The Banner Days is your new album. Can you describe the process of moving from writing to recording the album?
Sure. Once we had the components of the songs, and their basic structure, we brought in our Producer Brandon Bee and talked about which songs needed to be on this record, what the instrumentation would be, and how to arrange each song to maximize its strengths. Brandon is great at adding little embellishments that can really make a song pop!
Which tracks are your favorites, and what about those songs make the efforts particular faves?
(Bradford) I really love My Beloved, because the energy moves so well and so drastically throughout the song. I also really love Song In My Head. Beth is just such a fantastic songwriter. The song is just catchy as all get out.
(Beth) Today I am particularly fond of Wanted Man. It is a really raw and vulnerable song with a tough exterior.
Can you each describe your greatest musical contributors to your musical style?
(Bradford) I would have to say two bands in particular. The Civil Wars for their harmonious precision and intricate phrasing. And the Swell Season for their passion, and their drastic dynamic contrast.
(Beth) I am very much influenced by the melancholy-yet-whispering-of-hope singer/songwriter types like Mindy Smith or Patti Griffin. The honesty draws me in and the hope pulls me up.
The tracks on The Banner Days have a unique sound. What was the full complement of instruments that were utilized in the creation of the album?
Oh! Thank you! We played acoustic guitar, banjo, baritone ukulele, banjo, upright bass, violin, pedal steel, electric guitar, some slide guitar work, piano, Hammond B-3, some Wurlitzer, drums, percussion and a lot of sunflower seeds. Ha! Our sound and mixing engineer ate an obscene amount of sunflower seeds.
What are your most memorable experiences as performers, either live or in the studio?
(Bradford) Oh man, I would say three events stand out to me. We got to open for Marc Broussard, whose music I have covered for a couple of years, we played for several thousand people at Folklife Festival in Seattle, and I got to meet and have coffee with Phil Madeira. He just won a Grammy award with the Civil Wars for co-writing From This Valley.
(Beth) A few years ago I was waiting one morning at the studio for my producer when I decided to try to do a live recording of a new lullaby (Orphan Ember) while we waited. I sat cross-legged on a piano bench with my uke while the engineer set up a mic. It only took a take or two. I remember imagining I was singing it for young girl I know who was having a hard time. I sang it for her and I can still feel it in the recording.
Wanted Man is a heavy-sounding track. What is the story behind the cut?
Shame, insecurity, and fear can be so powerful; so potent in preventing us from being truly vulnerable. And from truly loving someone. I think we all desire a love that pursues relentlessly. And to me, that is what Wanted man is really about.
How can listeners find samples of your music?
What are your plans for the rest of 2014?
We will be touring throughout the Fall and Winter. Through the Rocky Mountain area, the East Coast and the Southern Midwest.
What has provided more of your fans – Facebook / Instagram / Twitter or traditional word of mouth?
I would say Facebook, though they are making communication with our supporters more and more difficult.
Thank you for your time. Do you have anything else to tell our readers?
Pursue whatever you love!
Bradford Loomis / Beth Whitney Interview