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Roman Candle to light up the Rumba Café

Chapel Hill, N.C. natives Roman Candle will be bringing their rock/alternative country sound to the Rumba Café this Friday at 10 p.m. Their newest album, “Oh Tall Tree in the Ear” was released with Carnival Recording in May.

The band is made up of brothers Logan and Skip Matheny and Skip’s wife Timshel. Logan did a one-on-one question and answer with btw to talk about their tour with Jason Isbell, and other featured bands like Iron and Wine.

btw: How was Roman Candle created?
LM: We’re from Chapel Hill and that’s where the band started in 1998. We live in Nashville, Tenn. now and we’ve been playing music for about 11 years as Roman Candle.

btw: As a band, Roman Candle has gone through a couple different recording labels before settling down with Carnival to put out “Oh Tall Tree in the Ear.” How has that shaped you as a band?
LM: Basically, when you are in the music industry, you have to figure out why you are making music. So throughout that whole process we decided that this is what we we’re going to do no matter what, and that’s a good gift that a bad experience in the music industry can give you. It makes you stick together.

btw: Because the three of you are family, do you feel that there is a special chemistry within the band that doesn’t necessarily exist in other groups? Does it aid in the creative and decision-making process?
LM: I definitely think that being in a family plays to our advantage artistically. I think in order to make collaborative artwork with people you have to speak the same artistic language and really get to know each other well. You have to know how to work together in a creative way. I think we make better art because we are a family. We also have a staying power because of it all. We know we aren’t going anywhere as family. We know we will always be rooted together.

btw: What has been your most memorable experience on this tour?
LM: We had a car wreck in Ohio actually. We were on our way to Athens, Ohio, to play a show and the car in front of us swerved and hit a guard rail and bounced off the rail and we smashed into it. That was the most memorable day because we have generally had pretty good luck on the road. That was back in April.

btw: What is it that sets “Oh Tall Tree in the Ear” apart from your past albums?
LM: It’s just the natural progression of our band making music, I suppose. We’re incredibly different people than we were when we made our previous record. I think that it’s all just part of a document of where we are at, or where we were at when we made that record.

btw: Being from Chapel Hill, do you feel more at home in a city like Columbus that has the same college town feeling when you are on the road?
RC: Well the food is always better in a college town. We really appreciate that end of it. But also, the kids are always great in a college town. They really enjoy music and live shows so we love playing in college towns. We definitely feel at home in places like Columbus. We were actually here in May, we did five shows in Ohio, which was more time than we have ever spent in a state.

Check out www.thelantern.com for an mp3 of Roman Candle’s single, “They Say.”

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