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Track 3 on FIREBALL, "Black Widow Blues" 

One of our home venues in the Houston/Galveston area is the Old Quarter Acoustic Cafe. It’s a place we visit regularly–on both sides of the stage. The Old Quarter is one of those rare and special places in the world–revered by audiences and bands alike–and we are lucky as hell to be able to go there so frequently.

Every New Year’s Day, the Old Quarter hosts a wake in honor of the late songwriter Townes Van Zandt, who died on New Year’s Day in 1997. Musicians who attend the wake are encouraged to play three…

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**𝐒𝐎𝐍𝐆 𝐑𝐄𝐕𝐄𝐀𝐋! 𝐓𝐫𝐚𝐜𝐤 𝟒, 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐭𝐢𝐭𝐥𝐞 𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐜𝐤, “𝐅𝐈𝐑𝐄𝐁𝐀𝐋𝐋"** 

The title track of the album is based on one of us writing about the other, and one of us writing about herself, so we thought both perspectives might provide some good context and back story for this song.

(John) The title track for the album, this one came to life as a simple riff played on a three-string cigar box one afternoon early in the pandemic, when we were trying to get used to the fact that music venues were closed, and everywhere (it felt) was closed. I was playing around with this little guitar…

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SONG REVEAL! Track 13 on FIREBALL, "Why I Drink" 

The story of our now-traditional set closer began in the pandemic, some time after we started doing our “Thursday Happy Hour” livestream. For those who didn’t catch it, the format of the livestream was that we’d make a drink on camera at 5:30pm on Thursday, then play about half an hour of songs afterward–it was a nice way to celebrate happy hour with friends in the “virtual” realm. 

During this time, John was in the midst of finishing his degree in Mathematics, and was pushing himself very hard both in his…

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SONG REVEAL! Track 12 on FIREBALL, "Live on Purpose" 

Over the next several weeks, we'll be rolling out the songs on the new album. We're also revealing the backstory to every song. This week we're featuring the song "Live on Purpose". Here's how this song that's so important to us came to be.   **𝐒𝐎𝐍𝐆 𝐑𝐄𝐕𝐄𝐀𝐋! 𝐓𝐫𝐚𝐜𝐤 𝟏𝟐 𝐨𝐧 𝐅𝐈𝐑𝐄𝐁𝐀𝐋𝐋, "𝐋𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐨𝐧 𝐏𝐮𝐫𝐩𝐨𝐬𝐞"**

One of the defining moments during the writing of this album was the day that we got the call in April 2021 that our friend Duane Mark (Mark Davenport)…

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Appreciation for FIREBALL 

This album is largely a snapshot of 2020–2021, a period when we had a lot of time to stare at the studio walls and decide how we really wanted to go about this whole Grifters & Shills endeavor. A lot of wonderful people inspired us during that time, joined us as we embarked on new experiments and welcomed us as we all started emerging back out and around each other. This record is for you all.

The Ferguson, Stoll, and Cox families, Sam and Kim Barker, Jennifer "JT" Holland, Michael Helfenstein, Willy T.…

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A Look Back at Where FIREBALL Came From 

Now for a look back at where this album came from. The story of it began just a few months before the world shut down in 2020. The first song started finding its feet as we moved into a new house and started rebuilding our studio, still riding the high of our last album release. Pandemic and lockdown kicked off before we’d even finished unpacking and derailed all the many grand plans we’d had in place for 2020.

Art follows life follows art, as it goes. We thought the shutdown would last two months, but as it…

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DEBUT: the cover art for FIREBALL!  

Welcome to the release of this new album, and thank you for being here with us for the ride! Over the next couple of months, we’ll be releasing some background about the songs, the inspiration behind them, and interesting stories from the studio as we recorded them. 

This week, we are excited to debut the album art! Our extremely talented friend, Dan Torres, created this artwork, inspired by themes in the songs. After sitting with the lyrics and our ever evolving draft recordings, Dan took to the thrift…

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The Evolution of the Band 

A long time ago, in a practice room not far away, we started our musical journey together. We met in a band called Blue Funk, which was a full band project. We quickly realized that the two of us shared something special--call it chemistry, call it fate, call it whatever you like. The bottom line is that we stumbled on that thing that you always hope to find. We met through music, and got to know each other through music. So feeling very fortunate to have found each other, we decided to start a project as…

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The Story Behind the Artwork for "Pretty Little Secrets" 

This month, we’re officially unveiling the artwork for “Pretty Little Secrets” (though many of you have probably glimpsed it on social media by this point, or we just couldn’t wait and gave you a copy already). We adore this design. It’s the second time we’ve worked with an artist to conceptualize an album, and we just couldn’t be happier. One, because the design is phenomenal, and two, because there is no kinder, more talented soul we could have had the pleasure of working with. 

We were very fortunate to…

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Pretty Little Secrets: The Production Process  

The production process behind the album 'Pretty Little Secrets'

This album is unique to any we’ve created before, and the recording and production process has been a mixture of everything we’ve learned along the way. There are as many ways to make an album as there are people making albums. Our process is unique to us. It’s DIY. It’s built from the ground up. 

This month, as we count down to the release of “Pretty Little Secrets”, we’re taking a look at the technical side of how the album was made. What…

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Pretty Little Secrets: What the Songs Are About 

We’ve spent the last several months recording and producing a new record that we are tremendously excited to release into the world. This album, “Pretty Little Secrets,” is the record we’ve always wanted to make. For those of you following us from the beginning, this will serve as a delightful follow-up to our first release in 2010, when everything was energy and frantic fire. We’ve explored a lot, musically and personally, in this last almost-decade, and we’re coming to this release feeling very…

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Marriage, cops, moonshine and a groundhog. 

(oiginally posted Jan. 4, 2013) 

So y'all probably know we're getting married...and we can't wait!! Here's the story of our proposal, and it really does involve the cops being called, a moonshine toast, and a groundhog. 

How we got engaged 


We had just finished our first national tour through the Midwest, rounding it out in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. The day after our very last show, we checked into a cozy little B&B that we have stayed in each time we've visited Eureka Springs. We wanted a day…

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I was driving in to work this morning, passively listening to Guy Clark, not feeling entirely “with it” due to a near sleepless night and the general ennui that’s become pretty inseparable from the 9 to 5 portion of my life these days. But traffic was light for once, and the music was good, so in relative terms, I could probably already consider today a success despite being only about an hour and a half into it. 

While I’m sitting at my daily red light in the middle of downtown Houston, “L.A. Freeway”…

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