Fallon band Silverwing released its second album, County Line, on Dec. 1.
The band is known for its mix of two-stepping country tunes and swamp rock inspired numbers—and for a series of regular gigs at places like Boomers in its hometown, Mummers in Sparks and the Red Dog in Virginia City.
The new record—almost two years in the making—features the band’s genre-bending mix of blues and country-western but also carries an overall tone of nostalgia. It was inspired by the 2016 passing Merle Haggard, the musical hero of Silverwing founder Mel Warstler.
“Mel sat down and wrote a song probably within 24 hours of hearing he’d passed,” said his wife and band bassist and vocalist Mary Warstler. “And that, of course, is included in this album. It’s called ’Angel Band.’”
In it, guitarist and vocalist Mel sings the lines, “The working man’s poet/ That’s what they said about you/ Now the poet’s in heaven/ and I’m left behind missing you.”
“We were kind of talking about recording, but we hadn’t gotten started yet,” Mel said. “Then I wrote that song, and it kind of spurred a couple of others to be finished. The next thing you knew, we figured out we had an album’s worth of material.”
The album is comprised mainly of originals but includes a few Haggard covers, including “Momma Tried” and “Silver Wings,” the song for which the Warstlers’ band was named.
“Yeah, we did ’Silver Wings,’ which a lot of our longtime fans had wanted us to put it on the last CD,” Mel said. “We didn’t, and some of them were disappointed. We figured this was the perfect opportunity to address that.”
The bandmates also took the opportunity with County Line to explore nostalgia through the completion and inclusion of several songs they’d been working on together and individually for years.
Keyboardist Georgina Arze contributed a song she’d been working on called “In My Dreams.”
“It’s kind of an uptempo, bluesy, rocker thing,” Mel said. “That’s Georgina’s style. She’s all about the blues-rock stuff—but if you pay attention, you can feel some of that ’90s-style country.”
Mary’s contribution to the album includes the songs “The Price He has to Pay” a song about maintaining self-worth through a breakup, and an upbeat number called “Rich and Famous.”
“’Rich and Famous’—it’s about raising kids, but it’s the rockingest song about being a mom ever written,” Mary said.
She wrote the song back when she and Mel were still raising five boys—two his, and three hers. The album also includes a track Mel wrote many years ago for Mary.
“It’s called ’I’ll Give You Everything,’” Mel said. “It’s kind of a story about how Mary and I met—and it’s a love song. It’s a slower paced ballad.”
“It’s like a big-hair ballad,” Mary added.
“Yeah, it’s almost Journey-like in a way,” Mel said.
The new album is available on iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby and streaming services like Spotify. In the coming months, the band will play shows around Sparks, Fallon and Virginia City to promote it—and the Warstlers are confident that its nostalgic feel will resonate with their fans.
“The thing about going back and listening to those songs is that they obviously had staying power,” Mary said. “They had meaning when they were written, and years later we relook at them and still consider them relevant and good and meaningful.”