American country music inspired Australia natives Kym Warner and Carol Young. Country music also inspired Englishman Eamon McLoughlin. In fact, it struck a chord with them so deep that when they met they decided to put together an American-roots music trio.
"We liked the traditional country of George Jones and Merle Haggard," Warner said by phone from Knoxville, Tenn. "We never got to see them live, but we loved their music. And that led us to bluegrass and roots music."
So, Warner and Young took a trip to Austin, Texas, to join a recording session a few years ago and met McLoughlin. "It was funny because each of us in our past has played this kind of music and done some regional touring," said Warner. "But finding the chemistry like we had together was a new experience for us.
"In fact, when we decided to start writing songs together, it was natural and comfortable. I think that was one of the things that had us worried for a while to find a nice partnership in songwriting. And we were fortunate to find that."
Getting together as the Greencards, the trio embarked on gigs to raise money to record their debut album, "Movin' On," which helped them gain a Best New Band award by the Austin Music Awards in 2004.
A few months later, the three singed with Dualtone records and recorded a sophomore album, "Weather and Water." It was after that release that things started getting busy.
Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson asked them to join their minor-league park tour, as the single "Time" was in heavy rotation on CMT.
When it came time to record the new album "Viridian," the group decided to do things a little different. "We kept things a bit more loose this time around," said Warner. "We tried to play together live as much as we could instead of just tracking the fiddle, the bass and the mandolin.
"We also went into the studio with ideas of songs rather than perfected songs. That way we could run through them and change them like we do when we are creating them. It was a nice little change for us because it kept each session fresh."
Another difference was working with producer Doug Lancio, who has worked with Patty Griffin. "It was the first time we used an outside producer," said Warner. "And it worked nicely."
That may be an understatement. When "Viridian" was released a few months ago, it climbed to No. 1 on Billboard's Bluegrass Chart, a first for an international act. "It's funny because we recorded the album nearly a year ago, and since we released it a few months ago it's still fresh to the public, even though it's old to us."But when we play, it's like we're doing it for the first time."
If you go
What: Jake Shimabukuro, the Greencards
Where: Kenley Amphitheater, 403 Wasatch Drive, Layton
When: Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.
Cost: $18 and $20
Phone: 801-546-8575Web: www.tickets.davisarts.org
E-mail: [email protected]