published Thursday, October 17th, 2013

Friends of Lola taking nothing for granted in rise to fame - Oct. 23

Friends of Lola is, from left, Houston Wages, Cyrena Wages and Gabe Rabben.
Friends of Lola is, from left, Houston Wages, Cyrena Wages and Gabe Rabben.

IF YOU GO

* What: Friends of Lola

* When: 9 p.m.

Wednesday, Oct. 23

* Where: Rhythm & Brews, 221 Market St.

* Admission: $7

* Phone: 423-267-4644

* Website: www.rhythm-brews.com

Pretty much from the beginning, band life has been surprisingly smooth sailing for the members of country trio Friends of Lola.

Last year, Houston Wages moved from Los Angeles to East Nashville to live with his sister, Cyrena Wages, and her boyfriend, Gabe Rabben. Despite siblings and a romantically involved couple living cheek and jowl in a cramped apartment, however, tempers have yet to flair, Cyrena Wages explains in a recent phone interview.

"It kind of sounds like a bit of a nightmare, but it's so easy," she says, adding that the living situation has actually improved their creative process. "We all get along and have a good time. It's easy to write because you can crash as soon as you're done. We work a lot and hang out a lot, and everything is surprisingly pretty easy."

The group's rise to prominence in the competitive Nashville music scene has been equally frictionless.

Within months of moving in together last fall, the three began playing at Music City venues. An early weeklong writing spree yielded enough material to fill a six-song EP, "Letters From Tennessee," which attracted the attention of a management company that quickly signed the band.

From there, the last 10 months have been a bit of a whirlwind, says Wages, who had to juggle her studies as a senior at Belmont University -- she graduated in August -- with the increasing demands of the band's growing fan base.

In just 10 months, Friends of Lola embarked on a mini tour and landed a slot with this year's Country Music Association Music Fest. The group's polished blend of a classic-rock sensibility with contemporary-country commercial appeal pinged the radar of outlets such as American Songwriter and Country Music Matters, which described them in an Oct. 8 feature as "ooz[ing] talent with their intoxicating harmonies, ability to play ... and impressive songwriting skills."

"Things happened really quick," Wages says. "We've been training and hoping for all this since we were very young, but it's just fallen together at the right time, I guess."

Wednesday, Oct. 23, Friends of Lola will make its Scenic City performing debut at Rhythm & Brews. Thanks to the strong sales of "Letters From Tennessee," the trio has been embroiled in work on a second EP, whose content will represent about half of their set along with material from the first EP and a handful of "hilarious" covers.

Looking ahead, the band members aren't taking it for granted that their star will continue to rise unhindered, but the momentum of the last year has given them plenty of reason to remain hopeful, says Wages.

"It's weird how it all happened, but we feel really lucky and are superstoked for what's coming up," she says.

Contact Casey Phillips at cphillips@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6205. Follow him on Twitter at @PhillipsCTFP.

about Casey Phillips...

Casey Phillips has worked as a features reporter in the Life department since May 2007. He writes about entertainment, young adults, technology and people of interest. Casey hails from Knoxville and earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism and a bachelor of arts in German. He previously worked as the features editor for Sidelines at Middle Tennessee State University. Casey received the East Tennessee Society of Professional Journalists Award of Excellence for Reviewing/Criticism in ...

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