King Calaway Share Inspiration Behind New Album, ‘Tennessee’s Waiting,’ Ahead Of Performance At The Westin Nashville For 27 LIVE Music Series

The group opened about their brand-new album and shared what fans can expect from their upcoming hometown show.

By

Madeleine O’Connell

| Posted on

August 17, 2023

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King Calaway; Photo by Andres Martinez

It’s been four years since King Calaway released their debut project, Rivers. Using the experiences they’ve gained in that time, both professionally and personally, the band has compiled a new collection of songs in a sentimental project titled, Tennessee’s Waiting

The creative process for this album began several years ago during the era of Zoom writes and long-distance communication between band members Simon Dumas, Chad Michael Jervis, Chris Deaton and Caleb Miller. They managed to write 80 songs collectively, which in turn they had to narrow down significantly. Although they had to make some tough decisions, Jervis explains that they’re confident in the 16 tracks they chose to represent their band at this moment. 

“Obviously there are a lot of songs that we had written that we loved that didn’t make the cut, but hopefully one of these days we’ll release some further down the road,” Jervis told Country Now before adding, “We really leaned more into that live band sound and more of just a band direction and I think those 16 songs represent exactly what we wanted to do.”

Now that Tennessee Waiting is finally out in the world, the fans get to hear snippets into the band’s raw stories of relationships, finding joy in the simple things, soaking up milestones together and so much more.  

“It feels so amazing and rewarding,” Dumas shared. “I think the fact that it’s been four years, it almost feels like we’re putting out our first album because it just feels like we’ve changed a lot in those four years. We’ve been on such a journey as a band and worked with Zac [Brown] in the studio…So just feels really rewarding. We’ve been writing and working really hard and it’s amazing that the album’s finally out.”

Each band member carries a different story that has led them to this point in their careers, however, one of the biggest commonalities among the group is the sense of home they’ve found in Tennessee. This sentiment comes across in the title track which was co-penned by Adam Craig with Miller, Jervis, and Deaton. 

Through their soulful vocals and slow-temp melody, the band illustrates the comfort of knowing that no matter where they travel or how long they’re gone on the road, the Volunteer State will always welcome them with “open arms” when they return. 

“Tennessee’s waiting / She always saves me / She takes me back with open arms / My guiding light when it’s gettin’ dark / When I’m gone too long and the road starts to change me / Tennessee’s waiting,” they sing on the chorus. 

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“We’ve been a band for five years. Chris is originally from Tennessee, but me, Simon and Caleb moved here about five years ago to pursue this band and I feel like after five years of being here, we finally made this feel like our home. We’ve made Nashville and Tennessee feel like our home.” Jervis explained.

He went on to recall the writing session that took place outside underneath a tin-roof gazebo. As the rain began to fall at that moment, Miller shared the idea for the title, “Tennessee’s Waiting.” The band decided that was the perfect song to write in that serene setting as it closely related to this stage of their careers and being away from their home for days, weeks, or sometimes months on end. 

“As much as we’ve wanted to do this as a career, there’s no better feeling than after weeks of travel finally getting home. And when we think of home now, we’re like, Tennessee is our home and we’ve made such great connections within the music community, within the songwriting community, and it just felt really fitting that that song be the title of the album.”

Deaton added, “It can relate to anybody ’cause everybody has that place where their loved ones are, that feeling you get with your home, wherever you call home. I also think it’s for any kid that has a crazy dream to write songs and all that stuff. I think Tennessee was waiting for us, for King Calaway to happen. It wouldn’t have happened without Nashville, just through all the different connections that all four of us had made separately and we all made together and that’s where King Calaway started, was in that town.”

The album features 16 tracks, each of which showcase King Calaway’s smooth vocals and multi-genre appeal through collaborations with Zac Brown on “When I Get Home,” Marcus King on “Heathen,” Steve Miller Band on “I’m Feelin’ Good,” and Hailey Whitters on “Let It Flow.”

Seven of the featured songs were produced by Brown, who has played a vital part in the band’s growing success in more ways than one. Deaton was the first out of the group to meet the “Chicken Fried” singer, in fact, he credits Brown for being one of the main reasons he decided to go after his musical dreams over a decade ago. 

“He’s one of the big reasons why after I graduated from high school, I moved out to Georgia to live with him and just he kind of showed me the ropes, this is how to do it and all this stuff,” Deaton shared. 

The pair didn’t cross paths for a few years after that, until King Calaway’s Midnight EP fell into his lap, as Deaton explained. 

“He just really liked it and he met the guys and we just gelled really well. There wasn’t really even necessarily the intention of let’s record a full-length album together, Zac’s just very open and creative and he was like, ‘why don’t we just get together and see what happens?’ So 16 songs later, here we go.”

King Calaway got to celebrate the release of their latest work with an appearance at the Grand Ole Opry. While standing on stage in the coveted circle, the band showcased three tunes from the project – “Let It Flow,” “Hometown Night” and “Tennessee’s Waiting.”

“It’s always special to play the Opry, especially the fact that it was on our release day, I think we all kind of looked at like, what do we want to do? Where do we wanna be to celebrate when that happens? ‘Cause it’s been four years in the making, so we were itching to have a new piece of music out and I think all of us just chose the Opry because it’s a really special there and we love everybody there. So it was great,” Deaton shared of the memorable night.

Now, they are on the road in support of Zac Brown Band’s 2023 From the Fire Tour. 

“It’s really cool because his fans are actually like music fans. They really appreciate a band and kind of what we do. So it’s cool to make new fans like that,” Miller shared while reflecting on the trek. 

King Calaway, Zac Brown; Photo by Connor Fornes
King Calaway, Zac Brown; Photo by Connor Fornes

27 LIVE Music Series

In the midst of their opening slot, King Calaway will return to Tennessee for a hometown show at The Westin Nashville on August 25. The band will perform as part of this year’s 27 LIVE series, which takes place 27 floors above Nashville’s bustling downtown area and The Gulch at The Westin Nashville’s L27 Rooftop Lounge. (RSVP to the show for free by clicking HERE.)

Fans can expect a full band performance from “The Other Half” singers that will include plenty of tracks off their latest album as well as some fan favorites. 

“It’s always fun to play in Nashville because a lot of times, we’re spending most of our time out on the road and whenever we’re home, we always have our friends asking us like, ‘when are you playing in town?’ And we’re like, we don’t know. Now, this is one of the rare moments where we’re finally getting to play in Nashville so all of our friends who ask when we’re playing town, now is the time. This is it. So we’re really excited to finally have a little hometown show at The Westin Nashville.”

Additionally, King Calaway expressed their excitement to join Ben Chapman, who has also been tapped to take the stage at The Westin Nashville that night. 

“I first heard of him because he was out on the road with Lainey Wilson and just was really impressed. So I’m excited to share the space for sure,” said Dumas. 

The remainder of the 2023 27 LIVE series held at The Westin Nashville will feature more of Music City’s most promising new artists including David Morris, Kassi Ashton, Abbey Cone, and more. Plus, rising artist, Taryn Papa, will serve as the host of the rooftop shows. 

No tickets are required to attend, but guests must be 21 or older. Each show beings at 7 pm CT.

For more information and to RSVP for priority entrance, please visit www.l27nashville.com/events.

Nashville Favorites

Each member of King Calaway went on to share some their can’t-miss spots around Nashville for those who will be traveling from out of town to come to experience the 27Live series.

Deaton offered up Grimey’s in East Nashville for anyone looking to collect unique vinyl records while Jervis suggested his “favorite” bar in Nashville – Duke’s. 

“Duke’s has great drink special. When you walk in, you feel like you’re walking into a dive bar in like Brooklyn or New York City, but has the Nashville feel to it. They have great drinks and also their deli sandwiches are magnificent,” he shared.

Dumas stayed on the path of deli sandwiches and “highly recommended” Mitchell’s Deli, which is also located in East Nashville. Lastly, Miller shared that in his opinion, the place to go for some classic hot chicken is Edley’s Bar-B-Que.

Before making their way back to Nashville to enjoy all their favorite spots, King Calaway is set to perform in Boston, MA on August 19. They will continue on the road with Zac Brown until the trek comes to an end with back-to-back shows in Tampa, FL on Nov. 3 and Nov. 4. 

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Madeleine O’Connell graduated from North Central College with a bachelors degree in Journalism and Broadcast Communications before deciding to pursue her studies further at DePaul University. There, she earned her masters degree in Digital Communication & Media Arts. O’Connell served as a freelance writer for over two years while also interning with the Academy of Country Music, SiriusXM and Circle Media and assisting with Amazon Music’s Country Heat Weekly podcast. In addition to Country Now, she has been published in American Songwriter, Music Mayhem, and Holler.Country. Madeleine O’Connell is a member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.