A band with a formidable live reputation, alternative-rock act the Weeks are currently touring their sophomore studio album Dear Bo Jackson, with the band will perform at the Academy 2 in Dublin on Saturday October 20th. Vocalist Cyle Barnes took time out from the road to speak to the Journalist.ie’s Stephen White about recording the group’s new record and sound.
The Weeks have released their second album this year what was the recording experience like this time around?
We really took our time making this record, which was important to us. The songs we did in the past were done quickly and have a kind of raw feel to them, but with this album we could add horns and keys to the mix, also it gave us the opportunity to work with friends in the studio. We had fun recording Dear Bo Jackson, and we ended up the album we set out to make.
With more time spent making this record, how did your process change?
We never like to have too much of a set plan going in, because what you have imagined for the album at the start normally changes by the end. Touring and playing live has helped us so much, we generally like to record live as well. We enjoyed working in the studio this time, locking ourselves away and just sitting down to write the music.
How do you think the group’s sound has evolved during this period?
The band’s been together for around eight years now, and that time we’ve definitely grown. We’ve been touring a lot more, friends have passed away as well and we’re in a different state of mind. This album was all about making ourselves feel better, which could sound selfish, but I think that attitude helped shape the sound on this record. We were a lot younger on those earlier songs and we’ve different influences now. But we’re the same group, and I couldn’t imagine writing or playing with anyone else.
The Weeks have been busy touring recently, including supporting slots for the Meat Puppets and North Mississippi All-Stars. What has the group learned from these experiences?
Those shows were amazing. Ever since we started out we listened to the Meat Puppets and when we met them and became friends it was great to find out they were just normal guys. I suppose in way all musicians are kind of awkward to begin with, pretending to be cool. It was great swapping road stories with them, they could always top ours, it was a lot of fun.
For me touring with North Mississippi All-Stars was so special, I’ve been a fan of theirs for so long. The band’s from Mississippi so to see another band from home going out there and playing the way they do is inspiring.
The band’s on the road at the moment. What has been the reaction to your new material at the live shows?
We love playing this new album so much, we’ve been having fun so far. Especially when we come over to Europe. It’s still strange for us, we come from Mississippi and if you told us several year’s ago that people over here would even know about our music I wouldn’t have believed you. That still takes us by surprise.
Hailing from Mississippi, The Weeks returned to the UK this week, bringing some good old-fashioned American country rock along for the ride.
The Weeks stroll on stage at Camden’s Dingwalls with all the presence you’d expect from a Mississippi country rock band. Long hair flowing and guitars at the ready, they open to an already well-lubricated crowd with Lawman’s Daughter, a song that carries all the hallmarks of typical Southern rock. To their credit, the crowd are loving every moment and lead singer Cycle Barnes works them into a frenzy declaring “I know it’s hot, but it’s gon’ be ok.”
As a band their influences are too obvious to ignore, but while the music is far from unique (reminiscent of Kings of Leon) their performance is energetic and oozes gritty, whiskey-soaked soul. The highlights of the set are previous singles The House We Grew Up In and Brothers in the Night, but there is more than enough room for the slightly less upbeat Ain’t My Stop, which suggests there is more to The Weeks than muddy guitar riffs and heavy drums.
The crowd takes bar breaks during some of the less anthemic tunes, suggesting that the band’s strength is clearly in their rockier sound. There are definite ups and downs to the set, but as they play the closing lines of King-Sized Death Bed, they have the audience in the palm of their hand. Even the limited space of Dingwalls does not deter missiles of half-empty pint glasses and the odd crowd-surfer.
Playing to their strengths, The Weeks finish off with an encore of Mississippi Rain. It’s the heaviest song of the night and, with its intense guitar solo and Barnes’ exaggerated Southern drawl, typifies The Weeks completely. They might not be the most original band out there, but they sure know how to throw a party.
this band is beyond up and coming... who else has seen them?