For Turnpike Troubadours — a band that takes its name from the Indian Nation Turnpike, a 105-mile parkway stretched across southeastern Oklahoma — there’s no place like home. Armed with songs about love, loss and life in the Sooner State, the country-rockers have built one of the fiercest followings in the Red Dirt scene.
When it came time to record their fourth album though, the Troubadours left the nest, ditching their Oklahoma headquarters and, instead, shacking up at an old chicken farm in northern California. There, they spent a month sleeping in a farmhouse and working in a converted studio. The result is the self-produced, self-titled Turnpike Troubadours, an album that mixes rootsy, roughhewn hooks with roadhouse twang.
On “Down Here,” the guys recast themselves as the welcoming committee for a friend who’s come home with his tail between his legs, having lost himself — and most of his money — during a brief move to the big city. “You have a nickel out of my last dime,” frontman Evan Felker assures him during the song’s chorus. It’s a bro-friendly tune that couldn’t be further away from bro-country, driven forward by a tangle of electric guitar, pedal steel and fiddle.
“It basically says, ‘You might be a screw-up, but you’re gonna be alright, because we still love you,'” says bassist R.C. Edwards, who shares the band’s songwriting duties with Felker. “The album sends the same message. It’s about going out in the world, doing your thing and always having a place to come back to. You realize you can go home, because you’ve still got your people there.”
Turnpike Troubadours hits stores September 18th, following two months of heavy touring across the western U.S.