"O you youths, Western youths, So impatient, full of action, full of manly pride and friendship" The name of the band 'Western Youth' was taken from the dearly loved Walt Whitman poem 'O'Pioneers'. For us, it epitomizes the vulnerability and adventure of new beginnings..
The band came together in the spring of 2012 when Matt Gregg and Taylor Williams met in Austin, TX. The two singer-songwriters had fronted their own bands for years, but found a new voice and dynamic when they began writing together. Although they were from opposite sides of the globe (Gregg, hailing from New Zealand) Their shared love of Americana, Rock ‘n Roll and Country music allowed them to collaborate like old friends right from the start.
Gregg, grew up in a rural town in the South Island of New Zealand, an outpost that had it's heyday during the NZ gold rush of the 1860's. With not much else to do in the small isolated town with a school of 8 students, he would sneak into his older brother’s room and play his knock-off Gibson Hummingbird acoustic guitar. At age 10 he got a guitar of his own and was in bands by age 13. “My dad’s records blared around the house almost daily. Dylan bootlegs, Led Zeppelin, old blues, country and late Beatles stuff. He was massively into american roots music and rock and roll, It was all there for me to absorb and learn from” Gregg remembers. After playing/touring in many bands including notorious New Zealand punk rockers 'Kitsch', Gregg spent time bouncing around New Zealand and Europe finally settling in Austin Texas in 2010.
Williams started his first band at age 15 when Fort Worth blues legend, Robert Ealey asked him to play his blues festival. From then on he started playing shows with the likes of Leon Russell, Taj Mahal, Joe Ely, and many others. Then records like Wilco’s ‘Being There’ and Ryan Adams’ ‘Heartbreaker’ came along and changed everything. “I didn’t want to be a blues guitar player anymore. I wanted to be a songwriter.” Williams then scrapped everything and moved to Austin to pursue his new sound.
“Austin might be the best place in the world to form a band.” Williams says. The two songwriters teamed up with drummer Brian Bowe (Macon Greyson and These Mad Dogs of Glory) and bassist James Hart (later to be replaced by Sean Spiller) to begin working out songs for a record. “Once Brian and James came on board everything just clicked, and the songs became greater than the sum of their parts,” Gregg says. Western Youth was now formed, and ready for the studio.
The band worked with producer/engineer and Monahans guitarist, Britton Beisenherz at his studio, Ramble Creek. “Britton just instinctively knew what every song needed, and basically just became a fifth member of the band,” says Bowe. The guys also got some help from Jeff Bryant (Alpha Rev) on keys, Geoff Queen (Bruce and Kelly Robison) on steel and slide, and the Hellfire Horns (Bob Schneider).
‘Leaving The Station,’ the band’s self-released debut EP, staggers between rock n’ roll, folk, alt country & psychedelia to create a sound that’s all their own. Recently, David Ramirez said the record “reminds me of the first time I heard Whiskeytown. That’s a good thing.”
‘Leaving The Station’ was released April 9th, 2013. Western Youth are currently playing shows and recording their debut full length album which is due for release in spring 2018.