News And Notes
May 19

New Artist Spotlight: Love and Theft

Love & Theft photo courtesy of Lyric Street Records. Photo credit: Tec Petaja

Love & Theft photo courtesy of Lyric Street Records. Photo credit: Tec Petaja

By Bob Doerschuk

© 2009 CMA Close Up® News / Country Music Association®, Inc.

Each of the hard-rocking harmonizers in Love and Theft has a unique background: In Palm Harbor, Fla., Stephen Barker Liles grew up on contemporary Christian music, Johnny Cash, Elvis and basketball, while Brian Bandas mixed his b-ball with influences that ranged from jazz to Tim McGraw to the Goo Goo Dolls in Austin, Texas, and Eric Gunderson drew inspiration from his grandfather’s bluegrass banjo gigs around Charlotte, N.C. All went to college and then changed course when they felt the call to pursue their musical ambitions. They met in Nashville, where it became apparent almost at once that they belonged together onstage and in the studio.

For six months they rehearsed, rotated lead vocals, polished their assertive but nuanced vocal blend and wrote songs. Signed to Carolwood Records, they teamed with producers Jeff Coplan and Robert Ellis Orrall on their debut album World Wide Open. The album offers 11 tracks written or co-written by the band, with “Runaway” tagged as the first single. Written by Liles with Rob Blackledge and Canaan Smith, it opens with an urgent, low-key beat and a lyric that captures someone at that moment of breaking from a dead-end job into a life where the only certainty is adventure. As their voices soar on the chorus, climbing higher one at a time, it’s easy to sense what drew these guys to Music City. Their harmonies earned them a berth on Taylor Swift’s tour and drive them now as they begin the ride of their lives.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: Love & Theft Q&A

BOOK ON YOUR NIGHTSTAND

BANDAS: “Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of The Beatles, by Geoff Emerick and Howard Massey.”

GUNDERSON: “50 Philosophy Ideas You Really Need to Know, by Ben Dupré.”

LILES: “La Biblia and Twilight.”

CD IN YOUR STEREO

GUNDERSON: “Only by the Night, by Kings of Leon.”

LILES: “Raising Sand, by Alison Krauss and Robert Plant.”

DREAM DUET PARTNER

BANDAS: “Elvis.”

GUNDERSON: “Elvis.”

LILES: “Elvis.”

FAVORITE FOOD WHILE ON THE ROAD

GUNDERSON: “Good fresh sushi.”

LILES: “I love buffalo chicken anything and everything.”

GREATEST CHALLENGE

GUNDERSON: “Dealing with type 1 diabetes. I have it very tightly controlled, but it is very challenging to maintain consistently good blood sugar on the road because every day is different.”

LUCKY CHARM

LILES: “I do and His name is Jesus.”

MODE OF TRANSPORTATION YOU PREFER

GUNDERSON: “Motorcycle.”

MOMENT IN YOUR LIFE YOU’D RELIVE IF YOU COULD

GUNDERSON: “The first time I ever walked on stage in an arena.  It was absolutely incredible – 7,000 screaming people will get you going.”

LILES: “I would love to relive the moment when the Tampa bay Buccaneers won the Super Bowl.”

PET PEEVE

LILES: “Missing the previews at a movie theatre.”

PROFESSION IF YOU WEREN’T AN ARTIST

LILES: “An actor / college basketball coach / football coach / photographer.”

SONG YOU’D LOVE TO COVER

BANDAS: “‘In a Little While’ by U2.”

LILES: “‘Stubborn’ by Lee Ann Womack.”

SONG YOU SING IN THE SHOWER

BANDAS: “Believe it or not, if I’m singing in the shower, it’s almost always not a real song. Many a song I’ve written has begun in the shower, and that’s a true story. I guess I’m relaxed and I just start thinking, musically and lyrically. That kind of stuff is always going through my mind.”

LILES: “Anything and everything from ‘What’s Love Got To Do With It’ to ‘Lyin’ Eyes’ and ‘Boys in the Hood.’”

SONG YOU WISH YOU WROTE

BANDAS: “Although there are a lot of songs that fit the criteria, one song I wish that I had written is ‘Always on Your Side’ by Sheryl Crow. She and Sting ended up doing it as a duet and I LOVE that song. It hits me pretty hard, and I like that. I really FEEL that song. Particularly the line ‘This isn’t how it’s really meant to be.’ Love it.”

LILES: “‘Black Tears’ by Canaan Smith and Tyler Hubbard.”

TITLE OF YOUR AUTOBIOGRAPHY

LILES: “People are People.”

WHAT WE’D NEVER GUESS ABOUT YOU

LILES: “If I eat food without a drink, I get the hiccups instantly.”

WHEN THEY LOOK BACK IN YOUR LIFE IN 50 YEARS WHAT YOU HOPE PEOPLE SAY ABOUT YOU

GUNDERSON: “I hope people say that Eric Gunderson lived life to the fullest. Eric touched the lives of every person he ever came in contact with and, the music he made will touch lives for years to come.”

WORD OR PHRASE YOU SAY OVER AND OVER

BANDAS: “I always say, ‘Does that make sense?’ For instance, I recently got a new snowboard and I was very excited about it, and that was how I showed my roommate.  I held it up to show him and said, ‘Um, does that make sense to you?’”

LILES: “Dude. I call everyone dude.”

On the Web: www.myspace.com/loveandtheftmusic

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