowls seek to bring together the fun loving times of Motown and Memphis soul, but with a laid back Austin flare and a touch of light-hearted pop goodness. Harkrider’s voice is smooth yet defiant, and his boisterous band of background singers and brass – not to mention some seriously funky guitar – keep their ears to the pavement, making sure to keep just enough gritty soul in their music.
The upcoming EP from The Nightowls, Royal Sessions, which drops July 15th via Nightowls Music isn’t the band’s first release, however, it does find this merry gang of soulsters coming into their own with a tightness that could not be found on previous releases. That’s not to say The Nightowls haven’t been tight up until now (they have); it’s just that for Royal Sessions the group made a point to trek to the famed Royal Studios (Al Green, John Mayer, Rod Stewart) in Memphis, TN. It must’ve been the spirit of Memphis, because they managed to cut a handful of songs that seem to be boiling over with newfound spunk and soul. Not to mention, Ryan Harkrider and company are able to effortlessly meld Memphis and Motown with modern pop music, making for something that is palatable even for fans of more mainstream fare like Fitz and the Tantrums.
All of this can be heard of the band’s newest single off Royal Sessions, “Can’t Bring Me Down”, which we are delighted to premiere right here on Glide Magazine today. The song captures exactly what makes The Nightowls so special, with a massive build and Ryan Harkrider’s expressive vocals shining while also falling right in line with his back-up singers and an explosive brass section. The song also is a positive reflection of The Nightowls’ semi-recent decision to take their act on the road and bring the music to people outside of Austin.
Reflecting on the tune, Harkrider says, “‘Can’t Bring Me Down’ is song that I had written and recorded about 5-6 years ago for my solo project but ended up never releasing. It remained basically untouched until I came back across last fall as we were writing for Royal Sessions. I brought it to the band and we all felt very drawn to it because of how it basically describes the last 12 crazy months we’ve had together spent constantly on the road, working to release our previous album, Fame Sessions, and all of the hard work, determination that goes along with those things. So, we rearranged the song for our 10-piece band and recorded it last December at Royal Studios in Memphis, TN with Boo Mitchell.’
Listen to The Nightowls’ “Can’t Bring Me Down”:
The Nightowls release Royal Sessions on July 15th. For more info, tour dates and music visit wearethenightowls.com.