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Live & Local with Elroy Love

Catch Elroy Love at The Hummingbird Stage & Taproom Friday January 6th @ 10pm

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Although Elroy Love released Glitch Cowboy in 2015, the band is finally coming into their own and finding a balance between their love of country styles, soulful Southern elements, and pop.  Singer and guitarist, Thomas Young, wanted to incorporate former Dalmatian bandmates Michael Suhr (bass/vocals) and John Ewing (drums) by backing his own personal music project. However, the trio has emerged into a collaborative outfit, and are now exploring the sounds of what they have deemed outlaw pop.

Suhr and Ewing are former Macon residents, although Young is no stranger to Macon himself.  The now Tennessee trio will be revisiting Macon this Friday night opening for Charleston’s folk rock group, The High Divers.  I talked with the band about outlaw country, their new collective efforts, and discovered the real identity of Elroy Love.

Your bio describes Elroy Love as an alternative country band that “offers a rare form of funked-up, Southern-influenced music.” Can you explain why you guys wanted to go in that direction?
Michael: I think the alt country thing needs to be updated a little bit. We want to fall under a larger blanket of just like a Southern genre because country has a pretty limiting genre. And if you’re going to be country it’s like you’re kind of stuck in that pocket.

Thomas:  It’s not so much the sound is country.  The way we go about writing songs, like sitting down together and writing, is pretty traditional in that sense. And the content is similar to country music. And that’s what I always fall back on and end up listening to. So it inspires me a lot in a very personal way, but that doesn’t always come out in the sound of the music.

I know it’s difficult to label, but any idea how you would describe your music? Since we do we listen to a lot of country and we’re inspired by it, we call it outlaw pop. I mean we’re mostly influenced by, I wouldn’t say older country, but Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson.  A lot of the old outlaw dudes.  We admire that attitude they had and they kind of went in and redefined country music from their unique perspective.  And while we’re not really redefining country music, we want to redefine Southern music and what it means to be a Southern man making music.

You guys released Glitch Cowboy in 2015, what have you been working on since then?
Michael:  We’ve been writing a lot. I think that was a pretty isolated project. The recent stuff we’ve been working on for longer and it’s more collaborative by far. Glitch Cowboy started out as John and I filling in [Thomas’] songs that he wrote and now we’re all writing these songs and contributing to it.  I would say what comes out next will be like the first Elroy Love release.

With more collaboration, do you think the sound has changed, your focus, or a theme?
John:  I think Glitch Cowboy feels a little all over the place, and not in a bad way. But now things are leveling out. Not in a boring way, but I think we’re fitting together and settling into each other’s styles.  So I think it’s going to be more consistent. And I think the songs now sound more controlled and intentional.

Thomas: I think lyrically, because it’s Michael and I that write a lot of the lyrics,  we’re on the same page. [We wanted to] make it into something that is a bit more artistic and maybe you’re not as comfortable with. We wanted to mess it up a little bit and make some of the lyrical themes still positive but use imagery that is maybe uncomfortable.

John: Whenever I hear Thomas and Michael’s lyrics and writing it’s cool to me because they put themselves on a slab and it’s very vulnerable but also really accessible.  That’s the kind of stuff I want to hear.  Not making me uncomfortable, but forcing me to think about things that I know to be true but haven’t really admitted it.

Does the name Elroy Love have any significance?
Michael: I think I was pretty disoriented. That’s not a euphemism for anything.  I was just feeling weird that day and John was asking if I had any relatives with a funny name.  And also coming up with a band name is exhausting and it’s tedious. I was just kind of over the whole thing. I actually just wanted to be called John Thomas Michael or Michael Thomas John but they said that would sound too much like Jonathan Taylor Thomas.  But [Elroy Love] is my great uncle. His name is Elmer Love actually, but I mistakenly thought his name was Elroy Love.

Thomas: I love it. At first I was like, oh, that’s cool, but now I really do think with what we want to accomplish semantically with our music and sonically, I think it’s pretty spot on. I mean he’s a pretty Southern dude. Like the band Uncle Tupelo, but it’s kind of this fictional character. I think their name is actually a nickname for Elvis or something. But it’s kind of along that same vein of just this fictional upstanding Southern man. You know Uncle Tupelo, Elroy Love, I think they would be friends.

Catch Elroy Love at The Hummingbird Stage & Taproom Friday January 6th @ 10pm

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