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Discussing Michael Barrow & The Tourists’ Retro Rock Bop

Their new song “Sweet Honey” sees the band headed in new a sonic direction.

By Jordan Ottesen

Michael Barrow & The Tourists recently released a new single. The song has a remarkably different sound from their previous outings, trading indie folk for a retro rock and blues-inspired sound. I got to talk with frontman Michael Barrow about how “Sweet Honey” came to be.

Who wrote this song? What’s the inspiration behind it?

“Sweet Honey” was written towards the end of 2016. Trevor had been messing around with the chord progression and showed it to the band at the end of a practice. Reed was hitting things off with a girl, and so me, Zach, and Trevor started writing the song as a fun nod to the situation. It stuck. The song didn’t fit the vibe and the feel of the rest of the stuff on Juneau, but we kept it around for later.

This song has a more soulful feel than your 2017 folk-pop album Juneau (which is an incredible album by the way). Is this the beginning of a shift in sound for MB&T?

Most definitely. We’ve been incorporating a lot of new material into our live sets. These are a lot more groovy… it’s like we took the vibe of “Sad Song,” lightened the mood, and ran with that sound. Our next album will reflect this new vintage soul sound. That said, as we continue to work together as a band, and continue to be inspired by new music, there’s no telling what direction we could head in next.

What are some of your favorite experiences performing “Sweet Honey” live?

It’s hard to pinpoint one specific experience, because every time we play this song live it brings this great energy to the show. But let’s just say that every time Reed Perkins gets highlighted during his drum solo (and gets a fraction of the credit he deserves) is a great time. Other than that, it is just a fun song! We still love getting emotional, but it’s also great to have fun with the audience!

Who did the album art?

Trevor Harmon. He’s an absolute wizard. He played guitar on this track, and even though he’s no longer gigging with the band, we still have very, very close ties. What he made is beautiful. 

Is there a new album in the works?

Yes. It’ll be coming out later this year. We’re working with Brian Zieske who did our first record.

Any last words for you fans?

We just want to say thank you. Thank you for listening, coming to shows, and sharing and covering our music. It really means the world to us. Hopefully you’ll love the new stuff as much as the old stuff.

Make sure to like Michael Barrow & The Tourists on Facebook and follow them on Instagram (@michaelbarrowandthetourists). You can listen to “Sweet Honey” below!

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