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Entertainment News

Tuesday, 26 February, 2008 0:21 AM

CMA New Artist Spotlight: Whiskey Falls

Photo by Michael Maples

Midas recording artists Whiskey Falls.

By Bob Doerschuk
© 2008 CMA Close Up News Service

Whiskey Falls commands the essential ingredients for rock-inflected Country and adds their own distinctive attributes, the most evident being four-part harmonies that pound through "The Champ," soar like Eagles on "Last Train Running," nail some tricky intervals on "Let the Whiskey Fall," caress with a gentle yet muscular touch on "I Can't Stop Loving You" and sprinkle some Dixie dust on a Grateful Dead feel during the verses to "Days of Birmingham."

Their roots are in L.A., where Seven Williams, Wally Brandt and Wally's twin brother Bill ran We 3 Kings, a music production company that catered to film and television clients. Rather than hit the beach on weekends, though, Wally and Williams spent time in Nashville, honing their writing chops and making connections that led them eventually to Alabama-born multi-instrumentalist Buck Johnson and his friend and unrelated namesake, lead guitarist Damon Johnson.

Once the pieces had come together, the four-member group Whiskey Falls took shape, with a rough and rowdy veneer that somehow dovetails with the sophistication of their writing and instrumental finesse. Word spread quickly and virally, as 40,000 fans logged on to vote Whiskey Falls "Best New Duo/Group" on countrymusic.about.com while their self-titled album was the top-clicked debut on Napster's home, Country and subscriber pages. Produced by Cliff Downs, Bill Brandt and the band, Whiskey Falls on Midas Records Nashville is already flowing strong.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS

Who is your musical hero?
BUCK: "Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, my parents-Dora Lee and Burleigh Johnson."
DAMON: "Neil Young."
SEVEN: "So many to mention but if I had to pick a few Freddy Mercury, Garth Brooks, Sting or Paul Simon."

Which song would you secretly love to cover?
BUCK: "'Wichita Lineman" by Jimmy Webb, 'Something' by George Harrison and 'Brick House' by the Commodores."
DAMON: "'Whenever You Come Around' by Vince Gill."
SEVEN: "Angel eyes by Jeff Healy, 50 ways to leave your lover by Paul Simon."

What CD is on your stereo?
BUCK: "CDs by Marc Cohen, The Travelin' Wilburys and Little Big Town."
DAMON: "Honky Tonk Heroes by Waylon Jennings."
SEVEN: "Little Big Town, Dixie Chicks, Keith Urban and The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band."

Who is your dream duet partner?
BUCK: "Bonnie Raitt, Dolly Parton and LeAnn Rimes."
DAMON: "Tom Petty."
SEVEN: "Ronnie Dunn of Brooks & Dunn or Norah Jones but only if Sanjaya is not available."

What book is on your nightstand?
BUCK: "A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini."
DAMON: "Across the Great Divide: The Band and America, by Barney Hoskyns."
SEVEN: "I haven't seen my bedroom in so long, I can't remember what I left there."

What song do you sing in the shower?
BUCK: "Usually some melody that I may be writing."
DAMON: "The theme to whatever Disney DVD my son is watching."
SEVEN: "I make up funny lyrics to classic songs. It makes me start my day by laughing at myself."

What's your pet peeve?
BUCK: "Being put on hold during a phone conversation."
DAMON: "Separating great music into categories."
SEVEN: "Being late."

What song do you wish you had written?
BUCK: "'Tiny Dancer,' 'Crazy' or 'Yesterday.'"
DAMON: "'Wichita Lineman' or 'Everyday People.'"
SEVEN: "'Hotel California,' 'Let It Be' or 'The Itsy Bitsy Spider.'"

What word or phrase do you find yourself saying over and over again?
DAMON: "It's all good."
BUCK: "You'll have to ask my wife about that one. She'll probably will say 'give me just a minute.'"
SEVEN: "'We can do it.'"

What mode of transportation do you prefer?
BUCK: "A Harley."
DAMON: "Bus, bus, bus, bus."
SEVEN: "Roller blades."

What actor/actress would portray you in a biopic about your life?
DAMON: "Gary Oldman."
SEVEN: "Jamie Foxx, he did such a good job in 'Ray' that I'm sure he could really bring a lot to my character."

What moment in your life would you relive if you could?
BUCK: "The first time I saw my wife."
DAMON: "Meeting Stevie Ray Vaughn."

Do you have a lucky charm?
BUCK: "My wife, of course."
DAMON: "My skull ring."
SEVEN: "My faith."

If you wrote an autobiography, what would the title be?
BUCK: "The Cat In the Hat."
DAMON: "All The Way from Macon."
SEVEN: "Breaking the Rules."

When they look back on your life in 50 years, what do you hope people say about you?
BUCK: "That I was a good friend."
DAMON: "Damn, he smelled good."
SEVEN: "Wow, I can't believe that guy is still alive, married to the same woman and still making music."

On the Web: www.whiskeyfallsmusic.com

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