“Trial and Error” was an appropriate name for the Vintage Pistol debut album. Members of the roots-rock band, which formed in 2014, hadn’t solidified their sound when crafting their initial project.
“We were still trying to find our way,” keyboardist Garrett August said by phone from Springfield, Mo. “(Bassist) Jonny (Morden) and (guitarist) Walt (Blythe) weren’t part of the band yet.”
Morden and Blythe are working on the band’s latest album, which the Fayetteville, Ark., group hopes to complete by the spring.
“We’re going back to the studio in February and we should be able to knock the album out soon after, and it’ll be released at some point this year,” August said. “We got about 15 songs ready and we’re hoping to get it down to about eight or nine for the album.”
Expect Vintage Pistol to preview some of the material Thursday (1/2) at Gabe’s in Iowa City. It definitely will air out the catchy single, “Get Down.”
“We’re excited about playing ‘Get Down,’ which is our anthem,” August said. “We know that song will be on the album, but we’re playing a bunch of other new songs to see what the reaction from the audience is going to be like ... We’ll decide what makes the album partly due to how the crowd reacts to the songs.”
It’s a throwback move, more common before the emergence of YouTube.
“Aside from playing before an audience, it’s good to play out live just to make the necessary alterations,” August said. “We want to see what gets the crowd moving. For us to perform the new songs is like going into a wood shop to see what happens.”
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Vintage Pistol, which also includes vocalist-guitarist Taylor Smith and drummer Jake Schaffer, is inspired by Southern rockers, ranging from the iconic Allman Brothers to consistent current acts like Widespread Panic.
“I’ve always been a huge fan of the Allmans,” August said. “There was no band that was quite like them. No one wrote songs like they did. The Allmans added soul to their music. We try to do the same.”
Live performance is Vintage Pistol’s strength. The energetic quintet loves to jam and engage the audience.
“There is a need for recording artists to get up and put on a show,” August said. “There are so many overproduced acts out there. They just go up there and play with their laptop as kids bop around them. I have mad respect for people that create music in that manner. However, it lacks the soul of Southern rock.
“There’s something about real instruments playing rock music. Look at what Widespread Panic accomplishes when they get up on a stage. I love what Umphrey’s McGee does live. They’re such an inspired jam band. We try to take it to that type of level when we get up there in front of a crowd.
“We also are moved by what Gary Clark Jr. does with his guitar and his music. I saw him a couple years ago in a tent with about 80 people just before he blew up. When you have everything going with the guitar, keyboards and drums, you can make magic up there.”
It helps that the members of Vintage Pistol are tight, August said.
“That’s a great thing to have when you go into the studio. I can say anything to these guys since they’re like my brothers. It’s the best situation to be in,” he said.
• What: Vintage Pistol
• Where: Gabe’s, 330 E. Washington St., Iowa City
• When: 8 p.m. Thursday (1/2)
• Admission: Free
• Details: Icgabes.com
• Band’s website: Vintagepistol.com