Honky Tonk Women

The Nashville-based trio Those Darlins (formerly a quartet) met a half-decade ago in 2006 at Southern Girls Rock & Roll Camp in Murfreesboro, Tenn. Comprising Jessi Darlin (lyricist, bass, vocals), Nikki Darlin (guitar, vocals) and Linwood Regensburg (drums), the band released its eponymous debut in June 2009 on the Oh Wow Dang label. A sophomore attempt, “Screws Get Loose,” followed in March 2011, and the rockers just finished up a brand-new studio recording with producer Scott Litt (REM, Nirvana, Patti Smith). Before heading out on tour with surf pop band Best Coast, Those Darlins swing by Northeast Florida to play a mix of old tunes and some new material. Darlin “Jessi” recently chatted with us about the band’s trajectory, influences and evolution.

Folio Weekly: What are you up to today?

Jessi Darlin: Oh, not much. I was just hanging out at my house, listening to some music. I’m actually listening to tracks from our new record; we just finished last night. Yesterday was our last day in the studio, so I was just listening to the mixes that we have.

F.W.: The band spent the past few months touring Europe. How did that go?

J.D.: It was awesome. We had a really great time and had some really great first shows over there. I guess [touring in Europe] was similar to here because [in] certain places, it was a completely different reaction than others. In some places, people would just break out and go crazy and start dancing. In other places, it was more like observative, but everyone still seemed to really like it afterward. Every country that we went to had something unique about it.

F.W.: The band members in Those Darlins all hail from the South. Does it feel like home to play the Southern states or does it matter?

J.D.: I wouldn’t say I feel uncomfortable playing other places because there’s definitely some places we’ve played so many times that it feels like home. It’s like when I get to New York City — that feels like home. I feel like that about a lot of other cities, too. There’s definitely some level of comfort I have just being in the South, because that’s where I grew up and I don’t think that will ever change. There’s something about the South that I think is really special and I love being here.

F.W.: Music critics are saying that on the new album, “Screws Get Loose,” the band is moving beyond its country roots. What has changed since your debut album?

J.D.: It’s kind of hard to explain, but me and the rest of the band grew up on rock and roll and when we met, we were all really into older country music — kind of obsessed with it at the time and that’s what brought us together. But as we started to play a lot and play live shows, our other influences started to come through and [we] realized that that’s what we all felt was like more us. There’s still so much country in everything that we do. It’s still a major influence. It’s just that we’ve added other things, as well. I wouldn’t say that we’re a country band — I would say that we’re a rock and roll band. But I can’t deny that we’re from the South and it’s [country music] gonna come through in one way or another in the songwriting.

F.W.: I saw you play at “Austin City Limits” back in 2010. For someone like me, who saw Those Darlins a few years ago, what can I expect different in Jacksonville on Sunday?

J.D.: Well, we have a new lineup, so there’s that. And, I don’t know, I think our shows have hopefully gotten better because we’ve been playing for a long time and a lot of shows. But also, we’ll be playing mostly — well, I wouldn’t say mostly — I would say maybe half of the set will be new stuff. So that should be pretty interesting and … I don’t know, it’s different now. It’s me and Nikki up front — it’s an interesting dynamic change. I really like it. We’ve found a way to feed off of each other. The show’s definitely different, but I wouldn’t say in a bad way at all — it’s definitely evolved. I don’t know, you’d have to be the judge of that because I have a hard time with time and growth and grasping the concepts that are involved. It’s different when you’re actually the one changing gradually over time.

Kara Pound

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