October 15, 2014
The Brody Johnson Band did the honor of pumping GSU students up for the homecoming game in a tailgate concert Saturday, Oct. 11. The seven-member band brought their down-to-earth country jams to the Boro, but for two of the members this was more than just another gig: it was a return home as well. Scott and Todd Smith hail from Georgia Southern, where in addition to being biological brothers they shared the fraternal tie of belonging to Sigma Nu. The brothers took a few minutes before their set to answer some of Connect’s questions, talking about their newly released first album Repercussions & Redemption, their band’s chemistry and their own homecoming.
On being back at GSU:
Scott: It has been wonderful. It’s not that we didn’t want to come back, but both of us have been pretty busy over the years, and I think that this was perfect timing. This year it just worked out with our debut album, and really pushing that now—I mean, we’re really pushing it. We’ve worked two years on writing the songs that Todd and I—you know, all of them are original songs. So it’s perfect timing with the debut album, just seeing a bunch of friends coming back. We had the 25th anniversary of the [Sigma Nu] fraternity house that we came back for.
Todd: We’re glad to be back here. It was good that it coincided with the release of our album. When Dr. Keel asked if we could play, we were like, “Heck yeah!”
Scott: Well, we’ve heard so much from our friends that have made it back about how things have changed and about how the university’s progressed, and man, it’s unbelievable. We absolutely enjoyed every minute when we were here several years ago, and we are proud to see all the progress the university’s made. So congratulations to Dr. Keel for all he’s done!
On the subject of Dr. Keel:
T: The student body can be proud to have Dr. Keel as president, because he’s not your normal president. Not every president, after they beat Florida, is going to bring gator meet out to the student body and say, “Look at it!”
S: You would think he was from Statesboro, graduated here, grew up here, he’s that much into it. He is 100-percent Georgia Southern.
On how they got started:
S: You know, we’d always played music. Todd has a history in it because several years back, Todd played in a band that was actually at the table to get a deal signed over with Sony — that was a three-part harmony. Then later on, he had an artist development deal with DreamWorks, and it got to the point where he had songs and was gonna do an album—
T: --and then they got bought out by Universal.
S: And so what I did is — I played music and then picked up some really good musicians. These guys have played around the country, love it, and you know, they’re like brothers. They’re brothers to use; it’s not just hired help, they love it, we have that camaraderie. And so then I told Todd about it, and Todd joined in, and it changed the dynamic, with that brother harmony.
On their dynamic:
S: It’s not like just a band that you pay somebody to come learn the music and play. These folks—we hang out. They’re brothers. WE have the camaraderie. Sometimes it’s not good because brothers will tell you what they think, but hey, that’s what happens to bands a lot of time, is they get crossed ways. But they’ve been in the trenches with us. They’re road warriors.
On their new album:
S: That was unique in how that developed. Todd and I both are songwriters, so we’d written songs, and we didn’t intend for the album to develop into what it ended up being. Todd and I have different writings styles and we co-write together, and you’ll see the different writings styles in the album. But in the end, we were talking about sequence, and Todd and I talked, and Todd said, ‘Well, really, it tells a story.” For some reason, a lot of the songs I write were about repercussions about actions you take, and then the songs that Todd wrote are more along the ballad side. So the way the album works is it starts out with repercussion and redemption. The repercussions part is up front, and then about halfway through the album, it turns toward courtship and ballads and love, and it ends up with a happy story. It turned out really neat.
The band released Repercussions & Redemption last Wednesday, Oct. 8, so the CD has only enjoyed a week on the market. To listen, check out their music on the band's website, BrodyJohnsonband.com; their SoundCloud account or their BandCamp page. Leave the band some love on their Facebook page to thank them for coming,