In a recent interview with RadioactiveMike Z, host of the 96.7 KCAL-FM radio program "Wired In The Empire", RIVAL SONS guitarist Scott Holiday spoke about the progress of the songwriting and recording sessions for the follow-up to 2019's "Feral Roots" album. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "We have a record almost in the can right now. We're pretty much done. It's just really difficult. Our dear friend Dave Cobb, our longtime producer, is a busy man, and he's only gotten busier and harder to nail down. So with everything, between all the protocol and COVID stuff and finding time with him, and now he's out on tour with Chris Stapleton where he plays acoustic guitar part time, we're just looking for our window to jump back in and wrap it up. And I'm hoping we can do that in January. One more session we're gonna have and we're gonna put a bow on it and get that out to everybody. I think we have a really great record kind of just about there."
According to Holiday, RIVAL SONS recorded the upcoming album "really similarly" to the way they made some of the previous efforts. "The only difference was that me and Jay [Buchanan, vocals] spent more time writing back and forth, 'cause we were trapped at home with this pandemic," he said. "But when it came to recording, we really didn't spend much more time than that still. We didn't share too much with the [other] guys, so that meant when we went in to record, it kept things really off the cuff. So don't worry, everyone, you're still getting a normal, true-to-heart RIVAL SONS record."
As for the musical direction of the new RIVAL SONS material, Scott said: "You can see the big wheel turning from record to record — they sound different; they sound really different. That's why it's so weird to come back to 'Pressure And Time' [for the ongoing 10th-annviersary tour] and go, 'Woah! We're in a really different headspace right now,' where we're making he new record. Or with 'Feral Roots' compared to 'Pressure And Time'. Yikes! That's trippy. Like, how are we gonna get these to translate as well as these other songs? You can really tell where we are in our trajectory. So, like that, this record has moved along from 'Feral Roots'. I can't really say [it's] more melodic. I think we're always sharpening the sword, we're always trying to become better songwriters and always trying to be more melodic. And not trying to necessarily reinvent the wheel but just do something that we know is different and new and maintaining a level of quality with our songwriting as we work. And I think this new record, it's gotta feel like that. It feels like that right now.
"We've kind of gone from 'Pressure And Time' being very concise, and the next record we made, with [2012's] 'Head Down', being a much more broad record, stylistically and musically," he continued. "And then we kind of bounced back and forth — concise and kind of opened it up. And there was a real middle ground with 'Feral Roots'. It wasn't so concise — there were some big songs on that record, longer songs, wider. I feel like this record is a broader record. It's possibly our longest record and our biggest record. So I think this might be slightly more majestic. [Laughs] Remember I always said 'Pressure And Time' wasn't 'The Wall'. This might be 'The Wall'. [Laughs]"
Holiday went on to say that "there is a little loose concept happening" with the new RIVAL SONS album, but he declined to elaborate. "I don't wanna say too much," he explained.
In June, RIVAL SONS held a two-night livestream event, "Pair Of Aces", from the historic Catalina Casino on Santa Catalina Island. They performed their debut LP, "Before The Fire" (2009), in its entirety on the first night and their self-titled EP, "Rival Sons" (2010), on the second.
Earlier this year, RIVAL SONS launched their very own label, Sacred Tongue Recordings, with distribution through Thirty Tigers. The band recently regained the master rights to several of their early releases and are reintroducing them to the world by first remastering their independent full-length debut LP and self-titled EP on all DSPS, CD, and vinyl for the first time.
"Feral Roots" not only garnered a 2020 Grammy Award nomination in the category of "Best Rock Album," but also yielded a Grammy nomination for "Best Rock Performance" for the top 10 rock track "Too Bad". The effort was produced by Cobb at Nashville's famed RCA Studio A, and the equally legendary Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.