Truth & Salvage Co.’s new single “Black Ribbon Highway” officially hit the streets today, Tuesday, December 2, 2014. Co-written by guitarist/vocalist Scott Kinnebrew and his father Dr. Michael Kinnebrew last year, the song was inspired by the elder Kinnebrew’s adventures growing up in the Southwest. His time as a youth in the Fifties was split between oil prospecting with his “wildcatter” father across East Texas and being “schooled on the hard-working ranch of a crusty, homesteading, cowboy uncle,” as he describes it, on the plains of eastern New Mexico at the Reversed LK Bar Ranch.
In the non-summer months, Dr. Kinnebrew drove all around the mammoth state of Texas with his “total rambler” of a father on never-ending backcountry pursuits of land leases that might or might not produce oil. Most often not. The summers at his uncle’s ranch, therefore, made up Michael’s favorite memories; he could spend his days playing, riding horses and simply being a kid instead of driving with his dad all around Texas sniffing out crude.
The highway sung about in the song is Texas Highway 84, once a trail that made up an early part of the storied Route 66. It was the road Michael rode every summer to get to the Reversed LK. He writes in the lyrics to “Black Ribbon Highway,” “You’re the trail that carried this boy through his life.”
“The circumstances of this song are so unique and tied to family that the band felt we’d best serve the song by offering it as a single now, during the holidays, rather than holding it until another record was ready,” says Scott Kinnebrew. The song is meant to “keep the fire burning with our fans while we’re off the road,” he continues, and in a small way to welcome to the world T&SCo’s first “band baby,” Smitty’s daughter with his wife Monti, Charlie Marie. The track is their first independent release since parting ways with the record label and management they’d been with since their 2008 inception. Plans to write, record and resume touring are set for the spring of 2015.
Scott describes his dad and co-writer as “a new old-timer who recently has been taking to songwriting and guitar-fixing.” A highly accomplished oral surgeon who specialized in repairing cleft palates, Dr. Kinnebrew “just decided he wanted to learn how to fix old jacked-up guitars, so he taught himself and he’s really good at it,” says the younger Kinnebrew. “He had the lyrics to what became ‘Black Ribbon Highway’ when I visited home last. Then we just sat down together with guitars and carved out the music and the melody.”
Scott had forgotten about the song after a few months, but his dad kept on him about how great it would be if Truth & Salvage recorded it. Scott says, “I kept blowing the idea off, but finally I sat down to listen to the voice memo we made and was surprised by how cool the song turned out. I recorded a demo and sent it to the band and asked them if we could schedule a day off during a run last summer to get into a studio and track it. They love my dad, and they really loved the tune and said ‘Hell yes!’”
Michael met up with Truth & Salvage Co. for two days at Electric Thunder Studio in the heart of Nashville’s “studio city” neighborhood, Berry Hill. ET’s Geoff Piller engineered and provided invaluable insight, while Scott Kinnebrew took his first-ever turn at producing. They spent a short time running over the tune and finalizing the arrangement, and then just dug in and went at it.
“All the parts everybody ended up bringing to the table were perfect,” Scott reflects, “and my dad was a kid in a candy store, never having recorded in a studio before. His energy brought something real special to the table. His harmonica playing set the whole tone for the session! We had a blast recording with him.”
Having toured extensively behind last year’s well-received, self-produced album, Pick Me Up, Truth & Salvage Co.’s members find themselves “experiencing an enjoyable diaspora,” says Scott Kinnebrew, with drummer/vocalist Bill “Smitty” Smith taking time off in Lafayette, Louisiana, pianist/vocalist Walker Youngliving in Albuquerque, New Mexico, organist and keys player Adam Grace living in Tupelo, Mississippi, guitarist/vocalist Tim Jones and bassist Dean Moore holding down base camp in Nashville, and Kinnebrew hanging tough in the underbelly of Hollywood, where the band spent their initial phase. Coming together to produce “Black Ribbon Highway” for this interim period, however, was all it took to have the band itching to return to the studio next spring to record album No. 3.
“Black Ribbon Highway” is now available on CD Baby (http://bit.ly/1pOF2nC), iTunes (http://bit.ly/1zLXq0y), and Amazon (http://amzn.to/1yJ4vAH). It can also be streamed at Spotify (http://bit.ly/1AcYKKA.)
For more information and to stay up to date with Truth & Salvage Co., please visit www.truthandsalvageco.com