The Revivalists, much like the rest of us, have had a somewhat strained few years.
In early 2020, the American rockers had just embarked on their Into The Stars Tour around the USA when they were dragged off the road due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the time, they confirmed they would be using this extra time to “recharge and work on new material”. What they ultimately came up with was their smash hit album, Pour It Out Into The Night, which was released over the summer on June 2, 2023. But in the three years between these two events, a lot changed for the New Orleans-based band.
Now – finally! – the band are returning to the UK to play their new album, and – while speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk – The Revivalists’ frontman David Shaw confirmed that it was a relief to finally get this album out, after three years of hard work and turmoil.
“It feels really, really great,” Shaw said with a breath. “The reception amongst our fans and also amongst people who have never really heard of us has been overwhelmingly positive – which is always a nice thing, because you never know. We tried some new things on this album and the people seemed to welcome it with open arms. I was pleasantly surprised because sometimes you can get in your head. You know, ‘What’s going to happen this time?’ I feel like [Pour It Out Into The Night] worked. And playing ’em [the songs] live is a whole other beast as well.”
The Revivalists have spent most of 2023 on tour; journeying through the USA and hitting as many festivals as they possibly could and rarely getting off the tour bus – and this is (sort of) a return to the norm for the eight-piece band, who have become a powerful live band over the past decade. Shaw acts as the group’s troupe-leader; the frontman of one of the last few real rock-and-roll bands in the world, racking up country miles and mainstream appearances year-round.
But when the band were forced to halt their 2020 tour, he felt he and his team were granted some much-needed respite.
“I think I desperately needed to get off the road,” Shaw admitted, with an air of defence about him. “A lot of things were starting to compound – mentally and physically. And it was… I kinda don’t want to say this, but [the pandemic] was a good thing for me, in a lot of ways. Very, very bad for a lot of people in a lot of ways – I want to make that clear! But I got off the road and I had this creative explosion.”
For the first time in a long time, Shaw wasn’t on the go 24 hours a day, eight days a week. He was given the opportunity to sit in his home studio with his thoughts, his creativity, and really explore the inner depths of his mind. Something he seemingly hasn’t done for some time (and it sounds like it came at the perfect moment).
“It was just this very interesting time,” he continued. “And this album represents a lot of that joy, a lot of that sadness, a lot of that sorrow, a lot of that energy of like, ‘all right, we got to get better, we got to get better.'”
As a result – like a lot of people in the world – when the pandemic quietened down, Shaw had a “new perspective on the things that were important in his life”. And, since then, the eight rockers have decided to change up how they craft their albums – crucially, with more mental health breaks along the way.
The first step, though, came with how The Revivalists recorded Pour It Out Into The Night. The album was assembled in the final months of 2022, deep in the woods of the peaceful, “magical winter wonderland” that is Vermont. The songs were originally penned in summer, 2020 just as they were “yanked off the road”. But the peaceful, plodding nature of their recording allowed them to really dig deep in their craftsmanship and perfect it.
Going forward, things are going to continue at this pace, Shaw explained. “Not to sound cliche, but I think we’re going to be definitely working smarter, not harder. It definitely gave us that perspective. And, because, you know, you don’t want to get to a certain point where you break down, and then you have to cancel the tour and then you gotta do this, and you gotta get behind the 8-ball… it’s hard to come back.
“It just takes time for things to heal in our bodies and I think [if] you try to ignore that and you just keep going it’s just going to be this never-ending process. Nobody wants that.”
Giving a glimpse into his creative process, he asked: “If I can’t fill myself up, how can I pour myself out?”
This creativity explosion has even laid the groundwork for albums in the future, too. “I’m always writing,” Shaw cackled. “And we’ve sifted through about 60 to 80 tunes – some finished, some just ideas. And I’m sure some of those will end up on albums in the future.”
He’s getting ahead of himself though. With an air of tranquillity, Shaw added: “We’re just going to tour this record, take a little time and then see what happens. There’s always something on the horizon, that’s for sure.”