Consisting of vocalist and guitarist Bob Fleming, Dawn Williams (vocals), Ryan Southwell (bass), Ben Bourne (guitar) and Brannden Betts (drums), this quintet is reminiscent of the southern rock legends of previous generations. With personal and introspective lyrics that are either socially relevant or intimate reflections on the past, the band is driven by a passion that shines through in their music.
Their new single, “Glory” starts off as a slow ballad between a piano and a fuzzy guitar, before the vocals come in, singing a gritty tale of the American working class. The song is a slow burn, coming to a head around the three minute mark, when the instrumentation peaks and meets the emotional intensity of the lyrics. A classic sounding American rock song, “Glory” is a resounding sign of what is still yet to come from the talented Charlotte band.
We got the chance to chat with them to learn more about the band, new single, and much more.
Surprisingly, 2021 is almost in the books. How would you sum up your 2021 in one word? Please elaborate why.
Changing. Everything is changing, haha. From the way we book tours, to the way we work when we’re home. It feels almost like when plants start to grow back after a fire (or a pandemic).
So I see y’all are Charlotte-based. What’s the music scene like there, and how might you sell it as a suitable place for musicians to plant roots?
Charlotte is awesome! There are so many great venues/bands in one town. The Milestone Club, Petras, Snug Harbor, etc. You could go to a different show, every night of the week, and it would take you a month to hit all the venues, and trying to keep up with all of the new bands coming out around Charlotte could be a full time job.
I was hoping you could talk about your new single, “Glory”. What’s the backstory and influence behind it?
So “Glory”, along with the rest of the upcoming record, I wrote in the first few months of the pandemic. I tried to write about what it’s like to be working poor, in the face of a global pandemic, when your way of supporting yourself – in our case touring – is ripped out from underneath you. The bridge of the song hammers home the idea, that no matter what the problem is, it always falls on the backs of the working poor. As far as influence goes, I drew heavily on Springsteen songs like “The River”, and “Racing in the Streets” because Bruce tells the best stories, and I really wanted to draw a picture with it.
The track is a pretty somber but gritty piano-ballad style song. How does it compare and contrast from previous releases of yours?
I think for the most part with this record, we wanted to push ourselves into new things, and for me, I really wanted a song where I just sang over the piano. That paired with the energy when the full band comes in before the bridge just felt like the right direction, and I’m really proud of how it turned out. I think it shows off the kind of direction we’re heading, while still maintaining what makes us sound like us.
Where was it recorded and who helped produce it?
So we recorded the record, over the course of 9 days in Bloomington Indiana, at Russian Recording. We brought our good friend and producer, Daniel Collins Hodges, to produce the record. This is the second record he has produced/engineered for us, and he has a way of taking what I hear in my head, and turning it into what it needs to be. He’s the best and I can’t recommend him enough!
What does a day in the life of the band’s songwriting process look like?
With songwriting, the way it typically goes, is I’ll hash out an idea for a song by myself. Maybe a verse and a chorus, sometimes the whole song. After I have a basic idea, the band comes in, and makes it better haha. I’m lucky to have such talented folks that can take any idea I have, and transform it into a full piece. Also trying different things is huge. For this record, I wrote out 10 song names, then tried to use the names as a jumping point to write the whole song around, and I really enjoyed that.
Did you feel the past 20-ish months helped or hindered your creative process and artistic drive? Neither?
I feel creatively, it definitely helped. I sat and played guitar everyday for hours, and taught myself slide guitar. I wrote everyday, even if it didn’t end up being used for anything. It felt great, to the point that as things have started rolling back to “normal”, I find myself missing the time I had to work on those things more and more.From a mental standpoint, I don’t care if I ever spend more than a few hours at home again, haha.
What messages or feelings do you typically try to convey in your music?
It’s a mixed bag, but I feel the one constant is, keep it poignant, but not hopeless. We write sad songs a lot of the time. Sometimes mad. But I always try to convey a feeling of hope with it.
What does a dream gig look like for the band?
Playing to anyone who cares enough to listen, and that can relate to what we’re writing. Or playing any show with our friends. Friends are great.
What might fans expect from Bob Fleming and The Cambria Iron Co. come 2022?
A mountain of stuff! Our new record, Remnants, comes out February 18th, on Burro Borracho records (vinyl and cassette), and we’ve got a bunch of tour dates in support of the new record.