On Friday, December 6th, Back City Woods is set to celebrate on the Creek Stage with the release of their latest effort, Try My Luck. BCW consists of Daniel Nesmith (vocals/guitar), Chris Maddox (Bass), Marcus Reddick (drums), and Joe Palmer (guitar). I met with two members of the Middle Georgia band, Nesmith and Maddox, at their recording studio to talk about their beginnings, how they developed their eclectic sound, and where they see the band in the future.
LD- Tell me a little bit about you guys. Who plays what and how did you guys meet?
DN- I play guitar and sing, Chris plays bass and we have Marcus Reddick who plays drums
CM- Joe Palmer plays guitar. Daniel knows him
DN- Yeah, Chris and I have known each other our whole adult lives and we played music together for a long time. Joe Palmer and I met four years ago, when he was the owner of the Hanger Bar and Grill. I saw him play with Mystery Road, and we just started hanging out after open mic and became friends. Then he joined the band. Joe introduced us to Marcus.
What inspired the formation of Back City Woods?
DN- Desperation. Kidding. It started so long ago I really don’t remember. ‘Cause I started messing around with the original version of it in 2009, and it didn’t start playing out until 2011 when we recorded our first album. I had a friend who would come over, and we would just write songs and make music together in my attic. Then we played a gig, and one gig led to another. We just kept playing.
How has your music changed over the years, and what do you think contributed to those changes?
DN- I just like to make whatever music I feel inspired to make at that time. Nothing was ever intentional. I never set off in one direction. I just liked to jam with musicians. Nothing was planned. We started off more alt-bluegrass and morphed into rock n’ roll. But we still mix in the banjo every now and then.
CM- Different band members, different tastes, different influences, and different ideas coming in. It’s like a melting pot of ideas. And you just pull things you like here and there.
Who influences you as a band the most?
DN- Really just going to see live bands. I get really inspired when other musicians play. Whether it’s local bands or when I go see a band like Dawes or Drive-By Truckers. Those bands that have a really rocking shows, inspires me to write music. I just want and need to write music. What really drives that, it’s hard to say. I can’t really pin one down. It’s everything from Daft Punk to Waylon Jennings. It’s just randomly meshed together.
CM- Everything I listen to influences me.
You usually write fifty songs to get a few good ones.
You recently finished your new album. How would you say it’s different than your others?
DN- Well, we took our time with the recording. This is a big thing. It’s nice to record it yourself because you don’t have to worry about time pressures. So we had more time to mess around with the arrangement of songs. We didn’t really change too much about the recording process. As far as the influences, I would definitely say it’s more rock-influenced.
Who writes the songs, and what goes into the writing process?
DN- I usually write the songs but a lot of the times, I’ll be influenced musically, sometimes vocally, but mostly musically. Chris and Joe will give me ideas when we are jamming. A lot of this is organically created.
CM- You usually write fifty songs to get a few good ones. So different ideas come from different places, and you forget whose idea it was.
Do you guys have any rituals you do while recording records?
DN- I have to be in a good state of mind, so if I know I’m going to be recording vocals, I’ll take a lot more time to myself to chill out and relax. Just trying to stay relaxed during the recording process.
Where do you see Back City Woods going?
DN- I don’t have any expectations of anything. I just make music because it’s what I do. So I don’t see any reason to stop playing. I don’t know how Back City Woods will transition. We’ve had over fifteen players throughout the years. This is the evolution of Back City Woods.
CM- I’ve played music since I was thirteen, and I’m never going to stop– even if no one listens to it or ten thousand people listen to it. I’m just going to keep doing it.
DN- I want people to hear it, and I want to get my music out there. I like people to hear the music and see if they like it. It’s fun.
How does being a part of the historic Middle Georgia scene play into your music?
DN- We live in Cochran, so the closest music scene we have is Macon. It’s definitely all the influences from here. From The Allman Brothers Band to The Marshall Tucker Band and all different bands throughout Georgia. They have all influenced us. But we are more modern, I would say. We definitely don’t stick to any traditional roots. I don’t have any desire to recreate what someone else has already done. So we just do our own take on it. But it all plays into it.
CM- We were raised here so whether or not we admit it, that music was a part of our lives and what shaped our idea of music. It’s there on a subconscious level.
DN- When I go to places like Grant’s Lounge and get to jam with musicians who have been playing for 20 or 40 years in the area… And I just can’t help but absorb some of what they bring.