For most bands, it’s the sophomore album – the follow-up to a smash debut– that’s met with pressure, scrutiny and a fine-tooth comb. Will they meet and surpass expectations or will they crumble under the pressure?
The Revivalists are the exception. In 2015, New Orleans-based octet, The Revivalists, inched their way to the top of the charts with their breakthrough hit, “Wish I Knew You,” off their third studio album, “Men Amongst Mountains.”
What’s so unique is this band was far from new to the scene; they all met and formed in New Orleans in 2008.
“We’ve grown very incrementally and steadily the first 10 years of us being in the band and then we were fortunate enough to connect with a hit song, ‘Wish I Knew You,’” says guitarist Zack Feinberg. “Since then, the growth has been more rapid.”
The Revivalists rode the “Wish I Knew You” wave for a couple more years. It’s a song that spent 56 weeks on the Billboard Alternative Song chart, peaking at No. 1 on May 20, 2017. So when it came time to record and release their highly anticipated, follow-up effort, they did what they do best: write.
They wrote so much, in fact, they had to pare down the 60 songs they brought to the table for the fourth studio album, “Take Good Care,” via Loma Vista Recordings.
“With this being our most anticipated release, there was probably some pressure to deliver, but honestly with us, there are so many guys in the band, and we’re pretty prolific as far as writing goes,”
Feinberg said. “The pressure was off in a large way because of the quantity of material that we have. I try not to let any sort of external pressure affect the creative process.”
New to their writing and recording process, The Revivalists recorded with multiple producers and writers, including Dave Cobb (Sturgill Simpson); Andrew Dawson (Kanye West and Fun.) and Dave Bassett (Vance Joy).
“We wanted to work with Dave Cobb for a while,” Feinberg says. “He’s really amazing at capturing a live vibe and he was really great at adding parts to a song or steering a song in a different direction, stylistically. He was very bold about that. We learned a lot from working with him.”
Feinberg distinctly remembers being in the midst of recording “Take Good Care” last year in Nashville when they flew to Phoenix for their second time performing McDowell Mountain Music Festival. The first year they performed at MMMF was in 2015.
“I’m excited to come back,” he says, referring to The Revivalists’ upcoming show at Marquee Theater on March 15. “I don’t think we’ve ever played a proper venue show in Phoenix before, so this will be our first.”
Feinberg doesn’t credit the new producers or writers on the album for the positive, rave reviews “Take Good Care” has received since its release in November.
“Part of how we evolved our sound doesn’t have to do with the production team,” he says. “It has to do with growing as musicians and songwriters. Pretty much always our approach is: How do we best serve the song and how do we get the best performance out of it?”
It may have taken The Revivalists 10 years to “make it,” but they’ve always stayed true to their identity as a band.
“We’re pretty real in the sense that it’s a bunch of guys who met pretty organically, and we have a very real friendship. We’re all partners in this band together,” he said. “We’ve always valued the music above everything.”
And this authenticity translates to the stage as well.
“We’re a live band at heart. That’s what we do best,” Feinberg says. “I don’t want to toot my own horn too much, but we play our instruments well, put on a good show, and it’s very high-energy.”
The Revivalists’ tour kicked off in Belgium in mid-February; this is the first time the band has performed in Europe.
“It feels like the beginning of a new chapter,” Feinberg says. “We’re hoping to develop our fanbase in Europe, and it’s really exciting never having played this entire continent before.”
Their nationwide tour begins early March in Wisconsin.
And newly added to their ever-growing list of tour dates is the 50th annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, set to take place April 25-28 and May 2-5 – a festival they’ve already played a handful of times before.
“We’ve done it, like seven times? I’ve lost track,” Feinberg says. “We’re just comfortable doing it and we’re able to have so much fun. It’s just been wonderful, and I don’t get nervous anymore to play live in front of awesome, huge crowds.”
Marquee Theatre, 730 N. Mill Avenue, Tempe, 480.829.0607,
luckymanonline.com, 8 p.m.
Friday, March 15, $45-$75.