Billboard is excited to bring you an exclusive video sneak peek at a new trio that’s sure to be one of the acts to watch in 2017 — Midland. Comprised of Mark Wystrach, Jess Carson, and Cameron Duddy, the trio — signed to Big Machine, home to Taylor Swift and Rascal Flatts — has a definite George Strait ’80s New Traditionalist feel to it, combined with the rich California harmonies that made The Eagles legendary.
Hailing from Hays County (Dripping Springs), Texas, the band — who takes their name from the Dwight Yoakam song “Fair To Midland” — actually came together in a different state. Duddy was about to tie the knot in Jackson Hole, WY, and Wystrach and Carson rolled into town a week early. The guys began playing around musically on the front porch of Carson’s cabin, and things stuck.
“All of us playing together happened only because Mark and I both showed up in Jackson Hole a week before the wedding with time to kill,” says Jess, originally from the Pacific Northwest. Wystrach said that something was definitely in the air that just seemed to feel right. “By the end, we knew the three of us had amazing chemistry,” says Mark.
After Duddy returned from his honeymoon, they paid a visit to the Sonic Ranch in El Paso, TX, to see if what they did live translated to the studio.
“When we went to the Sonic Ranch, we became a band. We walked away believing in what had happened,” says Wystrach. “All of our souls, our imaginations, were wrapped up in these 15 songs. We went all-in.”
“And then we all moved out to Texas,” Duddy said, with a laugh as big and hearty as the Lone Star State itself.
Newly signed with Scott Borchetta and Big Machine, Midland is set to take 2017 by storm. Their debut EP will hit Spotlify Friday (Oct. 28), and the lead single, “Drinkin’ Problem,” will be officially sent to radio after the rush of the Christmas holidays. Produced by the red-hot Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne, the song has a simmering throwback feel to it that should garner them plenty of fans in a quick manner.
“It’s talking about something that’s real, but it’s told in a way that it can be tongue-in-cheek, depending on how the audience experiences it,” says Wystrach.
“Every good country song has that versatility,” Duddy adds. “But the best are the ones you can listen to when you’re angry, sad, happy or however you may be feeling.”