Practice makes perfect, but Oklahoma City’s The Damn Quails don’t really need it. With three weekly shows across the metro area, they’ve got about all the playing time they could ever desire.
“It’s interesting, playing every night,” said Bryon White, who comprises the folk-rock act with Gabriel Marshall. “It’s allowed us to play off each other and really nail the parts and figure out new things. Sometimes we’ll come up with something that becomes a new part of the song, just from playing it so many times a week.” The Damn Quails have taken up residency in three spots south of OKC; they play Mondays with Travis Linville at The Deli in Norman, Wednesdays with Buffalo Family at Libby’s in Goldsby, and Thursdays at Mooney’s Pub & Grill in Moore.
One might expect things to get old quick, but the band’s blend of vintage Americana sounds, folk, roots and country lends itself to steady consumption in the Sooner State. Plus, every show is surprisingly special.
They dip from a catalog of around 40 original songs plus the occasional cover, and because White and Marshall have been playing for years, each has amassed an impressive list of musical friends, many of whom will show up to play on any given night, from John Fullbright to Resident Funk’s Steve Baker. The setup can range from White and Marshall simply playing with their voices and guitars, or swell to include a drummer, upright bass, mandolin or lap steel guitars.
“It keeps changing from night to night,” White said. “I think it keeps people wondering what we are going to have up there next.”
Still, the meat and potatoes are the core of White and Marshall, who, surprisingly enough, have yet to write a song together.
“I’ve always been a loner songwriter.
We write individually, really, and kind of bring it together onstage,” White said. “It’s kind of weird, I know.”
Yet it’s worked so far. They settled on an amicable decision concerning the matter of recording their full-length debut in Ada. In true Outkast style, the pair took an even split of White and Marshall’s singles in tracking the album, which features collaborations with the aforementioned players and newer ones like Lemma bassist Luke Mullenix and multi-instrumentalist Jon Knudson of Jonathan Tyler & the Northern Lights.
The Damn Quails inked a deal with Shawnee-based label upstart Squandered Records to release the finished product, and as much as they love the nightly gigs at familiar Oklahoma venues, they are excited to take a short leave of absence to hit the road come summer.
“We are going to keep those weekly things going as long as we can. They are a lot of fun to do, and we just get to hang out with our friends and play cool music,” White said. “We are definitely ready to get out and about, though.”