The San Diegans who brought you Bitchin’ Sauce are now serving tasty music
The first single from Bitchin’ Music Group was featured on the CW network’s ‘Walker’
Thinking back on it, Starr and Luke Edwards have to admit that 2010 was the start of crazy time. It was one year after their first child was born, and the San Diego couple had just launched Bitchin’ Sauce, a Carlsbad-based company built around the addictive vegan condiment Starr had been making since she was in high school.
And while Starr was running the new business and taking care of their son, Luke was touring the country with the Smart Brothers, an award-winning band that also included his brother Jay.
It was incredibly exhausting and super stressful. It was also something else: great training.
“The early days were kind of similar to now,” Luke, 33, said by phone from Seattle, where the couple and their four children are living part-time. “We always support each other. Starr always supported my music, and I always supported her business. Starting all of these new things can be crazy and hectic at times, but we are always the co-captain of what the other person is doing.”
What is happening now is that Bitchin’ Sauce has grown from selling one sauce in local farmers markets to selling more than one dozen sauces in some 7,500 stores nationwide.
What is also happening is that Bitchin’ Sauce is now serving up music.
Last year, Bitchin’ Sauce stepped into the COVID-19 live-performance void by launching Bitchin’ Sauce Presents, a virtual-concert series featuring stripped-down performances by 10 artists, including Lucinda Williams, Dawes and Shakey Graves. And then the music-loving condiment company got its own record label.
In November of 2020, Bitchin’ Sauce launched the Bitchin’ Music Group, a new music label that will focus on finding and nurturing Americana bands and singer-songwriters. Bitchin’ Music is building recording studios in Nashville and Seattle, and thanks to a deal with the massive Universal Music Group — home to Interscope Records, Capitol Records and many other labels — it will be able to distribute its music worldwide.
Once live events start happening again, they hope to start doing those, too. Which means that Starr and Luke Edwards are in the midst of another creative boom, learning-curve stresses not included.
“We were winging it a lot with Bitchin’ Sauce, and from the mistakes we made, we learned how to set up a business so that you won’t have issues down the road,” said the 33-year-old Starr, who grew up in Oregon and moved to San Diego when she was 18.
“In the music industry, because it is so geared around the emotions of the songs, it is easy to forget that there is a whole industry behind it. Being able to pull away that curtain by having a taste of the business life has been really helpful.”
And with the help of some top-shelf ingredients, the Bitchin’ Music Group is living up to the company’s name and the Edwards’ shared dreams.
The first album to be released by the Bitchin’ Music Group was “Blessings From Home, Vol. 1,” by L.A. Edwards, the roots-rock band fronted by Luke Edwards. Older brother Jay plays keyboards, younger brother Harry plays drums, and Alex Vo is on lead guitar.
The album was produced by Ryan Hadlock who has worked with the Lumineers and the Foo Fighters. Its guest stars include bassist Ron Blair (who produced the band’s 2018 debut album, “True Blue”) and drummer Steve Ferrone, both longtime members of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
“They are just the best. They create something together as a rhythm section that is very unique, and they are both really easy to work with,” Luke said of Blair and Ferrone. “Sometimes these larger-than-life people can be challenging, but they would just come to the studio in their slippers and eat turkey-and-cheese sandwiches with the boys.”
The album came out in early December, and in addition to enthusiastic write-ups from such outlets as Twangville and American Songwriter, “Blessings From Home, Vol. 1” got the ultimate pop-culture stamp of approval. Earlier this year, the album’s punchy first single, “Trouble,” was featured in an episode of “Walker,” the new CW network reboot of the Chuck Norris drama, “Walker, Texas Ranger.”
The TV tie-in gave the album and the single a nice boost, while kicking off a year that will include the release of “Blessings From Home, Vol. 2” in the spring and the construction of the two studios.
Starr and Luke hope the studios will serve as nurturing retreats where artists can write and record, and where the Bitchin’ Music Group might be able to document the creative process for a potential film or TV project.
You could say that sounds ambitious. Risky, even.
Or you could just say it sounds Bitchin’.
“When we started Bitchin’ Sauce, it wasn’t like we were thinking, ‘Here’s what we should do so we can sell more.’ It was more like, ‘Here’s what we think people would like.’ There is a real authenticity there,” Luke said.
“We really hope to do something similar with Bitchin’ Music that we did with Bitchin’ Sauce, which is create something that your friends can’t wait to tell you about because they love it,” Starr said.
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