Hailing from Austin, by way of the UK, Beat Root Revival is a folk duo composed by Ben Jones and Andrea Magee. On May 13th of this year, the duo released their self-titled album through New Orleans-based, Toulouse Records.
With a collection of sentimental stories and unforgettable hooks, the album allows for two worlds to collide. Ben and Andrea started out as solo acts, but soon realized their strengths were heightened as a unit and this is clear when listening to any one of the eleven tracks from their latest album.
I was able to chat with the duo in advance of their August 5th (next Friday) show here in Nashville at Mercy Lounge. They’ve come a long way since their search for musical opportunities in America began in 2014; a wild adventure to Austin during SXSW where a local taxi driver took them under his wing and showed them the cities ropes.
“Our band name came about in Roswell, NM of all places,” Andrea began giving me the Beat Root Revival breakdown. “We were on our first trip to the United States with our two other bandmates. On this trip we were traveling from Seattle to Boston and the aim was to create as many opportunities as possible for our music,” she continued.
“We began the trip as two solo acts ‘Ben Jones’ and ‘Andrea Magee’ but on the road we realized that there was strength in numbers and we all knew each other’s songs so we started playing together. The response we got playing together was incredible, everyone commented on our harmonies and how well we sang together so the duo was born. We realized we needed a name and after a dinner in Roswell (one of the tourist stops on our journey) we all wrote ideas on the back of our tickets and Beat Root Revival was found!
Ben and I have different styles but we also have a love that meets in the middle for driving rhythms, harmonies, great melodies and songs and this is where we find our balance to create our Beat Root Revival sound. This took a while to really find, we have had to work at finding the balance that represented both of us equally but we really believe with this new album we found it!”
With their effortless sound, it’s hard to believe the two ever had to work at finding balance in their art, but the payoff is truly breath taking and I can only imagine it will overwhelm the packed house at Mercy Lounge next week!
The two are a powerhouse together, but just as strong on their own. Their individual strengths come about, in part, by their influences and they both had shared their musical and personal ones with me. Starting with ladies first,
“Musically for me my biggest influences came from those around me,” Andrea said. “I began playing music in Irish sessions in Donegal with my dad and his friends. In these sessions I got to listen and play along with a variety of wonderful musicians and I believe this all really shaped me as a performer, which continued through my school life and university. Growing up I listened to Van Morrison, Mary Black, Sam Cooke, Diana Ross, Gloria Estefan, Tina Turner, Alanis Morrisette and so many more.”
Ben followed with his eclectic list and it was easy to see how the two are able to create such a harmonious balance.
“For me, my initial influences came from The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, The Beach Boys; stalwarts of my Dad’s record collection, who’ve remained my favorite artists. As a generational inspiration, the whole indie BritPop movement of the 90s was a massive inspiration (to me); Oasis, Blur, Pulp – bands that came from similar backgrounds to me, that were able to cut through and make a mark with what they had to say. Phil Spector, Roy Wood and Todd Rundgren are big influences from a production and arrangement point of view, radical ways of looking outside the box in pop music at that time, and redefining it.”
As far as performing for the Nashville crowd in August, Ben says,
“It’s always difficult to predict what songs in a set that will go down the best with a crowd. On the previous dates each crowd reacted differently and we really enjoy that! We are just hoping the Nashville crowd will love our sound and that the performance will connect with everyone.”
I’m no psychic, but I have to assume the Nashville audience will go crazy over what Beat Root Revival has to offer.
Andrea added, “with our songs the aim is always for them to connect with someone. If it connects and helps them in any way we have achieved our goal. I think our live set always has a little magic to it because we totally buzz off the crowd and that creates an energy in us that changes from show to show!”
You can still get tickets to see Beat Root Revival perform at Mercy Lounge on August 5th and I highly suggest you do it now, because that statement might not true for long!
See you there, Nashville!