Moon Taxi Talks Ryman Auditorium Shows, First Major Label Album

Moon Taxi. Photo: Don VanCleave

When alt-rock band Moon Taxi, which first formed at Nashville’s Belmont University more than a decade ago, returns to perform two headlining shows at the Ryman Auditorium Friday and Saturday (Oct. 27-28), it will be as a newly-signed major label band.

The five-piece group, which includes vocalist/ guitarist Trevor Terndrup, bassist Tommy Putnam, lead guitarist/producer Spencer Thomson, drummer Tyler Ritter, and keyboardist Wes Bailey, has grown to headlining Nashville’s Live On The Green, securing performance slots on Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza, and performing on The Late Show with David Letterman and Conan.

Along the way, Moon Taxi released four independent albums, the most recent being 2015’s Daybreaker, in addition to live projects such as Live Ride, and New Year’s Eve 2015, recorded from a live show at Nashville’s War Memorial Auditorium.

On the strength of its recent song “Two High,” the band inked a major label deal with RCA Records. Later this year Moon Taxi will makes its first tour of Europe, including stops in Sweden, Germany, and Norway.

Terndrup spoke with MusicRow about upcoming music, the Nashville music scene, and the success of their single “Two High.”

What does it mean to you to be headlining shows at places like the Ryman Auditorium, 10 years after you started at Belmont University?

We have some awesome and dedicated fans who have been here since we started. Every Nashville show is unique because we know we have old fans and new fans. We try to change up the set list and throw some curve ball sin there and do some throwback songs. Some new stuff too which is what I’m excited about.

How did the deal with RCA Records come about?

The popularity of “Two High” caught the attention of all the major labels. We had no intention of signing a major label deal 10 years in. We thought we were going to be independent artists our whole lives. We like that element of creative control we had and it blindsided us, the success of the song. It changed the conversation a little bit because we have been independent for so long that we wanted to keep a lot of that in house. We found the right label that will let us do that.

“Two High” was written around the time of the women’s marches held earlier this year, Terndrup details the inspiration of the song.

We were doing college shows and I think when the women’s march happened we were at [University of] Notre Dame in Indiana. I just happened upon the women’s march and was inspired.

Really, the concept for “Two High” came about after our keys player was texting somebody. He wrote “too high” and it autocorrected to “two high.” He told me that story, and I was like, ‘Oh, like the peace sign?’ Then the first verse came together really quickly and it was probably the quickest song that we wrote.

And it’s resonated. There is never a bad time for a call for unity.

How close are you to having your first RCA album ready?

We have an album ready in the pipeline, that we recorded in Nashville, like our other records. We have a release date set for early next year, so it’s fortunate that we already had the record done by the time we got to the label deal, so we knocked that out already.

How have you seen Nashville’s rock and pop scene grow over the past 10 years?

It feels like maybe Seattle did in the early ’90s, with indie rock and grunge rock. The rest of the world is talking about Nashville beyond just the country music scene. We have friends in bands here and we go support them. There is a lot happening here, and it’s a great place to call home.

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About the Author

Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at [email protected]

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