Country Next: Everette

Everette; Photo by Jason Myers
Everette; Photo by Jason Myers
Everette; Photo by Jason Myers
We take pride in introducing fans to country music’s brightest new stars through our Country Next series. Here, we chat with Everette.

Everette, comprised of good buddies Brent Rupard and Anthony Olympia, is making an undeniable mark on the country scene with their midwestern country appeal, whiskey smooth harmonies, and energetic blue-grass-tinged grooves. Named after George Clooney’s character in O Brother, Where Art Thou?, the country duo from Bullitt County, Kentucky, organically cultivated a fan base that is unlike any other – one that includes a diverse mix of teachers, college students, bikers, and more. 

After crystallizing their sound in Bowling Green, KY, where they also attended Western Kentucky University, Everette made their way to Nashville and signed a deal with Broken Bow Records. In 2018, they released their debut EP, Slow Roll, and followed that up with part one of a two-part album called Kings of the Dairy Queen Parking Lot. Everette’s cover of “Man of Constant Sorrow,” which they performed alongside Dan Tyminski for social media, also enjoyed a moment on TikTok, racking up over 600 thousand views. 

At the top of 2022, Everette officially made their Grand Ole Opry debut and experienced a standing ovation inside the historic venue. More recently, they released their catchy tune titled, “Gonna Be A Problem.” The song, which they wrote with Ryan Tyndell and Bryan Simpson, was on hold for Jordan Davis. However, after hearing the bandmates perform the song live while on a shared tour bus, Davis, who contributed backing vocals on the recorded track, convinced Everette to cut it. 

“‘Gonna Be A Problem’” puts a unique spin on the ‘boy meets girl in a bar’ song,” Olympia explains the song in a press release. “With bits of our real-life experience meeting our wives, it tells the story of that neon moment when you meet someone, and you immediately know they’re about to wreck your world in all the right ways.” 

‘“Gonna Be A Problem’’ is the first taste of what fans can expect from Side B of the Luke Laird-produced double album, Kings of the Dairy Queen Parking Lot. Having already dropped Kings of the Dairy Queen Parking Lot – Side A in 2020, Side B gives fans a deeper look into Everette’s sound and personalities and follows tracks like “Way Back,” “Can’t Say No,” and “Momma, I’ll Be Okay.” 

Everette, who recently completed a run of shows with Brothers Osborne for their We’re Not For Everyone Tour, caught up with Country Now to talk about their background in music, how they met, their latest tracks, and more. 

Read on to discover more about Everette in this exclusive Q&A below! 

How did you meet each other? 

Brent Rupard: We met a long time ago. We have been friends and played music together for 16 years. So we met back in our hometown of Shepherdsville, Kentucky, in Bullitt County. We immediately hit it off as good buddies, and we related a lot with where we were at in our lives and wanted to do something different from what we had been doing in our early 20s. Then we eventually made our way to Nashville. 

Were you always drawn toward the country genre? 

Anthony Olympia: Great question! During the first few shows together and with the songs we wrote, I do not know that we were concerned about a genre as much as just trying to make music that would make our hearts pump a little bit. But, somehow, we were in Bowling Green, Ky, cutting our teeth, playing in the dive bars and the college rock bars. Everybody was doing rock, and we started playing country music, and people were like, ‘I want more of that!’ So, we were like, ‘Okay, we will do more of that.’ So we went in that direction, but I don’t know if it was a conscious decision. 

Along with music, you both also have a college degree. Was it difficult to juggle school and music? 

Rupard: I feel like we received a degree in honky tonk. Music, playing music, and writing music were always first. But we had already started college, so we were like, ‘Man. We should finish it up.’ We might have missed a few classes and not have behaved the best during that time. But, we played a lot of music, that’s for sure.

Olympia: I feel like a sense of accomplishment comes with going to a university and finishing a degree. And, I feel like it was a mountain we both had to climb. I think we are better for it. The atmosphere of being in a college town is, there is a lot of music and eccentric people dabbling all over in different friend groups. So, I think that was beneficial for us. 

How did you decide on the name Everette? 

Rupard: We have always been consistently bad at choosing names. Our first band name was Brett and Anthony. We also had a band called Easy Street. But Everette started about five years ago. So, it is still pretty new, even though we have been together for a while. We had been in different bands. Then I did solo artist stuff for a minute. But we always played together somehow, someway, and wrote songs together. 

Why did you decide to pursue a career as a duo instead of a band? 

Olympia: We have spent a lot of time as sidemen, supporting the artist. Brent – you were not a sideman, but you were not the lead singer. Brent played guitar and would sing harmony. We started jamming together, and Brent sings like an angel. I think I was always meant for guitar. Then, when we got to Nashville, Brent was doing more solo artist stuff. So, that was taking off. So, I was playing music with him as a sideman and with other artists. That, I think, brings in a perspective that we both have been on both sides of that coin. So I think we can appreciate our band. But as far as being a duo goes, it’s been weirdly natural for us. It’s never been where it was like, ‘So, it’s my turn now.’ It’s been very seamless.

Rupard: We were always in bands growing up. So we did have that conversation before moving forward. We were like, ‘Do we make it a band thing and have everybody as one or make it a duo?’ We just had such a vision for it being a duo and making it me and Anthony. We felt that if we had too many cooks in the kitchen, it could get confusing. So we just kept it as us. But when you come to see our live show, we’ve heard it many times. It feels like we’re a band. We treat our guys like they are in the band because we love that feeling of communal music-making.  

Do you look to other duos for inspiration? 

Rupard: I like it all. I love all kinds of music. I can’t say that I was always a duo listener before us. I like Hall & Oates and stuff from back in the day. I always loved Brooks & Dunn, and we love our friends Brothers Osborne. We were just on tour with them. I think duos are super cool, but I love all of the above. 

You recently covered “Man of Constant Sorrow” from the film O Brother, Where Art Thou? What does that song mean to you?  

Olympia: When we were in Bowling Green finishing our degrees, we could not afford cable TV. We just had movies that we stole from our parents. The one that became a regular that we played on repeat every day was O Brother, Where Art Thou? At the time, I didn’t know how special that movie would become to us. Down the road, when we were starting this project, we did not have a band name. We were writing songs together. We wrote more and more songs. So there was a little bit of traction going on. A manager and some labels became interested in us, and they were like, ‘You’ve got to have a band name.’ We were having the hardest time thinking of one. We went through a few terrible band names, like Double Denim and Buffalo Run. But one night, we were in the studio working on the first batch of songs, and we were exhausted. We were like, ‘We need to chill for a second.’ The producer, who we were working with, was like, ‘Hey! Let’s watch this movie.’ We had been talking about it. So we put it on. I don’t think it was until the next day that we started texting. We were like, ‘Dude, Everette. I think that’s it.’ So there it was. 

Your cover of “Man of Constant Sorrow” also enjoyed success on TikTok. What is it like receiving such a positive reaction from an online fan base? 

Rupard: It’s interesting. I mean, TikTok is interesting. When we put the video out for the first time, we were unfamiliar with the platform. To see it blow up blew our minds. But what I love about that particular song is that song is over 100 years old. It’s an old folk song. The movie O Brother, Where Art Thou? made it popular again. So it shows us that the song is never going to die. We put it on something as modern as a TikTok platform, and people love it. So I’m happy for this song just as much as I’m happy for us because it’s bringing back some real old-school stuff. 

Tell me about the inspiration behind your latest track, “Gonna Be A Problem.” I read that Jordan Davis had planned on releasing it but changed his mind when he heard you two singing it. 

Olympia: For a lot of our songs, Brent and I start in the writing room with one of our buddies. We rarely have a fourth person. Usually, with three people in a room, that’s a lot of opinions, to begin with. But on this day, for some reason, it seemed like a good idea to have four people. Another thing is a lot of our songs start on guitar. I’m already playing something, or Brent’s playing something, and we’re like, ‘So that sounds good.’ But on that particular day, I had just some piano chords going. I was experimenting with some synth sounds. It’s now a guitar melody in the intro. But, just that little vibe had all of us singing something, and the next thing you know, we had a title, and it snowballed after that. 

Rupard: It’s funny. You write a song, and it’s different every time. With this song, the title wrote the song. At the time, we were both married, and we have lovely wives. But with writing, sometimes you have to go back in time and revisit stuff you experienced back in the day. We have both experienced this song to its fullest. I think many people have, where, it’s like, you are living a certain way, and, then, you meet somebody, they cross your path, and you’re like, ‘My life is about to go from this way to that way,’ but in a good way. But, yeah. Jordan had that song on hold. Hold in Nashville is basically like, you’re going to put a song on layaway, and you’re going to record it later. So, he had it on hold for like a year. But we decided to go in and cut it. We had been friends with him for years. So, we were on the road with him, and we were playing that song. He was like, ‘Did you all play ‘Gonna be a problem?’ We were like, ‘Yeah, man. We went and did a demo of it.’ So we played it for him, and he was like, ‘Man. That sounds incredible. You guys gotta do it. But, I would request to be a part of it somehow.’ So he sang some background vocals on the recording of the master that we put out. We’re glad about that. We love Jordan.

“Gonna Be A Problem” follows Kings of the Dairy Queen Parking Lot – Side A. Is there anything you can tell us about side B? 

Olympia: Yeah, that song is part of side B. I feel like, with side B, we let our hair down. You know, we put on the colorful pants, musically. We are going for it. All of the crazy comes out. When you start talking to somebody for the first time, you don’t let every shade of crazy out because you might frighten them, whereas I feel like side A was a good introduction to where we are and have been musically and philosophically. 

Was it a decision from the get-go to have a double-sided album? 

Olympia:  I think it was a product of the time. We recorded ‘Gonna Be A Problem’ at the beginning of 2020 before the world went nuts. We didn’t know how it was going to be released. We just recorded, and then everything happened. So we started asking ourselves, ‘How do we release this? And, when do we release this?’ When we talked about it, we knew we didn’t want to throw it out there and be done because we were still wondering how people would be consuming music. But I think it was Brent’s idea to do the whole side A and side B thing – do one batch of music, work around it and then come around and do another batch of music. 

As a duo, how do you decide which songs will fit the project? 

Rupard: It’s a battle, honestly, because we both care tremendously about the art of things and the tracklisting and all that stuff. But I feel like we headbutt a little more while creating the songs compared to what’s going to go on the record. There’s a handful of songs where Anthony and I are both just like, ‘Yes.’ There’s no doubt. There is only a couple where I feel like one or the other is on the fence about. That’s why we cut 15 songs for this record. It’s probably too many songs, but that’s alright (laughs).

You recently toured with Brothers Osborne. Have fans gotten to hear your unreleased tracks yet? 

Olympia: We have pulled the curtain back a little bit, like, with “Wild Women.” That’s on side B, and it’s a straight-up rock song. It sounds like something Led Zeppelin could have done. Over the past couple of years, and since we finished the record, we’ve been playing songs that we haven’t released, mainly because, I think, they feel good for us to play live. We hope people enjoy it, but also, I want them to feel like, ‘Hey. There’s more music coming.’ 

Rupard: I was telling Brothers Osborne that it was so cool opening for them. Musically, it felt like we could showcase every shade of us. Sometimes, you pick your setlist according to how you think the headliner will accept it. So, we could throw our song, ‘Wild Women,’ out there. I think that’s the only one we performed from Side B, aside from ‘Gonna Be A Problem.’ But, yes. That was one of my favorite tours so far that I have been on. It just felt right.   

Are there any rituals you do before you go on stage to make sure you have a good show?

Olympia: We were on tour with Sara Evans. The first three weekends, it was like Wednesday through Saturday, with her crew and her band. They were a great tour to be on, and one night, an older gentleman came up to us after the show. We were hanging out with everybody and helping sell T-shirts and stuff. He was like, ‘You guys brought me so much joy tonight.’ He had recently lost his wife, and he was like, ‘I didn’t know If I wanted to come out tonight. But I felt like I needed it. I’m so glad I got to see you all. You brought me so much joy.’ He was like, ‘If she were here, I know she would just be hugging you all.’ He had tears in his eyes, and we were just like, this is exactly why we do what we do. We want to bring that joy. So every night, right before we go out onstage, we fist bump, and we go, ‘Let’s bring on the joy.’  

This year, you made your Grand Ole Opry debut. What was that experience like for you? 

Rupard:  I always use one word to describe that, and it’s heavy. It felt heavy, but a good heavy. Not like a sad heavy or anything like that. It was the weight of the tradition of that place and that circle. We had so many friends and family there who had our backs before we played the Opry stage. It was such a beautiful, celebratory moment that I still can’t believe happened. We have played the Opry twice now, and we’re supposed to have some more shows coming up. But you can play the Opry multiple times and still feel like you are dreaming.

Olympia: It was a lot of putting one foot in front of the other. It was a big day. They had a camera crew there to document the whole experience, but to finally play the show, we were like, ‘We’re glad we can get this done with the heaviness.’ It was so strong trying to get through it and take a breath. Anyway, the last chord gets played, you unplug the guitar, and it’s like, ‘Okay, they have a show.’ It has to be on time, and it has to keep going. So we are walking off stage, and we hear the WSM AM, radio announcer. He goes, ‘Yes. Ladies and gentlemen, that is correct. You hear a standing ovation.’ Brent and I looked up. We saw everybody standing, even on the balcony. I ugly cried. It was gross.   

So already, with 2022, there have been some big moments. As dads, are moments like those something you hope the kids will look back on?

Olympia: My three-year-old son has been asking different versions of this question. We call them trips because we go on trips. He’s like, ‘Why do you go on these trips?’ So I bring it up to him, like with us bringing the joy, I say, ‘There’s a lot of people out there where maybe they need to escape. They need to feel something else. Our job is to be there and bring that to them. It also fills up our cups.’ I think he’s still like, ‘Yeah, but then you’re not here to play monster trucks with me.’

Rupard: My boy is 9-months-old, so we’re not having those conversations yet. But it is difficult to leave the family. But if your heart’s in the right place, and you’re doing this more for something other than the money and fame, it makes it worth it – seeing that audience loving on you and loving back on them. That’s our goal this year, especially after being shut in with the pandemic, is to go on as many tours as we can, and play as many shows as we can, and get out there. Every time that happens, not only do we see our numbers go up as far as sales and all of that, but our souls go up. It’s what keeps me inspired to keep on keeping on.

What’s next for you? 

Olympia: We have some more shows sprinkling in this summer. We’re hoping to get back to London or somewhere in Europe in the fall. I think we’re still ironing it out. We’ve been so busy that it’s like, we haven’t had a minute to go, ‘Okay. What’s next as far as shows go?’ But we can guarantee there will be plenty of them. And, we’re gearing up to release side B at some point, and all that goes along with that.

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