Nashville-based, Motown-style pop group Magnolia Sons are likely to be one of your favorite bands this summer. Their retro style channels Sly & The Family Stone mixed with the love songs of The Supremes and a dash of New Orleans jest. Their music is both refreshing and iconic, paving an exciting direction for modern day Motown-style pop/soul music. Their recent single, “Stakes Are High,” is a twist on old-school love songs complete with upbeat duets and some saxophone thrown in for good measure. Magnolia Sons’ bright energy transfers on stage with performance-based concerts and retro get ups that you won’t want to miss.
The soul-pop ensemble will be playing some upcoming shows at The Sutler Saloon
this summer beginning Saturday May 30.
Continue below for an interview with Magnolia Sons’ manager and drummer, Austin Aguirre, as he speaks with us about the band’s own beer, inspirations, and more.
Interview with Austin Aguirre of Magnolia Sons
Tell us about how the band formed. Did you meet in Nashville? Is everyone in the band Southern?
We all met in Nashville. I [Austin] moved to Nashville about five years ago. One night I was DJing a soul night at fooBAR
and I started talking to Travis Eidson about how I was writing, putting a group together, and wanting to do soul music. I can’t sing so he put me in contact with his friend and co-worker Benjamin Harper, who sang and played a number of instruments. Travis later became one of our guitarists. At first, everyone came to me at the studio cold as session people, but we began to form connections. Ben joined up and became a songwriter for the project. From there, I filled in the positions by just going out and networking. I just kept my eyes and ears open. A few of us are from Nashville or its suburbs and outer cities. Singers Keshia and Dustin are from East Tennessee. Ben is from Virginia. Alexis is from Texas. I’m [Austin] from Louisiana. Breck, our bassist, is from Mississippi. Ryan, our baritone sax, is from Indiana. All over the place!
In your situation, do you feel that a certain place makes the music or the music makes the place? How do you draw upon these historical influences in your songwriting and also in your ability to be a performance-based band?
I think Nashville is a prime example of how music can make the place and not how the city makes the music. This has always been a country music town until artists started coming here and doing their own thing. Now, Nashville is known as “Music City” and each day grows more diverse and gains more recognition of that. I feel like the communities and businesses are reflecting exactly that.
We understand there are a lot of storied accomplishments here. So much great entertainment has come from or through here, and as songwriters and entertainers we feel that the bar is set extremely high. I think there’s an expectation. We use the city’s history to push ourselves and strive to be as great or better.
How is it going on tour with such a large band? How do you all fit? Things have to get hectic.
We all fit in a really big van 15-passenger van. It’s just big enough for us, so it works perfectly. Some people even sleep on the floorboards when they’re super tired. It definitely does get hectic traveling and stopping and going with so many people to account for and wait on. We’ve got a good system down though. It’s like Home Alone except we’ve never left anyone behind — yet.
Do you find the audiences you draw vary a lot in age and style? Is that inspiring to you?
Retro, or vintage, is our own little twist to the whole project. We love doing soul and rock, but we wanted to add a little character to it by adding that old style.
Our audience definitely varies. It’s inspiring to see that we can still connect to kids that may not be into this sort of music as well as gaining the adults’ respect.
Tell us about Magnolia Sons’ beer, Shake Down. When is it coming to Nashville?
Our beer is awesome! It’s a stout so its really creamy and thick like a Guinness, but doesn’t have a real alcoholic bite, which is nice considering its 8% alcohol. It won’t be down here for a good while because of our local laws on that, so right now it’s only sold in Cincinnati. We have a really great friend, Jason, who owns Listermann Brewery there, and he’s a big fan of [ours], and he wanted to do a beer in our honor. It’s technically not stout season anymore so there’s talks of us brewing a custom light summer beer.
Favorite Nashville …
Grimey’s is probably our favorite. They’re always on the ball with new releases, local releases, ticket giveaways, plus awesome shows and surprise guests. What more could you ask for?
Bar or Restaurant?
Honestly, Red Door is great. The staff is so professional, and it just really feels like a bar. Plus, there are always some characters from the neighborhood or across the river to keep you entertained. Best restaurant is so tough! I’ll think outside the box today and say that Back to Cuba on Harding is my favorite. Authentic Cuban food. Got to try it.
Love the new Basement East! We haven’t played there yet, but it’s going to happen real soon! Speaking of which, we saw Kansas Bible Company play the grand opening, and they killed it as usual. Probably our favorite band.
Ah, we love thrifting and vintage stuff — obviously. Gaslamp Antiques is the best because there’s a ton of stuff and not many people know about it. Wait, whoops.
Mickey’s! Nice chill spot on the East Side.