When Long Beach, California, rockers Rival Sons performed at Bonnaroo this past June, the band turned down its amps to record three songs inside the festival’s “Haybale Studio.” Literally a studio made of hundreds of bales of hay, the sessions are unique to Bonnaroo and capture artists in a naturally soundproofed outdoor space — when Rival Sons frontman Jay Buchanan howls “feeling like I hypnotized you” near the end of “Too Bad,” it’s as if he’s singing just feet away from you.
The bluesy rocker off the group’s latest album, Feral Roots, is stripped down to its acoustic essence for the Haybale Sessions but loses none of its brooding intensity. Buchanan’s vocals build to a roar and guitarist Scott Holiday picks out an intricate solo, revealing a rootsier side of a band known for its throaty, wide-open live shows. That more countrified vibe comes naturally to Rival Sons, who have worked with Chris Stapleton producer Dave Cobb on every album since their 2009 debut.
Along with “Too Bad,” Rival Sons recorded “Do Your Worst,” a second Feral Roots track, and “Jordan,” off 2012’s Head Down, for the Haybale Sessions. The recordings will be released digitally on Friday, August 23rd.
Beginning September 13th in Baltimore, Rival Sons will join Stone Temple Pilots on a co-headlining tour throughout the fall, playing such cities as Philadelphia, New York, Chicago and Las Vegas.