The Apache Relay: Band brings new music to The Ark.Written by Vicki L. Kroll | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Sweet, swirling strings open and drive The Apache Relay’s bouncy single, “Katie Queen of Tennessee,” which premiered last month at rollingstone.com.
“[Jimmie Haskell] came in and had about seven or eight string players and was conducting. It just seemed to fit the character of the song; it felt like it kind of needed to have this classic string going through it, kind of brightens it up a little bit, gives it a nice life, a nice energy,” singer Michael Ford Jr. said.
“I guess Rolling Stone picked up on [the song] and enjoyed it enough to premiere it, which was really, really cool and very surreal for us.”
“Katie Queen of Tennessee” is from the Nashville, Tenn. band’s self-titled disc due out April 22. The group’s third disc has a fun cover: fiddler and keyboardist Kellen Wenrich jumping off the roof into a pool.
“That was a photo from our Instagram account,” Ford said and laughed. “The original was too blurry to use, so we set up the photo at the house. It’s so crazy that it ended up working out as well as it did.”
Since the group’s first release, “1988,” five years ago and the 2011 follow-up, “American Nomad,” The Apache Relay has been making a splash. The rootsy Americana rockers have opened for Mumford & Sons and played at Bonnaroo and the Newport Folk Festival.
After playing in Newport two years ago, Ford wrote the addictive “Dose,” which is on the forthcoming disc.
“I get really inspired in hotels. I was hanging out in the hotel, and in the bathroom I was just playing my guitar — I love playing guitars in bathrooms, they just sound really good,” he said and laughed. “And that became ‘Dose,’ written in a bathroom in Maine.”
Another new number, “Good as Gold,” commands attention with a fine guitar line. Ford penned the track with songwriter Johnathan Rice.
“There had been eight or nine fully completed lyric tracks for that song, some that Johnny had written, some that I had written, tons of different lyrics,” Ford recalled during a call from Nashville.
“So what we decided to do was, Johnny actually had the idea, we put all the finished lyrics on the table and just circled lines from each version that we dug, and that ended up becoming ‘Good as Gold,’ which is pretty crazy. It ended up being the ninth set of lyrics we had for that song.”
Named from an event in the 1995 Ben Stiller movie “Heavy Weights,” The Apache Relay — Ford, Wenrich, guitarist Mike Harris, keyboardist, guitarist and mandolinist Brett Moore, guitarist Ben Ford and drummer Stephen Smith — will play at 8 p.m. Feb. 24 at the Ark in Ann Arbor. The Lonely Wild is also on the bill. Tickets are $15.
“It’s rewarding for us to come out to the shows and know the songs and just put out good vibes,” Ford said.