Two’s a party, three’s a crowd. The old adage couldn’t ring truer for trio- turned-duo Love and Theft.
Three years after the release of their debut album World Wide Open, Stephen Barker Liles and Eric Gunderson have returned with one less band member and an entirely new, incredibly addicting sound.
One thing is certain – these two are a party.
Since reintroducing themselves to fans with their self-titled, 11-song collection of irresistible harmonies, Gunderson and Liles have garnered two CMA nominations and a No. 1, gold certified single. Their two distinct voices organically intertwine throughout the sophomore project to create one cohesive sound, weaving between country, pop and rock influences. The same vocal chemistry is even more evident during live performances, backed by an infectiously energetic stage presence and a plethora of love-struck teenagers in the front row.
The pair performed alongside Heidi Newfield, Keith Anderson and El Camino on Wednesday night to celebrate the 15th annual Buds-n-Suds Music Festival, presented by the Big 98 WSIX. The outdoor concert was hosted by Loser’s Bar & Grill in Nashville, with proceeds supporting the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) Tennessee Chapter. CMP had the opportunity to sit down with Stephen and Eric after the event to discuss their recent accomplishments, upcoming tour, and the personal significance of their Buds-n-Suds performance.
CMP: So “Angel Eyes” was No. 1 on Billboard’s country charts last month and has been certified gold…
EG: That was one of our goals as a group, to have a gold single and a No. 1 – for them to both happen within a couple weeks of each other, it was a surreal time. It was awesome.
CMP: I hear you will be joining Jake Owen on the CMT Tour this year?
EG: We couldn’t be more excited about the CMT Tour, Jake’s one of our good buddies and we’re very excited to get out there. It’s our first time on any tour in the middle slot and we’ve played a lot of these venues before, it’ll be really cool to go back. I think a lot of the shows have sold out already, so it’ll be a lot of fun.
CMP: You’ve been nominated for not one, but two CMA Awards this year – Vocal Duo of the Year and New Artist of the Year – that has to be an amazing feeling.
SBL: That’s definitely the most current exciting thing for us. We’ve never had a nomination for CMAs and that’s the biggest honor, that’s the biggest country award you can get. It’s voted on by your friends and artists, so it’s nice getting to see other people in the industry recognize us and our hard work – and they’re honoring us, it’s very humbling.
CMP: You were performing here tonight to raise money for a great cause, has anyone in your life been personally affected by Crohn’s or colitis?
EG: My wife has Crohn’s. Hers is in remission, and her aunt had it and has had countless surgeries. My wife’s okay now, but from what I’ve known and what her family has said, it’s an awful, awful thing to deal with – with intense pain you deal with your whole life, Emily still has little flare-ups. For us to be able to do this at a place we hang out at a lot, it was an honor for us – we wanted to do as much as we could to raise as much money for the disease and the foundation as we possibly could.
You can catch Love and Theft on the CMT Tour with Jake Owen and Florida/Georgia Line beginning next month and pick up their self-titled album, available now.