In continuing to document the Americana/Roots Music bridge between Savannah & Atlanta I recently asked Robert Green of Cold Heart Canyon to answer a few questions. Followers of ours may already be familiar with Robert from his role as sideman extraordinaire in Caleb & The Gents, and he stays about as busy gigging in various outfits as Savannah’s own Jay Rudd & Cory Chambers of City Hotel. That being said, he takes a bit more than a sideman role in CHC, and the result is a great combination of musicians writing & performing together as a band, as opposed to there being a single figurehead. Tongue-in-cheek I’ll admit that Robert’s bandmates are are a lot easier on the eyes, however they’re no less talented, and certainly not a gimmick-band…but I digress.
The following are five questions that I sent him via email with photos & video added for this post.
hissing lawns: Who is Cold Heart Canyon, and would you please give our readers a basic run-down on the band’s history….
Robert Green: Rachael Petit and myself started Cold Heart Canyon right around 2 years ago. It began as simply as playing in the living room and revisiting some of Rachael’s old tunes and making it our own. Shortly after we started co-writing with each other, our friend Jenna Mobley joined on and that is when we really started to dial in our sound!
CHC is a new take on an old tradition. Even though we have elements of Americana, Bluegrass, and Pop, we somehow came up with this eclectic sound that is of it’s own. Folks have described our music as being “theatrical” and “edgy”, but truthfully we are just writing and playing what comes naturally to us! Trying out new things has always been on the forefront of the process, but we still add in components of our previous experiences, both in our stories and musical influences, that help bring it all together. It’s been a hell of a thing being part of the progress thus far, and I can’t wait to see where this path is bringing us!
HL: How is the Atlanta Roots/Americana scene, and do you find Atlanta to be hot, warm, or cold to the type of music that you perform?
RG: The Americana/Roots/Bluegrass community is as strong as it could be! The supporters of the music are some of the best people around, and we’ve built friendships like no other because of it. The shows are always on point with some of the best songwriters and bands in and around the area! Everyone involved (listeners and players) has a strong sense of community when it comes to supporting each other. Whether it is coming to each other’s shows, collaborating, filling in with other groups, or even touring with one another, we all have each other’s backs. We couldn’t ask for a better musical family than what we have here!
HL: What does CHC have ‘in the works’ for this summer & are you planning on doing any touring?
We have been super busy on the home front lately, and are excited to share our debut studio recording, titled “Wolves, Demons, & Drunks”! We’ve definitely taken our time putting this together, but couldn’t be happier with the result! It is to be released on August 4th with a show at The Earl in Atlanta, but you can pick up a copy or take a listen to it almost anywhere on the web!
In promotion for the release, we are hitting the road with our friends, The Pine Box Boys, in July. We’re starting the stretch with the Boys in Atlanta and will be passing through Savannah on Friday, July 15th at The Jinx. Our good pals Waits & Co. will be joining us that evening as well!! We will also have some advanced copies of the EP with us…
HL: With you being a multi-instrumentalist, do you find it easy to switch in & out of music roles, how many instruments do you play, and what is your primary role with CHC?
RG: It’s definitely a team effort within CHC! We all share the same responsibilities and take the extra effort to push the envelope when it comes to writing, performing, and running the group. Everyone in the band is full of talent!
One of my favorite parts of CHC is that we are all multi-instrumentalists! Jenna is a monster when it comes to playing. She can pick up literally anything that makes a sound, and can make it sing like a damned bird! Rachael is picking up the bass and banjo as well, and killing it! Between you and me, she’s going to put me out of a job here soon! It’s a great thing that I get to spread my wings a bit and challenge myself to play different instruments within a single ensemble. With that, came a new experience by being able to perform the music and riffs that I write. In previous groups, I’ve always helped with the writing process, but never got a chance to actually track and perform them. It’s terrific!
On the EP I ended up tracking three different instruments. My primary instrument in the group is bass, but I also had the opportunity to track some guitar and banjo, which were new to me. The most changeling part was (and is) singing. I’ve never really had the role of a vocalist in a band before, but it’s been great exploring this new “instrument”. Having the support and guidance of such a gifted singer as Rachael has certainly helped with my progression as a vocalist.
HL: Since you also are a part owner of a studio in Norcross, please tell us a bit about Unity, and the role that it’s played in Atlanta’s Roots/Americana ‘scene’ thus far, plus any other info you’d like to add.
RG: I’ve had experiences of being an audio engineer before, but never really thought that I would ever embark on an endeavor such as this! I’ve always enjoyed being part of the creating processes, and being able to get back into engineering and producing has been a dream come true!
Unity Studios is a place where people can come in and lay down their music, create, collaborate, and expand. We are there to accommodate them and to make each of their projects as custom to them as possible.
We have had some heavy hitters in the Atlanta scene come work with us, Reverend Hylton and Jason Waller being a few. It’s been a pleasure working with groups and artists such as them, and am always looking forward to the next project! Even though we’ve primarily been working with Roots/Americana artists, groups, and singer-songwriters in Atlanta, we do not just specialize there! We’ve been working with some local Punk and Metal groups as well, which has been exciting for many reasons. One in which, my partners and I come from that background, so it’s great to dive back into that genre and get to flex our (figurative) muscles again! There are some great things coming out of Atlanta right now, and we are ecstatic to be able to capture some of it!