Recorded live over the course of two days in October 2018, Small Town Songs was to be the Tennessee Warblers’ debut record of the year 2019. Needless to say, a lot has happened these last four years! But pandemics, life and musical changes aside, it still reflects the essence of what John Beck (Vocals, Mandolin & Fiddle) and Adam Dalton (Vocals & Guitar) set out to do and the adventure they continue to this day.
Not long after the pair wrote their first song, “Restless,” were they blessed with the talents of Dean Marold (Upright Bass) and Charles Butler (Banjo & Dobro). The quartet then began distilling the tunes heard on this song set over many a gig at Nashville’s legendary Sutler Saloon. A mix of originals and covers by the likes of Roger Miller, John Prine, Dr. John, The Faces and Jerry Garcia, the album paints a variety of moods and small town themes that dance across the bluegrass Americana spectrum.
Longtime collaborator Nathan Yarborough (The Mavericks, Leanne Rimes, Mastodon) and Leo Roriz captured the band by bringing their mobile recording unit into the warm wooden walls of Madison, TN’s Bluegrass Compound. Overlooking the Cumberland River, many of the greats have jammed into the wee hours at the cabin’s storied pickin’ parties and it provided a down home vibe and sound a more traditional studio would not have.
Seated together in a circle in the shotgun cabin hall, the band proceeded to host a pickin’ party of their own. Without a plan, they took turns calling tunes from their repertoire and let the tape roll. As a result, Small Town Songs is as close to having the Tennessee Warblers playing in your living room as you can get!