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Get your fill of in-demand hard rock band The Stews on their latest album, Chicken Fight

Get your fill of in-demand hard rock band The Stews on their latest album, Chicken Fight
July 2024

The full-length album produced by Wolfgang Zimmerman comes out July 12

Shared vision, limited obligations (like no children), and a willingness to travel thousands of miles in a crowded van—that’s how you make it as a band. The Stews have all the pieces, plus a volume of sing-along anthems and a leadman, Preston Hall, with a radio-ready voice and virtuosic guitar chops.

The band collectively moved to Charleston in 2022, forgoing their final year at Auburn University to chase their dream. “Every Thursday and Friday, I had to decide between going to class or doing this thing that I love,” recalls bassist Bennett Baugus, who now lives on James Island with drummer Wyatt Griffith. “Charleston was our reset button.” 

Since arriving, the quartet—completed by guitarist Blake Dobbs—has grown into one of the city’s most successful touring bands. They played Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival last summer and sold out shows at New York’s Bowery Ballroom and DC’s 9:30 Club. Yet on any given evening, they’re hanging at Folly Beach’s Chico Feo or hosting a living room session with friends in bands like Easy Honey and 87 Nights. “There’s a DIY music community in Charleston that’s really cool, and once you tap in, there’s always a jam going on,” says Baugus, who attended high school in Atlanta with Griffith and Dobbs. 

Those connections led them to Charleston-based booking agency Atlas Touring and to Wolfgang Zimmerman, who produced their second full-length record, Chicken Fight, to be released in July. The collection follows a self-titled EP and their debut album, What Was, both recorded at Muscle Shoals’ FAME Studios. “FAME is sacred ground—all of our favorite artists recorded there—but it was high pressure,” says Baugus. “Recording in Charleston has been a lot easier and less chaotic, and it’s resulted in more interesting music.”

The album opens with the crackling distortion and driving bass drum of “Chicken Fight,” setting a hard rock tone. “Hourglass,” the first single, shows the band’s subtler side. Counter that with “Buried Alive,” a second single released in April that slots into a ’90s alt-rock playlist with Soundgarden and Stone Temple Pilots. On “Descension,” Hall channels Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour with his soaring guitar solo. 

The Stews have had hit songs before—“Make It Out” off their EP has two million streams, and “Notions” off What Was has a million. But Baugus is ready to grow. “I don’t want to see ‘Make It Out’ in the top five on Spotify,” he says. “I want it to be all new tracks—that’s what makes me happy and excited.” On June 22, The Stews return to The Windjammer before getting back in the van for the summer, adding flavor to the pot. 

WATCH the music video for “Hourglass,” the first single off The Stews’ new album, Chicken Fight.