Carry Us Away
Born a day shy of April Fool's Day in 1982, I grew up in the town of Resaca, Georgia, best known for a Civil War battle that culminated on my family's hill, and slightly less well known for her elusive beach. I wrote songs about General Custer and county fairs and family reunions with my friend Blake years before I knew how to play any sort of instrument. Then my father taught me some chords on his old Gibson guitar. He was always singing hymns, Elvis songs, and his own originals, and on the stereo Elton John, Neil Young and Bob Dylan would chime in. There was a madman harvesting a skyline somewhere, and he was me. By the time I got to college in Searcy, Arkansas, I was writing and recording, and playing in bands. Two friends in particular, Brandon Fox and Eric McMullen, provided me with endless inspiration, both vocally and lyrically. Among my favorite records were Wilco's Summerteeth, Beck's Sea Change and an old jazz record with Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli. The sounds of them evoked mountain roads and faraway towns, all mixed together with friends and heartbreak, and it all resonated with my life. It made me think about creation. I was taking road trips out west and seeing a lot of the wilderness, and trying to get to know God. And so there developed a filter for me to express my heart through, a big house full of banjos and barking dogs, rock bands and mountain clans. I was teaching myself how to record and mix on a 16 track hard disc, and playing guitar and doing additional writing in an 'alt. Country' band named Hevroy. It was me and my brother Will, and another pair of brothers, Trey and Andrew Bentley. We would drive to Nashville and record analogically with producer/engineer Charlie White. All of these guys made a big impact on my music, the way I arranged songs and the way I performed them. So did my other brother Carson, a guitarist who later teamed up with me and Will in performing my own songs live. By 2005 I was out of college, and had amassed a huge catalog of unreleased recordings, known only to kith and kin. I felt like I should have already come out with an album, and when songs of a certain flavor were grouped together, I soon realized that it could be done. So I moved to Nashville and dedicated some studio time to making fourteen of my recordings exciting and coherent, which somehow took me until the Spring of 2006. That summer, matching the acoustic, rambling vibe of the record, I teamed up with Jesse Carr (guitar), Danielle Costello (violin) and Annie Peters (vocals, percussion) for my first tour, the 'Carry Us West' tour. After sixteen shows all over the Western U.S., we returned to Nashville, where I'm planning a release show for October. Cheyenne Medders September 6, 2006.