Mississippi-Bred the Weeks Hope That You Know Bo

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When the Beatles were signing acts to their Apple Records label, it proved to be both advantageous and not so much for Badfinger. For while that band got great exposure, they were also tagged as the "Baby Beatles" for their somewhat similar looks and musical styles.

It's a situation that members of the Weeks hope to avoid in the wake of their signing to the Kings of Leon's new label, Serpents and Snakes. It will release the Weeks' upcoming full-length record, Dear Bo Jackson, on April 30.

Still, if comparisons are made, vocalist Cyle Barnes (who does sound an awful lot like Caleb Followill) sees it more as a badge of honor.

"Well...if people say that, it's not a problem. Our sounds are very different," he says. "And hey, if you get compared to a band, I don't mind being compared to them! I mean, they are a big band for a reason, and they're one of our favorites."

Hailing from Jackson, Mississippi, the Weeks formed in 2006, when all of the members were between 14 and 16 years old, and have released several records since then. The EP Gutter Gaunt Gangster appeared last year.

The current lineup includes Barnes on vocals, his twin Cain Barnes (drums), Sam Williams (guitar/vocals), Damien Bone (bass) and Admiral Collar (keyboards). Their songwriting process follows a consistent path.

"The bare bones of it is that Sam will have an idea or I write a lyric and then we'll sort of hash out a rough sketch of what we do, and then we take it to Cain and Damien and they do what they do," Barnes says. "And we feed off of jamming a lot."

Dear Bo Jackson features 11 tracks mixing Southern rock, ballads, mellow grooves and a few epic numbers. But for Barnes, it's been an important step in the band's evolution.

"We wanted it to have a slightly bigger sound, sort of like our live shows, which are a different beast from the recorded stuff," he says. "And we recorded in Nashville and had more of our friends around and access to more musicians than we normally do. Like getting backup singers and a pedal steel player. But we wrote all the songs in Mississippi."

As for how his band came to the attention of the Kings of Leon, Barnes is actually not quite sure.

"I don't know how that happened or how they found out about us. I think some of the people we worked with told them," he says. "But [the Kings] are great guys, and it's good having a band running a label because they understand what bands go through and what they want."

And then there is Bo Jackson, the real-life sports hero whose name graces both the album title and the first track. Does Barnes know if he is aware of the tribute?

"I hope that he does, or someone will tell him at some point," Barnes says -- while adding that there are "different stories" as to how the band came to that titling decision.

"I'd say the one that I'm going with is because Bo can do everything," he says. "We want to be like Bo Jackson! I want to shoot a bow and arrows with my feet!"

The Weeks play with Jonathan Tyler & the Northern Lights, Second Lovers and Shelly Colvin Sunday, March 17 at Fitzgerald's (downstairs), 2706 White Oak, fitzlivemusic.com. Doors open at 7 p.m.

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