This weekend marks the release of Country Singles, the first full-length album for The Grisly Hand. The band played their first shows in Kansas City about four years ago and mixes country, soul, blues, folk, rock and pop.
Lead guitarist and vocalist Jimmy Fitzner and lead singer Lauren Krum stopped by the studios at KCUR recently to talk about the new album, the band's songwriting process, and more.
The six members of the band
"There's Johnny Nichols, Johnny Nichols plays bass and keys and piano and sings; Matt Richie plays the drums; Benjamin Summers, Ben Summers plays electric guitar, acoustic guitar, and mandolin; Mike Stover plays steel guitar, and sometimes, the bass. And then there's us two: Lauren Krum and Jim Fitzner," Fitzner and Krum said as they introduced the band.
Inspiration behind Country Singles
"There's a newspaper called Country Singles floating around," said Fitzner. "It's like a trucker singles ad magazine. Right when you see it, you think, 'That would be a hilarious album title.' Just the hits, just the country singles. So that was kind of where it came from."
(If You're Leavin') Take the Trash Out (When You Go)
"That song's definitely the most illustrative of that sort of communication, the female-male presence," said Krum. "And it's fun, it shows the hamming up, and almost that little play in the moment."
"There's a lot of married guys in the band," adds Fitzner. "We have kids, too, now, so, (there are) things that we sacrifice in order to play music and stay out. That was kind of a lighthearted way to capture some of that."
Songwriting as a shared process
"A lot of the songs I wrote and either intentionally, or unintentionally, left space. (There are) maybe one or two songs where I wrote the whole thing and was really excited about not changing it. But most of the time, it was intentionally left open. It's easy for us to progress and finish a song once the ball's rolling," said Fitzner.
"There's a lot of songs...when Lauren wrote a lot of the lyrics and had this lyrical base, and she'd sing something and we'd be able to sit around with guitars and play it."
"I was so nervous about that (in previous recordings), to just say, 'I'm going to sing you this thing,' and then it worked so well," said Krum. "This time (with Country Singles), I was a little less shy about it, and just being able to say, 'Well, here's this much of a song.' And they've never let me down at all. That's a really nice comfort zone to be able to present that."