Unlike many outfits who take years to reap their just rewards, Band of Heathens worked their way into the spotlight fairly quickly. It wasn't that they had any grand designs early on, or even had any thoughts about becoming a band in the first place. What began initially as a series of Wednesday night jam sessions at a club in their native Austin -- an event they dubbed "The Good Time Supper Club" -- eventually coalesced into an outfit that gained almost immediate attention and climbed to the top of the Americana charts. They certainly possessed all the goods they needed from the very beginning, thanks to a pair of seasoned singer/songwriters in Ed Jurdi and Gordy Quist, each of whom had pursed solo careers prior to to participating in those impromptu gatherings.
True to form, the group's initial albums were recorded live prior to releasing their eponymous studio debut in 2008. And while concert recordings continue to find a place in their catalog, Band of Heathens have shown a decided studio savvy as well. With the core outfit currently consisting of Jurdi and Quist on vocals and guitars and later recruits Trevor Nealon on keyboards and Richard Millsap playing drums, they released their finest effort to date last year, the aptly titled Sunday Morning Record.
Accessible to a fault, and exceedingly mellow to boot, it flows with a natural ease usually accomplished by those with far more track time under their belts. From its graceful opener "Shotgun," through to the final wistful refrains of "Texas," it proves its mettle as both a set of songs that are radio-ready and sweet salvation on a particularly demanding morning-after. Seven years on, they've mustered a ton of well-earned admiration.
We recently caught up with Ed Jurdi on the phone from Asheville and offered him the opportunity to delineate the band's unlikely trajectory.