There's nothing like a little roadwork to shape up new material, which is why Saving Abel are starting the new year where it really counts – hitting the road for whoever wants to see them.
Saving Abel's January calendar will fill with 20 U.S. dates – including a South Bend step – as its main creative team of lead guitarist Jason Null and vocalist Jason Weeks begins preparing for a new album. (Rhythm guitarist Scott Bartlett, bassist Eric Taylor and drummer Michael McManus round out the current lineup.)
Then again, touring is part of the job description, as Weeks notes, in the band's biography. “We're a hard working band, because we don't know any better,” said Weeks. “We're a blue collar band, that won’t stop working for what we want.”
For now, fans can tide themselves over with Crackin' The Safe, the EP that Saving Abel self-released last August, as the process of turning riffs and ideas into new material gathers steam. Crackin' The Safe continued the hard rock and country blend of styles that the band explored on its last full-length album, Bringing Down The Giant (2012).
Null and Weeks formed the band in Corinth, MS in 2004, juggling day jobs and regional gigs until their sound caught the interest of producer Skidd Mills (12 Stones, Saliva, ZZ Top).
The resulting self-titled EP landed a deal with Virgin Records, and established its signature blend of Southern rock riff explorations and sexually charged lyrics.
Or, as the band's official biography proudly declares: “When you think of Saving Abel, words like foot stomping southern rockers, down home boys with charm, no frills and whiskey drinking’ ways are some things that come to mind.”
Mills returned to oversee Saving Abel (2008), which cracked the Top 40 and yielded a platinum-selling single (“Addicted”). Two more Top 10 chart placings followed with a faster-packed rock track, “Drowning (Face Down),” and “18 Days,” which began a tradition of military tribute songs. (The band has also shown its support in other ways – such as in 2011, when it played shows for service men and women in Kuwait – where the first Gulf War was fought in the 1990s – and the Guantanamo Bay military prison.)
Saving Abel's success continued with Miss America (2010), which is best known for “Stupid Girl (Only In Hollywood),” a look at the darker side of fame. Once again, two further hits followed with “The Sex Is Good,” and “Miss America,” another nod of support to America's military.
Bringing Down The Giantmarked a major housecleaning for the band – which parted ways with its drummer, hired a new manager, and signed to a new label, eOne Entertainment.
Mills returned as producer, helping the band explore mainstream '90s rock (“Amazing,” “Pictures Of Elvis”) in addition to the expected country crossover direction (“You Make Me Sick”).
The creative payoffs more than made up for the difficulties that the band experienced during its transition, as Weeks explained at the time, on its official site: “In the past we always had to get into the studio, get the album done. I don't want to talk badly about our old label, but, at eOne, we can tell they are really excited about us and we are at the top of the list of things for them to do."
Only time will tell what 2014 holds for Saving Abel, but two things are apparent, from the duo's standpoint. “We're incredible tight now, it's like we have this awesome fresh start, and we're excited,” said Weeks. That emotion is doubly seconded by Null, who asserts, “I want to be able to grow with my music and continue to do what I love. We don't plan on going anywhere.”
Featured Quote: “We're a hard working band, because we don't know any better. We're a blue collar band, that won’t stop working for what we want.”
Saturday, January 24
103 S. Dixie Way, South Bend, IN (with Blacklite District, Driven, East of Eden).
Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Tickets: $17, available through www.showclix.com.
Presented by Ardent Entertainment.
More Information: www.ardententertainmentllc.com