March 6, 2020
Soulscript members have come and gone over the past 20 years, but the mainstay of the songwriters, Chris Williams and Tommy Bowden have stayed the course through recording four studio LP albums. Having just released their latest LP album of 12 original songs, Everyday Is Easy, it seems like the perfect time to brush up on Soulscript's biography. Around 1998, Chris and Tommy met when Chris transferred from the medical / surgical floor to the emergency department. Chris is a registered nurse and Tommy, an emergency physician. The two worked together for about a year talking music and about getting together to play guitars. In 1999, Chris and Tommy began writing and recording together as Soulscript. While working in the emergency department, Tommy also served as a clinical preceptor for podiatry residents that were in a local community program. The third or fourth resident that rotated through was Eric Whittenburg, DPM. Sometime during Dr. Whittenburg’s emergency department rotation, a mutual interest in writing and recording music was shared. Soulscript quickly evolved into a trio and work began on the album, There By Now in 2001. During those early recording sessions for the albums There By Now (2002) and Bleeding On Paper (2003), Chris stepped to the plate as the lead singer, electric and acoustic guitarist, pianist and keyboard player, e-bow, and slide guitarist. Besides providing a common ground to Soulscript’s early songwriting, Eric Whittenburg also played bass, drums, percussion, banjo, mandolin, Melodica, keyboard, and harmonica. Tommy Bowden played 6 and 12 string acoustic and electric guitars, keyboard, and percussion. He also recorded, engineered and produced both albums. While recording the album, Bleeding On Paper, Shawn Robbins stepped in to record drums on three songs; “Sure Uncertainty”, “It’s Important To Me”, and “Drive”.
Soulscript's debut album, There By Now, was released in June 2002. It has since received airplay on over 200 stations in 18 countries. In France, the title track, "There By Now" peaked at #3 in August 2003 on the European CMA© national airplay charts. The country-flavored single, "Lead Me Home", charted at # 71 on the ECMA© top 200 radio airplay charts in June 2003. In the U.S., the LP album, There By Now has been played on over 150 stations in 37 states, while charting in the top 30 of 14 CMJ© reporting stations. Fans have proclaimed that “pain can be felt to the bone” in the their popular, stripped-down, Alt-Country songs, "A House You Can't Call Home" and “This Town’s Been Mean”.
Bleeding on Paper, Soulscript's sophomore LP album, contains nine original songs that were described as “redefining the meaning of extreme emotional disclosure." In Feb. 2004, Offbeat magazine described the album as "Polished and heartfelt…" The New Orleans area band stayed close to their Americana roots with singles like "A House You Can't Call Home”, "Queen of Nowhere”, and "Missing You." Soulscript also embraced their rock roots with classic sounding songs such as "Sure Uncertainty”, "It's Important To Me", and "Drive". In April 2004, the LP album, Bleeding on Paper peaked at # 107 on the Americana© airplay charts and at # 10 on the Roots Rock airplay charts of Roots Music Report© while remaining in the top 40 for 14 weeks.
In June of 2003, Eric Whittenburg moved to St. Louis, Missouri leaving Chris and Tommy to carry on the torch for Soulscript. In 2003, the duo began playing live at local songwriters' showcases, fairs and festivals. In May 2005, Eric drove down from St. Louis for short a songwriting session with Chris and Tommy. The next four days were spent writing and recording the ideas for seventeen songs. These songs ruminated until August 29th 2005, the day that category 4 hurricane Katrina devastated the Louisiana and Mississippi gulf coasts. It took a year or so for the duo to clean things off and get back in to the studio.
In July 2006, Tommy packed up his home studio and drove to St. Louis, stopping along the way to borrow a little inspiration from Elvis' Graceland. After 4 days of recording Eric Whittenburg on drums, Tommy packed up the studio and headed back to the north shore of New Orleans with 14 new drum tracks. In the fall of 2006, Al Parr, M.D., a local anesthesiologist and drummer joined Chris and Tommy to flesh out live shows, as well as record drums on the album, The Dogwood Sessions. Several other local musicians, Will Cullen, Mark Rogers and Craig Courtney contributed bass to our live performances along the way.
Over the next four years, Chris and Tommy, continued recording The Dogwood Sessions, while playing local fairs such as The Washington Parish Fair in Franklinton, The Mandeville Seafood Festival and The New Orleans Cutting Edge music showcases. The Cutting Edge opportunities opened the doors for Soulscript to play at several iconic New Orleans venues such as The House of Blues, The Howling Wolf, The Blue Nile, Three Ring Circus, and Carrollton Station.
In 2010, Soulscript’s third LP album, The Dogwood Sessions, was described as “continuing down the path of blending melodic roots rock with Americana musings. These 12 original songs sound especially good on the road. Life, love, and the pursuit of happiness are all fair game in coloring their musical canvases”. Chris sang lead vocals, played electric, acoustic and bass guitar, keyboards and slide guitar. Tommy sang harmony, played 6-string and 12-string acoustic and electric guitars, mandolin and percussion. Tommy recorded, engineered and produced the LP, The Dogwood Sessions. The albums, There By Now(2002), Bleeding On Paper(2003), and The Dogwood Sessions(2010) were mastered by Devon Kirkpatrick at Sockit Studios in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Chris and Tommy continued playing local fairs and festivals until 2012, when they decided to take a “take a break from the road”… ;-) In 2015, the duo re-kindled their love of songwriting and recording and headed back to the studio to work on their fourth LP album, Everyday Is Easy. Armed with a batch of new songs, Chris and Tommy hired Tyler Hanson, a session drummer. The addition of a live drummer proved to be another step in the right direction of Soulscript's evolution. Once again, Chris proved to be multi-instrumentalist. He sang lead and harmony vocals, played acoustic and electric guitars, piano, keyboards, banjo, bass and slide guitar. Tommy sang harmony, played 6-string and 12-string acoustic guitars, electric guitars, mandolin and percussion. Tommy also recorded, engineered and produced the LP album, Everyday Is Easy. Miles Showell mastered the LP album, Everyday Is Easy at Abbey Road Studios in London, England. (Yes, you read that correctly.)
A nod is truly deserved for the session musicians who added that New Orleans flavor on “Katrina” and “Misguided Season”. Mark Levron played trumpet on “Katrina” and “Misguided Season”. Ian Smith played flugelbone on “Katrina”. Ben Schenck played clarinet on “Katrina”. Justin Pardue played trombone on “Misguided Season”, and Travis Blotsky played saxophone on “Misguided Season”.
Now 5 years later, Soulscript have released their 4th album of 12 original songs, Everyday is Easy, on iTunes© and Spotify© on February 28th, 2020. The album, Everyday Is Easy, is truly a heartfelt venture down the road of life through imagery and song. Their unique perspective of life’s journey is sometimes heady and thought provoking, and at times, silly. From the duo’s more serious overtones of “Lie To Me,” to the day-dreamy and nonsensical “Resting My Head On A Raindrop,” the songwriters’ endeavors know no boundaries. A.J. Gundall says “'Resting My Head On A raindrop' has to be one of the most intriguing song titles ever. The song and hook became a classic ‘song worm’ for me… and I couldn’t stop singing the chorus”.
While honoring their Rock and Americana roots, the duo manage to brush the edge of punk with “Don’t Quit Your Day Job” and tip their hat towards Bluegrass with “Trying To Be Like Jesus.” Having both experienced the ravages of hurricane Katrina in 2005, the songwriters’ offer a cathartic New Orleans influenced number complete with a Dr. John flavored piano and French Quarter brass. Martin Blasick describes the song as a “poignant telling of hurricane Katrina’s impact on this talented artist with a New Orleans sound that pays homage to it home city.” Brutally honest, thought provoking lyrics coupled with Soulscript’s signature Retro Rock sound create the perfect soundtrack for that long ride home.