I would like to introduce "The Railers" as our "Artist of the Month" for the month of March. Here is the personal interview that we were blessed with.
Candie and Michelle: When did you all start singing and playing?
Jonathan of The Railers: Jordan and I have been playing together since I was 4 years old. Our family grew up in Southern Missouri and our family played in Branson at a theme park called Silver Dollar City every summer until I was 11 years old. That’s when we moved to Arizona. We would play there every summer. Every time we had a family reunion it would inevitably end up in a big circle with everyone having guitars, mendalins, and fiddles and you just take turns playing songs and everyone would play along. So, it was a really cool way to grow up. Cassandra probably started when she was 7 or 8 taking voice lessons...taking piano and voice. Tyler really got his start on the drum set when he was in middle school and high school...super involved in the drum core and marching band stuff. We have all been playing since we were children.
Candie and Michelle: We can definitely see y'all have a rich musical history that you came from. Were there other names in the mix before you decided on The Railers? How did you make your decision?
Jonathan of The Railers: Yes. Ultimately we learned from Myspace there were a million garage bands that would set up myspace with their new band name. So it was almost impossible to find a band name that hadn’t already been taken. When we came up with The Railers it just seemed kind of like a blessing that it was a name that we could use. It really matched the energy and the attitude that were wanting to put out with our first record. We knew we wanted to do something western and kind of creative. It had to do with the western united states and all the history that’s out there because three of us have ties to Arizona so it was just the right name.
Candie and Michelle: We agree that your name fits you perfectly. :) What do you like most about living in TN? What do you miss most about where you used to live?
Jonathan of The Railers: Well TN is great, specifically Nashville is a great place to live. There is such a community here. You know coming from Arizona we weren’t affiliated with the Southern Charm and we weren't familiar with the phrase "bless your heart". So after living here for 11 years we have definitely gotten used to it. It feels like home now. Occasionally we do miss Arizona. We miss the sunshine. We miss family of-course. So we have to go back and get our fix every now and then. You know Phoenix has "In and Out" burgers so we have to go back and eat some of that.
Candie and Michelle: Nashville is definitely a place we would like to visit one day. Neither one of us have tried an "In and Out" burger either. lol. How do you balance your career with your family?
Jonathan of The Railers: You know it’s crazy because we are family. You know we do a career together. A lot of that is intertwined; there is not really a differentiation between it. It’s not only what we do but it’s who we are. So I think that the balance happens naturally. It is what it is. We try when we feel tired to take time out on the road to recharge. Jordan and I love to fish...Cassandra loves to garden...Tyler loves to be on the lake and water ski. So we try to take the time here and now to recharge and get back into the creative head space because the road can beat you up at times but that's why we do what we do to find balance.
Candie and Michelle: We understand completely. We are so glad y'all are surrounded by that family environment and have truly found the perfect balance. Did each of you grow up in a musical family?
Jonathan of The Railers: Tyler’s Dad plays the trumpet and plays in a lot of community groups. I think his Dad is the only musical person in his family besides Tyler. Cassandra grew up in a family of athletes. She is the only musician in her family. She owns it. Jordan and I, like I mentioned before, grew up in a super musical family. We kind of span the gap on that.
Candie and Michelle: Very interesting background there for all of y'all. Who are your biggest supporters?
Jonathan of The Railers: I would say our parents; absolutely our parents. We couldn’t do this without their support. They have been so amazing to just encourage us to follow the dream and not give up. And our friends...our friends have been wonderful to support us and come see us even when they have been the only ones in the crowd. We owe a lot to them for being there for us.
Candie and Michelle: It's wonderful that y'all have that support system.
What are your fondest musical memories? In your house? In your neighborhood or town?
Jonathan of The Railers: I was sharing with Cassandra the other night when I was younger I was involved in a Community College production of Fiddler on the Roof. I was the fiddler. I would start the show on the roof and then come through the tunnels and go to the orchestra pit and play in the orchestra. That was a really cool memory and really cool way to get started as a kid. We all grew up playing in marching bands or doing recitals or any of that community stuff. That was just a great way to grow up as a kid and learn music and get a love for music at an early age.
Candie and Michelle: I agree. Sounds amazing. I was in the marching band as well Color Guard myself. Candie was involved in Chorus. Besides being musically inclined do you feel you have any other talents?
Jonathan of The Railers: We all definitely feel like music is our number one talent. Jordan and I love to fish. I don’t know if we are talented at it, but it is something we love to do. Jordan is really talented at putting videos together. Tyler is very talented at business. Cassandra is extremely talented at cooking and gardening. I'm talented with mostly music.
Candie and Michelle: What do you do in your downtime?
Cassandra of The Railers: Special Ed
Jonathan of The Railers: Fishing for Jordan and I. Cassandra: gardening and special ed. She has a super heart for special education and teaching and so occasionally she goes back and does substitute teaching, specifically in special ed.
Candie and Michelle: Awww...super sweet Cassandra. Candie and I both have many years of teaching under our belt. Which artist(s) or band(s) do you feel has influenced you the most? Who do you admire?
Jonathan of The Railers: That totally runs the gamut. We have such a love for a ton of different musical styles. Growing up I was really into a band called “New Grass Revival”. I was really into “Ricky Skaggs” and the whole bluegrass thing. Now it’s like I’m going back and rediscovering some old class rock...”“Led Zeppelin’”, “Tom Petty and the Heart Breakers”. Those kind of classic albums. I feel like I’m going back to rediscover those. “The Beatles” Then the other night we were listening to classic 90's country and Cassandra could sing every word to every song that came on. It really does run the gamut. We kind of love everything that is good.
Candie and Michelle: That is definitely a nice selection of people there that I'm sure most people know. We really see what you are saying. How was the “Tattoo Your Name" Tour with Hunter Hayes?
Jonathan of The Railers: It was absolutely amazing! Hunter is such a great musician and a great person. We became pretty good friends with him right off the bat. He definitely inspired us to bring our “A” game every night because that is what he does. He goes out and puts on an amazing show that makes everyone want to step up their game. It was really fantastic!
Candie and Michelle: That does sound amazing. We hope to see a Concert of y'alls and one of Hunter Hayes one day. What was it like singing at The Grand Ole Opry for the first time here recently?
Jonathan of The Railers: The Grand Ole Opry was absolutely a dream come true; especially considering that it was at the Ryman Auditorium. I grew up listening to the Opry and watching it on tv when it was televised. To be able to play it as an artist is a dream come true. Cassandra had dreamed about it forever. She wanted her Mom to make her dress for the Opry so her Mom made her a dress and made it before we even knew we were going to play on the Opry. She said just keep this around for the day you get to play. Her Mom actually got to come out from Arizona and see the Opry along with our parents. It was a pretty special night. It was amazing.
Candie and Michelle: What a wonderful experience that y'all were able to share with your families. Do you have any pre-show rituals to prepare for a performance?
Jonathan of The Railers: Usually it’s kind of the normal thing; we get together and offer a blessing over the performance. We remind ourselves to go out and play like we are in a stadium full of people. We want to have the party on stage and we want everyone else to join in with that. That’s kind of our ritual to pump ourselves up and make sure we have a good time.
Candie and Michelle: Sounds like a great way to start a show. What is your favorite song to perform? Why?
Jonathan of The Railers: Lately it has been “Kinda Dig The Feeling”. I know everybody says their single. That’s the song we play at the end of the show. That's the one that we get so energetic and pumped up about and that point it’s like if you had any energy left from the first part of the show you would totally dump the rest of that out on that song and just go nuts. It’s always fun to watch Cassandra dance around and go crazy on that song. So usually by the end of the show, once we get to that song, you are just spent. Once the show is over you are done because you have left it all on stage.
Candie and Michelle: Nice choice. I can't tell you the amount of times I've listened to it and danced around the house myself. How do you unwind after the show?
Cassandra of The Railers: Dance Party
Jonathan of The Railers: It seems like we are kind of split down the middle because Cassandra and Tyler, the show excites them, so it takes them a long time to come down after the show is over. With Jordan and I both I am so out of energy by the end of the show because I’ve tried to put so much into it that I am just dead after the show. For all of us it is usually get on the bus, listen to music or put on a movie, drink a beer, or play guitar. Whatever. Just try to calm down and get ready to do it all again the next day. It’s awesome. After the show it’s the best time. Especially after show food: pizza.
Candie and Michelle: Is there anywhere that you haven’t performed at yet that you would really like to?
Jonathan of The Railers: I would honestly like to play with “Little Big Town”. I think that would be a great fit and “Zac Brown Band”. I’m hugely respectful of their artistry and their music and the songs that they write. I think that both of those bands would be a pretty amazing fit for us so that is what I’m going to go with.
Candie and Michelle: Both of those are great choices. I love them both.
How do you feel like your sound has changed during the course of your career?
Jonathan of The Railers: Our sound started out a little more brassy; maybe a little more Nickle Creek-ish. I think we’ve added an edge to it over the course of the last couple years. It’s cool to have a sweeter sound but I think we’ve wanted to add a little more bite to it. I feel like when we go play live there is a lot of energy and a lot more, maybe aggressiveness would be a good word for it, and a lot of attitude. We’ve tried to add all of that to the sound of our music. I think we have come up with something that is pretty unique that I don’t think you could say that sounds like any one other artist.
Candie and Michelle: What Song of yours are you guys the most proud of?
Jonathan of The Railers: I have to go with “I don’t love you”. I think that is a great song. It hasn’t been released yet, but if you have been to a show then you have probably heard it. It is definitely a fan favorite.
Candie and Michelle: We can't wait to hear that song. What has been your most memorable fan moment?
Jonathan of The Railers: For us it was really cool when we played the Opry we had fans coming from Detroit, fans coming from Arizona, fans coming up from the South because they knew that was an important part of our career. They wanted to come support that. For them to do that and then wait outside of The Ryman for us to come out and come and say hi and show their support was pretty amazing. We have wonderful fans.
Candie and Michelle: Awww. :) Are there new songs or albums in the horizon for The Railers?
Jonathan of The Railers: Yes. Our first record is going to be coming out whenever Warner Brothers puts it out. We are about to wrap that up so hopefully that will come out sooner than later. It’s going to be exciting. We are really proud of it.
Candie and Michelle: Awesome I can't wait to hear it. If you weren’t a musician what would you see yourself doing as a career?
Jonathan of The Railers: I don’t know. For me it would probably be something outdoorsy. I really love to get out in nature;coming from Arizona. Arizona is a really active outdoor community. So probably something in nature. Cassandra would probably be a gardener. I don’t know. It’s like we’ve been doing music for so long that we haven’t given much thought to what we would be doing otherwise. There is no back up plan. This is it. .
Candie and Michelle: What advice would you give to your younger selves?
Cassandra of The Railers: Never Give up
Jonathan of the Railers: Never Give up. It’ll happen man.
Candie and Michelle: Good advice. What advice would you give to an artist or band starting out?
Cassandra of The Railers: Never Give up
Jonathan of The Railers: Never Give up. Absolutely. It takes a lot of work. I’ve had a lot of people come and tell me I’m thinking about moving to Nashville. What do you recommend. The best advice that you can give to a person starting out in music is if there is anything else that you could see yourself doing that would make you happy then go and do it because the music industry is tough. It is hard work. It is a lot of sacrifice. There are people out there that this is all that they can see themselves doing with their lives and so if that is the case and it’s worth the sacrifice then you can go for it and get it done. Be ready. It is going to be a ton of tough work. There is going to be lots of highs and lots of lows.
Candie and Michelle: Excellent Advice. Are there any new artist(s) or band(s) that have grasped your interest?
Cassandra of The Railers: Brett Eldredge
Jonathan of The Railers: Cassandra and I went to college with Brett. She’s known him especially for a long time. It was so cool when he asked to open for him on tour about a year ago. Just getting to be out there and see the success that he is starting to have is really cool. Nobody deserves it more. He is such a great dude.
Candie and Michelle: We will have to check him out. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your fans?
Jonathan of The Railers: Thank you guys for being the fans in the world. You’re wicked awesome! They are the best. We promise we will have an album out soon. Hopefully.
Cassandra of The Railers: Y’all are wicked awesome!!! We promise we will have an album out.
Candie and Michelle: How can fans discover more about you and you r music?
instagram: the railers
Thank y'all so much for taking the time to sit down with us. We both feel really blessed to be featuring y'all this month.
-Candie and Michelle