When we last checked in with Tweed & Dixie, the newly formed band had walked off with an amazing number of eight individual and group trophies at the 2016 Review Awards, including ‘Best Original Band’, ‘Best Country Band’, and ‘Best New Band of the Year’.
Fast forward a year and some things don’t change. At this year’s 31st Review Music Awards Ceremony the band pulled several accolades, including Best Original Band, Best Country Band and Best Band Website. Justin Clifford was also recognized as the Best Rock Drummer.
For good measure, bassist Rick Maida was recognized for his side project with Tony Furlo, the Rick Tones as Best Duo. And sound technician Carey Limberg, effectively a fifth member of the band, racked up another win for his work behind the board (and his unique abilities with wheeled carts, wires and role as erstwhile “band dad.”)
Guitarists and co-front men Barry Forster and Billy Gunther round out the all-star lineup that is now recognizable as one of the more polished outfits gigging in any genre in this area.
A few things have changed for the band over the last year, with the main one being an emphasis on original music. The band is about to release its first EP and has more music ready to record, with a full-length LP in mind within the next year.
Aside from the move toward original material, the other big difference has to do with the chemistry of the band. As Maida describes it, “We could always play together, but we didn’t always know how to get along.”
A schedule in which the various members play in one configuration or another 4 or more nights a week helped. The musical chemistry was molded as the members got a chance to better know each other in a variety of groupings and settings.
The recording process also helped mold the band into a more cohesive unit.
As explained by Gunther: “The biggest learning experience was in getting the sound you wanted. We wanted to learn to use the studio in a way that expanded our creative freedom.”
Clifford also addressed another issue that often follows a discussion of Tweed & Dixie, and that is what genre they actually represent. As Clifford put it: “We didn’t go into the studio to be a country band or a rock band. We went in as Tweed & Dixie.”
Maida agreed, “Our goal was to find our own sound that reflected all our influences.”
Guitarist Forster chimed in: “The main result is I have never been happier playing music. This whole process made us into best friends.”
The disc, which was recorded at CXP Studios in Flint, includes five original tracks, including T&D fan favorites like “Let The Girl Drive” and “Even If It Takes All Night.”
The band has assembled a team around them to help with the process of transitioning to an “originals” act, with an eye on gathering industry attention. The group met artist development specialist Ashley Peacock during a trip to the gym; and they also get guidance from Mike Boggio and Mike O’Donnel of MEG Management group, who help with anything from their needs on the road to cultivating contacts in the industry.
When asked their plans for the summer, Forster had the most succinct answer: “Play.”
Gunter expanded on this a little: “We are going to keep writing originals. We hope to have a full-length album shortly. We will play all over and we are trying to find a spot on a tour.”
You can keep track of Tweed & Dixie on their award-winning website https://tweedanddixie.com/ or on Facebook. Details of their EP release, expected by the end of May, will be posted on each medium.