MUSCADINE BLOODLINE

THE COASTAL PLAIN

For nearly a decade, Muscadine Bloodline have delivered a soulful and potent form of country music indelibly colored by their Alabama heritage. But in the making of their latest body of work, the Mobile-bred duo dug deeper into their roots than ever before, dreaming up a batch of songs inspired by the places they know best: the blue-collar melting pot of their coastal hometown, bustling Cajun fishing villages and desolate timberlands, the untamed and idyllic spaces where they ran wild as children. In a thrilling evolution of past hits like the platinum-certified “Porch Swing Angel,” vocalist Charlie Muncaster and vocalist/guitarist Gary Stanton merge that storytelling with a hard-hitting sound that alchemizes Alabama’s musical traditions into a sonic dialect all their own. Equal parts lived-in history and elaborate mythology, The Coastal Plain ultimately marks Muscadine Bloodline’s most daringly singular work to date.

The latest turn in a career that’s included releasing three acclaimed albums, earning a standing ovation at their 2018 Grand Ole Opry debut, and selling out shows across the country as an emphatically independent act, The Coastal Plain emerged from an acute strengthening of their creative vision. “In a lot of ways our last record felt like it was our first record, in terms of knowing exactly what direction we needed to take our music,” says Stanton, referring to 2023’s critically praised Teenage Dixie. “With this new album we wanted to narrow the lens even further, and create a refined and more adventurous version of that.” “The way people responded to Teenage Dixie taught us that our fans want to know all the details of who we are and where we’re from,” Muncaster continues. “It made us realize we need to get even more in-depth with the stories we’re telling in our songs, and tap into a whole new level of honesty.”

To achieve the gritty authenticity that infuses all The Coastal Plain, Muscadine Bloodline immersed themselves in the sounds of their homeland, and soon discovered a deepened sense of connection with the roots music and gospel they grew up on. “We knew that if we’re going to write about Alabama, it needs to sound like Alabama and the rich history of music that comes from there,” says Stanton. In some cases, that musical exploration involved reclaiming long-forgotten elements of their past. “Charlie and I both sang in church as kids, and I remember thinking back then that I never wanted to hear that music again,” says Stanton. “But here we are now, listening to a cappella gospel quartets and finding so much inspiration in them.”

As shown on “Low Hangin’ Fruit”—the album’s hypnotic lead single—The Coastal Plain, embodies a raw and bristling energy despite its more acoustic-guitar-driven sound. After opening on a stark and haunting intro graced with Muncaster’s formidable vocal work, the darkly charged track bursts into a breakneck, bluegrass-inspired tempo that brilliantly magnifies its stormy mood. “‘Low Hangin’ Fruit’ comes from a place I think a lot of people are scared to write from—it’s a petty song, about wanting someone to hurt the way they hurt you,” Stanton explains. Etched with eerie images of bare trees and burning lawns, “Low Hangin’ Fruit” takes on an explosive intensity at the bridge, when a searing electric-guitar solo supplies a moment of pure catharsis. “What we’ve learned in making this album is that if you pad a track with too much electric guitar, the guitars end up fighting each other and the sound gets a little muddled,” says Stanton. “It’s crazy how pairing acoustic and electric creates so much more space, and immediately takes the song from Southern rock to that country sound that we were looking for.”

Like all of the album, “Low Hangin’ Fruit” and its companion single “Weyerhaeuser Land” took shape at The Amber Sound in Nashville, with the duo co-producing alongside their close collaborator Ryan Youmans and recording with their longtime live band (including bassist Justin Rowton, drummer Zoltan Tobak, and guitarist Weston Stewart). With its title nodding to the massive swaths of Southern timberland owned by a Washington-based corporation, “Weyerhaeuser Land” arrives as a freewheeling love song built on stomping drumbeats and a spirited back-and-forth between Muncaster and Stanton’s vocals. “It’s a story about a girl from up North who doesn’t have much love for the South and a guy who’s trying to convince her otherwise, and they’re sneaking off together onto this land where they don’t belong,” Muncaster reveals. As “Weyerhaeuser Land” unfolds, Muscadine Bloodline spin a wildly romantic but true-to-life portrait of that forbidden rendezvous, adorning the song’s lush soundscape with a showstopping gut-string guitar solo courtesy of Stanton. “As soon as we added in that gut-string guitar, it made the whole song bounce,” he recalls. “It’s pretty left-field for a country song to have an acoustic solo these days, but right away it felt like something from home that just instantly lays you back.”

All throughout The Coastal Plain, Muscadine Bloodline match the cinematic detail of their lyrics with an emotional realism that comes from carefully mining their own personal history. “One of the places I thought about a lot while we were writing is Monroeville, where my parents grew up,” says Stanton, noting that To Kill a Mockingbird author Harper Lee also hails from the same rural town. “I have all these memories of going there to visit my grandparents, who lived out on a pecan orchard—the type of place where you ride in the back of the truck on your way to the fishing hole.” Also sparked from the stories of their family members (including Muncaster’s grandfather’s experience as a merchant marine), the album draws much of its emotional power from Muscadine Bloodline’s palpable love for their home. “Everybody from Mobile takes an immense pride in that place—they wear it on their sleeve,” says Muncaster. “And even if you end up leaving, there’s still the feeling that you can’t get that Alabama off you.”

Although they both grew up in Mobile, Muncaster and Stanton first crossed paths through the local music scene in the early 2010s and soon forged the creative partnership that would become Muscadine Bloodline. Not long after moving to Nashville in 2015, they signed a publishing deal and began working with industry heavyweights, but eventually decided to strike out on their own. “We flirted with the industry for a while there, but it just didn’t feel as authentic as working with the people who really know our music and have a deep investment in what we’re doing,” says Muncaster. Along with reconnecting with Youmans (a friend from their early days in Nashville) and forgoing studio musicians in favor of their live band, Muscadine Bloodline adopted a more self-contained and deliberately unhurried approach to the creative process. “We’re an independent band we already do so much on our own, so it felt right to take that to the next level and start writing everything ourselves,” says Stanton. “We’re at the point now where we’re letting ourselves live with the songs a while instead of rushing things out, and it’s created an atmosphere where everyone feels free to take chances and really hone in on a sound that’s unique to us.”

In bringing their new album to life, Muscadine Bloodline found themselves swept up in a creative momentum so powerful that they’ve already conceptualized the follow-up to The Coastal Plain. And as they continue to explore new and unexpected sonic terrain, Muncaster and Stanton feel fully emboldened to keep embracing what sets them apart from the country masses. “In a way this record feels like an ode to ourselves and the fact that we’ve finally found our sound, which is hopefully something that will end up inspiring other artists down the road,” says Muncaster. “Our motto for the last few years has been, ‘Make what we love, and everything else will take care of itself,’” Stanton adds. “We just want to stay adventurous and keep evolving and keep elevating our game, and because of that the music is the strongest it’s ever been.”

For more information, please contact Carla Sacks 212.741.1000, Asha Goodman or Catherine Snead 615.320.7753 at Sacks & Co.