Over the last twenty years, few acts in this scene have championed honky tonk country as fervently as Eleven Hundred Springs. The band’s sound has always been pure and honest, managing to breath life into familiar country themes through straightforward, good songwriting and staunchly sticking to their roots. Given that every country song has been written at this point, you would think it would all sound rote, but Matt Hillyer and the gang continue to inject enough fun and originality into the genre to keep the neon shining, the beer flowing, and the dance floor packed.
In 2017, Hillyer and bassist Steven Ber retooled the band, bringing in Chad Rueffer on guitar and vocals, Ray Austin on pedalsteel, and Christian Dorn on drums. The following year, the new lineup gathered at their personal headquarters, the Cadillac Barn, to put out The Finer Things in Life. The garage turned honky tonk band cave also served as Hillyer’s set for his YouTube show, bringing in various folks from the scene for interviews and live performances. You can catch all of that on the official Eleven Hundred Springs YouTube channel.
Tomorrow Eleven Hundred Springs kicks off this decade with Here ‘Tis!, a record that keeps the band’s sound alive and well. It’s all there, pedal steel runs, fiddle fills, western swing, and bouncing boot scooters. Matt Hillyer’s vocals are as clean and consistent as ever, mixing a little George Strait optimism with some timely George Jones crooning. Hillyer is occasionally spelled from vocal duties by the slightly deeper voiced Chad Rueffer. Rueffer slides into the roll well and provides a nice change of pace while not straying from the core Eleven Hundred Springs sound.
Today Galleywinter is lucky enough to give you a sneak peek at one of the tracks off the new record. “Miles Apart” is a realization of a relationship gone astray. There was no fight, no infidelity, but somehow you wake up one day and realize you and your significant other are no longer on the same page. There’s still love, but while you were on cruise control you ended up taking different roads.
Matt Hillyer told us:
“I had been trying to work the opening guitar riff to what became the song ‘Miles Apart’ for years. When the melody and lyrics started to come, it all kind of fit. It’s a song about holding on to what’s right about a relationship even when it doesn’t feel right. Everyone goes through ups and downs.”
Enjoy and don’t forget to check out the rest of Here ‘Tis! on Friday.