Set to take the stage at CMW, the Luke Austin Band is in the midst of promoting a single from their upcoming EP. The track – called Long Road Home and released last summer – got an immediate response from fans. It made them the third most streamed artist on Rdio last July and got regular radio play on some stations in Western Canada. The song was written during their first cross-Canada tour during a bout of sub-zero degree weather in the Rockies – hence its heartfelt message.
The Luke Austin band is composed of long time friends Luke Austin and Kennedy Pollard along with Bryan Swartz and Michael Fergoosan. The band’s sound combines arena-friendly alt-rock with thoughtful lyrics in a style that Luke believes comes from the way he works. “I guess I can explain it from the bottom. I write most of my songs at home with just me and my guitar,” he explains. The band’s dynamics take it from the living room to a stadium sound, but when it comes to recording, other influences come into play. That’s how the band’s EP came together.
“The influences that came up on the EP were geographical,” he says. The first couple of tracks (including the single) were recorded at Dream House Studios in Toronto with producer Alex Bonenfant (July Talk, Metz, Crystal Castles) – a comfortable experience for the band. Then they went on the road and ran into Grammy-winning producer Vance Powell of Sputnik Sound by chance and ended up in the studio to record the rest. “We hooked up with a producer in Nashville,” he says. “It was cool being in the studio with Vance.” And it’s not your grandmother’s Nashville anymore, according to Luke. “Nashville is known for a manufactured sound,” he says. But, Luke likens the energy in Nashville nowadays to Seattle in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s and the birth of grunge. “The Black Keys, Jack White – they all record there,” he points out.
Aside from Canadian Music Week and touring with the band, Luke’s been playing gigs at LCBO’s across Ontario. “We got sponsored by Jim Beam,” he explains. “I always wanted to get hooked up with a whisky company,” he adds. The appearances involve a little patter and a few tunes. “It’s just me and the acoustic guitar,” Luke says.
The band is hyped about their CMW gigs. “The biggest one we’ll be doing is with Scott Weiland,” he says. “My parents listened to Stone Temple Pilots!”
Another show has them opening for famed musician and producer Daniel Lanois. “That’ll be more of an integrity show. When we heard about that, we were humbled.”
What’s next? “After CMW, we released a pre-sale of our new EP on Pledge Music.” Pledge Music is an online platform that allows artists to release music and other exclusive content to fans directly. Part of the concept involves giving back to the community and 10 percent of gross sales of the EP is going to the Canadian Sports Concussion Project a charity picked by Luke. “I picked that because I had concussion syndrome. It’s why I quit sports and took up music seriously.”
Jim Beam is sponsoring their tour of Ontario during May, with another tour in the works after the general release of the EP in June.
You can listen to their current single “Long Road Home” HERE