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? Forty years later there is one band boldly leading the charge and taking fans back to the Rock n’ Roll, California Country and Singer-Songwriter roots of the 1970s. T77, as they are sometimes referred to, 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 nostalgic tunes spinning in an endless loop on their favorite classic rock 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.
The band is the brainchild of Grammy award-winning singer-songwriters, Anna Wilson (Piano/Lead Vocals) and Monty Powell (Electric Guitar/Vocals). Wilson and Powell have been married for 16 years, 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 sold and have co-produced unique special projects that pay tribute to The Eagles, Billy Joel and the Countrypolitan era of music. 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. 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.
The songs of Troubadour 77 are written by Wilson and Powell and recorded in their world-class studio in Utah. It all started when Wilson began revisiting the records of Jackson Browne, The Eagles, Firefall, Linda Ronstadt and many others, and realized how much she missed someone just singing her a great song. Wilson states, “Those artists made music that was authentic and addressed the issues of the times, and yet all those songs still hold up 40 years later because they are honest and real. It’s the type of music I’ve always wanted to write and record as an artist but the industry would not allow. Today, of course, we can take our music directly to the fans. I used to think I was just born 20 years too late because I wasn’t in Los Angeles in 1975. I was just 5 years old singing in my room in Pennsylvania into my hairbrush. But now I think perhaps it’s not too late, and it's worth it to attempt to carry the torch of that great era of music, so that's what I am going to do.”
Powell chimes in, “With all the new ways to discover music, you can go find your true believers. We figured if we love that classic sound but don’t just want to hear Stairway to Heaven for the ten-thousandth time, there’s probably a whole lot of other folks out there who would love to hear some fresh tunes not dominated by kid singers, hip-hop based rhythms and soundscapes with cultural themes that just don’t match who they are. Troubadour 77 is here to say it can be done."
Joined by their band mates, Austin Weyand (Guitar/Vocals), Kassie Weyand (Bass/Vocals) and Nathan Chappell (Drums), the band hails from Salt Lake City. In an interesting twist, Austin and Kassie have also been married for 15 years and making music together. Austin, originally from western Pennsylvania, is a premiere finger style guitar player who has recorded two solo albums and is the 2014 champion of the Wyoming finger style guitar competition, and also holds the same title in Utah from 2012. His wife Kassie, from Honeyville, Utah, began playing the piano at a young age (5), and was very involved in theater and dance during her teenage and young adult years. After getting married she picked up the bass and began to perform with Austin and they forged a duo. Powell says, “When we met Austin we knew he was something special. Then he told us his wife played bass and Anna and I said, bring her over and lets jam.” Needless to say, Wilson & Powell were thrilled to have them join the band. Powell often jokes, “Yes, we are two married couples in a band together, like Fleetwood Mac, without the drugs and affairs.”
On drums is Nathan Chappell, a Native American from the Hopi tribe who grew up in Brigham City, Utah. He started playing drums at thirteen (1977) and later joined the Marine Corps at seventeen. He served for four years, and afterwards decided to take the leap and pursue his first love...music...as a full time musician. In addition to his role in T77, he is a drum instructor for two private music schools, facilitates drum workshops for various after school and library arts programs and is a world-class cajone player, which is a skill all in itself.
Music, and making music, is not just for the young, although you would be hard pressed to know that by what is regularly turned out by the music giants. In fact, instead of an explicit language sticker, T77 says with tongue firmly in cheek, that they label their music as “not suitable for anyone under the age of 35”. Wilson says, “It’s high time artists start making new music for adults as well as kids. Yes, dare I say songs you can understand the words to and make you reflect and celebrate your place in life, without relying entirely on the nostalgia of a bygone era. We just want to carry on the great music made in the 70s. Back then artists weren't afraid to write and sing protest songs, and neither are we. We've got some songs that reflect the current issues and the times we're in now and we hope they can affect change in our world in a positive way. We’ve also got songs about getting older, as well as looking back. I think artists should make music that addresses those parts of the journey too.”
Troubadour 77 is just getting started. Their debut was an appearance with Brandi Carlile at the 2017 Sundance Film Fest, and now they will be kicking off their summer tour at this year’s star studded BottleRock Festival in Napa as well as performing additional concerts with Los Lobos and Robert Randolph and The Family Band later in the season. T77 is giving listeners a chance to rediscover that sense of wonder and connection, when you heard someone singing TO you, FOR you, ABOUT you and in some mystical way, WITH you. Make room on your playlist for Troubadour 77…new music with a classic sound!