There are two words to describe Blake and Taylor Powell: road warriors.
“We live on the road,” Taylor Powell said, “and you write about what you know.”
There are songs on earlier albums from The Powell Brothers like “Four Wheel Hotel,” which talks about the less glorious side of touring around in a beat-up old van, like showers in truck stops. “Coming Home,” a song on the brothers’ most recent album, “Leave on the Light,” completes the circuit, telling about the glory of returning home after a long road trip.
But when the News&Guide spoke to the Powells, they weren’t anywhere near home. They were somewhere in New Mexico, on their way to play a show in Roswell, a few stops before dropping into the Silver Dollar Showroom for this weekend’s Friday and Saturday night sets.
Speaking from a roadside stop the brothers seemed to be living the spirit of the road. They sounded worn but cheerful, pumping out the energy that has allowed them to use their discography to paint a picture of the only thing the brothers know: their life.
“If you’re gonna do the whole music thing, you’ve gotta do it,” Blake Powell said.
And do it they have.
Blake and Taylor Powell went on their first tour with a church band that played summer camps a year and a half after they started playing together as kids. Blake Powell left for college shortly after they wrapped that tour, but it wasn’t long before his younger brother joined him on the road again, this time as the touring drummer for a Brooklyn indie band.
Taylor Powell was still in high school, but he’d leave Houston for the weekend, fly to wherever the band was gigging — places like Whiskey a Go Go and The Viper Room in Los Angeles — rehearse, perform and then hop on a plane back to Houston for class.
After that stint both brothers went to (and dropped out of) Berklee College of Music in Boston, gigged as studio musicians for about 10 years and have been pursuing their original music, under a somewhat obvious name, The Powell Brothers, for the past five years or so.
The result is surprising for two onetime attendees of Berklee: a collection of Southern rock-inspired country ballads. It’s the sort of stuff you could two-step to at The Cowboy, while maybe having trouble finding the true honky-tonk rhythm. It’s not quite there.
What is there is a collection of hooks that verge closer to pop and pop country (and maybe even some John Mayer influence) than old-time outlaw or underground classics. It’s a good mix that’s set to find a high-energy home on The Wort’s stage this weekend.
When the brothers were putting that sound to vinyl for “Leave on the Light” they ran into an unexpected setback. Hurricane Harvey, in their words, hit them “real good.”
The storm pumped 8 feet of water into their house, destroying the hard drives that stored most of the recorded material for the album that was supposed to be “Leave on the Light.” That didn’t set the brothers back for too long, though they were faced with a choice: redo everything or “take this as an opportunity to do something better than [they] would have done before.”
“We took it as a sign,” Taylor Powell said.
The brothers scrapped the EP they’d been working on before the storm and recorded the 10-song album in the four open days in their schedule for the year.
Then they did what they know best: They got back on the road.
The Powell Brothers will play at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Silver Dollar Showroom at The Wort Hotel.
Visit WortHotel.com for more information. ￼