The trio of Temecula Road – sisters Emma and Maddie Salute and their longtime friend Dawson Anderson – grew up, as the name might suggest, in the Southern California town of Temecula. A few moths ago, the group, which recently released their new single “Maybe Not,” made the big move to Nashville to be closer to the industry. As such, they’ll have more opportunities to write with Music Row’s finest songwriters and play some of the city’s notable venues. But what are they really hoping for in Music City? Something you can’t find in sunny SoCal: a white Christmas.
“We have never actually seen snow on Christmas,” laughs 18-year-old vocalist Maddie. “We’re excited to have our first real Nashville Christmas, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed for snow.” Anderson, a North Carolina native raised in Temecula, adds, “People think that they don’t know how to celebrate Christmas in California. That’s not really true. They make it festive, but it’s just not the same as in other parts of the country. It’s usually warm and no snow.”
Christmas is also on the trio’s mind for another reason. They’ll be opening for Sara Evans on the upcoming Sara Evans-Blue Christmas Tour, which kicks off December 5th in Huntsville, Alabama. “We’ll probably do half Christmas songs and half originals on the tour,” explains vocalist/mandolin player Emma, 20. “One that we like to do is our own little rendition of Alabama’s ‘Christmas in Dixie.’ We give it our own flavor.”
Fate likely decreed that they share a tour with Sara Evans. All three members have a special connection with Evans, dating back to their childhood days. “Emma and I used to sing [Evans’ hit] ‘Suds in the Bucket’ in the backyard,” Maddie recalls with a smile. On a more indirect note, Anderson reveals that he might not be enjoying a career in music had his mother not attended an Evans show in Raleigh, North Carolina.
“It’s kind of a funny little backstory,” Anderson, 20, begins. “My mom’s favorite artist of all time is Sara Evans. She went to a Brad Paisley concert in Raleigh where Sara was also performing. During the show, Brad encouraged parents to put a guitar in their kids’ hands. She really liked Brad’s guitar playing so she came home and said, ‘You’re gonna play guitar,’ and I said, ‘Let’s do it.’ We moved to California right after that and I started taking guitar lessons. If that hadn’t happened, I would never be doing this.”
Obviously as well, he wouldn’t have met the Salute siblings. The group formed a couple of years ago in Temecula and made an immediate splash with Radio Disney, which named the trio the “Next Big Thing” in 2017. That’s no small honor, given their Next Big Thing fellow acts like Kelsea Ballerini and Shawn Mendes. They released the singles “Fades” and “Never Knew I Needed You” this past year, and recently opened for Scotty McCreery in Los Angeles. On November 1st, they crossed an important item off their bucket list when they made their debut at the Grand Ole Opry, on the stage of the historic Ryman Auditorium. “We have been huge country music fans ever since we can remember,” notes Emma. “So, it’s going to be very surreal for us to be playing the Opry where so many of our favorite artists have played.”
Also on the books is the new single, “Maybe Not,” currently available on a variety of digital platforms and services. “It’s been one of our favorites for a long time,” Anderson, a co-writer on the song, notes in a release about the single. “It’s a new side of Temecula Road you haven’t heard yet.”
Having left California in the rear view mirror, the group looks forward to making the most of their new digs in Nashville. “It’s the best thing we’ve ever done for ourselves,” Anderson states. “We get to write with these Nashville songwriters every day and immerse ourselves in the industry. We just couldn’t do that in California.” Adds Emma, “I think being in California was slowing us down a little. Even if we wanted to go to Los Angeles, that was a two-hour drive. And we just love it in Nashville. The energy here is so good.”
Temecula Road’s new single “Maybe Not” is available now. The trio will also open for Sara Evans on the 10-city Sara Evans-Blue Christmas Tour, beginning December 5th in Huntsville, Alabama. For more on Temecula Road, please visit their website and follow them on social media.