Interview with Ed Roland of Collective Soul and The Sweet Tea Project, Upcoming Shows; 1/29, 2/19, 2/26
Between 1993 and today, a good deal of things have happened. Back in ‘93 Russia finally left Poland. The PLO leader and Israeli prime minister shook hands. The Dallas Cowboys won the Super Bowl.
And Collective Soul was just a child in the music world.
It has been over two decades since Collective Soul, fronted by Ed Roland, began touring. Roland’s newest undertaking, The Sweet Tea Project, is taking a step away from the heavy guitars of Collective Soul.
“It’s not a side project. It’s my new band,” Roland said.
Roland said the music with The Sweet Tea Project is significantly different than the music he played with Collective Soul.
“Right now it’s so new. People see Collective Soul for what it is: loud guitars and riffs,” Roland said. “We are still finding the sound.”
The band began after he found himself with songs that were not quite cohesive with Collective Soul’s sound. “It doesn’t fit Collective Soul. You have to fit within the perimeter to a degree,” Roland said.
Fans had expectations of what Collective Soul ought to be, and rather than try and force a different style on the band, and on his fans, Roland simply made another group.
He begrudgingly tried to label his music. “It’s very Americana,” he said, but with the disclaimer that he hated labeling his style.
He has transferred one thing over to his project from Collective Soul though: his vocals.
The singer’s vocals are smooth and distinct. A uniquely soothing factor is present in his voice. It isn’t raspy, but just deep enough to have a semi-misty effect. This is all surprising since he never wanted to be a singer.
“I feel like a songwriter first and a singer by default. No one else wanted to sing in Collective Soul,” said Roland.
For almost being pushed into a singing position, his singing became iconic for the post grudge era.
Still, times have changed since the band’s conception.
Roland is no longer sporting his long, blonde locks, and is cranking out more Americana tunes than his previous days (although from Collective Soul’s Facebook page it looks like they are in the studio).
Fewer raging guitar riffs, more banjos, and more acoustic, The Sweet Tea Project represents a different side of Roland’s style.
“We are acoustic based, and we do have acoustic instruments but we have electric guitars and banjos,” he added.
“I have a studio in my home, and it seemed to be where all these late night musicians would hang out.”
Seems like a pretty good solution for people who won’t leave your house: form a new band. That should really get them to leave.
Roland doesn’t seem too anxious to be rid of The Sweet Tea Project band mates though.
The Sweet Tea Project not only takes it to their roots with its Americana style, but also in the name itself. Roland, a Georgia native, named the band after his home state’s infamous drink.
Growing up it was all he drank, Roland said. “We never drank water. We drank sweet tea or coca cola.”
So The Sweet Tea Project is now taking it back to its Georgia home. Having set up residency at Eddie’s Attic, The Sweet Tea Project will take the iconic singer songwriter stage several times over the next two months.
The Sweet Tea Project is scheduled to play Jan 29 as well as Feb. 19 and 26 at Eddie’s Attic in Decatur.