The Tuten Brothers are set to headline the Georgia Theatre once again this Tuesday at 9 p.m. The band, which is headed up by brothers and University of Georgia students Walker and Sam Tuten, made it one of their goals to headline the Georgia Theatre, Sam said.
“Two years ago, I was telling my grandma, ‘The dream for me for this band is to headline the Georgia Theatre. That’s it,’” Sam said. “And that happened three or four months after that, which I had no idea was going to happen. That was the end all be all for me at that moment.”
Although the brothers aren’t from Athens originally, they always made it a point to visit throughout their lives.
“We’ve been coming to Athens our whole life, to Georgia games and stuff like that, and our whole family went here,” said Walker. “In high school, I would drive to come see shows at the Georgia Theatre, so to be able to play there and headline three shows now, we’re just like, ‘This is a freakin’ dream come true.’”
Sam first got the idea for the band one night his freshman year.
“I remember one specific night when I saw this guy coming back from an open mic who was a freshman in the freshman dorms when I was a freshman, and I was like, ‘Oh man, I wanna do that,’” he said. “That was a dream I always had was to be in a band, so me and Walker both kind of came to each other and talked about it and both really wanted to do that, and so [we] just started telling people that we played music and it kind of went from there.”
The brothers eventually decided to record some of the songs they wrote, but they didn’t want to just record anywhere with anyone. Walker described the uncertainty that comes with recording for the first time.
“We had no clue what we were doing,” Walker said. “We were trying to find somebody to record us and produce us that was going to be affordable for us but that was also going to be really good quality—we didn’t want to do it if we didn’t feel like it was going to be good quality.”
Eventually, they figured out a plan about how they were going to go about recording their debut EP.
“We basically, through some mutual friends, found this studio in Nashville called Gold Cassette,” said Walker. “We just went to Nashville with some studio time and kind of lucked out, having never really recorded, and just went in there and did it. We busted through four songs in probably four or five days.”
Walker said that while the session was tough, the results were worth it.
“It was a lot of work and a lot of ups and downs and lot of figuring it out trial-by-fire, but it ended up working pretty well,” he said.
“Southern Sunrise,” a song from this record, has garnered well over 200,000 plays on Spotify after it was initially featured on a country playlist. Walker talked about the moment he found out that their song had blown up.
“I think somebody texted me one day and was like, ‘Dude, are you aware that “Southern Sunrise” just went to 90,000 plays?’ I was like, ‘Are you serious?!,’’ Walker said. “It just kind of happened, and it’s cool to think that that many people have heard our songs.”
Some of the songs from their debut will be present at Tuesday’s show, but the brothers have some other new ones in the works.
“We’re excited because we’re doing some new stuff that we’ve written, but then also most of our old songs that we have recorded,” Sam said. “We’re doing a lot of originals, and we actually have a new single coming out called “Hallelujah” on Sunday the 14th, and we’ll be playing that one too and we’re excited about that.”
Ben Crawford, a junior at UGA studying chemistry, has played bass guitar for the Tuten Brothers on a number of occasions. He described the experience of playing with them live.
“They’re really fun to play with. They’re really cool guys—there’s never awkward moments with them, like learning songs with them is fun,” Crawford said. “They bring a lot of energy on stage, so playing with them is always a really good time because anytime they’re playing, they’re bopping around and jumping and dancing.”
Sam talked about the audience for a Tuten Brothers show, and how he’s seen it expand from the band’s friend group to a wider range of people.
“Obviously at the beginning, it was completely our friends, but I think since then it really has been cool to see a bunch of faces in the crowd we’ve never seen before, which is just really exciting and really cool for us,” he said.
The Tuten Brothers play Tuesday, January 16th, at 9:00 p.m. Doors open at 8:00 p.m. and tickets are $10.