Ironically, the nine-piece band Sweet Spirit started as a solo project. Austin singer Sabrina Ellis was going through some distressing times: the band that she fronted for several years, Bobby Jealousy, with her then husband was disintegrating along with their relationship. Everything Ellis was working toward was suddenly in free-fall.
She started Sweet Spirit to hone her ability to write and perform on her own. "It was supposed to be focused on me writing solo, and performing with the guitar," she says. But it didn't stay that way for long.
When Ellis started Sweet Spirit, she was still writing and performing with her longstanding garage punk band A Giant Dog. AGD Co-founder Andrew Cashen was intrigued by Ellis' new emphasis on soul and country and pop music as touchstones for Sweet Spirit and quickly climbed on board the project. "I'm very comfortable doing loud and fast," Cashen says, "so this is uncharted territory for me."
Together Ellis and Cashen began turning out songs at a breakneck pace. Ellis assembled a 9-piece band, cherry-picking her favorite players around town, and began recording their debut EP with producer Mike McCarthy. Their explosive and dynamic live shows became the talk of the town. Within six months they had gotten noticed by one of Austin's most famous musical residents, Britt Daniel of Spoon.
Less than a year later, Sweet Spirit was added as an official SXSW showcase act without a full-length record or ever having applied. National attention from Esquire, the L.A. Times and other outlets solidified their status as Austin's "next great rock band" and earned them a spot as the opener on a Midwest and West Coast Spoon tour.
Now after two successful full-length records (2015's "Cokomo" and 2017's "St. Mojo") and countless North American tour dates, the band is back in the studio working on LP #3 with GRAMMY-winning engineer Stuart Sikes.