Nashville’s Great Peacock⎯⎯ comprised of lead singer and guitarist Andrew Nelson, guitarist Blount Floyd, drummer Nick Recio and bass player Frank Keith IV ⎯⎯ are fixtures in the Southern festival circuit including Shakey Knees, they’ve shared stages with an abundance of equally-minded noise-makers, including Colter Wall, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Cage the Elephant, American Aquarium, Margo Price, and Jonathan Tyler.

Nelson recounts the birth of the band. Late one night, when they were drunk on Bushwackers, Nelson, ”…jokingly said we were going to start a folk band, and we wrote a song called Desert Lark.’” Close friends and family raved about what they had nonchalantly created. The band soon became a reality in early 2013, and their debut album Making Ghosts arrived two years later.

Having grown up in a rather sheltered Pentecostal household in the suburbs of Birmingham, Alabama, Nelson tuned into the only secular music he was allowed to listen to: the local oldies station. ”What really got me into music is the blues. When I was a teenager I really liked John Lee Hooker, Freddy King, BB King and Buddy Guy. I think you can hear these influences in the new songs in some ways. At an early age, I learned how hitting the right chords at the right times could really mess with somebody’s emotions.”

It wasn’t until he was 14 years old that he heard Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ”Free Bird” for the first time, and it changed everything. ”When I heard the guitar solo, I freaked out. I went downstairs and started playing my brother’s guitars when he wasn’t home. I taught myself how to play, because I loved that song so much. I would get my ass kicked for breaking his strings, though. I had to learn fast, and I knew I wouldn’t get a guitar from my parents if I didn’t already show some interest or effort.”

Later, when he was 18, the next piece of the puzzle fell into place. His father had just passed away, and on the ride home from the funeral, his sister, ”who always had really good taste in music,” as Nelson remembers it, put on Ryan Adams’ ”When the Stars Go Blue.” The performance crushed him. ”I started hearing all the little country influences. I thought it was awesome. I didn’t know I liked country music. Then, I went from Ryan straight to George Jones. From that moment on, I became way more obsessed with country music than rock n roll.”

After college, he moved to Nashville to pursue his musical career and that’s where he met bandmate Floyd, who ”grew up on 90s country.” The pair hit it off almost immediately. ”We instantly went out and got a case of beer and shotgunned them. We started playing and writing songs together. We found out we sang together pretty well.”

Recorded at Nashville’s Sound Emporium, Grand Peacock’s upcoming second album, Gran Pavo Real (out Mar. 30 via Ropeadope Records) was helmed by industry stalwart Dexter Green (Jason Isbell, Elizabeth Cooke, Derek Hoke). ”He brought a strange cosmic energy., says Nelson about Green. “He’s sort of indescribable. You have to meet him to know who he is.” My Morning Jacket’s Tom Blankenship lends his smart musicianship to the entire lineup. Initially, his contribution was on only one song, but he fell in love with the work being made and asked to stay for the whole ride. Accomplished key player Ralph Lofton (Yolanda Adams, Jennifer Holliday) is likewise a prevalent musical force throughout the collection. ”Ralph brought some soul to the project,” notes Nelson. “It’s really great, considering we recorded it live.”

Andrew Nelson’s Influences

Franklin’s Tower – “Originally when I was writing our song ‘Hideaway,’ the chords were really bouncy. I even only got inspired to find the vocal melody for the song by dicking around on guitar, trying to play like Jerry.”

Descending – “The piano this song reminds me of how Mr. Ralph Lofton made us sound a little more soulful by bringing his keyboard talents to the table of our album. You can hear that style of playing all over our song ‘One Way Ticket,’ which strangely enough takes a sort of satirical view of growing up religious in the South.”

Slow Show – “‘Slow Show’ has always sounded so sexy to me. I have no idea what it’s about. But, I knew I wanted our song ‘Begging to Stay’ to sound sexy as well.”

Heartache Tonight – Let’s just say I got the idea for ‘Heartbreak Comin’ Down’ from the title of ‘Heartache Tonight.’ I don’t fucking care what anyone else thinks.”

Cortez the Killer – “We totally wanted our album to have guitars like this on it. Guitar sounds and parts that can take your mind to a cosmic, spacious place. But, not a lot of notes.”

Waltz Across Texas Tonight – “Space and groove! (Daniel) Lanois is a huge influence on our vibe at times. Melodic sounds that drip on top of beats.”

Million Dollar Bill – “Is it Country? Is it Rock and Roll? Does it matter? It’s got so much emotion and that’s what matters!”

Where I End You Begin – Thom Yorke’s use of simple and strange melodies gives us the confidence to basically sing a one note vocal melody in the verses of our song ‘Rattlesnake.'”

Little Martha – “This guitar melody inspired the vocal melody for our song ‘All Really Want is You.'”

It’ll All Work Out – “Mr. Petty and his band shapes all of what we do. The emotion of this song was something we were striving to capture on our album and in our music in general.”

Loving Cup – ”’Loving Cup’ is just a great template for the aesthetic we were shooting for. It’s all over the place while still being grounded and simple.”



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