Signing Story: Matrimony--The Path to Columbia Records

Matrimony

Date Signed: Nov. 8, 2012
Label: Columbia Records
Type of Music: Alternative Folk/Rock
Band Members: Jimmy Brown, lead vocals, acoustic and electric guitar; Ashlee Hardee Brown, lead vocals and piano; C.J. Hardee, banjo; Zack Smith, bass; Jordan Hardee, drums.
Management: sarahkesselman@gmail.com
Booking: Zachary Cepin and Frank Riley, High Road Touring, 415-332-9292
Legal: John Strohm, Loeb & Loeb
Publicity: melissa.levine@sonymusic.com / 212-833-7144
Web: http://facebook.com/matrimonync
A&R: Mark Williams / Columbia

Husband and wife team Jimmy Brown and Ashlee Hardee Brown had played around the Charlotte, NC, music scene as a duo and, occasionally, with family members Jordan and C.J. Hardee, for a few years. “We all grew up with a lot of acoustic instruments around the house so it was natural that we would eventually form a band,” says Jimmy. “We all had different things going at first and worked on each other’s projects. But it was a dream for me and Ashlee to bring on C.J. and Jordan and let them do their thing on some of the songs we were writing.”

“You hear stories about how major labels make you change your sound. It's been the opposite for us.”

The band Matrimony made their working partnership official in 2009. After three years of writing, recording and playing live venues fate played a role in their trajectory to the next level. “There were a few record labels that we were talking to before Columbia, but nobody made a concrete offer,” explains Irish-born Jimmy. “When Columbia came along their offer was awesome and we felt really good about it.” The alliance with the legendary major label came about via a journalist from Los Angeles who was doing a story on North Carolina music. Hearing positive things, the reporter sought the band out for an interview and connected with their vibrant acoustic-oriented sound. Soon after their meeting she contacted her boyfriend who had industry connections with Columbia. The label reps liked what they heard and flew out from New York to see the band live in their hometown. A deal was offered almost immediately.

Their debut album Montebello Drive was recorded in Nashville and is slated for a spring 2013 release. But an advance buzz has been already afoot on the band through Columbia’s placement of their powerful single “Obey Your Guns” in a current Chevrolet Malibu TV spot.

“It’s really awesome to have a label like Columbia behind you,” expresses Jimmy. “They really are into helping the band grow. You hear all those nightmare stories about how major labels make you change your sound. It’s been the opposite for us. They want us to do the music we wanna do.”

——Eric A. Harabadian