Cowboy Curtys don’t trust themselves To Be Alone in their hard-hitting, genre-bending new single — premiering exclusively on Tinnitist.
Setting dusky vocals and searing guitars atop a slow-burning soundscape that walks the line between psychedelic garage-rock and rugged raw-boned roots, the latest preview of the Georgia band’s forthcoming debut album Commotions darkly documents the pain of lost love — though perhaps not one you might expect.
“To Be Alone is written about my dog Tyson, who I lost unexpectedly a few years back,” singer-songwriter Josh Parsons explains. “He’s got two songs on the record and a special place in my heart. To love and to lose. It’s all there.”
Named for a derelict strip club in Parsons’ LaGrange hometown, Commotions serves as a southern-gothic effigy evoking his love-hate relationship with his middle Georgia upbringing; a feeling undoubtedly familiar to many of those raised well outside of the city limits south of the Mason-Dixon line.
The songs that make up Commotions serve as time capsules documenting different periods of Parsons’ life. The ethereal, quasi-love letter Nantahala is named for the street he lived on during his initial foray into the Athens scene. The raucous debauchery of Double Dang and Redneck Fighting Lessons recall wild nights with friends, while the crooning of withoutYou reminds us that introspection will meet us right where we’re at. “We were the punk kids in LaGrange,” Parsons says with a smirk. “So we really didn’t belong to anything, and were always a little bit out of control.”
Camaraderie is a major theme across Commotions, and the motif extends well beyond the songwriting itself. Recorded mostly live off the floor of Athens’ Gift Horse Studio, Commotions boasts a wide range of local players lending their hand to Cowboy Curtys’ communal vision. With Drew Beskin on guitar and keyboards, Frank Keith IV (Great Peacock, Tedo Stone) on bass, and Jeremy Cosper on drums comprising the core of the studio band, the album also features Matt “Pistol” Stoessel (Faye Webster, Cracker) on pedal steel, keyboards by Andrew Shepard (Lo Talker, Roadkill Ghost Choir), and guitar work from Modern Skirts’ Phillip Brantley.
Prior to Cowboy Curtys, Parsons founded the band Man Made Sea while still living in LaGrange, tapping close friend Cosper and other local friends to round out the group. “Jeremy and I spent our formative years in the hardcore scene idolizing bands like The Chariot, Poison The Well, and mewithoutYou,” Parsons notes. “The first few bands we formed in high school were hardcore bands that did more squealing than playing. The breakdowns eventually turned into cowboy chords, and we formed Man Made Sea — a party-driven, heavy-folk-rock quartet. After the band broke up, I moved to Athens and began writing songs that would ultimately come to be Commotions.”
Cowboy Curtys first began playing in and around Athens in 2017, and their unique style was well-received on the legendary college town’s club circuit. An early attendee dubbed them as “the most well-rehearsed band in Athens” — a term that was initially shrugged off with a laugh, but undeniably inspired the group to press on. They knew they were doing something right.
Commotions sees Cowboy Curtys melding a lifetime of experiences and a slew of musical influences into a triumphant debut — the culmination of early exposure to ’90s country, the sweat of the mosh pit at hardcore shows, and a love of the guitar-driven indie-rock of the 2000s. As much as it is a journal of Parsons’ own reflections, it’s also a readily accessible call to friends and listeners everywhere to not sweat the small stuff, enjoy life as it comes at you, and never be afraid to crack open a cold one.
Check out To Be Alone above, sample more music from Cowboy Curtys below, and raise a commotion at their website, Instagram and Facebook.