Last year's Ziegfest was like nothing Mitch McBain and Blake Myers of Houston-based Texas country duo Rosehill had seen before.
"We've played many festivals over the years and I have never been a part of a festival that was as well organized or as well run as Ziegfest Houston," Myers says. "It was incredible to see those people work the 18 bands [and] 2 stages and we didn't get off time once the entire day."
This is Rosehill's second time to play Ziegfest. This time the duo will have a little more material to add to the set list as the guys are about to release the their sophomore album, Crooked Thoughts, on October 30. The first single from the album, "When the Flame Goes Out," is already getting serious radio play.
When Rosehill went into the studio to record Crooked Thoughts, both McBain and Myers had more of a grasp on what direction they wanted to take with the sophomore album. Both Radney Foster and Jay Clementi produced Rosehill's freshman cut, White Lines and Stars.
For that album, Rosehill relied more on the producers' experience at the soundboard. That wasn't necessarily true when it came to Crooked Thoughts.
This time around, Clementi spent more time in the studio with the duo, and Foster played the role of executive producer. Both guys agreed that having more face time with Clementi during the sessions added to their comfort level; he is around the same age as McBain and Myers, and they had spent a great deal of time writing with him.
The chemistry was undeniable.
"We just wanted to see what would happen if we let Jay run with the baton and we couldn't be happier," McBain says. "It's really a comfort factor because we write so often with Jay and it just turned out fantastic as far as I'm concerned."
"The last record being the first time working with Radney, we kind of let them drive the bus so to speak," McBain adds. "This time Blake and I went in with much more in what we wanted out of it. We weren't so scared to tell Radney that we didn't agree with what he wanted the guitar to sound like or something like that. We felt like we had a lot more input this time."
Taking more responsibility isn't the only thing different about this album. Crooked Thoughts also delves deeper into the heart of Rosehill.
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"I think it's the most personal record Mitch and I have ever written and put together," Myers said. "It's clear that our hearts are on our sleeves. We're telling stories the way we wanted to tell stories and we picked songs that we wanted to pick. It's as real as it could possibly be."