Holler Country Music
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Premiere: The Deslondes - 'South Dakota Wild One'

By Jof Owen

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Stop what you’re doing! The Deslondes are back! They’re set to return this summer with their first album in five years, and we’re thrilled to be exclusively premiering the first track from it below.

Described by Riley Downing from the band as being “a nostalgic song about getting into music, traveling and running into the special people who were around then, but aren’t around now”, 'South Dakota Wild one’ is nothing short of magnificent.

A hulking slab of widescreen Americana soaked through with an age-hardened wistfulness, Downing’s voice sounds like it’s been drawn up from a crumbling old well deep down in his soul, as he pours one out for the titular “Wild One” with “crazy love in her heart” who “welcomed anyone ever need a place to fall apart”.

Ways & Means is coming out on July 8th via New West Records. Produced by the band and longtime collaborator Andrija Tokic, the 14-song set is the follow up to 2017’s critically acclaimed Hurry Home, and was recorded at The Bombshelter in Nashville, TN. The album features Margo Price on the title track, as well as Twain and the multi-instrumentalist Billy Contreras on a number of songs.

Following their hiatus in 2018, members Sam Doores and Riley Downing each released their debut solo albums to critical acclaim. The new album sees them both reunited with Dan Cutler, Cameron Snyder and John James Tourville.

We spoke to Riley Downing about the new single, and what it’s been making a Deslondes record again.

“Well we’ve been a band and known each other for well over a decade, since we all met at the Woody Guthrie folk festival or down in Nola, and have done just about everything a band could do together. We have been around the board a few times. Sometimes passing go and collecting $200, other times jumping right over it and going back around again”.

“Even though we had taken a hiatus musically together, we’ve all still very much remained a family who checks in on each other and gets together any time we can. When we get together it’s almost like we just stepped out of the van again and no time has passed at all. Though it has and it’s obvious just by the amount of younguns that are running around when we do”.

“We’ve all been up to different pursuits musically. Sam started it off with the release of his solo record and running Mashed Potato Records. Then JJ got involved with countless sessions in Nashville for Andrija Tokic, which eventually led to me making a solo record. Not to mention all the different bands and projects Dan and Cameron have been involved with this entire time down in New Orleans”.

“We recently all got together after SXSW and made some new music videos with Josh Shoemaker in New Orleans and had a blast. Can’t wait to share these with everyone with the rest of the upcoming singles in the months to come”.

As for the new single, he told us, “It was a song I started writing years ago and was so personal I had a hard time finishing it, or choked up when I tried to. Eventually, a second verse came and then JJ helped me with the last one. I lived on and off in South Dakota when I was a young rambling man, not even 21 yet, and got involved in a small community of wayward musicians, travelers and artist types. We all wintered together up there cause, well, what else are you gonna do when you're young and have nothing better to do but look for like-minded folks. You travel and you find them, or they find you or maybe you just end up there."

“Anyhow there was a special lady up there, Michelle Martin, that was the matriarch, I guess, who always seemed to keep everyone going and cared for everyone. I didn’t get to be around her for the last couple years of her life, but the impression she made on me will stay with me forever. I thought the least I could do is honor her memory with a song. Though it took years, it's finally recorded and I hope you enjoy the album version as much as you will the live one. More to come…stay tuned”.

The Deslondes’ Ways & Means will be available across digital platforms, on compact disc and standard black vinyl. A limited to 300 ‘Flambeaux’ color vinyl edition will be available via Vinyl Me, Please. A limited to 1,500 ‘Sun King’ color vinyl edition will be available at independent retailers and can be pre-ordered now via New West Records here.

The band have also announced a US tour for the coming months.

July 13 - Athens, GA - 40 Watt

July 14 - Nashville, TN - Basement East

July 16 - Decatur, GA - Eddie's Attic

July 17 - Asheville, NC - The Grey Eagle

July 19 - Baltimore, MD - The Metro Gallery

July 20 - Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda's

July 21 - New York, NY - Mercury Lounge

September 27- Davenport IA - Racoon Motel

September 28 - Spring Green, WI - Shitty Barn

September 29 - Chicago, IL - The Hideout

September 30 - Madison, WI - High Noon Saloon

October 1 - St Paul MN - Turf Club

October 2 - Des Moines IA - xBk

October 4 - Columbia MO - Rose Music Hall

October 5 - KC, MO - Knuckleheads

October 6 - St Louis, MO - Off Broadway

October 7 - Memphis, TN - Hernando's Hideaway