Approximately 212 miles (341 km) lie between two very different worlds within the State of Tennessee.
Almost smack dab in the middle of the state lays Nashville, the internationally renowned city known as the home of country music. And to the west, bordering the state of Arkansas is the City of Memphis, home to Graceland, Beale Street, and the up and coming pop band Star and Micey.
The soulful folk pop group is celebrating the release of their self-titled debut record on the newly revived Ardent Music. As a music label, Ardent was the home to legendary cult pop band Big Star and has one other group currently signed to the label (Jump Back Jake).
All in all, there is a lot of history to be found under the Ardent moniker. In addition to being a record label, Ardent also happens to be the name of a recording studio where heavyweights such as Bob Dylan, The White Stripes and Led Zeppelin have recorded.
The depth of Ardent’s history on popular music isn’t lost on Star and Micey member Geoff Smith.
“It’s funny because as long as I have been in Memphis, I had always heard of Ardent but didn’t actually know many people involved with the studio or the label,” Smith says from his hometown of Memphis. “I didn’t realize the crucial part of history that Ardent Studios played until we started going in there regularly. It blows my mind to think we got to record in the same studio as Dylan and so many other legends. Just to be given that opportunity is amazing. It is a very humbling experience.”
Star and Micey came to Ardent’s attention after Smith’s band mate Josh Cosby played an open mic night in Memphis. One of the regulars at the open mic night loved Cosby’s songs and had proposed making some demos with the singer.
“At that exact point,” Smith begins, “Star and Micey had been on a bit of a hiatus. But then we reconvened to make these demos, bringing back our old drummer and all.
“We initially went in to record just a few songs for demo purposes but the engineers at our session really believed in our material and went to the head honchos at Ardent to see if making a full-length album would be a possibility.”
The Ardent execs agreed and the rest, as they say, is history.
“We had so much fun making the record. We were given the opportunity to have so many great musicians play on the record too. The whole process was incredibly relaxing.”
Star and Micey recently completed an 18-date run of shows through the American South and Midwest, an experience that Smith notes was nothing less than eye-opening.
“I think those tour dates brought out the best and worst of us,” he says plainly. “But each of us realized that touring is something that you have to do as a musician. It’s really the most ideal way to push yourself and push your music to a wider audience.
“A part of building our audience is going to be repeatedly touring through some of those same areas to really build our fan base. And eventually, we want to branch out and get to different parts of the US though and eventually up to Canada. We realize that it’s going to be a long road though.”
Smith says that he is excited to leverage some of the extensive contacts that the staff at Ardent holds to help further his group’s career.
“The influential scope of contacts they have within their reach is amazing!” Smith enthuses.
Smith admits though that the prospect of being one of only two bands signed to the re-launched Ardent label is a dizzying fact; one that came about from band mate Josh Cosby getting up on stage during that fateful open mic night.
“Just because of Josh taking a chance and getting up on that stage, it set a whole process into motion that we never could have anticipated. It’s been a bizarre experience thus far but in the very best of ways,” Smith says. “We are very lucky because Ardent believes in the band and is starting to see a lot of potential; everyone at the label is on board with supporting us. The next little while will be a matter of figuring out how to pull it all together.”
Star and Micey’s excellent self-titled record is now available. For more information on the band, visit them online at http://www.myspace.com/starandmiceymusic.