It’s been a year since Big Mama Shakes gave fans any new tunes, but not to fret, Richmond’s Southern rock/roots five-piece has been quietly working on some new material, and we will get to hear the first single, “Coming of Age” this weekend.
Their last EP, If I Try, was released in April 2016 and as usual, the boys brought their raw, energetic, no-frills vibe. And from the snippet below it looks as though they are still bringing that same energy and upbeat, feel-good sound fans have come to know and love since they formed in 2013. However, vocalist/guitarist Brady Heck said they’ve definitely grown musically since we heard from them last year.
“It’s a little bit different than stuff we’ve done in the past, I think it’s a little bit more mature as far as our music goes,” Heck said. “It’s about growing up, it was written to be a piece of advice for my nephew, who is the nine-year-old on the dirt bike on the cover.”
Big Mama Shakes recorded, mixed, and mastered the single at Scott’s Addition’s Sound of Music Studios with Greyson Gene of local desert rock band Suneater in early August.
“We had the horn line from Dharma Bombs’ Clay Trinkle and Stephen Moser, so that all came together in the studio. The big production quality of it that made it so unique and different, compared to some of our other stuff, that’s what really came together in the studio,” said vocalist/drummer Chandler Matkins.
Even though Big Mama Shakes only got into the studio a few months ago, Matkins said the band had played the song live initially on tour this past summer and received great feedback from fans. The song, thus, paved the way for the tone for the rest of the album.
“The idea behind the album and what we’re going for, is encapsuled in this single,” Matkins said. “This is a great segway into the album, this is what Big Mama’s doing this time around, this is the kind of thing you can expect from the new album.”
Heck compares the song to having a Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main Street or Jackson Brown influence to it and as far as the album as a whole, he said they have improved stylistically.
“To me, it feels like a song from the mid-70s,” he said of ‘Coming of Age’. “I feel like in the past, we’ve been hap-hazard with arranging albums, and this time I think we’re really trying to hit it home, I think we’re going to do a good job of that this time.”
The band hit the road earlier this summer for a tour up and down the East Coast, and back in January, Big Mama Shakes made their way through the Midwest which is where a lot of the music for the new album first made its debut. But the guys are eager to get those songs recorded, so they plan to have production on the new album done by the end of the year.
“It felt like, as excited as we were about the song and getting it out, it seemed equally important to get some new material out,” said Matkins. “We’ve been on the road so consistently since that EP came out, time has just flown by for us and we’re sitting on so much new music, it just seems like the right time to do it.”
The group hopes to release the new album by spring and then embark on yet another tour in the summer.
In the meantime, you can catch Big Mama Shakes at their single release show this Saturday at The Camel, a first since they ended their residency there in 2016. Charlottesville’s Lord Nelson, and Boston’s Haley-Thompson-King and These Wild Plains will also perform. Doors at 7. Show at 8. $8 Pre-Sale, $10 Door. Tickets here.
“Coming of Age” will be available on all online platforms Oct. 27.