Wild Sweet Orange

Wild Sweet Orange

BandAlternative

Honing an intimate and individualistic sound that veers unrestrained from aching intimacy to a turbulent, seething intensity.

Biography

Wild Sweet Orange’s Canvasback Music debut, WE HAVE CAUSE TO BE UNEASY, is a work of exquisite power, its songs propelled by edgy emotion and a cathartic yearning for connection. Tracks such as “Ten Dead Dogs” and “Sour Milk” find the Birmingham, Alabama-based rock outfit honing an intimate and individualistic sound that veers unrestrained from aching intimacy to a turbulent, seething intensity. For singer and songwriter Preston Lovinggood, the album’s provocative title serves as both an ideal statement of intent as well as a strong assertion of identity.

“It’s being honest about who we are and where we’ve come from,” Lovinggood explains. “Our generation gets a little looked down upon for asking too many questions or complaining too much, but I think we have the right to ask those questions.

“It’s hopeful and weary at the same time,” he adds. “To be aware of the situation, to understand there is a cause, is a healthy place to be.”

Recorded over a span of two years, from the band’s first serious sessions in Birmingham with engineer Lynn Bridges to its more recent work in Austin alongside producer Mike McCarthy (Spoon, And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, Patty Griffin), WE HAVE CAUSE TO BE UNEASY stands as a remarkably truthful debut album, the unveiling of a band and its efforts since the start.

“The story of the record is the story of Wild Sweet Orange,” Lovinggood says. “It was a humbling and sometimes tiresome experience, like, ‘Oh man, are we ever gonna get this record out?’ But we also knew that these songs were good enough and if we worked hard enough, they’d take us to where we wanted to be.”

The Wild Sweet Orange story officially began in the suburban community of Homewood, where Lovinggood and drummer Chip Kilpatrick met attending church choir practice and, as Lovinggood recalls, “became instant best friends.” The two began making music together, with Kilpatrick – who’d been playing guitar and drums since he was extremely young – teaching young Lovinggood to play “a bass that was as big as me.” When guitarist Garret Kelly moved to town, he quickly became the third member of the fledgling group and rounded out the lineup and upon graduation, the band – dubbed Old American Dream – decided to skip college to follow the career path they’d set out on years before.

Old American Dream toured the country for the next year, but Lovinggood found himself conflicted, keenly aware of the disparity between his adolescent fantasies and the reality of life on the road. He decided to head back home to attend community college, but ultimately, Lovinggood couldn’t resist music’s thrall and began unleashing his dreams and demons into what would become Wild Sweet Orange’s first songs.

“It was all this really personal stuff,” Lovinggood says. “I let myself be really vulnerable so I could get all this stuff that was inside out, all that stuff you go through as a young kid, especially in the suburban, hyper-conservative South.

Lovinggood showed his embryonic songwriting to longtime friend Taylor Shaw, a gifted blues guitarist known around town for backing up local blues veterans. Lovinggood and Shaw teamed up and were soon performing around Birmingham’s coffee house scene. Kilpatrick – by then living in Nashville – came home to join his friends, with Kelly rejoining the fold soon thereafter.

“Our plan was this: we’re gonna be ourselves and if it happens for us, then cool,” Lovinggood says. “Something special happens when the four of us make music together, and so if we build it, they will come. And if they don’t come, that’s okay too.”

In 2005, Wild Sweet Orange recorded a series of tracks with engineer Bridges, one of which, “Sour Milk,” began getting played on WYSF’s influential “Reg’s Coffee House,” hosted by local radio hero Scott Register. A number of tracks – including the riveting “Ten Dead Dogs” – were recorded in early 2006 at a studio in Decatur that perhaps contributed to the music’s anxiously haunted nature.

“As we were setting up our stuff, we walked into a back room and it was this witches’ lair,” Lovinggood recalls. “The guy who owned the studio, his wife was a witch! There were all these spells, there was a floating broom, all these crazy posters. I remember being really spooked out by it, the whole time we were recording.”

It wasn’t long before John Richards at Seattle’s KEXP started spinning “Ten Dead Dogs,” to powerful response. National blog attention followed, with such leading online lights such as My Old Kentucky Blog and I Rock Cleveland offering prolifigate praise. In late 2007, Wild Sweet Orange signed to Canvasback Music, but self-released THE WHALE EP to universal acclaim. As they began putting the final touches on their debut album, the label suggested they meet with producer Mike McCarthy.

So work at McCarthy’s Austin, Texas, studio began in February 2008, and the results proved joyous and fruitful, including stellar new r

Lyrics

Ten Dead Dogs

Written By: Preston Lovinggood and Wild Sweet Orange

I saw ten dead dogs on the side of the road
Driving late last night to your apartment
And I thought it was an omen
So I headed on back home and
Walked in circles ’round my room

And oh my God is this really what you want
Would you tell us if it’s not
And could you rewrite the plot and come and get us
Yeah and come and get us

Shivering cold I woke up in water
And wrapped myself around the toilet seat
I spoke in tongues and took all my clothes off
The tops of my fingers touched the tops of my toes

Chorus:
And oh my God is this really what you want
Would you tell us if it’s not
And could you rewrite the plot and come and get us
’Cause we can’t stop doing what we think we want
Even though we know it’s not
This place is merely a sub-plot
You’ll come and get us

I’ve never felt this way before
Am I running away from what I’ve always been running towards
Belief believe in me
’Cause I don't know if reason’s ever gonna see why love
Would come to die
To leave

(Chorus)

I watched the sky turn from blue to black to red and yellow too
Before the purple dawn was filling up my room
And for a brief moment I heard the whole earth groaning
Like there was something that it needed me to do

Discography

"The Whale"- EP; "We Have Cause to Be Uneasy -Debut Album"; "Ten Dead Dogs" - single.
Radio airplay currently for "Ten Dead Dogs"

Set List

Set List:
Ten Dead Dogs
Wrestle With God
Be Careful What You Want
Crickets
An Atlas To Follow
Either/Or
Land of No Return
Aretha's Gold
Typical set time is about 40 minutes.