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TC in Conversation with Temecula Road

Back in March 2017 during the 5th instalment of the C2C Country 2 Country festival taking place at the O2 in London the UK had their first introduction to a fresh faced teenage trio from California. At this point Dawson Anderson along with sisters Emma & Maddie Salute who were newly signed to Disney Music Group’s Buena Vista Records just had their debut single ‘What if I Kissed You’ and a cover of The Chainsmokers collaboration with Halsey ‘Closer’ for fans to discover but in performing at this event it demonstrated the magic of the UK country music audience. The fans gave Temecula Road a shot and were a part of their musical journey from day one!

The Salute sisters and Anderson returned in the fall of 2017 to be a part of the first Country Music Week in London which by this point fans also had access to their second and third singles by this point the investment from the fans began to show fruition as people were listening to their music and being ready to sing along at their shows that week. From here it has taken 2 years for Temecula Road to return across the Atlantic, which given how spoilt we have become with artists venturing over to Europe with such regularity may have seemed a bit of a gap between their previous trip and playing shows opening for Scotty McCreery and during Country Music Week in October 2019 but that is not to say they haven’t been busy as Emma and Dawson Explained:

Well, we moved to Nashville for starters so that’s been amazing!

We’ve been releasing music, writing a ton, playing shows just kinda developing our sound and developing who we are. It’s been a long two years and the best 2 years probably of our careers so far. We’ve just been able to dial things in really well, play shows, continue to build the team and strengthen our relationships so we have no complaints.

The trio made the full time move from California to Tennessee earlier this year which is obviously a big change for anyone let alone at a young age. When they last visited the UK: Maddie was just about to turn 17 whilst Dawson and Emma were 18 so this two years including such a big life changing relocation across the United States comes at a crucial time of their lives. From our time speaking it was refreshing to see how mature and grounded the three of them are about the whole experience but still in a position where they have so much vigour for life and still keen to show they are young and learning about the world however a move like this naturally will bring about some big changes which Emma explained:

I think for us it’s more of a daily life type of thing, when we were back in California we didn’t live in LA. We were about 2 hours from there so we would get together and rehearse which we did every day but that was all we did a lot of the time and a couple of times a week we would head up there and do a writing session or whatever it was but now: we wake up, we rehearse, we’ll go to a write and we’ll go to a show so the daily life routine has been the biggest change for us.

Dawson expanded further by describing how beneficial these changes have been for them “There’s a lot of new networking, we’re able to see a lot more shows, we’re able to become friends with a lot more artists and writers which again helps make our way into that town and that’s what it takes. It’s been the best 6 months of our lives.” The attraction of moving or predominantly applying their craft in music city is something that you are seeing more and more with artists that have roots in California with the likes of Devin Dawson, Runaway June, Fairground Saints, Honey County and Tyler Rich (who all three of them were very keen to sing the praises of as someone that has been super supportive of what they are doing and believes in them a lot) also been people that have been enticed away from the Golden State to Nashville. The girls talked about opportunity, commitment, acceptance and proximity to their team as key factors for the move which Dawson extended this perspective with:

You really have to commit to that town. I think that’s the big thing with country music, if your gonna make it in that industry sooner or later you have to get to Nashville to show you are dedicated to the art, are willing to put the time in and be part of the fabric of the community and part of the town. It’s a family there, it really is.

Temecula Road are currently in the process of writing and this process is continual with creating followed by cutting then getting the tracks out as they come along with the eventual plan to build an EP around one that begins to take off then eventually look to get an album out at some point in the future. They have a number of dates lined up in December with Sara Evans on her Christmas Tour but around this and their debut at the Grand Ole Opry TONIGHT (November 1st) the drive to keep making music and find the way to get it out there just shows their commitment to the Nashville dream.

We have times in our calendar when we have writes with songwriters every day we are home but we just took a trip to Florida a couple of months ago and found themselves writing there when it was supposed to be a vacation but it’s our passion so it’s fun for us no matter where we are.

This process of working with the music continues from when they initially begin performing the songs on the road as Dawson explained that their most recent single ‘Maybe Not’ began life as a ballad before it transformed into what it is now through the creative process of playing around with it and seeing where they could take it. This again highlights their musical maturity to appreciate the direction in which songs need to be taken sometimes. As they put it themselves “This song is definitely different from the other ones that we’ve released, it shows a new side of us which we’re really stoked about and I think it’s one of our favourites for sure. It’s got this new like flirty, sassy kind of passionate song with a little twist at the end of the chorus.” which this new side as they put it is a reflection of growing up and adapting to new surroundings.

I think it’s the process of trial and error. I mean we’ll try it and if it doesn’t feel right, we’ll mess with it and if that doesn’t feel right we’ll mess with it again. Sometimes you even go back to square one so that’s definitely what it is. I think another thing about living in Nashville is that we are hearing a lot more of what is happening in the moment, like the demos and the songs that have been written that day. Before when we were in California what we were hearing had already been released so it’s almost like now we’re able to be a step ahead as we are in that ball game!

Everyone pushes you there to be better there because it’s such a great group of people who are really really good which is inspiring and every day you wake up and it’s almost like you have moved from college to the major leagues. You know you might be right up there and the best in college but once you get to the majors you’re like wait there’s a lot more and you learn from that. You gain help and experience from the veterans and the people that have been doing it that are now crushing it.

The UK and Europe with this most recent trip with Scotty McCreery clearly has made a positive impact on the three of them and it was very clear that it will not be a 2 year gap before their next visit. This run included visiting a new city Manchester for the first time, they have found the appreciation for Indian food like all Nashville visitors do for curry which is actually the UK’s national dish (not fish and chips as many would expect it to be) plus Emma and Maddie have a love of shopping with making the most of a shopping spree in 2 different Zara stores on the same night during some free time on Oxford Street so they really want to become regular visitors to our little island which they hope could be in the pipeline for 2020.

We would love to be back here next year, even as early as March maybe for C2C again. So if the time is right and the opportunity is right, we’re gonna press that button because we love it out here!

It is not just the culture and the ways to indulge whilst in the British Isles that appeals to them as they reiterate the message we hear so often about how special the crowds are to play for are over here. Writing from a perspective over here you don’t just understand this at shows and hear artists say things like this time and time again but you really witness how genuine they are when they express their appreciation for fans over here and how different it feels. The awe of playing unreleased music and not just hearing people sing along to it but wanting to know every word and being committed just is expressed as insane and something they don’t get to often back home which I agree with their perspective of a key reason for this being despite the booming growth, country music is not everywhere here so people do not take it for granted.

One of my favourite things that you don’t get a lot of back in the States is when you open your mouth to sing, people really listen. They’re not chatting, they’re not talking and I think that really goes into them just wanting to be in the moment and not take it for granted. We appreciate that as artists because when we are out in crowds, we are listening because we are music fans as well and we wanna do that too!

Emma said how “It’s crazy, it happened today at Bush Hall and hearing people singing the words to our songs is the best feeling in the world!” which really is a testament to her, Dawson and her sister how people have wanted to invest in a young trio with very limited radio exposure in the US and without having an EP or album available to listen to. This is the key that they got given a shot back at C2C and people really wanted more. I was able to see them on stage twice on this trip, both times at Bush Hall in London and the first impression they create is they are very likeable and really connect with each other which then converts to connecting with the crowd which is what draws the engagement and the will to support them. From talking to them you pick up firstly how much they want it and are willing to work for it but more importantly how relatable and down to earth they are that you really want to see them win. That move to Nashville was a very big decision and is a commitment essentially to the rest of their lives which given the support from Disney through the label and RDC (Radio Disney Country) is starting to gather momentum when you couple this to their dedication to the craft of writing songs.

Their visits back in 2017 were not the last time I saw Temecula Road on stage as during my last trip to Nashville during a rainy CMA Fest (which was almost reminiscent of London on this trip apart from Tennessee in June being around 20 degrees Celsius warmer) they played on the Radio Disney Country Stage during the festival where I had recognised them on stage but it was clear very quickly how they are evolving as artists and their commitment to making music is so evident in that circle. To compare this to their UK experiences is obviously an unfair similarity as CMA is bigger and as Maddie reminded me “For starters it’s extremely hot, every year is just unreal heat” however we did talk about seeing them over in the States and the festival in relation to C2C which Dawson presented further their appreciation for their treatment on this side of the Atlantic.

The rain this year, I didn’t actually hate it because it made it a little bit cooler. One of the similarities is that the fans are passionate about the music, they are there to listen and be kinda immersed in it. The location is obviously different and I guess the vibe out here has something really special about country music fans, not that it isn’t great back in the States because we love them just as much but there’s something really unique and awesome over here.

Emma, Maddie and Dawson are a band that are just starting out with so much on the horizon where playing the Opry this evening is obviously a big milestone on any artist’s journey which they have definitely earned and we are sure will be the first of many appearances and they will definitely relish and absorb from the surroundings because country music is what they believe in! They are young, from the West Coast and have the Disney connection but musically Emma said they knew where they were wanting to go:

We grew up on it, we’ve never really had a conversation about should this be country or should this be pop? It was just we’re doing country, this is the route!

They radiate a beautiful level of positivity in both their sound and personalities that delivers a perfect balance of raw interpretations of real life to make things relatable from a position that is lively, energetic and a lot of fun to be around whilst being grounded and mature beyond their years musically so we really look forward to their next visit to these shores whilst awaiting to see what the future holds.

Temecula Road make their debut at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, TN tonight (November 1st) which you can find more details about HERE and for full details of their upcoming dates can be found on their WEBSITE. In the meantime you can keep up to date with this lively trio on FACEBOOK TWITTER & INSTAGRAM (they are all big fans of Insta so check out their own pages too: Maddie, Emma & Dawson) to find out what they have in store!


Annette Gibbons
Hi, I’m Annette, I have been a huge country music fan since the early 90s those were the days we were lucky enough to have CMT in the UK. I enjoy nothing more than listening to country music whilst having a cold beer (or a moonshine) with friends. I try to as many gigs as I can here in the UK and in the USA; I think of Nashville as my second home and I am lucky to have made some amazing friends in Tennessee. Think Country is something I am very proud of, I just want to share my love and passion of all things country music related with you all.
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