A year ago, The Castellows were just your average sisters living on their family farm in rural South Georgia.
Growing up in a musical family, the idea of picking and singing wasn't an unfamiliar one, as they often sang in church and gigged around town for fun throughout middle and high school.
However, after the trio – comprising guitarist Ellie, banjoist Powell and lead singer Lily – started posting acoustic covers on TikTok, they amassed a rapidly growing fanbase, and the idea of making music a career suddenly seemed like a viable option.
Before they knew it, the girls had inked a record deal with Warner Music Nashville, packed up and moved to Music City and were thrust into writers' rooms and recording studios. When they emerged, they had concocted a seven-song EP that would eventually become their debut project, A Little Goes A Long Way.
“It was our first time ever being in the studio. We had this group of songs that felt right and that we were really proud of,” recalls Ellie. “It's really important for us that projects feel like projects, not just a bunch of songs thrown together. That sentiment may be kind of lost in the playlist era, but we're album people, and we want our projects to be projects."
Consisting of six original songs and a much-loved cover of Levon Helm's 1980 classic, 'Hurricane', the debut effort finds the sisters marrying a nostalgic, traditional country sound with an infectious burst of modern energy in even measure.
From the top down, it's a project with equal parts integrity and flair as the rising trio start putting the pieces of their sound and style together, combining to form a delicious cocktail of mainstream country, bluegrass, light southern rock and pop.
Drawing inspiration from a plethora of artistic avenues, including Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss and Gillian Welch, as well as harmony-heavy groups like Alabama, The Band and Shenandoah, The Castellows toe the line of polished country and twangy bluegrass with masterful ease, evident on the stomping 'Heartline Hill' and the dreamy title-track.
It's a recipe clearly postmarked for success as the girls have already accumulated an impressive following, and deliver a buzz of excitement at every turn of their young career.
For an act that only truly established themselves in the last 12 months, there's something to be said about their quick emergence onto a smattering of Artists to Watch lists, CMT's Next Women of Country Class of 2024 and various other inclusions.
"I think we came in at just the right time and also at a time where I feel like groups are lacking in country music," Powell offers.
"We're in the era of solo artists, so there are not as many bands. The ones already here are awesome, and they kill it," adds Lily. "They win an award every year because they're the only option!"
"I also think it's so important to have different perspectives and voices in songs," states Ellie. "As a group – and not even particularly as women, though that's important, too – we don't speak for one person; we speak for three united people".
Between their three voices and complimentary penmanship, The Castellows have created a striking first stepping stone with A Little Goes A Long Way, laying the groundwork for what's bound to be a country act you can't help but keep your eye on.
In addition, The Castellows discussed their 2024 run of shows, their dream collaborations and more.
"We wrote all of these songs, except 'Hurricane', which was originally sung by Levon Helm and really means a lot to us. It's one of the songs we've been playing ever since we were 13. We wanted to release our version because we wanted to cement it in our live set forever," states Ellie.
"I wrote 'Heartline Hill' by myself, and then Lily and I wrote 'I Know It'll Never End' by ourselves," she adds. "The rest of them were co-writes with the three of us and writers in town".
"We love writing songs and creating music, but we love live performances because we grew up playing in church and gigging. Even before we realized we wanted to pursue music, we loved playing live," Lily explains. "We have a great band with a bunch of boys who are awesome musicians. We're just excited to be road warriors for a little bit."
"We haven't really toured much, either. We've done a couple of one-off things, but we haven't played a ton of shows with our band," Ellie adds. "But we love playing with the band. When it's the three of us, it's cool, but with the band it's so great. You get to rock out!"
"There are so many good ones. In terms of who I'm just a fan, I think Chris Stapleton would be fun," Ellie comments. "If I had to pick a non-country act – and this is like dreams, dreams – we're all huge Ed Sheeran fans. He has one of the best concerts we've ever seen".
"We're playing a couple shows with Flatland Cavalry, who we're huge fans of, and we're going out with Josh Abbott Band, too, and we love his music," Powell adds. "Being on those dates are definitely some dreams coming true. I remember watching them in college a couple years ago, losing my mind, so to be here now is kind of crazy."
"I feel like we haven't really thought about it," Ellie notes. "I feel like I have to earn a collab!"
"Bruce Springsteen. That's our answer," adds Lily. "He's my lockscreen and I have a big Born In The USA poster in my room."
"I think it's easy to get intimidated by people in the industry and there's a big sense of importance when you walk on Music Row and you write a song or go to the Grand Ole Opry to watch someone play," Lily explains.
"I've heard this advice thrown around: 'Everyone puts their pants on in the morning the same way as you'. People who you look up to as your idols and people you've grown up listening to, they're just people doing it like you are. You really can't compare yourself too much to people because we're all the same".
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