All Our Exes Live In Texas. The four women having the most rollicking good time with the sweetest of harmonies.
There is nothing quite like well placed harmonies - voices that compliment each other in emotion and tone. It's rare and it's so satisfying when you hear it. Harmonies aren't super common in mainstream contemporary music. Enter country/folk group All Our Exes Live In Texas. Four women - Hannah Crofts, Georgia Mooney, Elana Stone, and Katie Wighton - who have come together with their guitar, ukuleles and mandolin, and added their sweet voices and harmonies for days, weeks, years. And everyone is paying attention. The Exes have returned from the States where they were selected to play South by Southwest in Austin Texas alongside a host of other talented Australian women. While they were there, they had a great time performing and watching their favourite acts, and mandolin player and vocalist Georgia Mooney even gave an interview to a little American news agency called CNN about her thoughts on Donald Trump and the connection many Australians feel with American politics. After a rollicking time overseas, the band is back and about to head around Australia on their national tour after the successful release of their debut album, When We Fall. This LP has received rave reviews from critics far and wide, and the Exes, who formed on somewhat of a whim a few years ago, are taking it all in their stride. Having performed at many festivals, the band have also supported Backstreet Boys, UK's Passenger, Megan Washington, Kate Miller-Heidke and Mama Kin. All Our Exes Live In Texas are super gifted musicians, great friends, and seem to having a heck of a time doing what they love. Band member Georgia Mooney gave Music Love this interview speaking about their time at SXSW, the new album, how they formed, and their unusual name.
What does music mean to you?
Sheesh, what a question! To me music is expression, it’s art, it’s therapy, it’s people at their most exposed and genuine. I think music is essential to living but perhaps I am biased. I think my favourite thing about performing and also watching live music, is the sense of connection with the people around you.
When did you decide to form All Our Exes Live in Texas?
We were all living in Sydney and working on solo projects about four years ago. There was (and still is) a really wonderful folk and bluegrass community in Sydney who were all going to each other’s shows and jamming in living rooms. Our friends in The Morrisons and Green Mohair Suits inspired us to try some new instruments and belt out some harmonies together. In fact, it was James Daley (from The Morrisons) who came up with the idea for the band and gave us our first gig. Thanks mate!
Where did the name come from?
We googled the worst country song titles of all time and found a killer list. It’s seriously worth looking up. All My Exes Live in Texas by George Strait was on it so we pinched that, changed one word to make it a group effort and ran with it. We didn’t necessarily think we would be doing anything past the first gig but the band and the name stuck! I think it serves us well. It’s a bit silly and we’re a lot silly.
How did you all meet?
I wish it was a good story... Like Musician Tinder.....? (Did you know there’s a Celebrity Tinder?) We were part of a synchronised swimming troupe that had some state level success but ended when we lost our fifth member, Ma'am Kini, in the tragic belly whacker incident of ’09. After a number of years in therapy we grew too old for tumble turns and decided a folk band was a safer place to “drown” our sorrows. In actual fact, Hannah and I went to uni together, Elana used to give Hannah singing lessons, and Katie and Elana met at a gig.
Is there a leader of the band?
There are four leaders! It’s all very Even Steven.
What was the most striking thing you did or saw at SXSW?
SXSW is a wild untameable beast. We had an exceptional time. The shows were great, the Mexican food was great, being amongst a global music community was great. It required long naps, strong margaritas a full week of recovery but we’d do it again! It was great seeing so many incredible female artists smash it out of the ball park. Some of our favourites were Lizzo, Girlpool, Big Thief, Hurray for the Riff Raff and Agnes Obel. We were pretty keen to see Hanson too, to be honest, but the line was too long. They still got it.
You once shared the stage with the Backstreet Boys. Discuss
Ah, yes. I’m pleased you brought this up. I’m sure people tire of hearing about it but I do not tire of talking about it lemme tell ya! We were transported back to year five and had the most squeally, jump-up-and-down, euphoric tour ever. There were matching blue suits, there was side-of-stage dancing, there were arena crowds, there was Kevin teaching us the moves to Backstreet’s Back, there was exceptional catering it must be said. Everyone on that tour was a lovely legend.
Who are your favourite Australian women in music?
Our manager Clazzy (Clara Iaccarino) is an absolute boss. In fact, it just so happens that our manager, booking agent (Katie Rynne from Select Music) and PR team (Stacey Piggot from Secret Service) are all women. There are so many incredible female artists... it feels as though [we] are only being strengthened by the feminist movement of late. Artists like Oh Pep.... too many to list.
Which place in Australia are you most looking forward to when you tour in June/July?
It’s always fun to do the hometown show in Sydney but in truth we love going everywhere! We feel very lucky to get to do what we do. One of the nicest things about it is the chance to see so much of the country and meet people from all over the place.
What can someone expect from an All Our Exes show?
Ballads, Bangas and Banter.
Any tips for people who want to form a band?
a) expect to be filled with overwhelming joy, crushing self doubt, guilt, hope, financial instability and reckless abandon at all times
b) work with people you love and respect
c) the pay’s bad but the work is hard
d) play the drums
e) all and also none of the above