Hailing from Gastonia, North Carolina, singer Abby Bryant and guitarist Bailey Faulkner have been hanging out and playing music together since they were kids. After a few challenging years of learning the ropes as touring musicians and struggling to make their way in a tough industry, the pair has cemented their presence as a regional powerhouse with debut album Not Your Little Girl released with their full group Abby Bryant & The Echoes. The debut LP is a confident and rebellious collection, showcasing Bryant’s vocal abilities and claiming the band’s hard-fought place in the world of vintage-inspired southern soul rock.
The daughter of a music minister, Bryant grew up singing and playing music for church services under her father’s direction. One of her first memories of performing involves singing as an angel in a nativity play and backing up the church band in her traditional small-town community. It wasn’t until she and Faulkner attended Appalachian State that either began to seriously consider a professional career in music. Faulkner and his roommates eventually formed a rock band, and Bryant would guest sing with the group at local bars and venues throughout the mountain town. This time period proved to be a foundational step for the pair as they learned from other musicians and friends in the local scene. “Our friends showed us by example how to navigate landing gigs, run your own sound system, and other more basic and foundational things like that. It was all pretty new to me,” explains Faulkner. What the two did have was a common love for the sound and spirit of soul and American roots music as embodied by artists like Etta James and Bonnie Raitt and more recent artists including Susan Tedeschi and Margo Price. With these inspirations, Bryant and Faulkner began co-writing songs that would eventually appear on Not Your Little Girl.
The pair strove to assemble a like-minded team and found it tough to make enough money from music alone to live comfortably. Working with a number of part-time members as they developed, the two soon relocated to Asheville, NC and committed themselves to extensive touring that quickly built an organic fan base in their native Southeast.
Recorded in the band’s new home base of Asheville, NC, the album features Anthony Dorion on bass, John Ginty (Robert Randolph & The Family Band, The Allman Betts Band) on Hammond organ and keys, Jeff Sipe (Col. Bruce Hampton, Leftover Salmon, Susan Tedeschi) on drums, and The Naughty Horns (Nick Ellman, John Culbreth, Ian Bowman) in addition to Faulkner on guitars and Bryant on vocals. Not Your Little Girl represents the culmination of years of dedication and a decided shift in Bryant and Faulkner’s outlook on the band’s future – to unabashedly make their presence known. The collection exhibits fierce independence, a fiery spirit, and a deep love for and understanding of American roots and soul music.
Today Glide is excited to premiere the “When I’m Gone,” one of the standout tracks on the new album. With its blend of Memphis soul, blues, and Americana, the song features the kind of big vocals, brassy flourishes, and laid back groove that will resonate with acts like the Tedeschi-Trucks Band. Tackling the feelings of being unappreciated, the song brings an optimistic outlook that is both empowering and enlightening. Abby Bryant showcases her full vocal chops while we also get treated to a big full band sound with plenty of soulful harmonies, fiery saxophone, slyly cool guitar, and spiritually charged organ.
Abby Bryant describes the meaning and inspiration behind the song:
“‘When I’m Gone’ is one of the earliest songs written in the history of our band, and it has evolved over time to take on new life until it has become a vibrant, lively tune with attitude. The straightforward lyrics talk about feeling unappreciated and taken advantage of and realizing that it’s time to move and leave the hurt behind. Here the overarching theme of seeking respect, autonomy, and a strong, healthy sense of oneself is present again. One of my favorite parts of the recording is the shouty chorus of voices that echo the lyrics “need me / want me” as if to add extra resolve and power to the sassy narrative.”