England in 1819 is the collaborative project of Andrew and Dan Callaway and their father Liam. Their grandfather, William Callaway, was a traveling musician throughout Georgia during the golden era of the post-war 1940s and 50s. His only son, Liam, followed in his footsteps, honing his musical talents amidst the burgeoning New Wave Athens scene in the late 70s, before moving the family to England while teaching Air Force bands.
Andrew and Dan grew up in the English countryside, playing in rock bands on the weekends with their father. Their musical talents led them naturally into the world of classical music and the family moved back to the US to take advantage of more educational opportunities. Andrew studied composition and Dan studied French Horn, both at conservatories in Ohio.
After a few years of travel and exposure to a withering classical scene, Andrew returned to his roots, both geographically and musically, moving back to the South and finding new life in the energy, accessibility and creativity of indie rock. Through a series of fortunate events, the entire family, six in all, were re-united in Baton Rouge. After a year of playing as a trio, Andrew Dan and Liam added various drummers and instrumentalists, always desiring a better replication of the immense orchestral sound they had grown to love.
Emotional affectedness is the intention behind the writing of Andrew, the creative force behind the band. He often spends months or more carefully putting songs together. The band then begins to deconstruct and flesh out, with songs often bouncing back and forth, before eventually being fully absorbed by the band. This process creates the characteristic piano-based ideas that grow into massive ending anthems.
England in 1819′s unusual sound is defined by Andrew’s unique ear and writing abilities. There are hints of classical expression buried in between post-rock swells. Part Southern edge and part English introspection, haunting lyrics and massive chamber rock unfurl in a sweeping, evocative, surge of sound.
England in 1819′s first album, Three Cheers for Bertie, was recorded in their downtown Baton Rouge living room. Without pressure from a label or studio, they were able to take their time, apparent in the slow-paced, thoughtful songs. This freedom came at the price of quality of the recording, marked throughout with rough edges and audible blemishes. However, the album was surprisingly well-received, ending up somewhat of a lo-fi beauty.
In the process, England in 1819 had discovered their identity. The sound was promising, they were garnering local support, and encouragement and anticipation were high as they worked steadily toward a professional release.
Alma, recorded by Mark Bingham at Piety Studios in New Orleans (Florence and The Machine, Mute Math, OK Go, Tom Waits) and mixed by Stuart Sikes at Elmwood Studios in Dallas (The White Stripes, Cat Power, Modest Mouse, Explosions in the Sky) is the magnificent amalgamation of classical emotion, indie perspective and post-rock intensity.