Attic Wolves
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Attic Wolves

Kansas City, Missouri, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2011 | SELF

Kansas City, Missouri, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2011
Band Americana Folk




"Video Interview with Attic Wolves: A look behind the scenes"

Vox talks with Attic Wolves, the winners of the 2014 John Lennon Songwriting Contest at this year's Roots 'N' Blues:

Attic Wolves did not know exactly what they were getting into when they were told they would be performing at a music festival in mid-Missouri, but their enthusiasm and excitement was articulated through their versatile skills and lively performance. As winners of the 2014 John Lennon Songwriting Contest, the five friends and bothers from Kansas City took the stage on Saturday at this year’s Roots ‘N’ Blues ‘N’ BBQ festival and blew the crowd away with their alternative-folk style. As what they described as the largest performance they’ve ever done, the band expressed their gratitude for the large turnout and they were thrilled and humbled to take part in the festival experience.

Interview Video: - VOX Magazine

"A band from Kansas City wins a spot on center stage - Preview: Attic Wolves"

Attic Wolves won the John Lennon Songwriting contest without even knowing they entered.

The Kansas City band with a catchy alternative-folk sound that resembles Mumford and Sons has been humbly frugal in its three-year existence. Although they have toured the West Coast and Midwest, the band tries to limit its expenses. The members turned down family funding and, instead, started a successful Kickstarter to finance their debut album, Carry Us On.

But Matt Heavilin, father of guitarist Nate and bassist Caleb, encouraged the group to keep its subscription to Sonicbids, a website listing musical competitions and contests.

“Give it one more year,” he told them.

He paid the monthly fee and secretly entered the band into the John Lennon Songwriting contest. He hoped to win them the chance to perform in a prime Saturday slot at the Roots ’N’ Blues ’N’ BBQ festival — a chance that could draw a crowd of thousands.

Nate Heavilin found out when he got a call from New York City that he wasn’t expecting. “Here’s to Looking Back,” the band’s debut single from their second album, Volume and Boldness, won them the contest. The band immediately checked the Roots ’N’ Blues lineup, counting the number of musical influences they’d perform alongside, such as The Avett Brothers.

Nate Heavilin and Matt Richardson, the band’s songwriting duo, drew inspiration from artists such as Sufjan Stevens and Bob Dylan. They brought these two musical directions together when they reunited after college; Heavilin heading toward pop and Richardson toward theatrical artistry. They merged into one of America’s musical roots: folk.

The band got its name from an obscure Arrested Development reference. The members picked up instruments they had never played before, the mandolin and the banjo, and composed folky pop songs that tell stories while landing catchy riffs firmly in your ears.

“We wanted to make the banjo palatable,” Nate Heavilin says. “And write pop songs that matter, pop songs that have substance.”

Roots ’N’ Blues will mark the band’s first show in Columbia. Attic Wolves will get the chance to prove what Matt Heavilin wanted the judge to know when he submitted not just one song but five.

He says, “This is a band with depth, a band that can stand and deliver a full set of quality, original and heartfelt music.” - VOX Magazine

"‘Here’s to Looking Back’ to the future with Attic Wolves"

Some of the freshest, most bearded faces at this weekend’s Roots N Blues N BBQ festival will come courtesy of Kansas City’s Attic Wolves.

The rambling, ambling folk-rock wrecking crew won a coveted spot at this year’s festival through the John Lennon Songwriting Contest, a competition with strong Roots N Blues ties. One of this year’s acts, Lake Street Dive, is a previous winner and will announce Attic Wolves’ set. Preservation Hall Jazz Band leader Ben Jaffe, whose legendary New Orleans outfit will play directly after Attic Wolves, judged the contest and, in doing so, quite literally championed the band.

On first blush, the five-piece sounds like the sort of fellows Mumford’s sons would invite on a sleep-over or camping trip. The band’s buoyant acoustic sound is rooted in something deeper than the topsoil of today’s trends or styles, however. It is built on a strong bedrock and keenly developed sense of songcraft. The band’s lyrics are reflective and perceptive; its music is willing to follow various currents, into old-time music, toward a more atmospheric stream and back again. I actually saw the band this past weekend at a mutual friend’s wedding – referenced below – and was struck by its members’ instrumental versatility, attention to detail and warm vocal layers.

In an email Q-and-A, Attic Wolves’ Matt Richardson discussed how its winning entry, “Here’s to Looking Back”, came into being, how the song’s win truly surprised the band and what Kansas City has meant to its musical formation.

Tribune: How was “Here’s to Looking Back” written – what sorts of things were you trying to get to the bottom of, lyrically and musically, at the time?

Richardson: “Here’s To Looking Back” is, for me, a psychological story song. In one sense, it peers into the mind of this “unbreakable stallion” who gets broken. It’s sort of a Bogey/Bacall thing where the tough guy who usually loves ’em and leaves ’em gets loved up and left. In the other sense, it focuses on moving on from heartbreak and how it changes a person. There’s that bittersweet fondness/profound sadness in the recall that is hard to explain, and when there’s something that’s hard to explain, I like to write about it. Those two main themes really culminate in the bridge where the tough guy sheds his skin and opens up, only to quickly clam back up in the last verse. It’s sort of what you have to do, be honest and then move on. The healing process is so interesting. So the tune isn’t really recommending any steps to mending a broken heart, it’s just commenting on how this particular “Stetson Sailor” did it. We leave it to you guys to empathize or judge or whatever.

Tribune: And how did those things come out in the physical act of songwriting?

Richardson: As to the process, the song came out very quickly and in one setting – music and lyrics together in about 20 minutes. Sometimes you sort of zone out and the muse takes it over. This was one of those times. I just started with the characters and the rest all came together. I mean it all makes sense in retrospect, the themes, motifs and the autobiographical tones; but when you're writing it, it’s not conscious – at least not with me. When I write, it is just to try to manifest some messy and nebulous inner feeling that you can’t really name. A lot of times you don’t know what you’re really writing about until you’re done. This song was one of those.

Tribune: What was it about this song that inspired you to enter it into the contest?

Richardson: We didn’t enter it! Unbeknownst to us, Mr. H (Nate and Caleb’s dad) entered all of the songs from our new EP into the contest. Needless to say, it was a surprising phone call to receive that any one of our songs won any contest.

Tribune: For folks who aren’t familiar with Attic Wolves, what does “Here’s to Looking Back” have in common with the rest of your catalog? Does it, in any tangible or significant way, deviate from what you’ve written and recorded in the past?

Richardson: Musically, it retains a lot of the folk and bluegrass elements prevalent in our catalog. Lyrically, it tells a story, which is something that we often like to do. The song definitely has a home in our repertoire. However, it does stand out on the record because much of the new music veers away from that traditional sound and leans towards a more alternative feel.

Tribune: In some ways, bands are a product of their scene yet have to survive outside it. How has the Kansas City music community shaped what you do? What are the biggest successes and struggles you’ve experienced in transmitting your work outside your “neighborhood,” so to speak?

Richardson: Kansas City has a very large and diverse community, so we’re meeting new people every day. We take every connection and friendship and value it on its own merit. We try to learn something from everyone we meet and apply it to our show. We’ve actually met a lot of success outside our neighborhood; our relational approach helps to make any place feel like home.

Tribune: You will be making a Columbia appearance, of a kind, before the festival – playing the wedding of someone who is actually a mutual friend. What is the most interesting venue or type of gig you've ever played? How will your approach to playing a wedding and playing the festival differ? What will those gigs have in common?

Richardson: There’s a venue in Alamogordo, N.M. called The Compound that is almost literally a giant hole in the ground in the middle of the desert. Well, there used to be a house there, but now it’s just an unfinished basement foundation-turned-music venue. The place was actually incredible, and covered with the Sharpie graffiti of all who have been there. On top of that, the family who runs the venue is super nice and cooks a mean breakfast.

We are so looking forward to the wedding and the chance to celebrate with a friend who has been a long-time supporter of the band. We’re facilitating to the wedding party’s needs, being as flexible as we can. One of the major differences is that this weekend, we’re going to be playing Avett Brothers songs, and next weekend they’ll be playing their songs. We’ve never played a festival this big before, so in a lot of ways we don’t know what to expect. However, we’re pretty sure there won't be any wedding cake at the festival. Unless someone brings us cake. Bring us cake. Cake.

Tribune: Which of this year’s festival artists are you most eager to see live?

Richardson: As a band, we've always been fans of The Avett Brothers and Trampled by Turtles, but we’re really excited to see some legendary acts that we’ve never seen live before like Bettye Lavette and Robert Randolph and the Family Band. And of course, we are looking forward to the honor of sharing the stage with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band.

Attic Wolves plays the Shelter Insurance stage at 3:30 p.m. Saturday. - Columbia Tribune

"Kansas City area folk-rock band wins songwriting contest"

Attic Wolves’ new single, "Here's to Looking Back", has been selected by Ben Jaffe (Preservation Hall Jazz Band) as winner of the 2014 Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival John Lennon Songwriting Contest. The winning tune was penned by Matt Richardson and Nate Heavilin of Overland Park, KS. The JLSC award is the latest on a growing list of accolades for the Richardson/Heavilin songwriting team and the Attic Wolves collectively. The contest prize includes cash and music equipment from sponsors of the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus, plus a main stage performance slot on the Shelter Insurance Stage at the Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival in Columbia, MO, at 3:30 PM, Saturday, September 27. That prize will give the Attic Wolves a once in a lifetime opportunity to share a platform with dozens of their artistic heroes, including The Avett Brothers, Trampled by Turtles, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Rosanne Cash, and many more.

Free Download of Winning Song: Attic Wolves have chosen to offer their winning song, “Here’s to Looking Back”, as a free download on The download is entirely free, with the proceeds from any voluntary contributions to be donated to the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus. For more information visit

Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival: The 8th Annual Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival will be held Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, September 26-28, 2014 at Stephens Lake Park in Columbia, Missouri. First launched in 2007, the festival features over 30 artists representing the genres of roots, blues, gospel, country, folk, and soul. For more festival information visit

Attic Wolves Background: The band formed in the summer of 2011 when friends returning from college found a common thread amongst their individual songwriting, now blended into a distinctive Attic Wolves sound. Their debut EP, Carry Us On, was voted "Best Local Album of 2012" by readers of Pitch Magazine in Kansas City. In 2013 the band launched a series of self-booked regional tours logging over 12,000 miles across 10 states and reaching from Cleveland to San Diego. On the way home from the west coast, Attic Wolves stopped in Denver, CO, to record their latest, Volume and Boldness, released July 22, 2014. This new award-winning EP was produced by Tim Gerak at Mammoth Cave Studios (Denver, CO) and mastered by Joe Hutchinson at Garage Masters (Nashville, TN).

Attic Wolves Members: The Attic Wolves are presently comprised of Matt Richardson (Writer, Vocals, Accordion, Mandolin), Nate Heavilin (Writer, Lead Vocals, Guitar), Logan Wade (Percussion, Mandolin), Blake Huntington (Vocals, Banjo, Mandolin, Trumpet), and Caleb Heavilin (Vocals, Bass).

Contact email:
Contact cell: Nate Heavilin – (913)744-7029 Band info:

Read more here: - Kansas City Star

"VOLUME & BOLDNESS (releasing July 22, 2014)"

Everyday I get slammed with 60+ album review requests and it can be tough to sift
through the mounds of coal to find the diamonds buried within the pile; so when I find a
band like Attic Wolves I have to write a review and share it with the world. The Attic
Wolves are an awesome band of musicians whose new 5 song EP, Volume and
Boldness, is a powerful work of musical art. A shoe-in for just about any music festival
stage, Attic Wolves, recorded this new release in Denver, Colorado over 6 days with the
help of producer, Tim Gerak, at Mammoth Cave Studios. There's much to be said about
a band who can stick together and last for three years (and counting) in an industry
where friendships are destroyed and failure is always knocking at the door. Not only has
this band made it through the rigors of a 12,000 mile long indie tour schedule (those who
know what I mean, will totally understand), but these guys have now begun to push
through the soil and catch some sunshine with Volume & Boldness.

I enjoyed this EP because I didn't have to skip around trying to find something worth
paying attention to. Songs like "Here's To Looking Back", "It's Not Over", and "I Know
Who You Love" each stood out to me because the songwriting is so real and relatable.
The music is well composed, while the melodies and vocal performances are nicely
arranged, bringing life to every note and lyric. The EP in its entirety can be summed up
as a gift to the ears, and a soundtrack to heart.

I'd love to experience the Attic Wolves live in concert to get see if they're just as awesome
live; which, I'm sure they are. It's not easy to be an indie folk band in today's overtly
saturated/crowded music business, but when you release great projects like Volume &
Boldness, and you promote it right, someone's bound to take notice. Lets support these
guys and connect with them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram - @AtticWolves.

Reviewed By: Shaine Freeman, host of The Miews podcast (Twitter - @ShaineFreeman) - I AM Entertainment Magazine

"Review: Attic Wolves – “Volume & Boldness” EP"

Folky five-piece band Attic Wolves can sure as hell write a pop song. Their EP Volume & Boldness is bleeding with emotion and lovely sounds. The insane banjo on opener “Here’s To Looking Back” shows the expert musicianship these guys have (And do I hear an accordion? Incredible!). The back-to-back combo of “Here’s To Looking Back” and “Safe & Sound” showcase Attic Wolves’ pop sensibilities. “If you love me you’re a no good fool/Yes, I’m a fool and you’ve got me good” is the only slow moment on “Safe & Sound” before the band launches into another super sonic tune that paints the landscape in vivid color. The harmonies are flawless, accompanying the smoky lead vocals. These first two tracks don’t try to mask their genuine beauty and the band has fun with them (check out the group “Hey!” in “Safe & Sound”).

Volume & Boldness thrives with its EP format, giving us the quick paced folk tunes, following them with two melancholic tracks. “It’s Not Over” (there’s that accordion again!) and “Leave Me Be” are heavy on the heartbreak, building to their crescendos over the quiet guitar and hushed vocal delivery, before all the voices soar. Album closer “I Know Who You Love” fills us with optimism even over the knife twisting lyrics “I know (I know) who you love/And I know, yes I know, it ain’t me” (also the great line “Got a father who’s a drinker and my mother’s been born again”). “I Know Who You Love” embraces a country sensibility with the fiddle accompaniment and sounds like a road song, taking us into the distance and beyond.

What makes Volume & Boldness so enjoyable is Attic Wolves’ talent and creativity (the band’s name is a nod to the show Arrested Development). It’s nice to hear a band have fun, even when the lyrics are breaking your heart.

Favorite Tracks: “It’s Not Over” & “Leave Me Be”

by Nathan Cardiff - I Heart Local Music

"Album review: Attic Wolves - Volume and Boldness (EP)"

An introduction made by a banjo at one point in time may have thrown listeners off. But with the recent revival of the rootsy instruments in mainstream music, the banjo has become just as welcome as the drum kit. Kansas City’s Attic Wolves have taken all of the soul from roots music and molded it into their own brand of powerful and emotional folk. Attic Wolves hold the title of The Pitch’s Best Local Album of 2012 (their debut EP, Carry Us On) and now, Volume and Boldness is every bit as good.

Channeling all that soul that is carried in folk tunes, Attic Wolves hit the listener with “Here’s To Looking Back.” A catchy guitar ditty and smooth, mellow vocals serenade the listener. A story of sorts about two people growing close, then falling apart. The song explores how people change and how life is never constant. Though the message is a bit melancholy, the song finishes strong with a positive spin; the old mantra “so it goes” is in full effect.

Volume and Boldness is comprised of five tracks that completely blow you away not only in the sense of the musical composition, but the lyrical heaviness as well; an album to help heal the hurt heart. “Safe and Sound” explores unconditional love. “It’s Not Over” deals with the things in life that are out of human hands. “Leave Me Be” is a heartbreak and a half of a song. The outro song, “I Know Who You Love,” looks into unwanted love from one party to the next, and again, the songs hints that everything will be okay.

The album title is taken from the band’s personal traits, explained in its bio: “[It] reflects what we believe is required of us as a band in order to succeed. Volume and Boldness is our way of doing business.” That statement is ever so true. All the listener has to do is dissect the lyrics to understand.

--Steven Ervay - The Deli Magazine - Kansas City


Volume & Boldness (EP) Release: 7-22-14
Carry Us On (EP) Release: 7-27-12



Short Bio
Established in 2011, Attic Wolves found a voice in small clubs in and around Kansas City. They might have been one of KC’s best kept secrets. Attic Wolves has independently released two EP’s, and self-booked 5 tours spanning from Cleveland to San Diego, and from San Francisco to Atlanta. Notable festivals featured the wolves, such as Burning River Fest (2013 & 2014), Roots N Blues N BBQ (2014), Roots Fest (2014), Southern Takeover (2015), Red Gorilla Fest @ SXSW (2015). SESAC signed with the two lead writers, Matt Richardson, and Nate Heavilin in August of 2014. After a successful college radio campaign charting on a dozen individual CMJ reports, the wolves have joined the college circuit, and have secured over 20 college dates (more to be announced) this year alone.

-Nate Heavilin
-Caleb Heavilin
-Matt Richardson
-Logan Wade
-Talon Wade

Attic Wolves is an independent band, self-managed, self-booked, and self-published. We take pride in being a ridiculously easy band to work with. Our response time for contracts, tech riders, and promotional material has been noted as unbelievably fast. If you have any questions, our primary contact is Nate Heavilin. Reach him at, or at his cell: 913-744-7029. Thanks!

For Fans Of
-The Decemberists
-Mumford & Sons
-Avett Brothers

-Grand Prize winner in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest, Session II 2014
-Winners of the Roots N Blues N BBQ John Lennon Songwriting Contest 2014
-People’s Choice Best Local Album 2012 (Pitch Magazine)

-Burning River Fest (2013, 2014)
-Roots Fest (2014)
-Roots N Blues N BBQ (2014)
-Southern Takeover (2015)
-Red Gorilla @ SXSW (2015)
-Ottowa Arts Fest (2015)

Shared Stages With
-The Avett Brothers
-Trampled by Turtles
-Amos Lee
-John Prine
-Preservation Hall Jazz Band
-New Politics
-We the Kings
-Shovels and Rope
-The Almost

Long Bio
From a humble start in the Summer of 2011, hard work for Attic Wolves started with almost two years of only local shows in greater Kansas City, night by night both inventing and simultaneously discovering themselves in quiet coffee shops and local pubs, always with the determination (both on and off the stage) to leave a positive impression with their audience, their venue, and their compatriot bands. Cary Ann Hearst (Shovels and Rope) stepped right up to the stage and exclaimed, “Y’all sing like Angels!” (Riot Room, 2012).  Kansas City has been very good to the Wolves.

In the winter of 2013, the Wolves launched a series of regional self-booked tours, and have since logged over 16,000 miles across 14 states, with appearances ranging from Cleveland to San Diego.

Attic Wolves always value community. NFL Season 2014 marks a 3rd pre-game appearance in their home town for Kansas City Chiefs fans via the Hy-Vee Hot Zone at Arrowhead Stadium (2012, 2013, 2014). Just over 800 miles to the east, Attic Wolves have built a repeat draw at Burning River Fest, Cleveland, appearing both 2013 and 2014. And 2014 brought a first time appearance at the Roots Festival, Paola, KS, just south of home. Beyond KC and Cleveland, statistics from Facebook and Noisetrade indicate a solid and growing fan base in the Denver, Dallas, Sacramento, and Southern California metro areas.

Volume and Boldness, released July 22, 2014, was greeted immediately with favorable press. Following closely on the heels of a highly successful College Radio campaign via Tinderbox Publicity, Christmas came early with acceptance into SESAC membership for the band’s songwriting team of Nate Heavilin and Matt Richardson. But Christmas came twice with notification of the JLSC win, including a spot at the 8th annual Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival in Columbia, MO. That stage appearance introduced the Wolves to yet another welcoming mid-west crowd.

Next Steps
2015 is the year to go out and meet their national audience. Their debut in the college market with a Showcase in Houston garnered 8 performance dates in the South Central region for 2015. They since have showcased at NACA and APCA National conventions, as well as NACA Northern Plains. Over 20 confirmed dates for this year alone means a solid beginning for this band from Kansas. They’re just getting started!

Band Members