Voth is a modern, sibling country group hailing from Tulsa. Caleb Voth (guitar/vocals), the band’s main songwriter, chatted with us about their music and inspiration.
Caleb is one part of the quartet along with Hannah (voth), Cody (vocals) and Jacob (drums). Their band name is their last name and it’s pronounced like “both,” not like “moth.” They grew up singing in church but fell in love with country. Now, they’re a professional band that’s just getting started. They still don’t have plans to leave the city they were born and raised in, though.
Nashville Noise: You grew up singing in church but when did you develop a love for country music?
Caleb Voth: Is it a sin to say we loved country music before church music? Let’s just say that our parents introduced us to John Denver and Roger Miller almost at the same time as “church music.” It was just kind of in our DNA at such young ages. We really credit them for our love and appreciation of all genres of music. They would pull us all into the living room and play some old country artists on cassette throughout our “surround sound” speakers in the house. We would dance for hours listening to all kinds of music from Al Green to Johnny Cash.
Who were your earliest country music influences?
Some of our earliest memories of listening to country music are Roger Miller, John Denver, Alison Krauss — but we were also 90s country babies. So that includes Diamond Rio, Toby Keith, Reba and Pure Prairie League.
Fast forward to today… You’ve seen a rise in music in a city you were born and raised in. How would you describe the Tulsa music scene for anyone who’s never experienced it themselves?
Tulsa is a very interesting place… With Tulsa being right on Route 66, there is some sort of iconic feel in the city that just gives it a historic vibe. There are tons of local artists and bands that play all the time in Tulsa. We have some legendary venues like The Brady Theater and Cains Ballroom that have launched some of the largest acts in music. Unlike other artists, we are hoping to stay in Tulsa and be a part of creating a music scene as opposed using it as a launching out. We believe there is so much untapped potential right here in our home town.
When you write a song, how do come together to make it work for each of you? What’s that process like?
Honestly, I feel like I have a way of making songs personal yet applicable to all of us. Once I have a song completed, we all kind of add our own perspective to it. We all are in different phases of life. Jacob is married with a baby on the way. Hannah is married with two kids. Cody is dating right now and well, I’m single at the moment. It helps having each of our different life perspectives because the songs mean something different to each of us.
I will typically bring a song about 90% done, then Hannah and Cody add the harmonies and also possibly alternate melodies to the song. Jacob then really challenges the song structure making sure it flows and is truly authentic. He is a hard critic and kind of tells me how it is. He will sometimes say — “Yeah, that song sucks.” And I’m like, “OK, I’ll take it back to the drawing board.” With the song, “I Choose Us,” he came to me right after and said, “That’s a hit. I wouldn’t change a thing.”
I’ve been listening to that one, “Sweetest Regret” and “American Rebels” on repeat. I love them all but I definitely think “Sweetest Regret” is my favorite. What’s the story behind that one?
You’re so sweet! “Sweetest Regret” was a song I wrote after a relationship that ended up not working out — but it wasn’t a bad breakup, you know? It’s kind of reflective of those relationships in your life that you knew couldn’t and wouldn’t last, but you look back and have fond memories of them. It was about someone in my life that really pushed me to new heights but it still wasn’t healthy. It’s kind of hard to explain, which is why it’s a sweet regret.
You’ve also said ballads are easier for you to write because they’re more tied in to human emotions. Do you typically rely on your own experiences for these songs?
I definitely rely on personal experiences for our songs. It’s hard for me to write fiction. So almost all of our songs have an element of a personal tie between either myself or an experience of one of my siblings. It’s very hard for me to really own a song or live in it if I haven’t experienced what I’m writing about… I really try to write songs that I would listen to. If it’s not something I like or something I wouldn’t listen to, I will stop the thought train right away and do something different.
Your story of how you stick together as a family is really touching. It can’t always be easy, though. How do you deal with disagreements or obstacles while working together?
We are seriously super close and love working together but we have walked out of the studio on each other before… I would say we agree more than we disagree. It’s a beautiful thing. We have overcome so much as a family to let petty things get in the way of doing what we love.
Our brother, Jacob, used to be a strung out heroin addict. Life was hard and we kept believing and praying for him to come back. He was told he would probably never play the drums again because of all of the drugs he put into his body. Let me tell you what, they didn’t know our brother. Jacob is one of the strongest individuals I know… Shortly after an overdose in Tulsa, paramedics resuscitated him and his life took a complete turn for the best. Fast forward to now, him and his wife took a missions trip to Africa and it changed everything for them. Now he’s running ultramarathons to raise money to help build water wells for people in Africa. He’s a new man and plays the drums with more fire than I have ever seen anyone play in my life.
Wow. That’s such an amazing story. It’s no wonder you’re such a tight knit family. Lastly, what are your 2019 goals for Voth?
We plan to release our first EP and do series of shows throughout the country. The writing process never stops though. I honestly feel like I’ve been writing songs lately for where Voth is going to be in like five years. It’s exciting but also overwhelming because I see where we are and where we can be. We have had some success, but we haven’t even started yet.
Stay tuned to Nashville Noise for more from Voth and download your own copy of “Sweetest Regret” by clicking on the album art below.