Cullman, AL-based rock quartet HalfDown Thomas will see their new album, â€œBeautifully Strange,â€ released via Rock Ridge Music on February 17, 2009. The band had the honor of working on the record with 3 Doors Downâ€™s Chris Henderson as producer. In addition to Hendersonâ€™s production, the album boasts mixing by Geoff Ott (3 Doors Down, Nickelback, Unwritten Law) and Kirk Kelsey (3 Doors Down, Creed, Redding). Bobby Capps of .38 Special contributed vocals on several songs, and Ivan Arnold of Five.Bolt.Main engineered some of the album. The first single, â€œGuiltless (Mend Your Broken Heart),â€ will for adds at rock radio on January 27, 2009.
â€œGetting the incredible opportunity to meet Chris Henderson and [Rock Ridge Music CEO] Tom Derr has proved to be the best thing to ever happen to HalfDown Thomas,â€ says guitarist Wesley Smith. â€œRock Ridge Music’s commitment to our success is unrivaled, and we are excited to see where their direction will take us! Chris is the hardest-working guy I know. When we were working with him, heâ€™d only get four to five hours of sleep before he was back to work. It was fantastic being in the studio with him. Heâ€™s very down-to-earth, and he gets what we are doing.â€
â€œThis band is so easy to work with,â€ says Henderson. â€œFrom a production standpoint, they provided me with a wide open palette, bringing some amazing riffs into the studio, then taking my suggestions to the next level in their continuing songwriting endeavors.â€
The band originally entered the studio in Mississippi, with Henderson producing, in 2005. Then, Hurricane Katrina hit, leaving the studio, and the master recordings for the album, under twelve feet of water. Not easily deterred by Mother Nature, the band and Henderson reconvened in the same studio (completely rehabbed from the hurricane damage) in 2006. Again, they laid down the tracks, completing the majority of the recording in three weeksâ€™ time, only to find a computer glitch had rendered a large portion of the recordings unusable. Because they had meshed so well with Henderson (who said he really wanted to be involved in the rest of the recording), the band was willing to wait to work around his 3 Doors Down schedule in order to re-record the tracks that needed to be redone in Hendersonâ€™s new Rivergate Studios (www.rivergatestudios.net) in Nashville in 2007.
â€œTheyâ€™ve been so amazing about recording the album three times,â€ says Henderson. â€œIt was not anyoneâ€™s fault; itâ€™s just the way that things went down. But they took it all in stride and they made it fun.â€
The band came to the attention of their label after they won a Birmingham, AL, Battle of the Bands and went on to compete in the finals in Biloxi, MS. Hendersonâ€™s 3 Doors Down bandmate Todd Harrell was the creative force behind the contest. Rock Ridge Music CEO Tom Derr, who was a judge at the Biloxi contest, was so impressed by HDT that the efforts to sign them began immediately. Theyâ€™ve continued to plug away live, sharing the stage with acts as diverse and influential as Kings of Leon, OutKast, Evanescence, and Fuel, just to name a few. Somewhere between Pearl Jam and Nickleback, between Stone Temple Pilots and Breaking Benjamin, is where you’ll find HalfDown Thomas’ sound. Throw in individual influences as varied as Southern rock and â€™80s hair metal, and what shakes out is modern rock alternative with scorching guitar solos, bombastic rhythm work, and attention to lyrical hooks that create an interesting and listener-friendly mix.
HalfDown Thomas is: Randy Ayers (lead vocals), Wesley Smith (guitar), George White (bass), and Mark Underwood (drums).