Interview: Six Market Blvd. brings surprises to 2nd album, “Shake It Down,” plays Wormy Dog Saloon Saturday
From Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman.
Six Market Blvd. brings surprises to sophomore album
The Stephenville-based Texas country quartet is touring in support of their new release “Shake It Down” and playing the Wormy Dog Saturday night.
While he enjoys surprising listeners, lead singer/songwriter Clayton Landua said he and his bandmates didn’t jazz up the wrenching piano ballad “In the Name of Us” with that sax just for shock value.
“We just thought that was gonna be best for that song,” he said in a recent phone interview. “We definitely don’t really have a genre. … We’re just writing music and playing it. We’re not purposefully writing songs to fit anywhere. You know, whatever comes out, that’s what happens. We play it and perform and just let that be and just hope that people accept us. And that’s what, so far, has been working out.”
When the Stephenville, Texas-based quartet plays Saturday night at the Wormy Dog Saloon, concertgoers can expect a musical mix of rock ‘n’ roll, soul and blues, plus the three-part harmonies that have become a signature of their eclectic sound.
Landua (lead vocals, harmony and rhythm guitar), Josh Serrato (lead rhythm guitar, 12-string guitar, harmony, piano and organ), Ben Hussey (lead vocals, harmony, electric bass and stand-up bass) and Dallas Neal (drums and percussion) met at Stephenville’s Tarleton State University and formed their band in 2008.
“We wanted to jam out, we wanted to play music, we were just going to go to parties and have fun … and then we realized sometime down the line we could do three-part harmonies and then it just kind of made its own track,” Landua said. “It blew our minds. We were like ‘whoa.’ … On the first album, we released the single ‘Silence in Me,’ and that like has become a huge thing everywhere we play.”
With “Shake It Down,” this year’s follow-up to their 2010 debut “Running on Seven,” the band constantly shakes up expectations, from the country romp “Santa Fe Train” that turns positively Beatlesque by the time it pulls into the station to the lovely waltz “The Painter” with its mesmerizing accordion. Their current single “Say It” opens the album with a gritty blues-rock groove, while “White Goose” floats in heartache on an island breeze.
The Eagles and Fleetwood Mac emerge as clear influences on songs like “Medina,” “Stand” and “14 Miles from Home,” which have a 1970s cool California vibe and showcase the captivating way Landua, Hussey and Serrato can blend their voices.
“We always are kind of in tune to the Eagles just because they had great harmonies and they’re just great musicians and stuff like that. But during the entire time we were recording that album when we were traveling somewhere or driving somewhere … we were all kind of listening to ‘Rumours’ by Fleetwood Mac, the whole album,” Landua said, adding that there was no real reason for their sudden collective obsession with the classic record.
“It was just the influence that hit us at that point and time. We were like, ‘Man, why do we love this album so much right now?’ It’s just something that just kind of fell into play … at that time.”
When “Shake It Down” was released in May, their sophomore effort bowed on the Billboard country albums chart at No. 42, on the trade publication’s Heatseekers list at No. 22 and on the Heatseekers Regional-South Central chart at No. 1. The album also hit No. 5 on the iTunes country rankings and No. 3 on the Lonestar Music Chart.
“(We) just couldn’t believe it. People had been waiting on our album — we didn’t know how many people — but it was enough to put it up there in those rankings. And it wasn’t like it lasted a week like it does for these big-namers, you know, but we were up there,” Landua said.
The band was even ranked higher on the iTunes chart than Texas country legend Willie Nelson “for like five minutes.”
“Just the fact that it happened … was like ‘Man, if that’s not a sign that we’re doing something here, then I don’t know what else is,’” Landua said.
More signs that Six Market Blvd. is on the rise: The band played in April at Larry Joe Taylor’s Texas Music Festival in their home base of Stephenville and recently received an invitation to play at next year’s MusicFest in Steamboat, Colo.
“When we realized we wanted to just go ahead and do this, our two top goals was to play at the main stage at the Larry Joe Taylor Festival and play at Steamboat Springs, Colorado. And we’re accomplishing these goals,” he said. “So now it’s time to make some more and hit the road harder.”
Six Market Blvd.
When: 9:30 p.m. Saturday. Doors open at 6 p.m.
Where: Wormy Dog Saloon, 311 E Sheridan.