To quote a Troubadour 77 song, “I guess we’ll never know how the story could’ve read, cause we can’t go back again, to 1977.” Or can we? Nearly forty years later there is one band boldly leading the charge and taking fans on a journey back to the Rock n’ Roll, California Country and Singer-Songwriter roots of the 1970s. Troubadour 77 has listened to the generation raised on great melodies, lyrics and records, and agree with them that there is an under-served population of music lovers who are ripe to hear some new original music that can live beside the classics spinning in an endless loop on their favorite 70s satellite radio stations or streaming playlists. The time has come to deliver songs that address the life circumstances, social issues and perspectives of an older and wiser generation of music lovers, and Troubadour 77 is here to answer the call.
T77, as they are sometimes referred to as, is the brainchild of Grammy award-winning singer-songwriters, Anna Wilson (Piano/Lead Vocals) and Monty Powell (Guitar/Vocals) and the seed for TrouBeliever Fest. Wilson and Powell have been married for 17 years and making music together as artists, songwriters and producers in Nashville. Collectively they have written a dozen #1 songs and countless album cuts that appear on over 70 million records, have co-produced unique special projects that pay tribute to The Eagles, Billy Joel and the Countrypolitan era of music, and penned the international theme song for Habitat for Humanity. Additionally, Powell was a key creative force in establishing the mega success story of Keith Urban. He was his early producer and one of Urban’s top collaborators for many years, earning Golden Globe nominations and countless industry awards for the songs they composed together. Ultimately, Wilson and Powell spent 25 years in Music City together, but it wasn’t until after breaking away and retreating to their second home in the Utah mountains that they found a new muse that came calling so strong, they had to answer.
Joined by their band mates, Austin Weyand (Guitar), Kassie Weyand (Bass) and Nathan Chappell (Drums), T77 hails from Salt Lake City. In an interesting twist, Austin and Kassie are also married and have been making music together for over 16 years, and Nathan Chappell, a Native American from the Hopi Tribe, started playing drums at thirteen, in 1977.
Wilson and Powell, the founding members of T77 are writing new music in an effort to carry the torch of the 70s Laurel Canyon, Southern California sound that is reminiscent of the classic singer-songwriters that influenced and helped define their generation, and that metaphorical flame has been fully ignited on the band's debut release, "Selma Avenue." It all began when Wilson started revisiting the records of Jackson Browne, the Eagles, Firefall, Linda Ronstadt and many others, and realized how much she missed that sound and someone just singing her a great song. Wilson states, “I used to think I was born 20 years too late because I wasn’t in Los Angeles in 1975. Our mission is to make new music with classic rock influences that has appeal to older Generation Xers and Baby Boomers, two generations largely neglected by contemporary artists, and who crave something new that resonates with them. We hope that this record will make people reflect and celebrate their place in life without relying entirely on the nostalgia of a bygone era.” Wilson adds.
Although sonically retro, T77 is not neglecting younger audiences in their attempt to re-engage boomers. In fact, they are doing the job that artists are supposed to do by capturing the mood and culture of the current times inside their song-based 70s sound. In the spirit of socially conscious music of the past, Troubadour 77 have songs that address gun violence, immigration and civil rights all in one collection. “I think we are a band for the times. The current zeitgeist is not so different of that of the late 60s and early 70s. We have something to say that we believe can affect change,” says lead vocalist Anna Wilson. Powell, a Georgia native, penned the profound “Freedom Rider” that tells the story of Senator John Lewis (D-GA) and his work in the civil rights movement. “Senator John Lewis is my hero. When he marched, I was just a kid and too young for the fight, as the song says, but I’m not too young now. If a song I write can have impact for good, for change, that’s worth singing out for.”
Speaking of singing out, that is exactly what Troubadour 77 is doing. They have already shared billings with established acts like Brandi Carlile, Los Lobos and Robert Randolph & The Family Band. They also kicked off the BottleRock Napa Valley music festival this past summer whose lineup included Maroon 5, The Foo Fighters, Macklemore, Michael Franti and the late, great Tom Petty, just to name a few.
Driving forward is a big theme that runs through the fabric of this new record. They even have a song about it called "Drive". As T77 rolls forward, it is clear they are hoping to find their "Troubelievers" as they call members of their fan club. “We know they are out there,” says Wilson, “We are going to seek them out one song at a time.”