I recently saw Chip Robinson of the Backsliders play a solo set at The Kraken and was inspired to try and track down a copy of his solo disc "Mylow". I couldn't find it but I did find the recently released "Hicktopia", five tracks from the 1999 Southern Lines sessions, that the band released in April 2013. Except for "Abe Lincoln" (which appears here as an alternate version) the other four tracks were previously unreleased. This doesn't sound like some closet cleaning and any/all of the tracks would have been fine additions to the original album. The disc is available as a free download here but there is a "tip jar" which lets you make a donation. The Backsliders made some of the best hard core honky tonk in NC and beyond and here's further proof (scroll over the album to play tracks).
Steve Howell, founding member of the band, took some time and filled in some of the blanks on the return of Backsliders.
HB-Rumor has it there may be copies of "Mylow" for sale at gigs?
SH-There will be copies of Mylow for sale at the June 28th show at the Pour House in Raleigh, NC.
HB-I hope this doesn't sound greedy but with the release of "Hicktopia" and the band playing out I'm sure fans are hoping for a new Backslider's disc.
SH-New stuff by the band would be cool. We have talked about it and actually started working on a new tune this past week.
HB-What's the current lineup of the band?
SH-The band is currently: Chip Robinson-vocals,guitar-Steve Howell-guitar,vocals-Danny Kurtz-bass-Jeff Dennis-drums-Greg Rice-keyboards
HB- I know the band scattered when you broke up. What was the catalyst for the reunion?
SH- Chip asked me last summer if I wanted to do a duo gig at Slim's for a benefit.I said sure.We found out Danny and JD were going to be there with another band.We decided to do it as a band.We called it The Howell-Robinson Quartet.It was fun.Decided to book a gig.Greg had played with Chip on some gigs.Brad Rice had moved to Austin and was busy with other gigs ,so was not an option.After 2 songs at the first rehearsal it was obvious that Greg was the guy.He fits in perfect.I actually think we are sounding better than ever and I totally loved our original sound.
HB-Backslide (verb): To revert to sin or wrongdoing, especially in religious practice. Is that still (if it ever was) an accurate description of the band? Or is everyone older and wiser?
SH-We might have re-formed but I don't think we have Reformed.
HB-Thanks for your time and welcome back!