If you’re looking for country music’s next hottest duo, search no further. Their names are George Birge and Cody Cooper, and together they make up Waterloo Revival, AKA your next musical obsession. Hailing from Austin, Texas, this incredibly talented duo took their name from their hometown’s original name, in order to share their city’s thriving music scene to the rest of the world. George and Cody have taken that traditional Texas sound that’s come naturally to them, combined it with their love for the country they grew up on (George Strait, Garth Brooks, Toby Keith, Willie Nelson), thrown in influences from their favorite non-country artists (Third Eye Blind and Matchbox Twenty) and managed to create a sound that mainstream country radio needs to hear NOW. Their music is like listening to the best parts of guys like Thomas Rhett, Cole Swindell and Brett Eldredge but still manages to maintain the traditionalism that country music is all about. Don’t believe me? Go over to iTunes, Apple Music, or Spotify and take a listen for yourself. If you’re not impressed or blown away by them, I think it’s time to reevaluate your taste in country music.
George and Cody met in middle school and have been writing and playing music together ever since. After years of juggling day jobs and moonlighting as musicians, the duo made the decision to pack their bags and make the move to Nashville to pursue music full time. It was in 2015 that the guys released their single “Hit the Road” and immediately knew they had something special. From there things started to take off for the Texas natives.
“ ‘Hit the Road’ was the song that changed everything for us. We had been playing around the Texas area for a few years at the time that we released the song, and never expected to be able to do music full time, let alone on a nationwide scale. A friend of ours who works in radio, told us he really liked the song, and asked if we cared if he sent it along to his buddy that manages Toby Keith. Not too long after TK Kimbrell, Toby Keith’s manager and our current manager, flew out to a show of ours in Austin, and convinced us to quit our desk jobs and move to Nashville. We played a few showcases and the song paved the way for our first record deal with Big Machine. ‘Hit the Road’ was a song we were both drawn to as soon as we finished writing it because of the feel good anthem style of it. We feel so lucky that the song resonated with everyone else the way that it did with us, as it paved the way for so much of our career.”
After about six months of writing in Nashville, George and Cody wrote their next single “Bad For You” with popular songwriter Ross Copperman and Jon Nite, which was also released in 2015. As the guys explained to me in our interview together, they wrote “Bad For You” because they “were really looking for a way to incorporate all of the different styles of music that we grew up with in a feel good, and upbeat song you couldn’t help but dance to.” Goal Accomplished. Both “Hit the Road” and “Bad For You” were excellent singles to kick-start this duo’s music career, as they each represent the different dimensions you get when you listen to Waterloo Revival. If you think these two songs are great, though, then you’ll be over the moon when you hear their Front Row EP, released in March of 2016, as well as the bonus track that came not long after entitled “Racin’ to the Red Light.”
“We did the Front Row EP as an independent project, which was such an awesome experience. We chose the first 6 songs after having tested each one’s response over the last year of touring, and also were able to each make sure our favorite songs of all the ones we’d written the past 12 months were included. We chose the songs that were our favorites, as well as our friends’ favorites and went to the studio to get an EP we could release on our own. The funny thing that happened right as we released the record, is we had just finished writing “Racin’ to the Red Light,” and were kicking ourselves for not being able to include in the first release. We figured we might as well record it and release, so we went to the studio the following month and put it out as a bonus track to the EP.”
If you haven’t heard Waterloo Revival’s Front Row EP yet, I can say without a doubt in my mind that you are 100% missing out on some of the best country music I have heard in a long time. It’s a sound that’s so fresh and fun, and thanks to those Austin accents it’s also unique in its own way that’s completely separate from any of the other Texas bands you may have already heard. They also know how to write songs that are absolutely relatable in the most honest ways possible. I would tell you the best songs to listen to, but it’s literally damn near impossible to pick a favorite song because they ALL offer something different but equally amazing. Looking for a soundtrack to your summer romance? Listen to “Summer Thing.” Looking for those heartfelt, romantic jams to win over that special someone in your life? Go listen to “I Could Get Used to This,” “Racin’ to the Red Light,” and “Meet Up in the Middle.” Need a sensual slow jam for your date night in? “Front Row” is your go to song. Still kicking yourself in the ass for letting The One get away? “That Damn I Didn’t Give” is THE best song I have heard about regret and not realizing what you have until it’s LONG time gone and a must listen track that I think everyone can relate to.
“ ‘That Damn I Didn’t Give’ is one of our favorite songs because it’s something that everyone has experienced and can relate to. We were looking for a song that was a good way of explaining that feeling of not knowing what you had until it’s gone, while in a writing session with our friend Dustin James. The title was his idea, and as soon as he told us, we knew it was perfect for what we were looking for. We started with the title and worked backwards, each of us putting in a bit of our own experiences into the story. We’ve been told that the lyrics come across honest and relatable, and we’re sure that’s because they came from each of our own lives.”
And in case you were looking for something that takes fun just a couple notches higher, you need to listen to “Backwood Bump.” This song takes entertainment to a whole new level with its use of clever phrases like “hush punch” and “backyard halogens,” while also giving it’s listeners instructions set to a thumping bass line that even those of us who are rhythmically challenged can dance to. Taking ques from “Uptown Funk” and “Watch Me (Nay Nay),” George and Cody added their own backwood spin in order to create a country party anthem perfectly suited for your next outdoor shindig. The song has become such a hit, in fact, that it’s been featured during NCAA games and even included in the Dallas Cheerleaders dance routine.
As the guys explained to me in our interview, “That song came about on a Sunday afternoon after we’d been having a bit of a Sunday-funday. I think everyone was a few drinks in, and we decided there weren’t enough country dance songs out there. We set out to write something that was fun for everyone, told you how to dance to it, and more than anything was just fun.”
And just in case their EP and three singles aren’t enough to satisfy your fix of these guys, you definitely need to check out their Nashville Acoustic Sessions on YouTube, featuring two new songs that will only make you fall even more in love with Waterloo Revival. “Love Runs Deep” and “Fall” are solid love songs with some seriously swoon-worthy lyrics. Like everything else George and Cody have done so far, these two songs are nothing short of flawless. The pure, raw talent that these guys possess is nothing short of remarkable. From their melodic harmonies and candid songwriting to their unique contemporary sound, Waterloo Revival are the real deal in every way imaginable. I for one can’t wait to hear more from them and look forward to a full length album we’ll hopefully get later this year.
In the meantime, George and Cody are still coming off the high from all the excitement 2016 brought them. That included not only being signed to Toby Keith’s Show Dog Nashville record label, but also being asked to open for the country icon along with Eric Paslay on the singer’s Interstates and Tailgates Tour sponsored by Ford F-Series this past summer. The guys of course had nothing but wonderful things to say about the tour and the experience as a whole.
“We thought getting signed to Show Dog Nashville was probably going to be a highlight of our year, but then we were told a few weeks later that we were getting to go on tour with him and we almost lost it. The tour was so much fun and such a learning experience. Both Toby and Eric are amazing songwriters, and getting to learn from them each week was one of the best things we could have asked for.”
When I asked George and Cody the biggest lesson they took away from touring with someone like Toby Keith, the guys responded by saying, “Watching Toby perform each night, and seeing how he worked the crowd was the best lesson we could have gotten. He’s been performing for so long, and could easily get by on just showing up and singing all of his songs that everyone knows, but he goes above and beyond each night. We figured out how to work a bigger stage, saw how good he is at bringing people in with stories between songs in his set, but more than anything, saw how having fun on stage translates so much of the crowds’ energy. When it comes to touring, it’s all about having fun and enjoying what you’re doing, and Toby’s a perfect example of that.”
George and Cody are currently still working on finalizing plans for their own tour this year, which will hopefully include a stop in Chicago. Maybe Joe’s Bar on Weed Street?
“We were lucky to play there in 2015, and were blown away by the amount of people that showed up and knew all the words to our songs. It’s easily one of our favorite spots to play, and we’re doing everything we can to get back there ASAP!” I know I for one will definitely be there!
In an industry where new artists may sometimes feel like a dime a dozen, I find Waterloo Revival to be a breath of fresh air. Their authenticity, wholesome attitude, and genuine talent set them apart from any other up and coming artist, especially country duo, you’ll hear today. They have the work ethic and desire it takes to succeed in the music business, there’s no doubt about that.
They’re also incredibly appreciative of their fans, and they do their damnedest to respond to everything that comes their way.
“Without our fans support we would have none of this, so we try to give them everything we can. #ReviverNation is the best!”