2returns to the Eagles, recalling their famous intro to"Seven Bridges Road," with the closing "Somewhere on the Wind." "On the Rocksis a confluence of our musical tastes and our reverence for classic country," says Duddy, whose wife, photographerHarper Smith, shoots all of the group's stylish photos. "This record is truly a nod to the time period we are influenced by," says Carson, a Pacific Northwest native, "and is an effort to bring that sound and that pageantry back to the forefront.""We write with a very visual storytelling approach. We paint that big picture and go to that place," says Wystrach. "Where is this story going? Let's paint it." "Electric Rodeo," with its plaintive piano, sweeping strings and high-in-the-saddle chorus, is a prime example of the "picture" the band talks about creating.And "Check Cashin' Country," a solo composition by Carson, stands asthe band's true-life road diary: the tale of a country-rock band trying to findtime to sleep as they hustle from gig to gig, barely making enoughmoneyto put gas in the tank. It's the country equivalent of Seger's "On the Road." Midlandfirst came together at Duddy'swedding in JacksonHole, Wyoming, where the three members endedup jammingonstage at therehearsal dinner. "It was this serendipitouschain of events,and it was the best week ever," says Wystrach, who, despite his hippie persona, was actually raised on an Arizona cattle ranch. "By the end, we knew the three of us hadamazing chemistry.""Midland isn't manufactured," says Duddy, born in California. "We are three real friends who stumbled upon making music together."Whether they intended it or not, Midland are filling a void in country,with songs that run the gamut from lush Urban Cowboyanthems to loose campfire sing-alongs. Putting theirown spin on a classic sound, they're making something old relevant again. "We are a band," saysCarson, declaratively. "That's a big part of the spirit of what we do, that group experience and camaraderie."Says Wystrach, "We've poured our hearts and souls into writing and making these songs and are extremely proud of what we've been able to create."With On the Rocks, Midlandhave captured a sound decades in the making that isjust right for today.