The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

April 26, 2013

Good sight: Members of Gloriana like the direction of their songwriting

By Joe Hadsall
Globe Features Editor

JOPLIN, Mo. — From the beginning, members of Gloriana stressed that they emphasized the "band" aspect of their band. Featuring multiple lead singers and choir-like harmonies, band members put equal weight on the instruments and musicality as much as the vocals.

When one of those vocalists, Cheyenne Kimball, left abruptly in 2011, the remaining members didn't change their idea.

"It basically banded us back together," said Tom Gossin. "It brought the three of us closer together. It was definitely a speed bump, but we hunkered down."

The result is the highest chart level the band has achieved in its history, since its creation in 2008. "(Kissed You) Good Night" reached No. 2 on Billboard's U.S. Country chart and earned Single of the Year and Music Video of the Year from the American Country Awards.

The trio, comprised of Gossin, brother Mike Gossin and Rachel Reinert, will perform Tuesday at Leggett & Platt Athletic Center on the campus of Missouri Southern State University.

Band's beginning

Gloriana's first, self-titled album debuted in 2009 and featured "Wild at Heart" and "How Far Do You Wanna Go?" In 2010, the band earned Breakthrough Artist of the Year at the American Music Awards, and was named Top New Vocal Group by the Academy of Country Music. It also toured with Taylor Swift and Kellie Pickler.

Band members started on a second album in 2011 and released one song, "Wanna Take You Home." But a few months after that, Kimball announced her departure.

Gossin said they still don't know why she left.

"Because of our touring, we never get to go home and live a normal life," Gossin said. "We're pretty much camping all year-round, and I don't know if it became too much for her."

Kimball's departure brought the band back to its roots, however. The original three members had joined in Nashville and played together before Kimball joined the band.

The band completed "A Thousand Miles Left Behind" in 2012, and has released three singles from that album.

Though there are more songs Gloriana wants to release, Gossin said band members are writing drafts of songs for the third album. Inspired by the harmonies of '70s bands such as The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac and The Band, Gossin said they have only just begun to stretch their songwriting wings.

"We're just growing as writers," Gossin said. "With every year of experience, we grow as people and try to write what we know."

The growth was evident on the band's second album, according to reviews. Great American Country said that despite losing a female band member, the band played up guy-girl dynamics in a manner similar to Lady Antebellum, and added "palpable chemistry" as Gossin and Rachel portray roles in relationships.

"Can't Shake You" features a similar emotional ride, as both sides of the story are told in a breakup.

Gossin said fans have shared how relatable those songs are, especially "Good Night."

"We love hearing how people had their first kisses, how they were on a date and about to have their first kiss, then they turn on the radio and the song is on," Gossin said. "They used the song as a method to build up their courage."

Gloriana is one of several bands to feature a mix of men and women, including Lady Antebellum, Thompson Square and Little Big Town. The vocal mix is something the Gossin brothers have loved since their early days of playing together in Wilmington, N.C.

Unique approach

Another aspect of '70s music appeals to Gossin when songwriting, he said: composing an album as an album, not a collection of singles. "I never think about singles," Gossin said. "I like to play albums all the way through. I listen to vinyl, and I listen until I have to flip the record over."

The ability to listen all the way through is what separates good albums from great ones, he said, and there are very few great ones getting released these days.

Gossin said band members focused on writing 11 great songs for "Thousand Miles," instead of resorting to filler. The band also enjoys its live shows, and makes them as high-energy as possible. Set lists include all their original material and covers by Waylon Jennings and Fleetwood Mac.

Running social networks from their cellphones, the band members stay in touch with fans and regularly talk about shows. From there, Gossin knows fans are eager to hear how the band continues to grow, as well as information about the band's third album (the band hasn't yet announced when it will hit the studio for recording).

"Our fans have stuck with us through ups and downs," Gossin said. "Now, I really do feel that connection with songwriting and how they are anticipating what we are going to do next. It's a really cool feeling, how they can't wait for what we do next, and all we want to do is deliver."

Want to go?

Gloriana will perform at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center at MSSU. Sara Haze will open the concert. Tickets range from $5 to $10; VIP tickets were sold out as of Wednesday. Details: 888-695-0888.