Civil Twilight: A musical journey from Cape Town to Nashville

Civil Twilight
Civil Twilight/Wind-Up Records

(CBS News) Growing up in Cape Town, South Africa, Steven McKellar didn't have many music options. Bands didn't pass through his hometown often, and the music scene wasn't very vibrant, he recalls.

"At the time we grew up there was nothing going on," the Civil Twilight frontman remembers. "There were maybe five bands that I knew of. None of my friends were in bands ... When you're there, it feels like the middle of nowhere."

But McKellar's parents had music on the brain.

His father, for one, had a huge record collection. "My dad was a jazz fan," McKellar told But he wasn't very musically-inclined. "He can play two chords and then he complains that his fingers get sore."

McKellar's mother, though, played piano. "I grew up with a piano in my room but I never played it," McKellar added. "My mother would play piano in the room and I think it's the most beautiful thing ever. She'd go in there once a week. She'd walk into my room and say 'Hi Steve,' and I'd be like, 'Hi Mom.' And she would just sit there and play and improvise for like 20 minutes."

McKellar and his brother Andrew ended up falling in love with music, learning to play guitar and eventually forming a band in 1996 with their childhood friend Richard Wouters.

Civil Twilight was soon born.

Since releasing its debut album in 2009, the rock trio's music has been heard all over TV shows -- from "One Tree Hill" to "Vampire Diaries."

Now out with its 2012 sophomore set, Civil Twilight has a different goal.

"We just wanted to something that will challenge us live, and challenge our audience -- challenge them to grow and adapt," McKellar said of the new album.

The group demoed 30 songs, eventually narrowing it down to the 11 tracks that make up "Holy Weather."

The group has been road testing the new tracks on tour this year and will hit the road with Mute Math this summer.

And it's no surprise that South Africa is on the itinerary. Now based in Nashville, the members of Civil Twilight look forward to returning to their roots.

But things are a bit different now.

"It's grown a lot," McKellar said about the music scene in Cape Town. "It's come a long way. There's a lot of good music happening there right now."

Music, McKellar says, Civil Twilight is proud to be a part of.