Andy Shine cracked open a Michelob Ultra while Caleb Carroll closed his laptop and packs up his notes. The duo makes up half of local band, Ebenezer Goodman, who was slated to perform later that day at Rafters.
Last month, the band released its self-titled debut album, and as a result, they have been riding a wave of popularity, PR and recognition.
What started out as drummer John Brahan’s last ditch effort of grabbing a couple guys to play music for Rebelthon a couple years ago, has now become a cover band widely known in Oxford. Brahan linked up with Avery Goodman, the only junior in the band, who had already been jamming with Shine and Carroll – officially creating Ebenezer Goodman.
“We started out as covers, and we didn’t play our first original, ‘Alright by Me,’ until about a year later,” Carroll said.
The duo was quick to point out the difference between playing covers versus originals while on stage.
“When you play something that nobody has ever heard before, and people are like, ‘that was really cool,’ it’s a good feeling,” Shine said. “If there is a better feeling, I haven’t found it yet.”
Last January, the band decided to start writing more seriously, laying the groundwork for the future of the album. That summer, the band had gathered enough material for a small demo. By winter, the band was ready to record.
Over the winter intersession, Ebenezer Goodman’s band members spent five days recording at Dial Back Sound in Water Valley with sound engineer Bronson Tew.
“He knew how we wanted to sound before we did,” Carroll said.
Some describe their music as alternative rock while others argue it’s more Southern rock, leading Carroll to describe the band as “Southern alternative rock.”
“Oxford rock,” Shine proudly proclaimed.
The creation of the album wasn’t easy at first. Tew, who has recorded a number of famous musicians and created hundreds of albums, helped settle the band’s first-time nerves while in his studio.
“We got in there, and we were all scared. The first time we ran through a song, Tew kept telling us it was awesome, but we knew we messed up that one part bad,” Shine said. “He literally said, ‘This is a fun time, this is not supposed to be stressful.’ We looked at ourselves, and we’re like, ‘What are we freaking out for?'”
After settling into their groove, Ebenezer Goodman cranked out their first studio album, a rare achievement from “just a bunch of college kids,” as they describe themselves.
“It’s the most rewarding experience I’ve ever had, creating something that’s your own and putting it out there representing your creativity,” Carroll said.
“It’s our baby, having something that legitimizes you makes us not just a cover band,” Shine said.
Even though Ebenezer Goodman has opened for Moon Taxi, played concerts through Oxford, traveled to sororities across the southeast, and even hosted a mini tour throughout Mississippi, the band feels the album elevates them to another level.
“It’s been a long time coming, going from playing all covers to originals just makes you feel more accomplished,” Goodman said.
Although the future of the band is uncertain as Carroll, Shine and Brahan will soon graduate, Carroll is working to make the band’s music available on Spotify and Apple Music.
And Friday night, Ebenezer Goodman had hundreds of fans waiting for them at Rafters.
Shine stood up and ran his hands through his blonde afro, straightening his camo fatigue jacket to make sure his black Team Powerhouse shirt was visible.
Shine tilted back his fourth Michelob of the 20-minute interview before crushing it and asking the rest of the band if they were ready to go on.
“You can make up a test, but you can never make up a party,” Shine said, as a true Ole Miss rockstar while he exited the double wooden doors of The Ritz into the back alleys of the Square.
By John Touloupis and Rob Stukenborg, interns for HottyToddy.com.
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