"I have an almost religious belief that Mississippi is the birthplace of rock 'n' roll," says Owen Beverly, who named his band Indianola after the small but influential delta town in his home state that produced blues artists like Albert King, Little Arthur Duncan and B.B. King. "It's so important to the evolution of modern rock and pop music. I think the first rock 'n' roll song ever recorded was 'That's All Right' by Arthur Crudup, who was from Forest, Mississippi, before another Mississippi boy named Elvis did a rendition that changed the world," he says. "I can't think of any songwriters who aren't influenced by Mississippi music, whether they know it or not."
Now based in Nashville, the Jackson native finds it more important than ever to represent those roots. One listen to Indianola's debut full-length album, due out this fall, and it's obvious that the pressures of making it in the country music capital haven't swayed his approach. "It's always better to be the black sheep than to get lost in the herd," he says. Beginning with the arena-ready anthem "1960s," Beverly wears his vintage influences on his sleeve, acknowledging the musical past while planting the song firmly in the present with searing guitars and pounding drums.
Songs like "Want Me Back" and "Too Good To Be True" put Beverly's powerful, swooning vocals in the spotlight with nods to artists like Roy Orbison, Buddy Holly, and The Everly Brothers that nonetheless feel current. "There's a novelty in digging up the past that feels like excavation. You end up being a filter for everything you dig." he says. "I think using those vintage elements but throwing in some modern edge gives the recordings dimension. If you just make music that sounds like it was written and recorded forty years ago, it turns into a period piece. So I just try to be honest with myself, draw on all of those influences, and put them together in a way that makes them my own."
Beverly teamed up with Michael Trent of Shovels & Rope to produce Indianola's previous EP release, Zero. For the new album, he traveled to South Carolina to record at the band's studio. Trent can be heard singing harmonies on “Mid Century Modern.” Indianola will showcase new music on the road this summer and fall, including dates with Shovels & Rope, Butch Walker, and The Watson Twins. For updated list of tour dates, visit: indianolamusic.com