San Antonio, Texas native Drew Moreland first caught our attentions with his current single, “Bench Seat Revival”. Then Moreland entered our songwriter contest a few months ago, and became 1 of 26, out of 124 artists, to make it to the live preliminary rounds (held last month). Between his great submission video, and strong live performance, he certainly found a spot on our radar. So when his upcoming, self-titled, debut album made its way in to our inbox at the beginning of last week, we were excited to dive in to it! Sure enough, the album is exactly what we hoped it would be! It’s got a great earthy sound, with a vibe somewhere between Texas Country and southern rock and some solid songwriting! We definitely encourage you to grab a copy when it drops tomorrow, and be sure to check out an early listen to one of our favorite songs from the project at the bottom of the article!
We caught up with Moreland to chat about his new record, his influences, and to see what was on the horizon and here’s what he had to say:
Texas Music Pickers: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Drew Moreland: Hey, my name is Drew Moreland, and I’m a music addict…
Seriously though, I’ve been singing and playing music since I was a kid. Growing up, I always thought it would be great to play music for a living and tour with a band. But, it wasn’t until recently, after overcoming some personal demons, that I felt like I had something to offer to the rest of the world with my songwriting and performing.
TMP: Who would you describe as your musical influences?
DM: When I was too young to pick my own music, my influences were great folk songwriters like Paul Simon, James Taylor, and Dan Fogelberg. In high school and college I listened to a lot of grunge rock and even got into shoegaze. My transition to country probably started with Wilco. Then, at the end of 2016 while guiding hunts in South Texas, I bought ALL of Turnpike’s albums on a friend’s recommendation. For the whole hunting season, I listened to them in the truck on repeat, and was blown away by both the quality of the writing and the energy in the songs. I had already been doing some writing with my brother-in-law Garland “Lee” Wenner and decided that if there was a scene where bands like Turnpike were gaining fans and selling out shows, that’s where I wanted to be.
TMP: How would you describe your style and sound?
DM: Man, it’s so hard to classify your own music. First and foremost, my aim is to keep it all in the broader Country genre, or at least Americana. But the style also includes blues, gospel, and southern rock. Most of the songs tell a story and still manage to have a catchy “hook” style chorus.
TMP: We’re really digging the new self-titled album! With this being your debut record, what are you hoping to accomplish with it?
DM: Most of all, I’m stoked to release enough music at once that listeners can get a feel for the broad range of material I’ve written and have been playing live. It’s hard to showcase that with just a couple singles. My hope is that this album will convert casual listeners into hardcore fans. I also feel like it’s hard for the industry to take an artist seriously before they release a full length album. Maybe this will open some more opportunities to us, only time will tell.
TMP: I understand that there was an interesting recording process with this album. Could you expand on where and how you recorded it.
DM: Sure. Before releasing my last single, I decided to buy my own studio gear and start tracking my own material so it would cost less than having to pay a studio do it all. “Bench Seat Revival” was the first song I tracked and edited myself before ultimately sending to a studio (BGM) for mixing and mastering. It was kind of a trip to see something I produced do so well on the Texas music charts. It worked so well, I decided to do the same thing for this album. I tracked and edited the Vocals, Drums, Bass, Acoustic Guitar, and a few others in the single wide trailer where I live. On the last day of tracking, it was pouring down rain and I was worried about the noise bleeding onto the vocal tracks. Instead of waiting for the rain to stop, I decided to just put a mic outside, record the rain, and actually put it in the song (North Wind) and it came out great. I sent the tracks I had to BGM where we brought in some studio musicians to add fiddle, telecaster, and more steel guitar to the record. Bill Green did a great job with mixing/ and producing. And the mastering was done by a good friend, Aaron Patterson in Comfort, TX. Side note: Aaron and I played in a rock band together back in 2007, Tongue Tied Lighting.
TMP: Two tracks that really stand out to us from the EP are “God & Cash” and “Prayer of an Outlaw”. Can you provide us with some background on them?
DM: God & Cash got started about 10 years ago as a song idea by Lee; loosely based on a neighbor he had when he was growing up (VERY loosely, lol). I think he showed it to me one of the first times we jammed together. It wasn’t until the summer of 2016 that we really started putting some effort into writing this style of music and finished the song. It’s been a hit with fans ever since.
Prayer of an Outlaw is an autobiographical song about my experience, transitioning from playing music mostly in a church setting to living the country music lifestyle. Beyond that I don’t know what else to say. My buddy David Lee says the most powerful songs are the ones that are honest. Prayer of an Outlaw is about as honest a song as I’ve written.
TMP: If you had to pick just one song from the album, which song are you the most proud of?
DM: I’m proud of different songs for different reasons. As far as pure songwriting goes, I am most proud of “Prayer of an Outlaw”. Then, for being a song that captures something universal and hopefully will have a wide appeal to potential fans, “You Call it Texas, I Call it Home” is the winner in my book. That one was a 3 way collaboration between Garland “Lee” Wenner, Matthew Parker, and myself. Since it hasn’t been released yet, only time will tell if it lives up to the high expectations.
TMP: As of right now, what’s been your most memorable live show so far?
DM: In April, we played in Luckenbach on a weekend that a cold front blew in. I think it was 50 degrees, and the wind just about blew my van off the road while I was driving out there. That was actually the inspiration for North Wind, and I finished most of the lyrics while I was driving to the show. When we got there it was too cold to set up outside, so we crammed into Hondo’s bar with a small drum setup and steel guitar. People were packed in there shoulder-to-shoulder to hear us play and there was just something different about it, almost spiritual. So we just embraced the vibe and started playing songs that people could sing along to. When we played County Roads (John Denver) I don’t think there was anyone in the room who didn’t shed at least one tear. We’ll never forget that one
TMP: What’s your favorite thing to eat/ do while on the road?
DM: I like trying new BBQ restaurants every chance I get. And I keep my fishing pole in the van to kill time while we stopped in new towns.
TMP: What does the rest of 2018 look like for Drew Moreland?
DM: Once Bench Seat Revival comes off the chart, we have the next couple of radio singles lined up and ready to release. I can’t wait to see how they do and how fans react to the new material. In the meantime, we’ll keep traveling around the state and playing 3-4 shows a week. Then, usually around the end of year we take a small break and I have a chance to finish up songs that I’ve been working on.
TMP: Is there anything else you want listeners to know?
DM: It still blows me away that people like our material and come to our shows. Thanks for listening, and I hope to meet you the next time we play in your town!