On a late summer night, at a dingy rock and roll club in downtown Nashville, a couple of music biz hot shots sat four wide-eyed, rock-n-roll wannabees down and told them with a straight face, “Guys, we think we have a shot at this. What we’re potentially looking at here is a better-than-average chance of getting your band on the Austin Powers 3 soundtrack!”
If you’re laughing at how random and overhyped that sounds, you’re reaction is much like The Nobility’s, who, in their early days of playing Nashville’s club scene, experienced several meetings with a similar look, tone and feel. The Nobility (then called Jetpack), sat through a plethora of pitches forecasting delusions of grandeur in the hopes of getting them to sign away potential earnings. Those earnings, however, didn’t come fast enough for the powers-that-be; thus the phone calls slowed to a trickle before they stopped altogether.
Yet the band marched on.
The Nobility’s most fruitful years have come long after the well of traditional industry attention dried up. In the past decade, the band has booked multiple nation-wide tours, been featured in the Meg Ryan film, Serious Moonlight, a commercial for Meijer Supermarkets, and has released multiple self-funded recordings, some of which have found their way onto NPR’s All Songs Considered. Additionally, they were the subject of a children’s book, which spawned a 6-week tour of public libraries.
Ashford Castle marks The Nobility’s third full-length effort. Its songs bounce back and forth between keyboard-driven pop that would cause Steve Nieve to beam with pride and a cappella numbers that would make your great-grandmother do the same. Using an old reel-to-reel eight track machine, The Nobility have taken the three-minute pop framework that has deﬁned their previous releases and further trimmed the bonsai leaves, leaving the listener with sing-along-worthy tunes that will feel right at home on your next road trip. The Nobility— the ﬁesty little do-it-yourselfers they are—got a little help from their friends to make this record. Sparked by many generous donations from the community they’ve cultivated over the years, The Nobility’s Kickstarter campaign in October of 2014 raised over $10,000, allowing the band to tap the talents of esteemed mixing engineer Nathan Sabatino (Dr. Dog/Flaming Lips) and book an extra studio day with their harmony heroes The Secret Sisters.
It might seem prudent that, after all this time, The Nobility would retire to making casual Garage Band recordings and spinning yarns of the hilarious meetings they had in local clubs back in the day. But, one listen to Ashford Castle’s attention to detail and pinpoint arrangements gives every indication that The Nobility not only have plenty left in the tank, but have the right amount of ambition to push their craft whether it dazzles the right people or not.