Originally from Pensacola, Florida, The Gills made their way to Nashville, TN, to push themselves out of their hometown comfort zone. Years later, they’ve put the finishing touches on the most cathartic songs of the band’s career yet.
Written after years of touring, The Gills’ self-titled album explodes with all the pressure of a shaken-bottle of soda whose cap has finally flown off. It’s an album about letting go of the struggles that are so common to working musicians — the long drives, the vulnerability, the struggle to stay true to yourself — and embracing everything that’s great about rock & roll. The songs are simple rock epics that build their way toward crashing choruses. There’s no posturing. No disguises.
Frontman Jesse Wheeler began writing songs as a teenager, looking for an outlet to help him put a positive spin on his childhood battle with Leukemia. At first, he focused on humorous tunes designed to make his friends (and Wheeler himself) laugh. Later, as his health and songwriting chops strengthened, the music became bolder and more bombastic. The Prince brothers — Matt (drums) and Andy (bass) — climbed aboard after Wheeler recovered and shortly after met keyboardist/guitarist Justin Locke, who became the group’s fourth member.
The band co-produced their latest LP with Kyle Dreaden who took songs like “Aria,” “Lemonade” and “Gimme Gimme” to a new invigorating space where gritty rock and pop sensibilities live harmoniously side by side. In concert, The Gills adopt the same in-your-face stance that fills their self-titled album. The Gills are making themselves comfortable occupying the middle ground between college radio and the Top 40 format, while remaining true to their creative explorations.