“You and I, riding on the fringes
looking for a sound”- The Cush
The search for that sound has yielded yet another brilliant record from The Cush, a band founded by husband and wife Burette and Gabrielle Douglas. This is their first record with Ben Harper’s new label, Mad Bunny Records, and the 6th overall release from the band. Risk takers throughout their career, never content to be defined or restricted to a single genre, the Burlington Free Press did their best to describe them – and came pretty close - as “psychedelic space rock vibe with an Americana flavor.”
“See us now as we are.
Keep moving on.
Before we change once again.
Keep moving on.”
Gabrielle and Burette were both born and raised in Texas and both come from musical families - Gabrielle’s father was a classically trained pianist in his formative years. He and Gabby’s mother were great dancers, they met as teenagers and found they had an instant connection with one another on the dance floor. Gabrielle took tap, jazz & ballet lessons throughout her childhood into her teen years. “Dancing to music was my first experience with how much we can communicate through the art form of rhythm, melody and lyrics.” So, when I began to play and write music, this already felt very familiar and comfortable to me.”
Burette’s grandparents had a country music band together - his grandfather played guitar and his grandmother was on the drums. Burette used to go to their shows as a young child, and would even fall asleep in the guitar case. As he tells it, that was the same guitar case which he would later fetch out from under a bed to teach himself to play: “I knew that we had a decent acoustic guitar that my grandfather had given my mom. When I was 16 I got it out and started trying to learn it. I learned some chords from my grandfather, and a couple from my uncle, and I never stopped playing.”
In addition to their grandparents and parents being musicians, all kinds of music was always playing in each of their households, whether on the radio or on the turntable, there was a constant array of sounds. They grew up soaking in the sounds of 70s rock and country radio, then the new wave era and alternative sounds from the 80’s & 90’s. Their influences are many and range from The Beatles, Neil Young, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Bruce Springsteen, The Pretenders, Jimi Hendrix, Billie Holiday, John Denver, Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd, U2, The Cure, and Sonic Youth just to name a few.
In fact it was their love of music that bonded them when they first met through mutual friends in 1993. Gabby recalls, “Burette and I began dating a few months into playing music with one another. We began to write our own songs separately, and then sometimes together. Then we formed our first band, Buck Jones, in 1993.” Buck Jones recorded three full albums and toured much of the US before breaking up in 1999. A year later, they formed their new band, The Cush.
In 2001, Burette and Gabrielle relocated to Burlington, Vermont where The Cush released their debut self-titled record. The band began touring the Northeast US, developing a loyal following. In 2006 they released their next record, “New Appreciation for Sunshine” on Undertow Records. The following year they were invited and performed at NXNE in Toronto, as well as at The Dream Machine festival, which included their first UK tour.
In 2010, they returned to their home state of Texas and released their third self-recorded album, “Between the Leaves”. The album was recorded in various locations amid several east coast tours between Vermont and Texas. 2011 saw the band return for their second UK tour, which also included dates in Italy, Sweden, and Germany. In 2012 they were invited to perform at Austin Psych Festival, now known as Levitation.
The bands following continued to grow and touring Europe brought recognition and interest from labels abroad. In 2015 they released the psych rocking “Transcendental Heatwave”, released jointly via Norwegian label Follyphone Records and Dream Machine Records in the UK/Europe and Dreamy Soundz /Synaptic Empire in the US. In 2016 they did their third UK tour, including a stop at the Supernormal festival in the UK, as well as shows at the Isle of Man, and in Norway. This tour yielded the 2018 release, “The Isle of Man EP” released on Dreamy Life Records. These songs were written by Burette and Gabrielle and recorded by Gyp Buggane in three days at Ballagroove Studios. In 2017, The Cush performed at Waking Windows music festival in Vermont. And in 2019 they performed at the Fortress Festival in Texas. They have had many opportunities to share the stage with national/international bands over the years. Their sound goes well with many genres, so they draw a variety of listeners and fans of all ages.
“Find your way into the dark
Tasting fears that take of your spark
Kind side shine so bright
Behold the glow, a tranquil sight
will shine, a love divine.
Fly, Fly, Fly, Fly”
2020 finds the band back in their native Texas, continuing their pursuit of new sounds and ready to release their latest. The LP, “Riders in the Stardust Gold” was written and recorded in Fort Worth, Texas. Burette and Gabrielle wrote the songs and many tracks were recorded at Empire Sound Studio by David Castell, assisted by Alex Gerst. Other tracks were recorded by Jerry Hudson at Eagle Audio, assisted by John Nuckles. Additional instruments and vocals recorded by Burette and Gabrielle in their home studio. The song, ”Haters”, was co produced by Ben Harper. “Haters”, “Beneath the Lines”, “Chariots of Smog”, “Ajna Returns”, “Fly” and “Daydream Beach” each take you on a journey to be returned with a new state of being before going into the stardust again. The LP will be released on Mad Bunny Records in the Spring of 2021, with the first single “Haters” out in January 2021.
Burette Douglas: guitar, vocals
Gabrielle Douglas: bass, vocals
Ben Hance: guitar, keys
Austin Green: drums, percussion
photo credit: Ben Garrett