England in 1819 is of the ilk that is mercifully difficult to describe. Aurally and aesthetically drawing references to Tin Pan Alley and progressive rock, they nonetheless summon an ethereal eulogistic reverie comprising beautiful chamber choirs and instruments found in abandoned storage lockers. Think: Antony and the Johnsons meets Black Heart Procession.
The collaborative project of Andrew and Dan Callaway and their father Liam, their grandfather, William Callaway, was a traveling musician throughout Georgia during the golden era of the post-war 1940s and 50s. His only son, Liam, followed in his footsteps, honing his musical talents amidst the burgeoning New Wave Athens scene in the late 70s, before moving the family to England while teaching Air Force bands.
Andrew and Dan grew up in the English countryside, playing in rock bands on the weekends with their father. Their musical talents led them naturally into the world of classical music and the family moved back to the US to take advantage of more educational opportunities. Andrew studied composition and Dan studied French Horn, both at conservatories in Ohio.
After a few years of travel and exposure to a withering classical scene, Andrew returned to his roots, both geographically and musically, moving back to the South and finding new life in the energy, accessibility and creativity of indie rock. Through a series of fortunate events, the entire family, six in all, were re-united in Baton Rouge. After a year of playing as a trio, Andrew Dan and Liam added various drummers and instrumentalists, always desiring a better replication of the immense orchestral sound they had grown to love.
England in 1819’s first album, Three Cheers for Bertie, was recorded in their downtown Baton Rouge living room. Without pressure from a label or studio, they were able to take their time, apparent in the slow-paced, thoughtful songs. This freedom came at the price of quality of the recording, marked throughout with rough edges and audible blemishes. However, the album was surprisingly well-received, ending up somewhat of a lo-fi beauty.
Alma, recorded by Mark Bingham at Piety Studios in New Orleans (Florence and The Machine, Mute Math, OK Go, Tom Waits) and mixed by Stuart Sikes at Elmwood Studios in Dallas (The White Stripes, Cat Power, Modest Mouse, Explosions in the Sky) is the magnificent amalgamation of classical emotion, indie perspective and post-rock intensity.
There are hints of classical expression buried in between post-rock swells. Part Southern edge and part English introspection, haunting lyrics and massive chamber rock unfurl in a sweeping, evocative, surge of sound.
We pressed for additional footage, and here is what the projector afforded us:
MusicZeitgeist: Who is England in 1819?
England in 1819 is the collaborative project of brother Andrew and Dan Callaway and their father Liam. They are also currently joined by drummer Sean Barna.
MZ: What doth it render?
Part Southern edge and part English introspection, haunting lyrics and massive chamber rock unfurl in a sweeping, evocative, surge of sound.
Based in Baton Rouge. Currently on tour across the Eastern US. From Texas over to Florida, then up to Boston and out to St. Louis.
MZ: What;s the timeline?
England in 1819 began about 4 years ago. Our self-released album enjoyed mild-success in Baton Rouge. Last year we recorded our first professional album, released in February and have been touring since. What started as weekend trips around the South has grown into constantly being on the road. Touring dates are scheduled throughout the summer and early Fall. We plan to stay on the road at least throughout the Fall. Then take a break and work on recording an EP.
MZ: What’s Next?
Keep playing good shows with good people at good venues. Write songs from the road and keep releasing good music.
England in 1819’s Vital Links:
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