I recently saw Love and Theft in East Grand Forks at Happy Harry’s Rockin’ Up North Fest where they opened for Michael Ray on the second day of the festival. I have been a fan of Love and Theft since their first album released in 2009, World Wide Open. Their self-titled second album produced the hit song Angel Eyes and Running out of Air. Following a split from their music label, Love and Theft released their 3rd album, Whiskey on my Breath in 2015 as independent artists. While waiting to release another entire larger project, they had a few singles which have often been in their set lists including Candyland, Love Wins, Gimme Tonight, You Didn’t Want Me, and Need to Breathe. You can imagine the excitement fans are feeling that after 7 years, there’s a collection released. The 6 song EP titled Better Off was released on July 22, 2022. There is a vibrant charm to this collection of music that carries through the entire EP. The title track is a favorite so far, the semantic variation of ‘better off’ is fun to follow throughout the song. You may notice Stephen Barker Liles is sporting a Cashville Hooligans shirt in the video. Accidently on Purpose is a song about the sorrow of an unexpected relationship ending. The remaining song titles are Mirror Mirror, Anyway, Downhill, and Tell Me what it Feels Like. The EP has a good variety of storylines in different formats, contexts, and tones that flow well together for this project. It was refreshing to hear the new songs on stage and hear fans singing the lyrics back to them.
I first met Stephen Barker Liles and Eric Gunderson (Love and Theft) at the ACM Party for a Cause in 2015. We were the checker pieces of a game on a giant board in a celebrity charity game for veterans charities. It was made up of artists and fan players. (I hope that wasn’t my 15 minutes of fame) Storme Warren from Sirius XM The Highway was the emcee with Thomas Rhett and Kelly Pickler as team captains. The celebrity players left an impression on me and that sparked an interest in me to get involved in promoting music. I was reintroduced to Love and Theft following their Minneapolis show later that summer. Since then, I have attended almost every show Love and Theft have had in the area, and of course, if life allows, I travel to see them in neighboring states.
They are two of my favorite people and it has been a pleasure to get to know them in the last few years.
Congratulations to you guys on the release of Better Off!
Congratulations to Eric for 7.5 years of sobriety!
In a Country Minute
Love and Theft at Rockin Up North Fest '22