Midland are one of country music’s favourite bands right now. Their traditional sound and infectious melodies have won them a massive fan base many of whom gleefully shout “Thank god for real country music”.
Midland, who are signed to Big Machine Label Group, released their debut album On The Rocks last year and it has been pretty much all that everyone can talk about. On The Rocks debuted at number 1 on the Billboard Top Country Album sales chart in the US and has given them global success.
The three piece consist of Mark Wystrach (singer), Jess Carson (Lead guitarist) and Cameron Duddy (Bass player). Hailing from Texas, the band were inundated with requests to play the UK just moments after the release of their debut single Drinkin’ Problem.
Midland made their UK debut on the main stage at Country 2 Country Festival (C2C) earlier this year and the love was so strong that they are returning for a string of shows from end of November into early December.
Midland just graced our screens with their fantastic performance of Jerry Reed’s East Bound and Down in dedication to the late Burt Reynolds who sadly passed in September this year. The dedication was emotional and brilliant, giving a happy, upbeat memory of Burt Reynolds with the Smokey and the Bandit theme song.
The trio were up for three CMA Awards this year: Single of The Year, New Artist of The Year and Vocal Group of The Year. Midland may not have won any of their categories but they are certainly winners in their fans eyes and ears and will hopefully come away with many more next year.
We caught up with Cam from Midland to discuss their CMA performance, their UK fans and other things. Cam was so much fun to talk with and really just generally a nice chap who was easy going and happy to chat. I may not have a drinkin’ problem but after our chat and after their UK shows, I think I may have a Midland problem.
Hi Cam – How are you?
I am doing well.
How were the CMA’s? Recovered yet?
Yeah still recovering. It was a pretty wild night.
How did the performance go, the Burt Reynolds tribute?
It went well I think, did you see it?
Yes I thought it was brilliant and have seen all the fans on facebook page raving about it.
I think everybody was happy with how it came out. What you don’t see on the TV is that from our point of view, we are standing on the stage staring at Garth Brooks and other people on the front row like Luke Bryan, Ricky Skaggs, Marty Stuart and other guys who have been doing it forever and we are like “Oh my god, I hope we don’t screw this up”. I think the boys did really well and I am proud of everybody, we did really well.
How do you prepare for an event like that? How long in advance do you have to get the song ready?
It takes a month to woodshop the song and arrange it the way that we wanted to. We wanted to do the song justice and play certain things the way that they were recorded but also make it personal. To change anything in the guitar solo would be like changing words in the lyrics so we changed the guitar solo, we woodshopped that and Jess and Luke our guitar player, they played that solo in harmony together. It is a lot of preparation and we wanted to put our own spin on it so it sounded different. I love that song and I think what we ended on was very empowering and had meaning.
I agree – You will be back to the UK soon – how did you enjoy your first trip here?
We enjoyed it so much, we loved it.
You have a few dates and some fans are going to all the dates.
Really? Is that right? Wow, that’s really cool. We have some shows sold out and others really close. It is going to be really fun, I am looking forward to it.
So are we.
You now have a huge fan base all over the world but do you remember the first time an audience sung a song back to you?
Yeah, I actually do remember the first time. It was up in Canada at a festival. Things started happening really quickly: it went from barely anybody coming to see us live to almost overnight people were walking to the shows and singing Drinkin’ Problem back to us. Now the cool thing is that people sing the album cuts as well and that means they are real fans and not just listening to the radio hits. That is very encouraging because being out on the road and playing, we have been home for less than a collective month all year so it can give you energy to know that people are actually digging what you are doing.
Well that will definitely happen here in the UK. Everyone will sing along to literally every song.
I hope so, I can’t wait.
Do you have anything particular on a ryder in the UK?
It never tastes the same in a bottle but we will be hunting down Guinness. We have taken to drinking Guinness whilst in the UK. But we want it on tap as doesn’t taste the same in a bottle.
Did you toy with any other band names before Midland, if so, can we know any?
Oddly enough and Mark will tell a different version of the story, he thinks that we went through a bunch of band names but he could be thinking of our old band. I remember Midland being the only band name that was ever thrown out. We didn’t know what we were going to call the band and one day Mark said “lets call it Midland”. Jess and I were in bands together years ago, a decade ago and we had so many names: The Asher Hours, Stranger Lily, Major Grace and The Hard Luck Chancers , Tender and The Loins. We had many names. Tender and The Loins, that was a good one. That was a good one right?
It is, I love it!
That’s a good one. We had basically exploded that band, it was five piece at one point. We stripped the band down to just me and Jess and I started playing drums in that band. Haha, it was really funny, you can still find it on facebook.
I am pretty sure you can: Tender and The Loins.
Well I am definitely looking that up.
We loved Dexy’s Midnight Runners, we were completely obsessed. We were doing that kind of rock and roll. I remember that period rather vividly we were so into Dexy’s Midnight Runners.
So the secret is out, you are all actually Sacha Baren Cohen in disguise (according to Mean Tweets.)
Haha yeah that was funny. That was spot on.
Some of those Mean Tweets are really brutal but you guys kind of got lucky but it was still so funny.
We got away pretty easy. We came out of that one unscathed. I felt that was almost a backhanded compliment.
Haha. It is always Dan + Shay who get the worst ones.
Haha yeah they are easy targets.
What has been the greatest gift a fan has ever bought you?
We have a fan club, we didn’t start it, they started it themselves – they are called The Midlanderos, they are on Facebook as well. There are a couple of leaders of the fan club that always come to the shows and bring us cool stuff. One of our buddies brought us a trucker hat that he had designed the word Midland to look like Top Gun the logo. He had fashioned it in the style of Top Gun but it said Midland. It is still one of the coolest things that we have ever been given. Mark and I are legendary Top Gun fans.
What else will you be doing whilst here in the UK? Eating certain foods? Sight seeing? We know you want Guinness.
Will we be out and about. We got to see Parliament last time, we got a personal tour from one of the members of parliament and got to go after hours. There are a ton of pubs inside parliament and we went to this really cool pub underground and there was this balcony that overlooked the river, it was really cool man. That was a really fun experience. I am not sure we are going to be able to top that but we will see. There are a ton of sites to see. We are all hipster buffs ha, we love that stuff. We also want to try to find the best curry.
Oh we do curry well in the UK.
Will Midland ever release a Christmas song?
Not this year as we ran out of time but I am going to go ahead and guess that next year maybe we will do a song or maybe even a whole album. We love Christmas songs. Maybe like a tropical Christmas album
Now that would be good. All original I hope?
Yeah hope so. We will do it, we’ll do it.
Do you personally have any Christmas traditions?
My mum started decorating for Christmas long before Thanksgiving. The tradition is to basically invite all of the family over and drink as much as we possibly can. We will play games and will just be leaping and shrieking and generally asking why not?
What is your favourite Christmas drink?
I have been known to kick back some eggnog, spiked eggnog. I hate it unless it is like the day of Christmas, I will drink it on Christmas.
Will you be sporting a Christmas jumper?
Oh yeah of course.
Good. Thanks so much for chatting today, we can’t wait to have you back in the UK. It will be such a great tour and I know you are going to see lots of the same faces at every show. Dedicated fan base here.
Well thank you. We love y’all. For those who are coming to more than one show, we are going to be playing a different set each night, we try to keep it fresh.
And new songs too?
Yes, new songs from the new album for sure.
Well we can’t wait for that! Take care.
Thanks so much for your time Hannah.