Matt Megrue has a thing for side projects. Two years ago, he told us that his band the Loners Society started out as one, and then it grew into his main band. Today, history just might be repeating itself with his latest venture, Matt Megrue and the Daisy Chains.
Megrue's new band initially came together to back up singer-songwriter Logan Venderlic, and then they played an Upstate festival. After those two gigs, the Chains realized they may be onto something. "At the time that's all we were thinking — that would be it — and then it just sort of happened that we kept playing together," says Megrue. "The Loners Society had more of a punk-rock direction, but this is stuff that's more rooted in Americana and features the pedal steel."
Today, the Loners Society has been put on hold since guitarist Dan Rainey moved to New Jersey. "We recorded a Loners Society record, and it's pretty much done," Megrue says. "Maybe I'll finish it one day, or maybe the songs will resurface in a different way — I'm still trying to figure out where to go with that."
Just under a year old, the Daisy Chains consist of two Loners, Megrue and drummer Danny Natale, plus pianist-vocalist Asher Sircy, A Fragile Tomorrow's Brendan (guitar) and Sean Kelly (bass), and pedal steel extraordinaire Charlie Thompson (Jordan Igoe, Guilt Ridden Troubadour, Mac Leaphart). Considering the various genres and backgrounds represented, the Daisy Chains' name is one that fits perfectly. "Our drummer, who works in technology, suggested it," Megrue says of the techie term. "Daisy-chaining is like putting together different parts that aren't supposed to necessarily go together to make something work. And so with this, it was like we had Sean and Brendan and Danny and Charlie, so it was like we kind of daisy-chained a band together for those couple of shows. So that's where that came from."
This weekend, the band will release the first in a series of three seven-inch EPs. The first two EPs were produced by Sean Kelly at the Savannah studio he runs with his twin brother, A Fragile Tomorrow's Dominic Kelly. The first EP is called When My Time Comes, and the title track deals with death and all the complications that surround it. "I'd had some friends and family members who had passed, and I was sort of thinking about if you had the opportunity to wrap things up and all the things you'd want to do," Megrue says. "It's a song about trying to tie up loose ends, whether that's right now or later — you just never really know. And I guess that's the point of it — trying to live every day and not let anything linger for too long."
Another track featured on the record is about the small town in Georgia in which Megrue grew up, Kelleytown. On "Kelleytown," the singer confronts the feelings of shame he once had about his origins. He says, "I spent so much time trying to look like I wasn't from the South and trying to sound like I wasn't from the South, because I thought the perception of the South was, 'Oh, you've got a Southern accent — that must mean you're dumb,' or 'You're from the South, you're obviously a racist.' You know? And so it's all of these things that I thought that being from the South meant."
However, after traveling around the country playing shows in cities both big and small and meeting different people, Megrue's feelings on the South began to change. Now he's proud of where he's from, and his music reflects that. "I realized that there's a lot of really good people here and there's no shame in being from the South," he says. "It took coming into my own and figuring out that it's not the geographic location — there's more to it than that."