Atlanta, GA–A few months ago, the Atlanta-based band Smalltown Poets holed up in a Portland Oregon basement, on a rainy day, to write together. Encouraged by the fruits of their efforts, they continued into the next few days, hammering away at song ideas that took them into uncharted waters, in terms of content, stylings and, at times, even genres.
Their new single “Try” is the first glimpse into the results of those writing sessions, and points to the ongoing evolution of the multi-Grammy nominated band. The song was born of a strange experience for one of the Poets. To hear keyboardist Danny Stephens’ version of the story, Mick Jagger might soon come to him in a dream, demanding songwriting credit. After all, he supposedly appeared similarly to Stephens, crooning what is now the “hook” of the band’s new featured song.
“I know it sounds kind of crazy,” says Stephens. “But in my dream I was in a small restaurant, and nearby there was someone singing karaoke, belting out the very melody and lyrics you hear in our new single. I looked over to find it was Mick Jagger singing. I woke up and recalled exactly how the song had gone, wrote it down, developed the song with the other guys during those writing sessions and we recorded it.” As it turned out, this musical number hadn’t existed before Stephens’ vision; a new song had been born.
Appropriately, the song is a lively throwback to music of a bygone era, opening with a head-bobbing drum groove that makes you want to drive to the skating rink, electric piano tones that would make Billy Preston proud, disco bass, vocals ala ELO, and a punchy guitar solo to remind us that rock and roll is still alive. Frontman Michael Johnston’s soaring vocals, as ever, fall upon the ear like a warm hug. Put it all together and you have something that evokes the classics, is modern, and yet timeless. Thatwas the Poets’ goal. “We want to make music that stands the test of time, but never sounds dated,” says Michael. “We’re hopeful that we’ve done that with this song.”
Noah Stephens (who also tours as second guitarist with the band) produced the new trackas well as three alternate mixes: the Acoustic Mix, the Dream Pop Mix, and the Rock Mix. The entire singles package will be available Wednesday September 25th, across all digital music platforms.