In true Sally & George fashion, the Nashville-based folk-rock duo had already set out on an international tour when the world shut down in March. Also known as upright bassist Shelby Means, a former member of GRAMMY-nominated bluegrass band Della Mae and guitarist Joel Timmons of Charleston, South Carolina’s roots-rock outfit Sol Driven Train, Sally & George spent a month quarantining at their last-for-now tour stop on St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands before heading back to Nashville, moving out of their apartment and loading up their touring van to live in full-time, waiting to weather the storm. On October 30th, fans will be able to hear what they’ve been working on in the meantime; a brand new full-length album aptly titled Take You On A Ride. The album’s first single “Fish For Free,” premiered via DittyTV, and yesterday, American Songwriter premiered “Fave Wave,” praising the song’s “uplifting, joyful vibe that makes you want to take a drive to your happy place with the windows down and your favorite person next to you.” Fans can now listen to each exclusive premiere at the respective links above and can pre-order Take You On A Ride at this link.
After “Fish For Free,” Take You On A Ride continues with “Molini.” Surf-y guitar arpeggios and bowed upright bass give way to a stomp and clap verse which tells the story of a friend of Timmons’s who called off her engagement at the last minute. He wrote the uplifting song—which features Charlie McCoy on harmonica—to show his support for her brave decision. “Evacuate” comes next, a reggae-tinged tune born of a moment when Means was stuck in California, car-less and under wildfire evacuation orders. Timmons added verses about a similar scenario in the Virgin Islands, after two Category 5 hurricanes struck one week apart. Charleston musicians Ward Buckheister and Big Hair from the reggae group the Dubplates contribute skanky horns and dubby vocals, respectively.
“Listen Sister”—a co-write with Means and Melody Walker of the band Front Country—delves into the judgment, jealousy, and peer pressure which tend to tear women apart from each other with strong conviction. “I believe, and Melody helped me put into words, that women are capable of strength and compassion,” says Means. “We can draw from a deep well of forgiveness in order to make amends, move forward, support our sisters, and defend our sisterhood from things that might try to tear it apart.” The result is a building swirl of compassion, forgiveness, and a wonderful string arrangement complements of Kristin Weber with Larissa Maestro on cello. Take You On A Ride closes with “That’s My Wife,” a sweet, finger-picked guitar and Hawaiian steel with a wholesomely hilarious origin. As Timmons tells it, “One night at Dee’s Country Cocktail Lounge in Madison, Tennessee, an older, drunker gentleman leaned into me and confessed, ‘The most beautiful woman in the world just went into the bathroom. When she comes out, I’m gonna talk to her.” When Means emerged from the bathroom moments later, Timmons proudly delivered the album-ending chorus, “That’s My Wife.”
Sally & George began recording Take You On A Ride last summer in Laramie, Wyoming, at Thunderground Studios, the same studio where they had previously started the sessions for Tip My Heart. Thunderground is an “old-school” recording facility with nary a computer monitor on the premises. “We like to give the recordings a live feel, so we typically play the songs together, either bass and guitar, or bass and drums, and cut the vocals live together also, just to give it that interaction in-the-moment so that the magic really happens,” explains Timmons. For now, the duo is back in Laramie, waiting out the Pandemic. “It’s a really disorienting time in terms of where we put our energy, but we’ve got this art, we’ve been working for years and we really want to be able to put it out into the world,” says Timmons.
“After all of this work we are right back where we started, waiting for the world to get back on track,” they muse. “It really does feel like some kind of wild ride.”
More info can be found at sallyandgeorge.com
Take You On A Ride Tracklisting:
Fish For Free
Thank U (4 Breaking My Heart)
That’s My Wife