April 27, 2020
When you’ve been making music together for as long as Chris Williams and Tommy Bowden of Soulscript have, you might expect that they are no longer surprised by what one another can bring to the table. That’s certainly not the case with this band. Having put out 4 albums since 2002 – There By Now (2002). Bleeding on Paper (2003), The Dogwood Sessions (2010) and 2020’s Everyday is Easy - these guys continue to find inspiration in each other and making new music.
Lead singer and guitarist, Chris Williams, was heavily influenced by his musical family and learned several instruments in his formative years, participated in school band, and sang in church choir. Chris’ musical aspirations were relegated to hobby status while he worked on his nursing career and raising a family. Never fully losing his passion, Chris continued to write songs.
While producer/rhythm guitarist Tommy Bowden played guitar in college and medical school, it was a four-track recorder that was the impetus for him to learn everything about how musicians who inspired him made music. He took his time, met new people and just listened, picking up tricks and tips as he went along. By the time Tommy and Chris met in 1998, they were ready to start recording Soulscript songs.
It’s an interesting partnership, and one that sustains the creative parts of their brain. Chris is a registered nurse and works in a New Orleans area emergency department. Tommy is an emergency room doctor and works about an hour north of New Orleans. They met many years ago when they worked in the same hospital, and realized they were both passionate about music – not only listening to it, but creating it too. While there have been some line-up changes to Soulscript, Chris and Tommy have always been the mainstays. Chris, an incredible and emotional singer, plays electric and lap steel guitars, bass, keyboards, and banjo. Tommy not only produces the band’s albums, but plays guitar, keyboards, and mandolin. What supports them is their love of music and making it together. “We are always writing songs. We often start songs independently, but find we get the best results when fleshing the songs out together.”
The recording of the album, Everyday is Easy was, well, anything but easy. While Chris and Tommy are always thinking about music, so much of life happened between 2010 and 2015 that they just weren’t ready to get back to Soulscript. Around 2016, they felt the familiar pull, and the seeds of their next album were planted. “When I am passionate about something, I am all in to the extreme. I called Chris up and said, let’s try and get back to this,” says Tommy. “Chris and I both work full time jobs, so each month we compare schedules, and usually two to three days line up for us, so that’s when we get together.” Chris added, “We usually get 6 to 9 hours a month. This album took us about 4 years to record.”
Along with 12 fresh tracks, what also gave the duo a boost was the addition of some fantastic session musicians. They brought in drummer Tyler Hanson, who blew the proverbial barn doors off with his incredible playing, as well as several brass players who added a kick to the flavor. The old-school-New-Orleans-jazz track “Katrina,” the first song Tommy and Chris wrote for this album, features Mark Levron on trumpet, Ian Smith on flugelhorn and Ben Schenck on clarinet. “Misguided Season,” with its 70s Chicago meets Steely Dan sound, features Mark Levron on trumpet, Justin Pardue on trombone and Travis Blotsky on saxophone. As massive Beatles fans, it was an honor for Chris and Tommy to have the album mastered at Abbey Road Studios by Miles Showell.
Chris and Tommy wrote the lead single “Face to Face” as a bit of a writing exercise, having seen a challenge about creating a song about a modern break up. An imaginative, energetic and timely relationship song that rocks with catchy guitar hooks and witty lyrics, the song is one of the most up-tempo tracks on the album. “Resting My Head on a Raindrop” is another standout track, because it isn’t specifically about something Tommy or Chris have ever experienced. Tommy added, “A friend of mine from Guatemala sent me a photo of an ant draped across a drop of water, and it got me thinking about being that small. The photo prompted a whole world of imagery to me.”
Soulscript isn’t a side hustle for these gentlemen, they’re the real thing, and they plan to keep on making music for as long as they can. “We feel this new album, Everyday Is Easy, is our best representation of what we’ve done and how we’ve evolved,” says Chris. Tommy adds, “Being in Soulscript gives us the opportunity to touch people musically, and make them think about something they may not have otherwise. Music has always been the soundtrack to my life, and if we can be that for just one person, we’ve accomplished something amazing.”
by Katy Krassner, New York
publicist for Duran Duran