Astronaut Pushers, the one-time Nashville supergroup, has a lineup of Sam Ashworth (Grammy and Academy Award-nominated songwriter), John Davis (Superdrag, The Lees of Memory), Lindsay Jamieson (Ben Folds, Departure Lounge) and Matt Slocum (Sixpence None the Richer). Their four-song EP, originally self-released as a CD on a limited basis, showcases a wide diversity of styles performed by musicians at the top of their creative game. Lost in Ohio is excited to announce the first wide-release of the EP on etched black vinyl and on all digital platforms, including a previously-unreleased bonus track on the digital release! Click here to order now!
The late ‘90s were a fertile time for the Nashville music scene, attracting musicians from all over the globe. It was during this time that Sam Ashworth and Matt Slocum first met, with Sam contributing a song to Sixpence None the Richer’s self-titled 1998 album. They became fast friends and began meeting at Matt’s house regularly to jam and write music.
When Lindsay Jamieson moved to Nashville from London a few years later, he was introduced to his future bandmates at a party. A huge fan of The Sundays, Matt was fascinated to learn that Lindsay had played percussion on their albums. Not long after, Sam and Lindsay discussed the idea of starting a band. Sam recalls, “Lindsay came over to hang out and talk music. I had filled up a little kiddie pool on the side of my house and we sat in the kiddie pool in our trunks, drank beer and started conceptualizing a band.” During the conversation, it became clear that Matt would be an essential part of this band, so they approached him, and he was interested.
The band started playing shows at local Nashville venues, including Slow Bar, The Basement, Exit-In and Uptown Mix. They attracted many fellow musicians to these early shows, including Ben Folds, Fleming & John, and future member John Davis. According to Sam, Ben Folds was impressed: “Ben came to one of our first shows … and soon after hired Lindsay and Jared Reynolds [who played bass with the band at this show] to record with him.”
While continuing to perform, the band started recording during sessions at Matt’s house, the main floor of which was a sprawling studio. Prominent local engineers and producers Taylor Harris (Charlie Peacock) and Jacquire King (Kings of Leon) assisted with these sessions. At the same time, Lindsay was making frequent visits to RCA Studio A to track drums for Ben Folds’s album Songs for Silverman.
It was also around this time that John Davis first jammed with the band. The band members were fans of Superdrag and excited at the opportunity. John remembers, “It was more, ‘Come by the studio and just jam on something.’ If I had showed up and played something terrible, they probably wouldn’t have invited me to come up on stage with them. But as it turns out, we got some really cool stuff.” John was soon an official member.
As the band continued playing shows in Nashville, buzz spread around the industry, and the band drew interest from V2 Records. “I remember being in the studio and hearing somebody from V2 was interested,” Lindsay muses, “and it being a little drop of poison in the brain. You’re trying to just make music without an agenda, and suddenly in the back of your brain . . . you go ‘I wonder if Mr. V2 would like it this way or that way.’”
In the end, though, it wasn’t meant to be. Ben Folds’s Songs for Silverman was released to critical acclaim and Lindsay departed for a tour across the US and Europe. “It was just a gig that [Lindsay] needed to do,” as Sam remembers. “It made sense, we all understood, but it quickly became evident that continuing wasn’t going to be feasible at this point in time.”
The band, who had been slowly tracking songs at Matt’s house, wanted to put a release together to mark their time as a band. Sam explains, “We had completed about five or six songs and it was like, ‘OK, what can we release with what we have,’ and we narrowed it down to four.” The EP was self-released and sold through direct mail order and at their few remaining shows, including their final show opening for Silversun Pickups at Exit/In.
The EP displayed a staggeringly diverse sound for its short runtime. As John recently remarked, “I listened to the jams when we first started talking about [the reissue], for the first time in a long time and they were still just brand new.” Sam agrees: “Listening back to these songs recently, I really am just amazed at how it still sounds fresh. I can’t say that about a whole lot of music that I’ve made in the last twenty years. It just feels like this could come out right now as a brand-new thing and feel so appropriate for the times.”
The Astronaut Pushers EP is available for pre-order now. It releases digitally on August 12 and the etched black vinyl is shipping in September!