After a four-year hiatus, The Glorious Sons are back—but not without a few bumps and bruises along the way. I sat down with band members Brett, Jay, and Adam to discover how the COVID-19 pandemic forced them to reflect on their music and redefine their sound, as well as how each member of the band navigated the tumultuous journey of the past few years. Through the dark alleys of identity crises, to the triumphant return to the studio for latest album Glory, with newfound clarity and purpose. The Glorious Sons’ path to their latest project is a story worth telling, full of perseverance, and makes listening to their music much more than just listening to music.
After a four-year hiatus, what inspired making a new album?
Brett: There [were] three different journeys to get to this one. We started recording just before COVID and we made a record—it was weirdly inspired by a dance club in Germany somehow. The songs were cool, but they were weird—very weird—and they didn’t fit who we were. That was the first journey. The second journey, in the middle of COVID or shortly after it happened when I moved back home, we started recording another album.We did another 11 songs then and I just felt that they were kind of nihilistic and angry. Again, it just didn’t feel like the thing for the band. I hesitate to call them failures because they’re not failures, there’s a lot of good stuff in there but, you know, learning experience. Then we had a third learning experience where we went back to Jay’s house to record, and we recorded probably another nine or 10 songs there.
Jay: At least.
Brett: It’s just a symptom of an identity crisis. COVID hits and your lifestyle changes. We [had] been touring for five years straight before that. So, we’re used to one thing and then our whole meaning gets taken away because you base your identity completely on playing music for a living. I think there was a real growing pain with our identity during that period. I think I madden the boys a little bit with my ‘moving target’ mentality. Finally, I just found that for myself in writing, I had to go inside and pull more out of myself rather than trying to take things from the world around me because there wasn’t anything going on. That’s when it started clicking.
Jay: And then we went to Nashville.
Brett: Oh yeah, that was another fourth, failed attempt.
Adam: That one wasn’t so much failed as we got some songs and we got lots of good work done, but we failed to capture any magic.
You mentioned that the pandemic allowed you to reflect on your music and its direction. How did this influence the album??
Brett: It was like too much reflection I would say. There’s always been two sides to the band. There’s the black cat, which is kind of the more dangerous, darker side of the band.Then, there’s the band that writes songs like “Amigo” with so much love to give. On this one, we were more prepared to write something more friendly and insightful about things in a good way. I guess that’s not a great explanation, but it feels a lot more positive on this album. I think that was not really by choice. It’s just what had to come out during this period.
Do you all think you felt the same way during this period or were some of you more affected than others?
Jay: We were all pretty confused by [the] times, you know. Some songs were definite hits, but we never ended up using them. You lose your sense of true north a little bit, which usually comes through Brett. If Brett’s not comfortable with releasing a song, even if it’s great, then we defer to him for the most part. We were trying to figure out how to support Brett and his journey through all of this, and I think we eventually landed there. It’s not always easy, it just takes time.
How would you say you approached this album differently than previous ones?
Brett: Well, they’re all different for their own reasons. The Union was kind of throwing spaghetti at a wall—just whatever landed.
Jay: We were just young guys playing rock and roll and that was good enough. We didn’t think about it too much, you know.
Brett: Then, Young Beauties, the whole process of that was trying to take these folk songs and bring a more erratic rock and roll life out of them. I thought that made for a nice mix and it was super spontaneous. War and Everything was a mad dash because it was in between tours. We got back and had a bunch of songs. We recorded as many as we could and then we just figured out which ones were best for the album. For Glory, [it] was finding the right voice, for myself. It takes a lot of mental fortitude to try and will something into existence that keeps on feeling wrong.
Jay: Part of it was bringing Fred back into the fold who had produced War and Everything and Young Beauties. He has a way of getting Brett hyper-focused, inspired, and confident that I don’t know if I’ve ever seen anyone else really kind of achieve.
Brett: Me and Fred—it’s like two best buddies amping each other up. You feel the energy that you’re giving to somebody thrown right back at you. That’s a really important thing for me.
When did you realize he was necessary to create this album?
Jay: Brett was having that throat head infection in Nashville and was bedridden and I was trying to call and get him doctor’s appointments. Everything was going wrong at that point. We had an RV that had blown up and we left it on the side of the road in Columbus. The vibes were off. I called our manager Jason and [said], “This isn’t gonna work, we have to go home. I think we need to figure out if we can get Fred back into the fold because that’s the energy that we’re all missing, especially Brett.”
Can you discuss your evolution of sound and style over the years??
Adam: We’ve been playing a lot so we’ve evolved a lot as musicians. We’re still getting better.
Brett: I think it’s slowly gotten bigger and bigger, more ambitious. For this album, I wanted something that sounded big but felt kind of tight and personal. That was one of the main things about it. It just changes over the years from playing styles, different members that we bring in, kinds of bands that we’re into.Young Beauties was all written as folk songs and then turned into this rock and roll thing. It was built around folk though. I’d say it’s maybe even a little more folky on this album than the other ones. You never want to do the same album back to back. Next time I don’t want it sounding anything like this one. You just want to keep evolving and changing your sound.
Other than the Nashville songs, are there any songs you feel particularly connected to?
Brett: “Cellular” is about my family. That’s as unique as it gets to us. It’s about growing up in the nineties, kids running around and people filling the air with smoke. “Dreams” [is] about my ex-girlfriend Jordan who is also in a band. That one was an interesting process of trying to kind of weave her into it without kind of letting people in on it in a weird way. Yeah, they’ve all kind of got their interesting stories to them.
How did you overcome the obstacles you’ve highlighted while making the album?
Brett: Perseverance? We can’t do anything else.
Jay: That’s what this band is though—perseverance and never quitting. You never quit.
Looking ahead, what do you guys see for yourselves in the future?
Brett: I think that we are all in the position where we like to tour. We like to make tunes and we wanna make a long career out of it. There’s no point in looking to the future right now as far as how you’re gonna do that. I just think it’s just about continuing to roll.
Like what you saw? Here’s more:
I Can’t Stop Talking About Zach Bryans Album ‘Zach Bryan’
Call Her Cowboy: Vintage Shopping, CCMAs Prep, & More with The Reklaws’ Jenna
September Releases We’ve Set Reminders For