The last two years were a reset button for Midland. The two-time Grammy nominees, known for their honky-tonk neo traditional country music, took the time off during the pandemic to go back to their roots — aka being with their family and musical influences.
“We kind of all went exploring and did a deep dive back into a lot of the stuff that maybe we hadn’t listened to in a long time,” Lead singer and guitarist Mark Wystrach told Celeb Secrets Country reporter Blakely McHugh in a media session.
During the pandemic, the trio wasn’t touring, doing interviews or living in the same state as each other. Instead, they were on Zoom (like most people in the U.S.) writing their third studio album, The Last Resort: Greetings From, which is available for streaming today (May 6).
The album builds on their 2021 EP The Last Resort adding seven new songs, making it a 12-track album.
With songs like “Life Ain’t Fair” and “Paycheck to Paycheck,” the album represents what the trio and many other people were going through during the pandemic, in which Wystrach says “shaped this album.”
“I think the sounds that you’re hearing and the style of songs are definitely giving insights into what Midland was listening to during COVID and during lockdown,” he tells us.
If you try to nail down exactly what Wystrach and his bandmates Cameron Duddy and Jess Carson were listening to, you may have a hard time figuring it out because it’s “a lot.”
He said they had a lot of time on their hands, and because of that, the music reflects a full spectrum of influences. So how do they come up with their classic yet unique sound? If you ask Wystrach, it’s an easy answer, you simplify it down to three things: “Chords, lyrics and melodies.”
“Start with one of those things and you’re off to the races,” Mark says.
He reveals that every day is different when it comes to who’s throwing out lyrical ideas and who’s coming up with the chord progressions, however, each member of Midland has a hand in writing the tracks for the album. Take “Life Ain’t Fair” for example. Jess Carson is the only writer. Meanwhile, Cameron Duddy is the only person who penned “King of Saturday Night.”
“I feel like this album is really the soundtrack to the people at the last resort,” Wystrach said while trying to describe the latest piece of work. “The Last Resort could almost be like a full movie and this would be the soundtrack because it’s so eclectic.”
The album also marks a special first for the band, as “Longneck Way To Go” features Jon Pardi and is the first collaboration included on any of Midland’s full-length projects. Despite the song being about a guy who was just broken up, the band says it’s not a sad song, rather, a “drink to forget” song.
“Jon is a lot like us,” Wystrach said. “He was the perfect choice for this song.”
Just last Friday (April 29), the trio made their way to the desert for a set on the Mane Stage at Stagecoach 2022 in Indio, where they performed their hits including “Drinkin’ Problem,” “Play Boys,” “Burn Out,” and “Mr. Lonely” while teasing songs off the new record. As the sun began to set, Midland offered fans covers of “Drivin’ My Life Away” and Garth Brooks’ “Much Too Young to Feel This Damn Old,” but not before surprising the crowd by bringing Jon Pardi to the Mane Stage for “Longneck Way to Go.”
With a new album out now and Stagecoach under their belts, Mark, Cameron and Jess gear up for the start of their 2022 European Tour in two weeks before kicking off their US tour — The Last Resort Tour — in June. You can catch the full list of dates here.
Have you listened to The Last Resort: Greetings From yet? Let us know what you think of Midland’s new music by either leaving a reaction at the bottom of the post or by sending us a tweet at @CS_Country.
LISTEN TO “THE LAST RESORT: GREETINGS FROM” BELOW:
With additional reporting by Juliet Schroder. For more Stagecoach coverage, click here.