the langston chronicles
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the langston chronicles

Atlanta, Georgia, United States | SELF

Atlanta, Georgia, United States | SELF
Band Americana Singer/Songwriter


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Back Roads to Far Places - Release Date: January 12, 2008 (Full Length Album Debut)



The Langston Chronicles, made up of singer Hallie Meushaw and guitarist Scott Bryant, conjure up a magical mix of rock and roll spirit and country longing on the band's debut album, Back Roads to Far Places. The eleven songs on this record are loaded up with emotion, texture and atmosphere, full of dynamic shifts ranging from the infectious folk pop of "Idaho", “Gone Down a Highway” and "King of Tennessee" to the wide open sonic landscapes of "Flatland, Ohio" and "Castro and the Jukebox Girl". These songs build, hit crescendos, then surprise you when they drop off cliffs...and that's how they work.

The Langston Chronicles seamlessly blend rock 'n' roll, country, Britpop, folk and blues, all with fluidity, understanding, honesty and respect. To this band, genres and categories are meaningless, and all that matters is whether the music is good or bad, honest or false. Whether it makes you feel something. Whether it makes you want to get off your ass and change the world, or at least just dance and sing along.

Back Roads to Far Places. A record of and about journeys. A geographical journey along forgotten or often overlooked back roads, from small, lonesome southern towns, to the industrial cities of the northeast, across the flatlands of America's midsection and the endless desert landscapes of the west, all the way out to the big dreams of the Hollywood Hills. A philosophical journey through the many struggles and triumphs of life, the wild mood swings of growing up and trying to find one's place in an increasingly complex, mechanized and commoditized world. And a musical journey, crossing through, bending and mashing up sounds from traditional sunset country rock (think Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited, The Byrds' Sweetheart of the Rodeo, The Rolling Stones’ Beggars Banquet and Let it Bleed, Ryan Adams), to female folk pop (Natalie Merchant, Patty Griffin, Gillian Welch), to Britpop (Travis, the Cocteau Twins), and on to the fractured deconstructions, atmosphere and nuance of Wilco.

On Back Roads, The Langston Chronicles create a soundtrack for this collection of journeys: rustic-flavored, honest and personal music that has such an organic feel, it sounds like the band is jamming right there in your living room.

Hallie and Scott first met and started performing together in Charlottesville, Virginia, then after a few gigs moved down to Atlanta and its dynamic acoustic music scene. Hallie grew up literally surrounded by music, having been born at home encircled by musicians and family friends strumming Dylan tunes, and then spending her childhood years on an artist colony just outside of Washington, D.C. Her father was a professional bluegrass musician, her mother an actress and director, her grandparents performing musicians and singers. From an early age, music was everywhere for Hallie, and she absorbed it all, from the standards of the American musical canon to Led Zeppelin and the Smiths.

Scott cut his musical teeth in the Chapel Hill, NC indie rock scene, touring the southeast as a drummer and singer/guitarist for several bands, all the while learning and exploring the craft of songwriting and storytelling the old-fashioned way: on the road, in bars, staying up all night listening to, studying and talking about records, and generally just living and breathing music. In 2005, Bryant’s “Someday Lovesong”, cut as a rave-up rocker by his band Parklife, was a finalist in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest. On Back Roads, The Langston Chronicles recast the track as a toe-tapping ode to desire.

After moving to Atlanta and playing some shows, Hallie and Scott decided to cut a few acoustic demos of songs they’d been writing. They enlisted close friends Rob Clay, Sam Clowney and Grammy-nominated producer John Custer to help put the demos on tape and headed up for a weekend in Custer’s Raleigh, NC studio in February 2007. Five minutes into the sessions, after one live take of “Idaho”, they felt magic in the room and immediately said, we gotta make a record. So was born Back Roads to Far Places.

As Hallie tells it: “You know, we didn’t have a lot of time or money to make this record, so it was really done in a few late nights up at Custer’s place in Raleigh. He’s moved to a new spot now because his old place was below sea level and prone to flooding, but the place was just a barebones industrial looking building that he’d turned into a studio. Not a studio in the conventional L.A. or New York sense, a cozy place with a couple of rooms with couches, a fridge, and just albums, instruments and cool artifacts everywhere. There’s no control booth so to speak, it’s just Custer at his desk, and you sit right there with him the whole time. He’s a very technical engineer, but he’s really a producer in the Rick Rubin sense: he knows how to get the best out of you, he believes in you more than you believe in yourself. And he’s just pushing you as you record, directing you through his hand motions and faci