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Austin-based nelo's smooth and compulsive 21st century pop sound has broad commercial appeal, with just enough Texas in it to keep things sharp and sturdy. The band's origins lie in Dallas, TX, where guitarist and songwriter Matt Ragland, guitarist Stephen Goodson, drummer Chris Hill, and tenor sax player David Long played together while still in high school. By 2002, with lead singer Reid Umstattd and multi-instrumentalist (bass, trumpet, trombone, organ) Mike St. Clair on board, the full six-piece was in place.
The band itself marked 2005, the year the whole group relocated together to Athens, GA, as a formal starting point. With an infectious set of original songs and the pop sense to pull them off, nelo (the name rhymes with "hello") were soon a favorite on the Georgia club circuit. But they still retained a strong Texas fanbase as well, and found themselves touring small and medium venues in both states, making things happen on two fronts at once. Producer Freddy Fletcher, who happened to be country singer Willie Nelson's nephew, caught nelo at one of their Texas shows and was impressed enough to bring the band into Nelson's Pedernales Studio in Austin, TX, and start recording an album. The band left Athens and moved back to Austin to work on the project, which was eventually released in 2008 as the self-titled nelo by Houston-based Justice Records. Ordinary Scene followed two years later, and a live session back in Pedernales created the setting for 2012's Old Friends... (Live at Pedernales Studio). Another self-titled album followed in early 2014.