On June 19th, 2016, the principal members of The Damn Quails, Gabe Marshall and Bryon White, announced they were taking an indefinite hiatus due to a host of reasons, none of which were that the music wasn’t finding any fans, and that they weren’t beloved among their peers in the Texas and Red Dirt world.
But The Damn Quails seemed to have been snake bit from the beginning, getting caught up in the implosion of their record label, which had them fighting for the rights to their own songs and even the name “The Damn Quails.” They even had a weird situation where their tour manager disappeared without a trace while on tour before being tracked down some days later and two states away. It was time to take a step back, and Bryon White eventually ended up in rehab, looking to get his life back on track.
But on June 17th, 2022—almost six years to the day that they announced their hiatus, The Damn Quails will be returning with a new album called Clouding Up Your City. It was produced by John Calvin Abney, who is an honorary Damn Quail that has performed with them in the past. Abney is also a solo artist and John Moreland’s long-time accompanist.
“Working with John Calvin Abney on this record was an incredibly enriching musical experience,” says Bryon White. “I have known John for many years and the Damn Quails were fortunate to count him among our own for several tours and random shows. I’ve always had a lot of respect for his songwriting and his guitar playing, but he shined the brightest on his keyboard and piano tracks on this record.”
The new album was actually originally announced as a Bryon White solo album that was to be released in May since Gabe Marshall didn’t appear on it. But after consulting with Gabe and receiving his blessing, Bryon White went ahead with revitalizing The Damn Quails name. Even better, Gabe Marshall has also been performing with Bryon recently, so the basic nucleus of the band is back together once again.
Bryon White has been playing shows as The Damn Quails for a while now, but this new album codifies the band’s return. Also appearing on the album are Kevin “Haystack” Foster on lap steel, fiddle, and guitar, Kierston White on harmony vocals, and Jamie Lin Wilson also lends harmony vocals to a song. Clouding Up Your City was recorded in just four days at Cardinal Song Studio in Oklahoma City with engineer Michael Trepagnier.
“The process for recording a song was pretty simple, but extremely effective,” White explains. “Gather the band around the piano in the tracking room, spend five or ten minutes running through the basics and working out any kinks, and then Trepagnier would hit record and we’d start playing.”
If we’re being honest, The Damn Quails are not really a country band. In fact, Bryon White says, “We might be the least-country band to ever break out in Texas.” It’s more a rock project, but with a heavy emphasis on songwriting, and some country influences mixed in at times.
Most importantly though, The Damn Quails have been a big part of the Texas/Red Dirt scene for years, backing up Jamie Lin Wilson, and performing with fellow Okies such as John Moreland, John Fullbright, Parker Millsap, Samantha Crain, and the Turnpike Troubadours. Their return has been welcomed by fans and fellow artists alike, and so will this new album.