Sometimes it can feel like the best music is behind us.
The music of the 50s, 60s, and 70s reigns supreme in many folks’ minds (mine included), and it can be somewhat of a drag when assessing the current state of computer-made music lacking soul or real talent, and many an artist doing it for the ‘gram.
But while there aren’t an abundance of authentic music-makers in the mainstream today doing their predecessors proud, there are plenty in the shadows paying homage.
One such act is earth-based harmony rock band High South, who’s “Ventura Highway”-like song “All We Need” caught our ear, which led to our curiosity about the band. The acoustic-rock trio has a hearty European following, specifically Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, as they are signed with labels and production teams there, and (did) tour extensively throughout Europe.
This LA > Dallas > Nashville trio emulates the sounds of our rock songwriter forefathers such as The Eagles, Crosby, Stills, & Nash, America, and the like. The band has such an impressively vintage sound that the common listener may very well presume their tracks to be recorded in 1973. Their highly anticipated upcoming album, Peace, Love, & Harmony is set to be released at some point this year, which unfortunately is at the mercy of the stranglehold the virus has had on us all.
We had the chance to ask vocalist Jamey Garner some questions about the single, the album, future plans, and much more.
So how did y’all get together and form High South?
Kevin Campos and I are the original members of High South. We actually formed in 2011 with two other guys as a four man harmony group, with the help of an Austrian production team. We were signed by Lucian Grainge at Universal Music and subsequently released in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Holland and the Netherlands. Our first album charted and we had a really nice run. Tons of press. But, the rigors of touring and being in a band are certainly not for everyone. We learned that lesson early on, as two of the members quickly realized it wasn’t for them, despite the successes we had. That’s when Kevin and I resolved to keep High South alive at all costs. We knew we were on to something musically and had seen the response from our fans. That was all we needed to know to push further. About five years ago we brought an old friend of mine, Phoenix Mendoza, on board to help round out the harmony and bring us back to three people.
Where did you record your new single “All We Need,” and who helped it come to life?
We recorded “All We Need” at Blackbird Studio A in Nashville, Tennessee. We wrote that song in less than an hour, sitting in a friend’s kitchen here in Nashville. The record was engineered by Niko Bolas and produced by Josh Leo.
What’s the underlying message behind the tune, and what do you hope fans take away from it?
Well, we all come to points in our lives and our relationships where we’re not quite sure if we’re gonna take a different path or not. This song is really about coming together and realizing that all we need is each other. It’s got a great chorus and makes me feel like I’m cruising the coast of California. It’s light and super vibey. A true feel-good song.
I see your new album, Peace, Love, and Harmony is “coming soon” according to your site. Do you have a tentative date in mind, or is it reliant on when the pandemic tapers down?
Unfortunately, a firm release date is really dependent on what happens with the coronavirus pandemic. Everything on our plate has been postponed, canceled, sometimes both. LOL. We had a fantastic release in Europe. Rolling Stone magazine did a feature on us and presented our tour. The record was added to radio and playlists all over GSA and we charted right away. So we are hoping that we can get back to business as usual as soon as this pandemic is over.
What can fans expect from this album?
I think listeners can expect to get a big dose of what Southern California sounded like in the early 70s. Great hooks and loads of great harmony… with themes of coming together, making the world a little better while we’re on the planet and mayyyybe a little about smoking weed.
How might it differ from previous releases of High South?
Well, though Rome wasn’t built in a day, I think we’ve essentially been on this path for quite some time. When we wrote “Honestly”, which appeared on our second album, we had made a clear choice to try and write the kind of songs that can touch emotions and hopefully somehow make a positive difference. And with Peace, Love & Harmony, I think we’ve done that on a much bigger level.
What’s the songwriting process like between the three of you?
Honestly, we’ve been touring so hard that we have struggled to find time to write. We occasionally have a handful of days when we’re in Europe to write. We’ve also taken songwriting trips to places like Joshua Tree. It’s great to get away from civilization for a bit and do something creative. Those types of experiences have been quite fruitful for us.
What would y’alls dream show be? Opening for a certain idol, venue, city, Full Moon, etc.
For me…at this moment, I’d love to open for The Eagles or The Doobie Brothers…or CSN. Hell, while I’m dreaming, how about The Band! Those guys are all our musical heroes and where our influences come from. We just really relate to that music.
Would you rather have a drink (doesn’t have to be alcoholic) with Don Henley or David Crosby?
Are you just focusing on creating new material/polishing material now what with the pandemic, or are you also trying to make tentative plans for when things calm down?
I’m taking this time to reconnect with the writer side of me. That’s one good thing that has come from the pandemic. I’ve been able to re-center. That’s a very important thing for all of us to do. And now I have the time! Lol.
We’re also extremely fortunate to have a fantastic management team working hard for us everyday. Even during this massive glitch in the matrix. Lots on the horizon for High South. I have no doubt we’ll jump back into the swing of things with both feet.
What’s the ultimate goal for High South?
We’re gonna continue to spread some love around this planet!! We could sure use some Peace, Love, & Harmony these days.