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Unlikely cowboys 

Good Old War
with Xavier Rudd
7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 3
House of Blues,
all ages


Burrowing out from the borough of super-small town Langhorne, Pa., folksy, three-part-harmonizing trio Good Old War come to town in celebration of their recently released self-titled sophomore album. An easygoing, '60s-inspired effort — their first for rising L.A. label Sargent House — Good Old War pays homage to the band's folk ancestors such as Paul Simon and Crosby, Stills and Nash by traveling down similar sonic paths. The free-flowing timbre of peppy vocalist Keith Goodwin and the coordinated drum work of Tim Arnold (both finding a much better fit here than with their previous band, the heavier Days Away), along with former Unlikely Cowboy Dan Schwartz, have landed GOW on stage with everyone from Gaslight Anthem to the perma-good, now-defunct Pela.

We caught up with Arnold between legs of a tour that will bring the Xavier Rudd openers from their homebase in Philadelphia to London in the span of a month.

Orlando Weekly: How would you describe your tour experience so far?

Tim Arnold: A dream come true. It's one of those dreams that is beautiful and you wish you could remember `it` but the feeling is still there, and it feels good. `We're` also `coming off` our very first headlining tour, which was amazing because the amount of people actually coming out and singing at the top of their lungs is very different from going on a tour where the majority of people haven't heard or seen us. `It's` like entering the ring `and` not knowing how big your opponent is or how badly he can beat you. I don't really know why I would compare an audience to an opponent.

It's clear that artists like Paul Simon and Crosby, Stills & Nash influence GOW. Do you consider your sound an homage to classic acts or as pioneering a new folk trail?

When people ask about our influences, I can totally see why they would think that Paul Simon or CSN would immediately come to mind. We use similar techniques to create a sound and we all listen to them and have listened to them religiously so that is most likely where the comparison comes from. Most of all, I think we use everything in our lives to influence us and try and make the best songs possible. That's our M.O.

Compared to your recording approach to your debut, Only Way To Be Alone, were there any new tricks or old remedies you guys used to smooth over rough patches in the process?

I think we all learned a lot about what our sound was going to be after the first record, so there was definitely less friction and more euphoria as a result of the experience. We used that, also, to get along better, I think. Knowing what buttons not to push, knowing what things not to say. We've also gotten better at building harmonies and that definitely eases things. The more we play together and live together and learn together, the better we function as a unit.

How did you hook up with Sargent House?

`Founder` Cathy Pellow is a very smart woman. We like to go where people have different ideas and really care about the bands, which is exactly what she does. We all consider her our second mother and are extremely grateful for everything she's done. We feel safe on Sargent House, and that's important to us.

Who are some of your labelmates that you have or would want to tour with?

We've toured with RX Bandits `and` we always feel really comfortable with them. They have a sound that's more organic than most SH bands, although they are a bit heavier. Cast Spells has toured with us as well, and we were actually his backing band, which was fun. Some people asked, ‘Wow, you play two sets? Doesn't that wear you out?' What they don't understand is that we're playing two sets of music. That's what we love to do. We'd play five sets a night if we could.

What are you guys looking to get out of this band?

I think we're trying to gain some sort of special connection to people through music. Something about it feels so magical. Even just listening to music evokes strong feelings, and when it's right in front of your face and a hundred people are involved, something otherworldly happens. It feels better than any drug you could take. We want that to happen at every show, or every time the record is played in your car or on your headphones. Oh, and we want a million dollars.

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