CBDB's Cy Simonton Discusses "Opelika Yella" & Recording a New Album April 06, 2018 08:50

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Words & Interview by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen
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It's no secret that we are big believers in the Alabama music scene. The history within this state is as rich as any, and there's no doubt that the future is bright as well. With bands such as Drive-By Truckers, Alabama Shakes, and St. Paul & The Broken Bones paving the path, there is every reason to think the Alabama pipeline will continue to produce major contributors. Tuscaloosa's CBDB is undoubtedly on our short list of contenders, and the band is currently preparing for one of its most pivotal chapters thus far. 

The band's third full-length studio album is scheduled for release on May 5th, and as of 12:00 AM today, the second single "Opelika Yella" is available on all major online music outlets. We recently sat down with frontman Cy Simonton to get the tune's entertaining back story and learn more about what went into this record. Check out our conversation below and make sure to mark your calendars for the album release party on May 5th at Avondale Brewing Company.

Click Here: Purchase Tickets to CBDB's Album Release Party

The new single, "Opelika Yella," obviously makes reference to the band's Alabama roots. It's been in the live rotation for a little while now. What's the story behind the song?
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Cy: Other than "Unintentional Liar," "Opelika Yella" has been in rotation the longest of any of the new material. I'm pretty sure the lick started off in a jam session that Paul and Mike had together in Tuscaloosa. It was kind of a lick that was floating around for a while. After getting some structure, we wanted to build it into a song with a story. We thought of a funny one from the road. 
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I think it was after a gig at the War Eagle Supper Club in Auburn. On the way out of town, and probably after having a few too many drinks, we were outside of a convenience store in the van and this girl walks by. She turns and says, "What did you just call me?" We weren't even talking to her. She ends up just going off, screaming at us. She gets on her phone, makes a call, and tells us she's got some guys from Opelika coming with guns. 
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We knew we needed to get out of there. Paul starts rounding up the guys in the store. Luckily, we got out of there without much more happening. We wrote the tune about that encounter. 
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So this girl would be what you call an Opelika Yella?
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Cy: Yeah, so I think there have been two Opelika Yella encounters in our existence. She was the second. The first also came at the War Eagle Supper Club. It was the only time we've been flashed as a band, thus far. It was this off duty stripper, and she starts flashing us after the show was over to get us to play some more.
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Check out the official promo video for "Opelika Yella" here:

That's hilarious. So, Out Of Line will be the band's third full length album, right?
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Cy: This is the third full length. We did The Fame EP, which was the third recording we did. After that, we did the two singles: "Old Dog" and "She's Mobile." That was when we connected with Dan Davis, who engineered/ produced Out of Line. He was in school at Blackbird in Nashville at the time. We recorded the there, which was pretty sweet. We got to record on the same board that Steely Dan recorded Aja on. 
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Wow. Well let's talk about the new album as a whole. What made the recording process unique from previous experiences?
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Cy: I think this one is cool because we spent the most time with the tunes. We basically recorded the album three times before we actually recorded it. The first time we did it over at Southern Ground, where the final version was recorded. We did it in Studio C, which is one of their smaller rooms. After that, we recorded it at Joe Bleakly's house in Athens, GA. He had just started this studio Sneaker Thief in his home, and we were one of the guinea pigs. 
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We recorded it for a third time with Chris Byron at Amplify Studios in Athens. We met Chris through Nuci's Space, which is a really great place for musicians and bands that we use for practice on the road. Widespread Panic, Drive-By Truckers, and a bunch of other bands donate money to keep it running. They do a lot of awesome work for suicide prevention and awareness.
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Anyway to get back on subject, that's why I think this one has been unique. With each recording, we would notice little details that we wanted to change or think of ideas that were missing. Maybe something wasn't quite working. On past records, we had not been able to do that as much. It was cool to pick through and do that. We also let Dan Davis, our producer, be an outside ear. We definitely trusted his opinions on things. If things were clashing, we would take his advice. He helped us trim some of the fat, you know? We recorded the final version back at Zac Brown’s studio in Nashville, Southern Ground, but this time we were in Studio A. I got to play an original Gibson 335. We had access to unreal gear. Glenn even got to play Gregg Allman’s B3 Hammond organ so that was really cool. All around, an incredible experience. 
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Always a great idea to get an outsider's look in...
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Cy: Yeah, for sure...especially on the recording end. On some of the past records, we'd get into a track, and everyone naturally starts wanting to make adjustments. It kind of gets into a muddy space quickly. We definitely tried to step way back from that, and let Dan and Will (DuPerier) do their thing, sonically, and if there was anything that we felt strongly about, we would let our voice be heard. We wrote the songs, and we were rehearsed and ready to knock them out in the studio. But from there, we let them do their thing. 
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Right on. Let's talk about the album release party on May 5th at Avondale Brewery. What do you guys have planned?
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Cy: Well...obviously it's Cinco de Mayo. We've got some awesome bands lined up to play. I believe Riverbend will be the first band to play and then Flow Tribe after that. We plan on having the Tragic City horns back out to sit in on a few tunes. We've got some surprises planned with those guys. We'll obviously be playing everything off the new record. We're really excited about it, and we were stoked to do it at Avondale Brewery. 
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