The Vegabonds are the personification of Alabama-based music. Their songs are a perfect recipe of Southern rock, country and Mississippi blues. They spent their formative years in Auburn playing the college circuit before graduating to the crowded streets of Nashville and Music Row.
Singer Daniel Allen checked in from the road to talk about their new album and tour. The new album, “V,” is available on most streaming services.
Q: Tell me about the formation of the band.
A: We were all in school at Auburn University and I had a band and a couple of other guys had a band. We were playing Sky Bar, Bourbon St. and all the bars in Auburn. We ran across each other multiple times, and I met our drummer now at a party back in the day, and he asked me to come over and jam with the band for a little bit. So I went over there thinking nothing of it. As soon as I got over and started playing music with these guys, it felt like home. We started automatically writing original tunes, and by the end of the first year we had a full album written. I think we played near, or a little bit over, 100 shows in 2009 when we formed.
Q: Let’s talk about those Alabama roots a little bit. I know you’ve moved, but tell me what you think about Alabama and the music coming out of our state?
A: I think there’s some great music coming out of Alabama. Alabama is always going to be home for all of us. You kind of have this special nostalgia about the place you grew up, and I draw a lot from that in my writing.
Q: What made you move to Tennessee?
A: We started in 2009 and we were in Auburn playing the “SEC Circuit” there. We felt like we had made all the rounds in Auburn, and most of the SEC schools, so we thought it was time for a change. Little did we know Nashville was going to be a whole different talent that we were stepping into. When we got up there in 2012, you just really see that people are moving to Nashville from all over the country to pursue the same thing that you’re trying to. It humbles you really fast, but it also makes you better and work harder. We’ve loved being in Nashville.
Q: I’ve had a copy of “V” in my car for a long time, and that is a really consistent record.
A: We’re really proud of it. To me, it’s our best record to date. The whole process of writing and recording this album makes us really proud of it. We worked with a guy named Tom Tapley, out of Atlanta, and he is just amazing all around. He’s worked with people all across the board.
Q: Let’s talk about a couple of songs. On “Generation of Happiness,” there’s a couple of lines that jumped out to me. Might it be about an older generation looking down on a younger generation?
A: It’s more of a look at where we are as a society. It’s basically saying that we live in a society where you scroll on Facebook or Instagram and everybody is smiling. Everyone is having the time of their lives. If you were sitting with those people two seconds after they take that picture, it’s completely different. It’s a generation of fake happiness.
Q: In the song “When the Smoke Clears Up,” the line, “the sound of my name when you call, the way your hair falls.” Is that about someone specific?
A: Yes, that’s about my wife. The first time I heard it, it actually brought tears to my eyes. The song means so much to me.
Q:Your new album, “V,” has the record label Blue Èlan behind it. What’s it going to take to get people to listen to the record and get you guys more exposed?
A: Talking to folks like you. Doing these interviews and going around the country. We tour year-round, and we’ve got a big tour lined up for the fall. We’re actually heading up to Wisconsin right now, and our van crapped out on us this morning so I’m sitting at a car dealership. Basically what we’re trying to do is interviews with folks like you and try to get the word out any way that we can. The social media game has to be on point.
Q: Let’s talk about the great state of Alabama. Is there anywhere in Alabama that you guys haven’t played?
A: If we haven’t played there, we’ve been through it.
Larry May is the owner of CD Cellar record store on Noble Street in downtown Anniston.