On The Cover: Love and Theft (Feb/Mar 2013)

coverlovetheftLove and Theft may be celebrating the release of their second studio album, but to the ACM-nominated country duo, the self-titled release might as well be their first.

And in a way, it is. Love and Theft is Stephen Barker Liles and Eric Gunderson’s first album since joining RCA Nashville, the home to many of their musical inspirations. “We feel like people will be hearing us for the first time,” says Eric.

Stephen agrees and credits the label’s storied history with helping to reenergize the band. “The history of RCA Records is incredible. Just knowing that we are on the same label as some of our biggest influences, like Elvis Presley, is an awesome feeling.”

That excitement is palpable throughout the 11 songs that comprise the album, a fluid mix of country melodies and sing-along choruses, all driven by Eric’s earthy voice and Stephen’s high-altitude tenor. The guys share lead vocals, harmonize like a church choir and bolster their songs with their own guitar playing. “We sound like brothers when we sing,” says Eric. “Stephen and I have always been on the same page as far as the vision for the band, and we feel like we have made the record we’ve always wanted to make.”

Produced by Josh Leo (Alabama, Nitty Gritty Dirty Band), Love and Theft is a nod to the duo’s varied influences. The rollicking first single “Angel Eyes”—which scored the twosome their first CMT Music Awards nomination for Duo Video of the Year—brings to mind Elvis Presley’s “(You’re the) Devil in Disguise.” The pair is equally enthusiastic about “Runnin’ Out of Air,” a tune they describe as “Maroon 5 meets the Eagles.”

Stephen and Eric’s experiences growing up in the Bible Belt help inform the new album, especially on the wild-child single “Angel Eyes,” which Eric co-wrote with Eric Paslay and Jeff Coplan. “Preacher’s kids seem to have the most rebellious side and get in trouble more,” Eric admits with a laugh. “That was kind of the inspiration for that. We wrote it from a personal place.”

With a renewed emphasis on organic sounds, their second album has brought Love and Theft closer to what it set out to be: a band that writes, records and performs honest, soulful country music.

“This record represents the way we sound live,” says Stephen, before—like the musical brothers they are—Eric completes the thought. “It shows a more mature, evolved Love and Theft but the core is still the same,” he says. “Our sound will always be driven by harmonies.”

Artist Name: Love and Theft

Label: RCA Nashville

Current Album: Love and Theft

Current Single: “Runnin’ Out of Air”

Current Video: “Runnin’ Out of Air”

Current Producer: Josh Leo (Alabama, Nitty Gritty Dirty Band)

Hometown: Eric: Matthews, N.C.; Stephen: Palm Harbor, Fla.

Management: Vector Management

Booking: CAA

Recent Hits: Gold-Certified, No.1 hit “Angel Eyes,” and current single, “Runnin’ Out of Air.”

Awards: The duo has been ACM, ACA, CMA and CMT-nominated

RIAA Certs to date: Gold-Certified, No.1 hit “Angel Eyes”

Special TV/Film Appearances: CBS Morning Show

Birthdays: Stephen: January 24th; Eric: December 21st

Interesting Facts:  
Eric: I have a strange fear of turtles and one of my thumbs is a lot shorter than the other
Stephen: I love all forms of art

Outside Interests:
Eric: Hunting, fishing, running, and road biking.
Stephen: Hunting , fishing , being on or near the water. I love watching football and pretty much all sports. Having birthday parties and traveling.

Musical Influences:
Eric: The Eagles, Jackson Brown, Beatles, Alabama
Stephen: Johnny Cash, Elvis, The Eagles, Nirvana, George Strait

Favorite Record(s):
Eric: Hotel California
Stephen: Tyler Farr – “Redneck Crazy,” Randy Houser- “Runnin’ Out of Moonlight,” Family Force 5 –“Wobble,” Thomas Rhett – “Front Porch Junkies,” Lee Brice – “I Drive Your Truck,” Guy Clark – “The Guitar,” Florida Georgia Line – “Tell Me How You Like It”

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