It’s easy to get stuck in the electronic, club-banging music scene that dominates the 305. But if you’re lucky, you can catch a break. The alternative country band Antigone Rising offered a different type of sound during their set at The Stage on Jan. 31.
Based in New York, these women – Nini Camps, Dena Tauriello and sisters Kristen Henderson-Ellis and Cathy Henderson – have been jamming together since college. The group combines raw country, classic rock, Americana and Camps’ stellar vocals.
Their humor and attitude during the show was reminiscent of the rural South and enough to make fans want to hang out and get a beer with these cool, down-to-earth women who are clearly passionate about their music.
They kicked off the show with several songs from their last album, “23 Red.” Standout crowd favorites included “Everywhere Is Home” and “Weed & Wine.” Then came the popular single “That Was the Whiskey,” which is currently in rotation on country stations. They closed with the sweet and honest “Borrowed Time.”
After the show, The Miami Hurricane got the chance to ask bassist Kristen Henderson-Ellis a few questions.
The Miami Hurricane: So, your new EP is coming out in March. What can we expect to hear? How has your sound changed from past records?
Kristen Henderson-Ellis: We’re doing things differently now. We’re releasing two EPS– the first in March, then another in October. Stylistically, we’re becoming more and more country on this, and we’ve been writing with Lori McKenna [who has written for Faith Hill and Hunter Hayes].
TMH: Last year, you were on the cover of TIME Magazine’s issue featuring the headline, “Gay Marriage Already Won.” (The photo shows Kristen kissing her wife Sarah Kate Ellis-Henderson, President and CEO of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation; GLAAD). How has your emerging role in gay culture affected your career and the band?
KHE: It’s given me many career opportunities, to host LGBT events such as the Empire Pride Agenda in NYC. It hasn’t really affected how the band works.
TMH: Has being a mom affected the music and touring? [Kristen and Sarah Kate were pregnant at the same time, and the night of this show was 5 years from the date Kristen’s water broke.] KHE: For all the moms in the group, our perspective on life shifted. It’s really mind-blowing, there’s no way to prepare for it. It never gets any easier to leave, even though the kids are old enough now to know what’s going on.
TMH: Aside from Kacey Musgraves, most names at the top of the country charts right now seem to be men [Luke Bryan, Eric Church, etc.] Are there any challenges in the industry that come with having your kind of group?
KHE: As an all-women group, it has always been challenging, especially in this genre. But we’re not trying to be Sugarland. We don’t give a sh*t if the majority likes it or not. For us, it’s more about the fans who have always been there.
Antigone Rising was previously affiliated with Lava Records, but now their music is released purely by fan support through online pledge campaigns. Accolades include touring with the Rolling Stones, Aerosmith and Joan Jett, and performing throughout the Middle East in 2012 as cultural ambassadors, arranged by the U.S. federal government.
Their new EP, “Whiskey & Wine Volume 1,” comes out in March. For more information, check out their website antigonerising.com.