June 21, 2009 / 3:19 AM / 10 years ago

Country gals Those Darlins go their own way

NEW YORK (Billboard) - After glowing reviews at the South by Southwest music festival, it would have been easy for the Tennessee-based Americana trio Those Darlins to take one of the many label deals being thrown their way.

But the female threesome decided they would be better off starting their own company, Oh Wow Dang, to release their self-titled debut, due July 7. Considering that the band already designs its own merchandise and Web site, the do-it-yourself route was an easy choice.

“They’re a pretty rough and tumble group of girls,” manager JT Turner says. “Their blue-collar work ethic was evident and their overall sense of humor and playfulness toward getting things done professionally but having fun was really appealing.”

Guitarist Jessi (all three members use the surname Darlin professionally) says that by recording independently (with help from musician Jeff Curtin), they were able to keep their masters.

“We felt like it’s our music and we should own it ourselves. We want control over our music and our image,” she says. “The only thing a label could offer us that we couldn’t do ourselves would be money. You can give us money, but we already have the entire team of everything we need.”

Turner says it was important to get the record out before the band was old news, and releasing it any other way could have taken until the fourth quarter of this year or first-quarter 2010. “We were building a tour with High Road, figuring out the release schedule and the buildup to it, and the girls had generated so much online buzz that it was apparent there was a limited time window before the album really needed to be out,” he says.

With a poppy country-Americana sound that Turner says could appeal to everyone from “androgynous hipsters to Texas cowboys,” much of Those Darlins’ acclaim has come from their live shows. The band will tour in July and throughout the fall, including a couple of festival dates and a June 27 album release show in Nashville with the Black Lips, as well as another New York release show.

Editing by Dean Gooodman at Reuters

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