Sons-N-Britches - 10 Questions Music Interview
This ain't your mama's country; this ain't your daddy's blues" is not only a fitting opening for one of the band's core anthems, but a clear reflection of 40 years of friendship and musical collaboration between songwriters Mike Mullis and Darron Meek, which dates back to middle school jams in Kennesaw, GA.
Over the last decade, Sons-N-Britches’ rhythm section has been led by premiere percussionist, the Reverend Stacy Brown. Rounding out the rhythm section is bassist Steffans Hardin, who joined the group in January 2019. Their second and most recent full-length album, Second Hand Smoke, was mixed by Grammy nominated engineer Mark Niemiec. Both Live Bait, Cold Beer, and Gasoline, and Second Hand Smoke received strong reviews, and have been featured on both country and rock terrestrial radio stations in, and around the Atlanta metro area. Over the years, the band has opened and shared the stage with acts such as Kenny Chesney, Martina McBride, Roy Clark, Mark Chestnutt, and Travis Tritt.
Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing music? Tell us about it.
Mike: I think I have always loved stories and I have loved the craft of writing songs. Music has been ever-present throughout my life, and I have been inspired by so many Artists over the years. My heroes are the ones with compelling stories - Robert Johnson, Johnny Mercer, Bob Dylan, Guy Clark, James McMurtry, Lori McKenna, Jason Isbell, and John Moreland to name a few. I am also inspired by the local songwriters I have gotten to know over the years.
Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career?
Daron: Well, aside from the occasional bar-room fights, meeting Isaac Hayes at a party we played was a pleasant and unexpected surprise! Also, Mike played mandolin on tour with a hip-hop act and some of the other guys in Sons-N-Britches saw him on late night television with that act. That was a trip!
What has been the high point of your music path?
Mike & Daron: There have been many, but the thing that means the most to us is being a featured act at The Bluebird Cafe in Nashville. The atmosphere is like nowhere else and it's a place where folks listen to your songs. We get to talk about the songs and how they came about during the show.
So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like?
Mike & Daron: We have gone on some songwriting weekends where we just sit down together specifically for the purpose of writing songs. Mostly, it's not something we approach as a project, it just comes about in daily study of your own life experiences and the interactions with others and the world around us. Chris Stapleton said songwriting is like a good kind of addiction - it's something you are drawn to do. As you mature in your songwriting, you always want to take it deeper and more intimate.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Indie Artists today? Or, if you could ask the music industry to change one thing, what would it be?
Mike & Daron: Over the years, we have become so conditioned to listening to or gravitating to music that has been chosen for us (ie the gate keepers of the music industry). In this era, we have so many more choices from which to choose. Anybody can get overwhelmed with the choices you have these days of who/what music you should choose to listen on any given day. We have a golden opportunity in that people are exposed to more music than ever in the history of music. At the same time, we need those "curators" or like-minded people who are relentless in their discovery and "re-discovery" of music. I think that as an industry, there should be more focus on educating consumers about the choices that best suit their tastes - rather than serving the same old, same old and chasing the money.
If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why?
Daron: My dad and his band the Dixie Wranglers back in their heyday!
Mike: Hard question - right now, I'd have to say Jason Isbell - not only is he a great songwriter, but he is a killer guitar player! Steffans - Ralph Stanley singing "Angel Band"
What are your rehearsals generally like? Or, how do you prepare for a live show?
Mike & Daron: Rehearsals are generally pretty laid back. We are focused on the music, but we also have a bit of a "jam band gene" - where we like to just let things be organic. We tighten things up in rehearsals, while at the same time trying to let songs breathe.
Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it!
Mike: It's a very simple song that has just been floating around for a while. It's called "Today Is A Good Day". On the surface, it seems lighthearted and happy, but there are many layers to that song. In talking with another writer, he said "you don't know what a good day is until you have experienced a few bad days". After sitting on it for a long while, the lyrics began pouring out. So the actual writing of the song wasn't necessarily the hard part. The challenge was allowing yourself to be patient in order to let it take shape.
What's coming up in the future?
Mike & Daron: We are releasing our third album as Sons-N-Britches December 6, 2019. It has taken shape as a concept album loosely based on real life characters. We have never done anything like this and are excited to see if others will take the journey with us!
Tell us where fans can access your music?
Sons-N-Britches' holiday song, "Peace Broke Out," will be airing on National Indie Radio (WNIR) commencing December 1st through December 31st as part of BWH Music Group’s Holiday Radio Show. WNIR features the best independent artists in the world and is part of the highly selective and nationally renowned BWH Music Group platform. The Holiday Radio Special will feature original holiday songs as well as covers by exceptional independent artists. Station information can be found at National Indie Radio’s website.