COLLECTIVE SOUL AT 25: KEEP ON SHINING THE LIGHT
Collective Soul are pumped and primed to celebrate their 25th anniversary in 2019 in all-out style, but they’re really just gearing up for the long haul. Ever since the barnburning rock band from Stockbridge, Georgia burst onto the national scene with the runaway success of their multi-platinum 1993 debut Hints Allegations and Things Left Unsaid and its ensuing mega-smash hits like “Shine” and “Breathe,” they’ve been on an upward trajectory that’s seen them play to sold-out audiences across the globe while concurrently amassing an impressive catalog of beloved songs instantly recognizable by their titles alone.
Indelibly memorable tracks like “December,” “The World I Know,” “Gel,” and “Heavy” (to name but a few) all evoke a collective sense of heartfelt observational universality and earnest positivity — in short, they’re the jukebox heroes of a new generation. Indeed, the secret sauce to Collective Soul’s continued success story is a simple one: a palpable mixture of insightful songwriting and impeccable band chemistry. “So much of what we do is based on the camaraderie-ship of the band,” notes frontman and chief songwriter Ed Roland. “The five us work together as a family, and I’ve never been at more ease — and never been more pleased — than going onstage with these guys right now, night after night.”
And now, Collective Soul is proud to welcome the newest member of their recorded family into the world titled Blood. Blood is the culmination of a quarter-century of Collective Soul assessing not only where they’ve come from, but also where they’re going. “I think Blood expresses where we’ve been on this life journey,” observes Roland. “And we’ve done so with songs featuring piano and strings to those with a lot of guitar riffs. Blood is an accumulation of all the different styles we’ve used over the years — but it’s still Collective Soul. I think it’s the best we’ve ever done. I know you should think that, but I really do think it’s the best. It’s a good, consistent record. We’re just so proud of it.”
From the very beginning of the band’s career, Roland always had his eye on the prize. “When ‘Shine’ came out, we got asked, ‘What’s your goal with this band?’ I said, ‘I want to have a whole row of Collective Soul recordings on the shelf.’ That was my goal,” Roland recounts. “Me, I always wanted to see the full body of work. That’s all I ever wanted. I knew I could write, and as the band progressed and got better, that’s why we wanted to keep going. I don’t think we ever doubted it. We, as the artists — we had no fear. The guys in the band have enough faith in my songwriting, and I have faith in them.”
All of these textural nuances add up to a most exciting Collective Soul 2019, with even more invigorated live sets to come. “For us, we want to play the hits as we always do, but I think we also want to share the new record with our fans,” Roland explains. “At 25 years later, we want to say, ‘Hey, we’re still making the best that we can do.’ Right now, I’ve got seven of the new songs in the setlist, and hopefully, on some nights, we can play the whole thing from start to finish. I mean, it’s our 25th anniversary. We’re going at it hard, everyone! We’re going hard.” Heaven has clearly shined its light down on Collective Soul for 25 years running with no end in sight, so here’s to the next quarter-century and beyond! Bask in their continual glow. —Mike Mettler, official Soulographer