The Damn Quails Call it Quits After a Hard Fought Run
If you didn’t know any better, you would say that The Damn Quails were cursed. They couldn’t have found a warmer reception for their debut record Down The Hatch in 2011, and out of nowhere a new, promising band in Texas/Red Dirt music scene was launched. Primary Damn Quails members and songwriters Gabe Marshall and Bryon White built up a strong following of fans behind the music affectionately known as “The Covey,” and right beside acts like the Turnpike Troubadours and William Clark Green, you felt confident that the future of Red Dirt music was in good hands moving forward.
But almost as soon as The Damn Quails started to soar, debilitating problems beset the band and jeopardized its very existence, even as the outfit was criss crossing the country, building up fan support, and earning high praise. For two years, they were locked in a protracted legal battle with the management and label that released Down The Hatch called 598 Recordings. Founded by Oklahoma businessman Chance Sparkman and producer Mike McClure, the label set up shop in Nashville in 2011 with The Damn Quails as their primary act. But when the label imploded, The Damn Quails were not only out a label, they found themselves in a legal battle where the rights to their songs, their album, and even the name “The Damn Quails” was at risk of being taken from them.
During this time, the band also experienced some lineup changes behind Gabe and Bryon that probably didn’t help the situation, but they continued to soldier through. The band finally ended their legal troubles, and set out to release their much-anticipated second album Out of the Birdcage in September of 2015—funded totally from pledges from The Covey. Produced by David Abeyta of Reckless Kelly, once again the album received positive reviews, but perhaps the momentum from their big debut had subsided over the extended recording hiatus.
The Damn Quails were still alive and touring though, which felt like a victory all to itself. Then in March of this year, the strange story of their tour manager Colin Deyalsingh disappearing without any trace in Houston, and leaving all of his personal belongings behind had everyone on edge and fearing the worst. As people all across the country were on the lookout, spreading the word about the disappearance and running down leads, Colin Deyalsingh finally resurfaced in Colorado. He had left the band unexpectedly after suffering a breakdown. Colin was okay, but the story had once again taken the focus off the music of The Damn Quails, and on to the drama behind-the-scenes. If only the press and the public had been paying similar attention to the band’s music as they did the disappearance of Colin Deyalsingh, perhaps they would have seen more support.
“It is with a heavy heart that we tell you that The Damn Quails will be going on an indefinite hiatus effective immediately,” Gabe Marshall and Bryon White said Sunday, June 19th in a joint statement. “We have had an amazing run as a band, but right now we need to focus on ourselves and our own personal situations. Unfortunately, this makes it impossible to continue playing music and traveling as a band.”
It shouldn’t be lost that the decision was announced on Father’s Day. Through all of the other drama The Damn Quails have faced, they’ve also been tasked to try and keep their family lives in order—something that is already a tall task for touring musicians.
“We would like to thank each and every one of you for sticking with us for so long and through so many difficulties,” the statement continues. “We made two records that we are so happy you embraced and made part of your lives. We couldn’t have made “Out of the Birdcage” without your amazing support. We would also like to thank all of the promoters, buyers, and fans who made the live shows possible and so much fun. Finally, we would like to thank all of the players who graced the stage with us and were part of the Quail Philharmonic. You are all amazing. We don’t know what the future holds, but this is where we are right now.”
The story of The Damn Quails once again punctuates the importance of allowing bands, artists, songwriters, and all creative types the free flow and creative freedom of their expressions. Perhaps The Damn Quails were doomed from the beginning because of some undefined gravitational forces holding them back—it sure seemed that way at times. But the legal drama that leeched a lot of the energy, attention, and momentum from the band certainly didn’t help.
June 19, 2016 @ 7:05 pm
I really liked the quails first album and was really excited when the second finally came out. Unfortunately, the second didn’t have the spark of the first. Sad to see such s bright start fizzle out. Hopefully the guys will have more success with their next venture.
June 19, 2016 @ 11:27 pm
I’m in the same boat. I thought the first album was great, and the second one was just alright. I’m sure it’s hard to create greatness with such turmoil going on around though. I hope they find some sort of resurrection in the future.
June 20, 2016 @ 5:24 am
That’s unfortunate. I had been wanting to see them play live for some time now. I’m hoping they can get everything sorted out and can get back out there and keep doing it.
June 20, 2016 @ 7:47 am
Damn it. This beyond sucks.
June 20, 2016 @ 3:11 pm
I think that they are amazing. And FIRST records are ALWAYS everyone’s favorite. Any one who knows music knows that. But I will forever be a die hard TDQ fan…….. I’d just sit and wait, there may be something solo coming soon that will blow all y’alls minds…… Just sayin…
June 20, 2016 @ 3:23 pm
There was a particular magic to Down the Hatch that was ethereal and completely unique. I knew that, no matter how good the songs or performances, our second record would never measure up in the eyes of the public. It’s the price you pay for having a remarkably well recieved first album. We rolled with the punches, every single one of them, until the beatings got too severe to keep taking them. My personal health and well being have to one first for a while. As much as I’ve sacrificed and lost along the way, I can’t afford to lose anything else. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you have to. I only wish I’d have learned that lesson sooner. Thanks to the Covey, we couldn’t have made it so far without your help. Catch you on down the road.
October 15, 2016 @ 4:36 pm
I have been wondering for awhile where the Damn Quails have been, and now I have my answer.. (Although I guess with some deeper research prior to today, I could have found out!) 🙁 Take care of yourselves, and keep making that amazing music individually or together… I love, love, LOVE both albums, and will keep being a part of the Covey no matter what. Love and thoughts to all the Quails…
October 15, 2016 @ 4:59 pm
Just put on “Down the Hatch”, and a more apropos song could not have come on… “So, so long baby, go out and give ’em hell. So, so long baby, just know I wish you well, … I wish you well”…. I wish you well, Bryon & Gabe…
December 20, 2021 @ 4:37 pm
We went to see ya’ll every time ya’ll played at Libbys cafe while I was in Oklahoma Horseshoeing school in 2010 -11 not gonna lie some of the best times I’ve had in life….good music and a beautiful Dutch woman to share the moment with..thanks for good times ya’ll are very talented!
January 9, 2018 @ 6:51 am
Well you had better keep your heads held high. Gabe and Bryon and keyboard/ instrument guy, you are fine musicians. Each of you have been blessed with an art that can not be swept under the table. Yes you do find means of ways to support yourselves but a happier time will come to each of you which will include using your born talents. Your ‘California Open Invit;, Live Music Fog, video is still kicking it with me and my clan in Fayetteville Ga. I have a bunch of friends who always ask me to put you guys on. I do it with delight but under one condition n’ that is I blast.very loud. i love when everyone comes in with the bass. LOL I have to back it down a notch lots of times,. Let me know what your up to, Im building a small place to jam and record in the woods at my residents. Let me know if your headed this way.
February 17, 2018 @ 4:15 pm
I hate that I can no longer anticipate a new album from you guys, or at least a single or two. I just stumbled on to your music a few years back, and have thoroughly enjoyed each and every song on both albums. It was a dream to get to see you guys live, and am very saddened that I probably never will. Wishing you all the best, and at the same time, hoping that you might regroup, if even for a short time. I would travel far to see it. Thanks for the time we had!
April 17, 2018 @ 4:24 pm
Two really good albums in a genre I really enjoy
Hope all is well and you get a most deserved opportunity to return to writin, recording and preforming again.