Where do I begin?
Before SceneSC was ever a passing thought in my mind, and I thought I was going to be a rock star, my band (All Good Citizens) played a show at The Lower Room in Florence with Sequoyah Prep School, Ben Walker, and Austin Crane. Little did I know then that these people would down the road become people who I now consider friends. It was 2005 and Sequoyah Prep School was Sequoyah Prep School. A band with big dreams, before those dreams started to become a reality.
All I really knew about SPS then was that their song “About Rain” had 1 million plays on Myspace, and that they drew a crowd of folks out to all of their shows. Since then I’ve watched them tour and tour, sell out SC venues, have some of the most dedicated fans any band could ask for, and come to the verge of more prominent success.
In a lot of ways this album sounds like a farewell and a big middle finger to record labels and everything that was the process of Ghost Town. They open up the album with “Witch of the South” which sheds any clean image that they might have created over the years and throw it out the window. When Osborne sings “When he kisses your breast” in the chorus I can only imagine that their younger female fans will have fits, but he goes on to sing about being drunk and high. This is where Sequoyah fans will either be like “hell yeah” or say “About Rain and Holy City are the best songs ever, they really messed up on this album.”….. Maybe the début album from Sequoyah was a glimpse into the future. Maybe the weights of the Prep School were too heavy and “Suits” is the farewell that it seems to be.”
After Ghost Town, the album that almost carried them to the next level, things started to change. Lead singer Justin Osborne said it best to us in his statement below, but I think it was changes fans and listeners could see and hear. When we reviewed “Spells” it’s the feeling we targeted. That album felt like a farewell in so many ways, and though no one wanted to admit it at the time, that’s exactly what it was. Osborne and crew didn’t even fully realize it then. Up until recently the songs they were recording could have been Sequoyah songs, they could have been Sequoyah Prep School songs, but it turns out they will be Susto songs.
And there will only be one Farewell show. One last New Brookland Tavern show in the middle of the state that they pride so much. You’ll surely hear people talk about the memories of the many sold out shows they’ve had there. Maybe you’ll hear about how they had to have an intermission at their Ghost Town release show because it was sweltering hot.
When we heard that February 8th would be the farewell show, we knew it would sell out. But just like SPS fans have always done, they’ve shown their dedication by making it sell out in less than 24 hours. There was so much of a reaction the band had to add an early intimate acoustic early show so more people would get one last chance to see a band they came of age with. So farewell, until the reunion show that we’ll all be waiting for. Until then, we get to enjoy the new Brave Baby and the new Elim Bolt.
I asked Justin Osborne for his thoughts on the last show and this is what he said. He said it well, so I decided to post it in full.
When we started Sequoyah Prep School, way back in the 11th grade, we had no intention of ever taking it as far as we did. Thankfully, we were well received early on and were able to keep playing music, but I assure you it came unexpected. We changed a lot as people over the years and we certainly changed musically. We haven’t been Sequoyah Prep School since our third album (Ghost Town), we weren’t really even SPS when we were touring on that record, or if we were when we left we weren’t when we came back. Member changes, life experiences, and time led to Spells which I don’t believe was Sequoyah Prep School, we tried to convey that by releasing it as just Sequoyah, but I’m not sure that was even appropriate.
After going through the whole Spells process, after forcing new songs to be juxtaposed to old ones at live shows we realized we couldn’t do it anymore. We aren’t Sequoyah Prep School anymore, and we’re tired of pretending to be. It’s not fair to us or our new music to go on as SPS, hopefully everyone can understand that.
I hope people will continue to listen to the music we made and be able to take something from it, but as for us (me specifically) I need to be true to who I am now and not being in SPS is the only way to do that. I have other interests (academic) which I am pursuing and have other music I want to pursue without it having to be compared to or juxtaposed to SPS songs (Susto).
As far as my new project is concerned, it’s been great to have everyone from Sequoyah as well as other friends helping put it together. Likewise everyone else has turned different directions in some way or another and I think we are all doing well. Johnnie has done great with Elim Bolt and it makes me very happy to see him & Jordan (Elim Bolt & Brave Baby) pursuing other avenues and enjoying themselves. Some really great music has come out of it.
Additionally West is happily married & Harrison is enjoying working at Green River Preserve. We’re all in good places and it just feels like the right time to say thank you and goodbye to the Sequoyah days. We had a lot of fun and made a lot of great friends along the way. It was an irreplaceable amazing experience and I’d do it all again. I’m looking forward to the show.
Via Darcy Terry