Los Angeles-based the Walcotts blend traditional American roots-based instruments into a raucous party for all, with male-female harmony singing, various acoustic string instruments, horns and an all-out attitude for fun. Lead vocalist and guitar player Tom Cusimano is a musician first, but also a music industry employee and, now, label owner. “My first job was at Interscope, answering phones outside of Jimmy Iovine’s office,” he says. That led to a career in Artist Relations at Universal Music. One would think, with his background, it wouldn’t be tough to get a label deal, but after going through the traditional channels and meetings with a couple of labels, Cusimano decided to create his own, Local Hero Records, securing distribution via Kobalt.
“It’s a lot easier than you’d think to start your own label,” he says. “The hardest part was coming up with the name. I must have gone through 60 names!” After having an attorney friend do the research, he found that the name Local Hero was surprisingly available.
“It’s a lot easier than you’d think to start your own label.”
Commenting on the band’s artistic strategy to incorporate multiple instruments and keep a coherent sound to the tracks, Cusimano refers to a Gregg Allman interview he once read that advised bands to avoid overlaying the instruments, so as to not make it sound “messy.”
As a band that mixes country, rock, blues and rock & roll, and with a varying line-up, there is a challenge in terms of marketing. “It’s so important to have a good public relations team,” Cusimano advises.
Currently, Local Hero singularly hosts the Walcotts, with the possibility to grow its roster. For now, the focus is on the Walcotts' debut release, Let the Devil Win. Recorded in Muscle Shoals, AL at FAME and in Los Angeles at Fonogenic Studios, the album released Sept. 16 on vinyl, digitally and on CD.
Photo by Max Knight
For more of Music Connection's signing stories, click HERE!