This Feels Big: The War & Treaty Sign with UMG Nashville

photo: Greg Homolka

It wasn’t like Michael and Tanya Trotter, known together as The War And Treaty, were struggling for attention and support or something. Previously signed with Thirty Tigers and Rounder Records, and regularly appearing at big festivals and winning awards, they’ve been one of the most successful acts in the Americana realm over the last few years. But signing with a major Nashville label is always significant, and that’s what the husband and wife duo is currently celebrating.

Announced last week, The War And Treaty are the latest signees to UMG Nahsville, right beside major acts such as Alan Jackson, George Strait, Chris Stapleton, Eric Church, Carrie Underwood, and (*cough*) Sam Hunt. Not that artists necessarily need a major label these days to find major success, but it does officially mean you’re in the Big Leagues.

“We are excited to join the ranks of so many artist who we adore and admire both past and present,” the duo said. “To be a part of a historical company such as UMG Nashville and to further tell the storyline that we all can follow and achieve our dreams brings tears to our eyes. This is our story and we are grateful UMG wants to be a part of it.”

Those who know The War and Treaty know they’ve always mixed some country influences into their music, though they’ve always been more soul, blues, and Gospel-oriented—a classic Americana approach if you will. Everything they do is pretty excellent, but when they do get more into old school country-style material, it can be quite spectacular.

This was evident when they took the stage at the Grand Ole Opry earlier this year and sang a new song called “Yesterday’s Burn” (see below). It will presumably be on The War And Treaty’s new UMG Nashville release once it’s ready. Backed by a string band, it sounds like something between Hank Williams and Patsy Cline. Since the Opry released a video of it on Facebook, it has since become the most-watched Opry video they’ve ever released—speaking to the spirit Michael and Tanya evoke when they perform.

As regular performers on the Grand Ole Opry, it would be cool if the duo decided to release a full-blown classic country record since they’re now signed to a major country label. We certainly know they have it in them. But they’ll likely continue to do what they do, which is revitalize the roots of American music in all its omnivorous forms, but in a seamless manner.

Originally formed in Michigan in 2014 as Trotter and Blount, Michael Trotter was an Iraqi War veteran, and Tanya Blount was a long-time solo performer and actress. Combining forces, they arguably became something greater than the sum of their parts, endearing themselves to audiences across the roots music world. It will be interesting to see what opportunities may open up for the duo now that they’re signed to a major Nashville label.

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