Analogue Music | Uncle Lucius

Uncle Lucius

By Matt Conner

Kevin Galloway wasn't even sure what Yellowstone was.

For the past few years, the former front man for Uncle Lucius had been plying his trade as a solo artist, allowing himself lower overhead and closer familial ties after a decade-plus of doing the full band thing. Like anything else, those days had their ups and downs but Galloway had moved on. Or so he thought.

Several years after the release of the single "Keep the Wolves Away", Yellowstone's popularity turned the song Gold and then Platinum. Suddenly, Uncle Lucius was as hot as ever except the band's members weren't even in regular contact. A party to celebrate the achievement brought them back together, and the close quarters and shared memories made it clear that good music was still to be found in the collective well.

These days, Uncle Lucius is revving up for a new album release with an altered line-up and re-energized long-term members. There's a newfound freedom this time around as Galloway admits he's playing with house money at this point—extra credit, as he calls it. We asked him about the return to being in a band and what's important this time around.

Analogue: Looking back, did you think then that farewell tour was a farewell tour or did you know even then it would be an extended break?

Kevin Galloway: It was a good run. When it was all over, it was 13 years and we did a seven-month farewell tour. The last show was the culmination of 13 years and it was amazing. We dropped the and mic and walked away and I accepted that at the moment.

Analogue: I’m assuming you needed a change or a break or some things in that moment that the band couldn’t provide. When you come back together, how many of those reasons have faded? Or did you get what you needed?

Kevin: Good question. There were about a hundred reasons why at the time, culminating all together it needed to end. I’d come to accept it. In that time I released a couple of solo albums and was doing a lot of touring with low overhead bringing my family on the road with me. I was raising two little kids. Just felt it was time for the whole thing.

The reason it came back is that we got more popular than ever after we quit. [Laughs] We had a song that went gold and eventually went platinum from the TV show Yellowstone. It was kinda funny and ironic, the thing you’re hoping for is the thing you can’t plan for.

It’s all pretty amazing at this point because it’s all extra credit at this point. That’s what it feels like. No expectations are hovering over the top of it. We just have the freedom to be who we are and keep it going.

Analogue: So why come back together now? Was it a strategic decision to get behind the music’s newfound popularity? Did you get what you needed in that season away?

Kevin: It’s a little of both, to be honest. Most decisions are a combination of several things—not just one thing—so the song became popular and several years later, the song even went gold. So it was a chance to celebrate something as a band with guys I hadn’t seen in years.

I bought everybody a steak dinner at a nice restaurant in Austin, and we all had our own private room. We had this party for three hours and got to catch up and see each other and learn what’s going on now and talk about what we’re listening to. In that realm, the conversation turned to the fact that we should start doing something again—to strike while the iron was hot. We all liked each other and we weren’t tied to anything else.

"There’s just a lot of freedom involved here to do what we want and go with the feeling of it while we’re making something."

So it was just being aware of all of those things in the current moment. We didn’t feel any pressure. Instead, we all felt okay about it.

Analogue: Did having that solo experience allow you to come to this band work differently?

Kevin: The solo work, I recorded with other players on this stuff. Then I did a lot of the solo touring or with a put-together band. The thing about coming back to this is that it’s coming back with more mature songs, better songs—a lot of songs written by the co-founder of Uncle Lucius, Hal Vorpahl, who is no longer with the band but is a producer now and is an amazing songwriter. There’s just a lot of freedom involved here to do what we want and go with the feeling of it while we’re making something.

Analogue: You’ve used the word freedom a few times now. Does that mean you felt not s free as maybe you thought back in the earlier days of the band?

Kevin: Yeah, but I think that was all of my own making. It was about setting expectations—some realistic and others not so much—and making everything hinging on those, even as you’re going subconsciously. You grind and grind because you think it’s going to lead to a certain thing, but you have the realization that it doesn’t happen that way. And that doesn’t mean you did it wrong or did it right. Sometimes that’s how it goes.

So it doesn’t feel like that anymore and that’s where the freedom is. It’s just about the realization that it was always like this. It was just my own mindset, you know?

Analogue: Do you remember when you first realized there was this unexpected interest in the old music?

Kevin: Well, I don’t watch much TV and I don’t watch satellite cable so it was a surprise. The reason I didn’t even know was because Yellowstone had approached the old record label that it was on and they have 50 percent rights to that. They’d said yes. I was only made aware of it afterward when I got all these congratulatory texts saying, ‘Hey you’re on Yellowstone. You did it!’ I’m like, ‘What is that?’ Then you realize and it hits you.

Then a little bit later, it started rolling. Our video for it, which had already developed legs on its own, really took off because people from Yellowstone heard about it and went there. It was pretty amazing to watch sitting from the retired seats.

Analogue: What was the transition like to go from that party room talking about possibilities to actually making it work?

Kevin: So the conversation started then, let’s say in 2021, and over the next few months, we talked about it. Everyone had something going on. I had some solo stuff and others had their own things. Then we really sat down and said, ‘We can do this’ and scheduled some time to get back in a room together.

So it was a slow process, but once everybody was into it, we were in. Six months before going into the studio, we got into a room together. It was learning to play the songs that we remembered we loved, letting go of a lot of other songs, and then working on building up some new material. We added another guitar player in Doug Strahan to the band and really opened up the sound. We started playing the old songs different and the new songs were really feeling good.

Analogue: What’s the chemistry difference with the band on this side?

Kevin: Yeah, we added Doug to the band, who had played on my solo records with his band Doug Strahan and the Good Neighbors. Then I’d take them out on tours promoting my solo stuff. We’d always loved Doug and his playing and his musicianship. He’s also a band leader in many facets with other projects. We loved that, so it was about exploring and opening up the sound and letting Mike [Carpenter, guitar] be free more.

Even since the album, they’re doing even more now, playing solos where they’re playing together or playing the harmonies together. I think it’s just the beginning. It was about finding a way to make it evolve.

But the reason we chose him and also Drew Scherger, the bass player, is because they’re just cool people and they’re pros. There’s no drama and they’re good hangs, too. That’s important.

VISIT: Uncle Lucius