Every now and then, when the talents of two “lone wolf” songwriters from the same stompin’ grounds happen to collide, the chemistry is just right and a lot of mighty fine music comes about.
That’s just what happened when Bryon White came together with Gabriel Marshall at the highly respected ritual known amongst Oklahoma songwriters as the “Song Swap,” and it’s been nothing but good stuff ever since.
Having played separately in different bands for years around the same circuit, it wasn’t until two years ago that the singer/songwriters decided to collaborate their efforts to form the Norman-based band, The Damn Quails.
“Gabe and I are both loners as far as writing goes, but something about our stuff always seems to work out. We’re very different with our material and the way that we say things, but I think being around the same people over the years and having the same kinds of influences, especially in the later part of our career, helps a lot,” White explains.
“We don’t collaborate on songwriting, but we do thread our songs together on stage and on our album. We don’t step on each other’s toes, and that’s what makes us work.”
Described as a young band with an old soul, their feel-good energy and musical talent got the attention of renowned songwriter/musician/producer Mike McClure and businessman Chance Sparkman, making the Quails a shoo-in as the debut artists for the pair’s new indie label, 598 Recordings.
Backed by what has become known as the “Quail Philharmonic,” the duo has since been making a name for themselves on the charts, on the road and at their popular weekly Monday night jam at the Deli in Norman with their debut album, Down the Hatch.
With anywhere from seven to nine musicians on stage at one time, each playing at least two instruments, the eclectic mix of the Quail Philharmonic gives The Damn Quails’ country/jam band sound an edge reminiscent to that of jazz, and shows the wide diversity they offer.
“Over the weeks at our Deli shows, we had more and more musicians who liked what we had going on and wanted to play, so the band grew and accumulated naturally. We’re blessed to have one of the best bands around, as far as the caliber of guys we’ve got playing with us. They’re all phenomenal musicians and great guys,” Marshall says.