There is a Country Rock band in Nashville who had been nudging big time success when the world got wrapped up in a pandemic and they went off the public radar. Not completely though as fans will point you in the direction of a number of celebrity duets which they were a part of on Zoom during the dark days of lockdown… when playing in a band meant that you were playing in your front room and other band members in theirs. Local singer and composer, keyboardist and rhythm guitarist Simon Dumas was tracked down for a chat.
It’s great to hear that King Calaway are touring again after the lockdown. How did it feel to be playing to live audiences again?
“It’s been really incredible to be performing again. Dates have been slightly scattered in terms of where and when. A few of the gigs have been rescheduled shows from 2020 but all in all it’s been so rewarding to get back on stage. As we release our new EP we still have local shows booked in Nashville including at the Grand Ole Opry.”
The pandemic rudely interrupted your well charted course which was on track to make your band bigger and more widely known… what changes have been made by your management to bring King Calaway back into the public eye again?
“Collectively we agreed it would be best if the band used the time off to write new songs, rework our sound and to get ready for when the world reopened. We are so grateful for the support from our record label and management team who have put together some great opportunities for us in the hope that our music will reach as many people as possible.”
How did you manage to spend your time between Gibraltar and the US during lockdown and when did it finally become possible to be a band again and play in the same room together?
“In Gibraltar I spent time with my family. After a whirlwind two years with KC it was really nice to hit the pause button and just spend time at home. It was also a good chance to reflect on all that had happened and that alone inspired a lot of song writing in the evenings via Zoom with Nashville writers. I did more song writing once I got back to Nashville in August of 2020. It was great to be reunited with the band. In the New Year we went to Asheville, North Carolina in February for three weeks in order to record our new material.”
I’m assuming that the band’s song writing would have come along nicely with all that time on your hands during isolation …will these new songs make it into your next album or will there be additional material from other writers involved?
“Yes indeed. We’ve all been writing a lot of material. I’d say between us we were narrowing down choices from a pool of eighty songs that each of us had co-written. This new four songs EP will feature 3 songs with at least one KC original, and one ‘outside cut’ as they are called over here. I co-wrote two of the songs on the EP, ‘More People’ and ‘Heartbreaker’ and I’m really excited about all the other songs which will be released at a later date.”
Previously you have played for ‘Rascal Flatts’ when they were on their last tour before the pandemic and it was on the cards to happen again…is this opportunity still being actively pursued if or when they tour next year perhaps?
“Our first and only time we played opening for ‘Rascal Flatts’ was phenomenal! It was at the Ascend Amphitheatre in Nashville to a couple thousand fans. Unfortunately the pandemic seems to have cancelled that farewell tour which we were going to join, however I do hope it will be rescheduled!”
From a personal perspective since you have tasted some success and high-profile gigs on TV and concerts do you feel any nearer to making it big time or is your musical dream realized already?
“I’ve spent my whole life imagining what it would feel like to ‘make it’ in music. 2019 was for me truly a bucket list year, performing in US Bank Stadium to 70,000 people, also playing live on the ‘Late Late Show’ with James Corden and other TV shows. At this point I’m taking every day as it comes with a tremendous amount of gratitude. I still have my aspirations as a songwriter (both for King Calaway and for other artists). I’m also hoping that our band can get out and play on a headline tour once it’s safe to do so.”
Can you give us an insight into which songs might get into the final cut of the projected KC album which are already recorded?
“This new body of work is inspired by our stories and our journey. Musically we really channelled a sort of ‘California country’ sound with Rock influences in some other songs.We are really proud of what we’ve created and feel it’s the most authentic version of King Calaway to date.”
If there has been a negative it has to be the band’s time apart during lockdown, which I know you are catching up on…has this separation dulled your collective drive as a band and is everyone still 100 percent on board to Rock the rest of 2021 and beyond?
“We are all 100% on board! We are hungry, motivated and ready to pick up from where we left off in 2020. However with new momentum, live shows and excitement!”
There is little that we can add to that sentiment other than our best wishes that dreams may continue to come true and that this talented band that are ‘King Calaway’ take their place in the US music charts and who knows, if they tour Europe in the future they could be booked to perform here once again on Simon Dumas’ home turf. Take a listen to their new music on Spotify or any of the other music platforms it’s good music on the rise.