Boy Named Banjo recently dropped their highly-anticipated new single, “Heart In Motion,” after playing it live for over a year.
The five-piece band is made up of Barton Davies, Ford Garrard, Sam McCullough, Willard Logan and William Reames, who caught up with Country Now to discuss the writing process behind this song.
He explained that finally having this song out on streaming platforms “feels amazing.”
“We know people like to hear it and they always go, ‘what’s that song where you say Texas and Memphis in it?’ So to finally be able to say, ‘hey, it’s ‘Heart In Motion,’ you can go listen now and maybe sing along to it down the road,’ it feels great.”
Inspiration struck back in 2020 for Davies alongside his co-writers Jon Sherwood and Oscar Charles. At the time, the band was on the road, getting ready to launch their most extensive headlining tour to date when the pandemic hit and they were forced to drive 36 hours from Portland, OR to Nashville. Although this was a strenuous time, something good did come out of it. With all the time they had on the journey back, they started to share the same feelings of missing their loved ones back home.
“It’s just about getting back to the one you love and being out on the road and all of that stuff. What kind of really spurred the idea was when we were driving through Texas,” he told Country Now. “Barton kind of came up with the idea and we ended up trying to pick songs for the record. As soon as everyone heard that iPhone demo, we knew it was a special song for us.”
Those disheartening emotions have once again resurfaced to a slightly lesser extent now that the band is back on the road for a longer run than usual. With their loved ones on their minds, playing this song live gives them a sense of comfort.
“We don’t really do fly dates, we’re in the van. So the longer you’re away from home, it’s like the more the song means to you every night when you play it. We love what we do and it’s a blast, but you also love to be back home at the same time. So it gets more and more meaningful to play it every night.”
Starting out with a haunting delivery, the intensity of their strong-winded vocals gradually builds as they replicate their desperate plea to return to the comfort of their homes.
“When that chorus hits is when I kind of see everything click,” he explained. “I guess the harmonies and just the sentiment of the song really sets in there. We’ve had people come up to the merch table and tell us how it hits them in the moment.”
This single follows their debut EP, Circles, which was released in the summer of 2021. Reames revealed that most of these songs were penned about four years ago, before they had even signed a record deal. He and Davies started playing around with a few ideas and putting some lyrics together in their producer Oscar Chalres’ garage. Before they knew it, they had an EP on their hands.
“After we landed the deal, that was also kind of in the middle of when everything shut down. So it kind of put everything on hold, but really what it allowed us to do is live with those songs. We played those songs out for a number of years before they came out, and a song really grows and changes the more you play it out on the road. Circles was basically written and recorded in a garage.”
Boy Named Banjo is currently serving as direct support for Kip Moore, so between their time on the road and having their latest single out, it feels as though a fresh new chapter has opened up for the band. They’re using this stint of shows to connect with some old and new fans who may be hearing them for the first time this year.
“There’s some of the most fun shows we’ve ever played and we kind of have the opportunity to have a room full of people that have never heard us before and try out some new songs,” Reames said in excitement. “Now that ‘Heart In Motion’ is out, we have a ton of songs that we’ve written and recorded and we kind of get to switch it up every night and see how they land. We finally feel like things are flowing and we’re gonna be able to get some more music out there.”
They first connected with Moore when Davies served as a writer on his song, “Red White Blue Jean American Dream,” which was featured on his most recent record.
“We didn’t know Kip at the time. So this is really our first time kind of being around him. We’re working up some songs with him to play together on the road,” he teased. “So far, we just love playing these shows with him and hanging with him.”
Reames added, “He’s a great guy and I think we have a lot to kind of learn from him and his band. They put on one hell of a show.”
Boy Named Banjo has grown up together, some knowing each other from as early as preschool. Then, they got to know each other better throughout their high school and college days. “We’re just brothers at this point,” Reames shared.
Together, they had fun playing fraternity parties and private events in college and were encouraged by their peers to start recording music.
“It got to the point where we were about to graduate and we were gigging every single weekend, whether we realized it or not. We were leaving and going to Alabama or Georgia and we just said, ‘Hey, let’s keep doing it.’ So that’s what we did and we just haven’t stopped.”
Boy Named Banjo is next slated to perform on Sept. 15 in Denver, CO as part of Kip Moore’s Fire On Wheels Tour.