Photo by Greg Whitaker

Louisville-based rockers Murder By Death released their seventh album, Big Dark Love, in February via Bloodshot Records; “We’ve been around a long time, and people have really different perspectives on what we do. When we started the band, it was all about not fitting into a genre, we wanted to do whatever we wanted creatively,” says singer/guitarist Adam Turla of the band’s 15-year sonic journey. “If that means throwing in a latin rhythm or some funky percussion, or having two of the instruments doing something that’s rock n’ roll, while two instruments are doing something more traditional, that’s what we’ll do. There weren’t a lot of bands doing the brand of Americana that exists now; there were elements of that kind of sound when we first started, but we never wanted to just do one thing. Sometimes that means straight rock n’ roll, sometimes that means punk, sometimes it’s folk. For me, that’s freedom; when you do a creative job, you should be able to do that.”

Murder By Death also subscribes to the belief that you should only write if the spirit moves you. “It’s important not to write because you have to, it becomes an obligation rather than a hobby or a joy,” he explains. “The trick is learning how to transition and continue to make it interesting when it’s also your career; after 15 years of making records, you try not to just repeat yourself, and the best thing you can do is wait until you have something new to say–be patient and write when it’s time to write and not just because you feel like you have to put out another album.”

Speaking of spirits, the band is gearing up for their fourth annual show series at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, the inspiration for the spooky hotel in Stephen King’s horror classic, The Shining. “Every January, we play three nights in the hotel’s haunted ballroom. Every year it gets bigger and sells out quicker,” says Turla. “It’s a formal concert ball where we’re the house band, there is great food and awesome cocktails, the women wear flapper dresses, the men wear tuxes or suits, and we play a long set. It’s like a big slumber party— everyone stays at the hotel, we all hang out after each show. We only intended to do it once, but we’ve been asked to make it a yearly tradition, we love it.”

“We went on a paranormal investigation tour there once, it was a riot,” he continues of their adventures at the legendary hotel. “Lots of little things happen, and you can read into it whatever you want. I’ve had so many weird experiences at the hotel; a friend was at dinner with us when she felt someone tap her on the shoulder, but no one was there. She texted me from the airport on her way home—security searched her because there was a strange image showing up on her shoulder in the body scan, and it happened to be on the same sport where she felt that tap at dinner,” he adds. “Believe in it, don’t believe in it, it’s still fun.”

The band is currently on tour, and their travels will bring them to Nashville’s Mercy Lounge on Wednesday, November 16th. “We’re excited to tour, we don’t have a lot of plans for next year, and we’re looking forward to being back in places like Nashville,” says Turla. “We’re going to savor it.”

For tickets and show information: 

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