Release date: Jan. 22, 2016
The title of Fifteen, Green River Ordinance’s first studio album in three years, has a dual meaning for the hard-working quintet. In addition to marking the fifteen years that have passed since the five bandmates first began making music together, fifteen was also the average age of the band members when the group formed.
It has been a decade and a half since they first convened in their hometown of Fort Worth, Texas, Green River Ordinance—named after their home state’s law forbidding door-to-door sales.
Green River Ordinance’s thrilling evolution continues on Fifteen, which the press release says, "matches irresistibly infectious melodies and insightful, forthright lyrics with rootsy, rousing musical flights and soaring vocal harmonies. Such catchy, upbeat tunes as “Always Love Her,” “Keep Your Cool” and “Red Fire Night,” and such intimate, personally-charged numbers as “Simple Life,” “Endlessly” and “Heart Open” offer an artful balance of electric and acoustic textures."
“When we were starting out, people would describe us as organic, or talk about us being a grass-roots band,” bassist Geoff Ice notes. “We didn’t really understand what they meant at the time, but the meaning has become clear to us in the last few years, and we’ve realized that it’s one of our biggest strengths as a band.”
“Looking back at our history, the songs that have really connected with people were the ones that we didn’t overthink or overanalyze,” observes frontman Josh Jenkins. “So with the new album, a lot of the challenge was trying to stop ourselves from thinking too much, and focusing on writing about stuff that matters to us. All you can do is try and remain present in the songs and stay in touch with the things that inspire you and move you, and have faith that that will connect with people.”
Towards that end, the band approached the making of Fifteen in a manner designed to inspire the band’s creative impulses. For some of the album’s songwriting sessions, they returned to the riverside cabin on the banks of the Caney Fork River in rural Tennessee, where they’d written much of Chasing Down the Wind. The band cut tracks for Fifteen in separate sessions with three notable producers—Paul Moak, Rick Beato and longtime GRO collaborator Jordan Critz—in three different cities. The band recorded many of its performances live in the studio, capturing the musicians’ chemistry.
“Looking at the songs that we’re writing now, and then back on the songs that we were writing when we were kids, it’s interesting to see how much things have progressed,” says Geoff. “But in some ways, it’s still the same. We’re still in the process of discovering who we are and what we can be, and communicating that as honestly as we can.”
“Fifteen is a new chapter for us, and we’re gonna be out playing as many shows as we can and making an effort to communicate with as many people as we can,” Josh concludes. “I feel lucky to be in a band with these guys who’ve been my friends since middle school, and it’s a privilege to be able to keep making music with them.”
1. Keep Your Cool
2. Red Fire Night
3. Maybe It's Time (Gravity)
4. Simple Life
6. You, Me & The Sea
7. Always Love Her
9. Only God Knows
10. Life In The Wind
11. Keep My Heart Open