Whiskey Myers' Evolution Continues on New Album: 'People Are Really Hungry for Music That Speaks Honestly'
"People feel our music. I don’t care if you are 18 or 75. I truly think we are feeding into that," John Jeffers tells PEOPLE
Whiskey Myers frontman Cody Cannon isn’t crazy about following trends. He dislikes days that go by too slow or nights that go by too fast. And, he really, really hates snakes.
But the one thing he doesn’t hate is the idea of aging. Because in his case and in the case of Whiskey Myers, getting older means getting better.
“It’s all about honing your craft as you get older,” Cannon tells PEOPLE in that Texan drawl that somewhat represents the sturdy roots he and his Whiskey Myers bandmates were raised on. “You want to be better than last year and you want to be better than your last song, you know? I don’t think about it too much though. I just go with the flow. I just let it ride.”
It’s this carefree philosophy that Whiskey Myers has been built on since the moment Cannon joined with friends John Jeffers and Cody Tate to form a band. And now, it’s a philosophy that they are holding onto as they embark on a brand new chapter in the band’s journey.
Out Friday, Whiskey Myers’ self-titled fifth studio album has band members Cannon, Jeffers and Tate along with Jeff Hogg, Jamey Gleaves and Tony Kent completely in the driver’s seat as they serve as producers for the first time.
“The arrows were just all pointing in that direction,” says Cannon, who first rocked the East Texas music scene with Whiskey Myers’ debut album Road of Life back in 2008. “We’ve been wanting to do it and this time, we knew the time was right.”
Throughout their 12-year career, Whiskey Myers had chosen to surround themselves with the talents of a team of producers, most notably Grammy-winner Dave Cobb on the band’s last two albums — 2014’s Early Morning Shakes and 2016’s Mud.
However, this time, they wanted to give it a go on their own.
“We loved a lot of things about our producers,” says Jeffers, “but it was time to be set free and do it ourselves. It was time to take what we learned from them and put it all together and figure it out. I think it just made this new album more authentically us.”
Of course, the transition in roles within the studio walls served to be quite an eye-opening experience for all involved.
“When you are with other producers, you can do your job and then you can sit back and let your brain rest a little, but this time we couldn’t do that,” explains Cannon. “When you are doing it yourself, it’s not like you can have a day when you’re not on your game.”
“We were able to really spread our wings,” adds Jeffers. “We were also able to run down a bunch of ideas that we have had rattling in our heads for a long time now. With all of our other records, we were really time-crunched. And when you are in a band and you are working with other people, there can be a lot of chefs with a lot of ideas. This time, we focused on our ideas. We wanted to go down every avenue and look at every idea, even if they ended up being terrible.”
Lucky for Whiskey Myers, a majority of those ideas were good ones, ones that took the band into a deeper musical space while keeping with the genre-less brand of music that has drawn countless fans to over 2,000 of their live shows, most of those being sell-outs.
“Our songwriting has definitely evolved,” Cannon says. “When you go through life and you get older, your ideas about stuff are obviously going to change.”
“I’m not sure if we are that much more mature though,” adds Jeffers with a laugh. “Heck, I wrote a song on this album called ‘Bitch.’ But yeah, in a bunch of ways, we all have matured and become more grounded and really have been humbled, especially within our songwriting.”
As they have always done, Whiskey Myers continues to be inspired by the bands that have paved the way for them, artists including everyone from Nirvana to Waylon Jennings to the Rolling Stones, whom the band found themselves opening for in Chicago this past summer.
“Its funny how nights like that go,” recalls Cannon. “They go so fast and before you know it, it’s over. The anticipation leading up to those shows are crazy. They are obviously one of our favorite bands of all time. It’s hard to put it into words. It just all happened so fast. It was like a flicker.”
Finding a way to stay firmly in the moment within a career that is moving at top speed is not only something that the band is focused in on professionally, but also personally. For example, Cannon will celebrate his one-year anniversary with wife Haley Sheldon next month.
“Yep, as a married man I guess you get a little more professional,” laughs Cannon. “You are not as wild as you once were.”
“We were just kids when we started,” adds Jeffers. “Now it’s all about focusing on remembering where we came from. We all were raised the right way. You just try to never lose that.”
And remaining true to themselves and who they are as a band is something Whiskey Myers hopes to continue doing as their star power continues to rise.
And so far, it’s working.
“I think a lot of people are really hungry for music that speaks honestly,” says Jeffers. “People feel our music. I don’t care if you are 18 or 75. I truly think we are feeding into that.”
“We just go out there and do our job,” Cannon adds. “We are just doing the same things we have always done. We just are playing our music. We just do what we do.“