One of my absolute favorite parts of having the blessing of being a fulltime singer-songwriter over the last decade is the amazing musician friends with whom I am blessed to forge meaningful relationships. Over the course of the last 4 years, most of my columns here have featured “individual artists,” and to close out 2022/kick off 2023, I wanted to give some love and recognition to an exciting up and coming group comprised of some truly quality guys.
In particular, the lead guitarist of this group is someone I consider a real friend. Even though we don’t see each other all that much these days, we are kindred spirits and have had the pleasure of sharing the stage together a chunk of times when he has joined me for full band shows. This month’s column features Quincy Todd, whose members are:
Eric Wood: Vocals
Josh McCoy: Guitar
Shawn Hart: Bass
Nathan Lorraine: Drums
Having the opportunity to address both Eric and Josh, I will keep this month’s piece in more of an interview format because it is such great stuff they have shared. I hope you will enjoy getting to know more about these wonderful guys that are gifted musicians as I have.
I would love to hear more about how you first began to really get pulled in by music? What are some of your early memories of music affecting you?
ERIC: Well, my first “emotional” memory of music was when I was very young, I cried in the middle of La Bamba when I found out Ritchie Valens died! As far as being first pulled in by a song, when I was a kid, my oldest brother used to turn off the lights in the bedroom, and made me lay down on the floor and listen to Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” album, and it changed everything. I realized how much more connected I was to music than anything else from that moment forward.
JOSH: The first song I remember hitting me emotionally is “Bad” by U2, way back when I was probably 10-11 years old. I specifically remember hearing the emotions of the melody and lyrics, and just feeling the singer’s pain as he was singing the song. Really, from that point forward, I’ve been more drawn to dark, emotional songs, as opposed to anything upbeat or mainstream. That’s definitely carried on into what I’ve always created as an artist myself.
When did you first begin playing? When did you start performing live for people?
ERIC: My first actual performance in front of people was when I went on American Idol. I was so green and wet behind the ears, and had no idea what I was capable of, even when they gave me the ticket to Hollywood. I still didn’t really have a full grasp of what I was capable of until I met Josh and played with a group of local guys from Devine, Texas. That’s where I got my first taste of performing original music with genuinely talented musicians. Josh, Nathan, and the rest of those guys helped me shed my insecurities; they helped me actually open up and find my true abilities with singing and songwriting.
JOSH: I started playing at 15, joined my first band at 17, and have been playing off and on with bands and solo gigs for almost 16 years now…I want to piggyback off of meeting with Eric and our old band, From Kings. Immediately, we felt the chemistry of our music and we began writing songs. Even though things didn’t work out with that band, Eric and I became very close and continued writing and playing acoustic shows here and there for years. As time went on, we started calling ourselves Quincy Todd, which is a play on both of our middle names. Last year, we finally put together this band, and hit the live music circuit hard across several venues in Austin. It had its ups and downs, but opened a lot of doors for us. We welcomed Nathan (Lorraine) and Shawn (Hart) into the band this year, and the chemistry of the four of us has grown immensely with each show we’ve played. All four of us believe in our original songs, and love playing them together.
What was your journey like musically that led you to where you are now?
ERIC: After realizing I actually had potential as a vocalist and songwriter, my chemistry with Josh and our ability to inspire one another in creating music lit a fire that has grown into a true passion and life calling that has given me an outlet and a way to express emotions and ideas. To a point now, everything I do is based on “how can I put this in a song.” The connection, friendship, and musical relationship that Josh and I found almost immediately exposed a part of me I never knew existed. From that point on, I never realized I had so much to say. I shed all of my insecurities and found comfort and freedom to just create. It’s like where I lack, he has strengths. Where he lacks, I have strengths. And now, with Quincy Todd forming, all of the endless hours in a back room on GarageBand has developed an undeniable original sound that I can only describe as “genuinely me.”
JOSH: I started out playing guitar…from very early on, I had a natural knack for playing more complex guitar parts than most of my peers, even the guys that had been playing for years. While I was in my first band, I ran into a songwriter in Devine, and sat and watched him craft melodies and lyrics from feelings and emotions, and a lightbulb clicked. I didn’t know it was possible to just write music and songs out of thin air! I became a student of melody, and what it takes to craft a song that people can connect and sing along to. My focus shifted away from just playing lead guitar, into writing and playing my own songs. I had great partnerships along the years, but when I met Eric, an immediate connection formed that I had never encountered before. It sounds cliche, but it’s like Eric and I are the same person when we’re writing and playing together. We feel what the other person is pursuing, and each of us can fill the spaces as we’re crafting ideas in our songs. We’ve been playing together in bands and solo shows for 7 years now, but Quincy Todd is the final product and perfect representation of all of these years of working together and feeding off of each other.
Who would you classify as 2-3 of your most significant musical influences?
ERIC: Chris Cornell, Caleb Followill, and Lane Staley. Each of these vocalists have so much emotion and pain in their voice, and always drew me in in such a way, that I wanted to be able to touch people with my music in the same way that they touched me. To me, there’s nothing more beautiful than pain in a song. I aspire to be as influential and powerful as Chris Cornell was in everything that I do. For songwriting, I find that I most often think and talk in metaphors, and once I found Caleb Followill and Kings of Leon, I started dissecting their songs. I realized how similar we were in our delivery and vocal style, and found a completely new inspiration for songwriting. A band called Manchester Orchestra is also responsible for a large part of my style of songwriting. I like to think if you dissect my vocals and the writing of our original songs, you’ll find every one of these folks in there. They’re all “hopeless romantics with too much pain to write a love song,” if that makes sense.
JOSH: Mine’s in two parts: For guitar, David Gilmour and John Frusciante. Both of them have a special type of phrasing with their instruments that’s both in-your-face, yet absolutely melodic and beautiful. If you dissect my guitar in any of Quincy Todd’s songs, you can definitely hear the inspiration of those two artists. For songwriting, the most significant influence is a man named John Campsey, who was a dear friend, and an absolute prodigy for conveying emotion, gorgeous melody, energy, and storytelling in his music, especially in his band Sleepway. John passed away a few years back, and I like to think his presence is in every lyric and melody that I write.
What are some of both the most challenging and rewarding aspects of being a full time (or part time) singer songwriter? What does incorporating music into life mean/look like now?
ERIC: Music and songwriting has given me an outlet and escape from the stresses of everyday life. Nothing is more therapeutic. The energy that it takes to get everyone on their feet, dancing, and singing along…there’s an equal and opposite energy of silencing an entire room. I know what it’s like to be in a crowd and not be able to speak from being so captivated by what I’m experiencing. To be the one that’s delivering that for someone else is the biggest reward for me.
JOSH: Music is therapy. Every lyric that I write is an experience that I’ve overcome in my life. It’s a great feeling to be able to share my story, and hopefully move someone that’s going through something similar when they hear something that I’ve written.
What do you enjoy that takes your mind away from the music/and work (business) when you need to recharge?
ERIC: Honestly music is how I get away; when I’m not engulfed in the music, I enjoy disc golf with my buddies, sitting on the river under Faust Bridge listening to reggae, and letting everything go. If it’s not that, I honestly like to just turn on the radio, get behind the wheel, drive down some backroads with the windows down for a relaxing smoke.
JOSH: For me it’s my wife Lauren, and my daughter Emery. Everything I do in my life is for them. They’re the reason I get up every morning and the reason I want to continue to get better and be the best possible version of myself. Love is what makes me who I am, and the love I feel for the two of them is indescribable. And that love is only going to grow from there, as Lauren is currently expecting our first baby boy in March!
What are one or two things most people don’t know about you?
ERIC: If I’m being honest, I’m a deeply self-conscious man who has struggled with addiction. And as shameful as it is, I am not a native Texan.
JOSH: Here’s one that very very few people know. Eric was the Best Man at my wedding, and for his Best Man speech, he sang “Friendship” by Chris Stapleton. Needless to say, he brought the house down with his performance and completely outshined me and my wife on what was supposed to be our day. I still haven’t forgiven him for that.
ERIC: Ummmm I conferred with your wife for that, and made damn sure she was okay with it, and ensured me that she was on board.
JOSH: Still don’t forgive you.
How do you juggle life responsibilities with art and creativity?
ERIC: I don’t. There’s no middle ground for me. I’m a bipolar, manic human who literally lives in the moment and struggles to look ahead of himself. Very rarely do I plan, because plans very seldomly are followed through within my world.
JOSH: It’s definitely tough…but life responsibilities are the catalyst of art and creativity. Without the challenges of the ups, downs, successes, failures, love, loss, and hardships of life, my music and art would not exist. Every lyric that we write comes from a place of truth and real-life experience. So I welcome the challenge of juggling what happens in my life with our pursuit of music. It’s a safe space when I need a place to escape, and it’s a rush being able to share my stories with anyone who’s willing to listen.
JOSH and ERIC: We want to give a special shout out to the other two members of Quincy Todd, Nathan Lorraine, and Shawn Hart. Nathan is an absolute animal and is the hardest working member of the band, and the backbeat of our sound. Shawn Hart is on bass. He’s so much more than just an incredible bass player. He’s a full time musician and singer/songwriter on his own. Quincy Todd would not be where they are today without the special sounds and presence of these two fine gentlemen.
The enjoyment of music is a gift, and the opportunity to do so when you feel as though you “know” the artists a little bit more, and can see that they are genuine human beings possessing both natural talent and hard-earned skill make it all the more special.
Quincy Todd is planning to release their debut album “Honey” in March and will be released on Spotify, Apple Music, and in physical formats.
Folks can find them at www.quincytodd.com, facebook.com/quincytoddofficial and @quincytoddofficial on Instagram.
The band holds a residency for every other 4th Saturday at Billy’s Ice in New Braunfels that you should attend at your earliest availability.
Big thanks to these wonderful guys and good friends, and I wish you all God’s blessing, peace, and joy in 2023!