Before he formed the roots-rock band Tallahassee, Brian Barthelmes was an offensive lineman for the New England Patriots, using his 300-pound frame to strike down players from the other team. Nowadays, he’s throwing his weight behind his band’s second album, which mixes down-tempo Americana with sweeping, guitar-based rockers.
Don’t be confused by the group’s name. Barthelmes formed the four-piece band in Providence, RI — roughly 1,280 miles away from Tallahassee, Florida — but in this case, Tallahassee refers to an old Muskogean Indian word meaning “old fields.” Barthelmes’ music fits that bill well, rustling up memories of forgotten landscapes and rural, open-ended horizons. To keep the vintage theme going, the band even named its new album Old Ways.
“To me, this album is a kind of declaration of our evolution both as a band and as people,” says lead guitarist Scott Thompson. “It’s filled with songs about trying to find a way forward. From this perspective, the title, Old Ways, might be perceived as ironic, but I think it’s just right. We’re the kind of band who would never want our own ideas about these songs or even the album title to overshadow that of the audience. Hopefully, the album title comes across as a sort of invitation to potential listeners, hinting at one meaning while the lyrics articulate something unexpected.”
Stream the full album below, and look for Old Ways on May 7th.