Idiot Grins just released a Christian country record that touches on old and new school styles of the genre complete with some outstanding vocal harmonies, swing time rhythms, and an array of colorful instrumentation.
The Thoughts & Prayers album is loaded with vibrant and laid back tracks that all bring Country and Americana some great guitar work, and swaying singing that all gets your attention quickly.
These songs are incredibly genuine and give that warm and comfortable feeling of kicking back on the couch at home.
That's part of the appeal. The songs have a great feeling behind them and those melodies are memorable and classic.
This album is packed with timeless Country tunes that all have that perfect aesthetic and tonality that make it so powerful.
From mandolin, to twang guitar sections, these tracks have a beautiful and seasoned style of experienced musicians.
It's been quite some time since you've heard such a classic Country sound and with a 12 song length, there is plenty to soak in.
You'll be singing along in no time.
With such a great release, we wanted to have a sit down with the band and talk about where this all came from.
RAG: Okay guys, let's begin with the Thoughts & Prayers album. This is a religiously driven record and has elements of folk rock, classic rock, and so much more. Where did this album come from?
Idiot Grins: Yea, this album is a bit of a departure for us. Our last couple of releases have been very R&B oriented. For this one, we got the idea to do a covers album "quick n' dirty" while we wrote songs for our next "real" album. For fun, we decided to tackle the album Satan is Real by the incredible Louvin Brothers. They put this album out in 1959 and it has been one of the most beloved and respected Country/Gospel albums ever since. I got to play Gram Parsons' acoustic guitar on the sessions, which was a real cool bit of synergy since I got to know of the Louvin Brothers in the first place through Gram Parsons' covering their songs during his way too short career.
RAG: The record is a pretty big one and there is a lot of outstanding tracks here. Did this take long to complete?
Idiot Grins: The album took about three years from conception to completion. Our last album, State of Health had a real nice run, with the single Get Busy Dying even charting at Number 10 on the Digital Radio Tracker Adult Contemporary Chart. (The second single Take it Back went top twenty on their rock chart). So although we had the idea to do this record, no one wanted to get started on learning it and recording it until State of Health finished it's run. Then, our studio had to undertake a major overhaul, which delayed things further. Finally, COVID hit just as we were putting the finishing touches on the project, which added to the delay. So, the quick n' dirty project didn't come out until last November.
RAG: Were you all happy with the result?
Idiot Grins: Oh yea. This was so much fun to do and so rewarding. We've used a horn section on the last two albums, and the incredible Byrd Sisters sang back up on State of Health. On this one, it was just the five of us - drums, bass, guitar, piano and vocals. That was cool to strip everything down and just play. The Louvin Brothers were the greatest country harmony singers of all time - better than the Everly's IMHO. And while Evan and John are NOT the Louvin Brothers, they did a fantastic job of capturing the essence of those songs. I'm pretty sure they didn't think they could do it when we started, but they did.
RAG: I'm hearing some folk, swing country, and even a 1950's style of songwriting on this record. Who influenced you guys musically?
Idiot Grins: Well, your ears are good, because these songs, mostly written by Ira and Charlie Louvin, are folk, swing and Country songs in fact written in the 1950's!
RAG: Will you all be putting any time and attention to live performances soon? It seems things are slowly but surely getting better out there.
Idiot Grins: Well, we're not there yet. That said, we are putting the finishing on a video of Satan's Jeweled Crown right now. Should be out soon.
RAG: This is your fourth album release and you've all been at it for years now. Any advice to other bands out there trying to be heard?
Idiot Grins: I'm always looking for advice myself, but the only advice I could give is if you love it, do it.
RAG: What's the next move for you guys as a band?
Idiot Grins: With COVID easing up, as you say, we're starting to get the itch to get back in the studio and playing together as a band. This has been the longest year any of us can remember.
RAG: What are all of you doing when you're not focusing on music?
Idiot Grins: Well, being musicians, we all have day jobs!
RAG: Who are you guys listening to these days?
Idiot Grins: I'm sure if you asked all the guys you'd get five different answers. We all have different tastes and bring our listening to the group when it's time to write and arrange new tunes. You'd think everyone would have the Beatles in common, but I was shocked to learn that when we put together a Beatles cover band for a few shows several years ago, John didn't know any of the songs - and he was the lead singer!
RAG: Do you think you'll be making any music videos for any of the songs?
Idiot Grins: A truly awesome director named Elie Khadre is editing our video of Satan's Jeweled Crown as we speak.
RAG: Before we go, is there anything you'd like to express to fans of the music?
Idiot Grins: We're fans of the Louvin Brothers too!