February 12, 2009

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A natural harmony
One Flew South finds success with debut album
By Dana Unger dunger@hippopress.com

Being a part of a trio took some getting used to for Eddie Bush, guitarist and vocalist for the contemporary country group One Flew South.

“I’ve been a solo artist for many, many years, so being in a group of this sort is a new experience,” Bush said in a Feb. 4 interview. “It’s three completely different personalities. But when we sing together, it’s three unique voices that really blend beautifully.”

The trio of Chris Roberts, Royal Reed, and Bush formed to make One Flew South in 2005, and with their harmonic style, they quickly began receiving comparisons to groups like The Beach Boys, The Eagles, and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.

One Flew South will open for Phil Vassar on Friday, Feb. 13, at the Capitol Center in Concord and on Saturday, Feb. 14, at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium.

“I can’t wait,” Bush said. “Phil Vassar is one of my favorite guys in country music. At this point in our career, we’re looking for every opportunity we can get to go out and play for folks. I feel like we really work well with Phil anyway —he’s a great singer and songwriter and just a fantastic piano player.”

The group released their debut album, Last of the Good Guys, in May 2008, and the first single, “My Kind of Beautiful,” hit the Billboard Hot Country charts at #52. Creating the album was a concertedly hands-on process for the guys.

“The whole thing has been quite a journey,” Bush said. “Each of us became creatively impactive. That part of it was just an exciting time because it was less about what market we were in, and more about the strength of us as a group, which hearkens back to the old days of professional music.”

The album was produced by Nashville-based songwriter Marcus Hummon, who has worked on hits for artists like Rascal Flatts, Tim McGraw, and The Dixie Chicks.

“Marcus is sort of our silent member,” Bush said. “He had so much to do with the stylistic direction of our record. We sort of live on the fringe of country music, so there’s definitely a sense of originality that’s involved with all of this that he brought to the table.”

The road to their first album has been, at times, difficult to traverse — not just creatively, but economically as well.

“It’s been a challenge, it’s been a battle,” Bush said.  “Right near the end of that first push the economy tanked, and that has turned into an interesting aspect for us because we don’t travel with a band. We are already in a situation where we have to let our singing and our acoustic guitars do the trick, but then it became necessity. There’s such an overhead for bands, especially young bands these days.”

Learning how to work together as a unit has also been an essential task for the band.

“You have to work at any relationship,” Bush said. “It’s like being married. It’s like when you’ve been seeing someone for a while and then you decide to move in together, and suddenly there’s this other thing behind the wall that you didn’t know was there.”

So far, the challenges they’ve faced have been met, and the trio are busy working on their next steps as a group, which include an upcoming appearance at the American Country Music Awards, and their next single, “Life,” getting ready to drop onto radio airwaves.

For Bush, a natural musical connection between band members isn’t something that can be forced; it’s there or it isn’t — and he says that he has found it with One Flew South.

“The truth is when you’re singing harmony with people, it’s one thing to just put your voices together, and it’s another thing when it sounds like family voices,” Bush said. “When you get three voices like ours, and they are not related together by blood and they blend like this, to the point that there are natural overtones that happen between them, that is almost miraculous.”


One Flew South
• Friday, Feb. 13, at 8 p.m.
Capitol Center for the Arts, 44 South Main St., Concord
$23 to $48, at 225-1111 or www.ccanh.com

• Saturday, Feb. 14, at 8 p.m.
Lowell Memorial Auditorium, 50 East Merrimack St., Lowell
$29.75 to $55.75, at 978-454-2299 or www.lowellauditorium.com