Atlanta, GA (September 19th, 2019)
A few months ago, the Atlanta-based Christian music band Smalltown Poets holed up in a Portland Oregon basement, on a rainy day, to write together. Encouraged by the fruits of their efforts, they continued into the next few days, hammering away at song ideas that took them into uncharted waters, in terms of content, stylings and, at times, even genres.
The bands new single “Try” (available everywhere September 25) is the first glimpse into the results of those writing sessions, and points to the ongoing evolution of the multi-Grammy nominated band. The song was born of a strange experience for one of the Poets.
“I know it sounds kind of crazy,” says Danny Stephens. “But in my dream I was in a small restaurant, and nearby there was someone singing karaoke, belting out the very melody and lyrics you hear in our new single. I looked over to find it was Mick Jagger singing. I woke up and recalled exactly how the song had gone, wrote it down, developed the song with the other guys during those writing sessions and we recorded it.” As it turned out, this musical number hadn’t existed before Stephens’ vision; a new song had been born.
Appropriately, the song is a lively throwback to music of a bygone era, opening with a head-bobbing drum groove that makes you want to drive to the skating rink, electric piano tones that would make Billy Preston proud, disco bass, vocals a la ELO, and a punchy guitar solo to remind us that rock and roll is still alive. Frontman Michael Johnston’s soaring vocals, as ever, fall upon the ear like a warm hug. Put it all together and you have something that evokes the classics, is modern, and yet timeless. That was the Poets’ goal. “We want to make music that stands the test of time, but never sounds dated,” says Michael. “We’re hopeful that we’ve done that with this song.”
Noah Stephens (who also tours as second guitarist with the band) produced the new track as well as three alternate mixes: the Acoustic Mix, the Dream Pop Mix, and the Rock Mix. The entire singles package will be available Wednesday September 25th, across all digital music platforms.
The band also gives assurances that this is just the beginning. “We wrote a bunch of songs that week in Oregon, and have been writing more since,” proclaims Johnston. “More recorded music in on the way, and we’re diving into some new sounds and themes, as we continue to grow as musicians and songwriters, while continuing to write from the foundations of our faith.”
“Smalltown Poets is a brotherhood and we are thrilled for the opportunity to do music together,” says Johnston. “We’re better husbands, dads, friends and musicians because of one another. We are more than Smalltown Poets the band now; we are Smalltown Poets the family. We hope this deeper, richer purpose is apparent in the recording process, and as we share the music with new friends and longtime fans on the road.”
Smalltown Poets is, even now, hard at work on more recordings to be released soon, so stay tuned. Says Stephens, “We’re trying to get new music out there even more often, but…“you can’t always get what you want…” (begins singing) “and we try, and we try, and we try, and we try…”