“It’s a little tune about how the shot glass is simultaneously half full and half empty,” says the Howdies’ Austin Darnell of his band’s nifty honky-tonk nugget “50/50 (If You’re Lucky).” “One day you’re on top of the world, and the next day you’re Ernest P. Worrell—if you’re one of the lucky ones.”
It’s exactly this alternately life-affirming and life-sucking dichotomy that fuels the Athens, Ga., sextet’s Normaltown Records debut, Howdies All Around, available September 29. The Howdies’ fearless co-leaders, Darnell and Shoni Rancher, wouldn’t appear to be the perfect match. A lab tech by day and a punk rocker at heart, Darnell has been knocking around the Athens scene for two decades. He first toyed with country with the Darnell Boys, where he nurtured a new-found love for Hank Williams and the Carter Family. Before Darnell roped him into the Howdies, Rancher was teaching philosophy at Georgia State and had never been in a band in his life. The two worked together at a local pizza shop, and they soon discovered they shared an affinity for classic country songwriting.
Drive-By Truckers’ Patterson Hood, DBT producer David Barbe and fellow Normaltown act T. Hardy Morris caught the Howdies’ first show in the summer of 2021. Barbe and Morris loved what they heard, and they signed on as co-producers. Howdies All Around was recorded live in the studio with minimal frills to capture the band’s energy and aw-shucks panache onstage.
MAGNET is proud to premiere “50/50 (If You’re Lucky),” the first official music from this Athens anomaly.