Session 156: The Harmaleighs // Roanoke<- Back
June 07, 2017
The Harmaleighs honestly craft poetic, passionate, and powerful songs cut from a pastiche of indie, folk, pop and Americana. In January 2015, The Harmaleighs—Haley Grant [lead vocals, guitar] and Kaylee Jasperson [bass, harmonies]—embarked on something of a modern odyssey in support of their independent full-length debut, Pretty Picture, Dirty Brush. The band-mates and partners got rid of their Nashville apartment, put everything they owned in a storage unit, bought a van, equipped it with a bed, and hit the road with their 8-month-old pug Gus sleeping on the dash for the next nine months. The trials, tribulations, and triumphs of this trek would ultimately inspire their upcoming EP, Hiraeth, to be released on May 5.
“Hiraeth is a Welsh word that we stumbled upon while we were on tour,” says Kaylee. “It basically means, ‘Longing for a home.’ It’s a feeling of rootlessness and homesickness that we started to collectively feel around month six. By the end, we had burned out.”
“Even when we visited Nashville, we would be staying in a Walmart parking lot,” sighs Haley. “That’s where the whole concept came from. It’s the basis for this body of work.”
The lead track from the EP is the ethereal “Birds Of A Feather”, which is out now via all digital outlets. “I wrote the song about a friend who was going through a tough time with a relationship ending,” says Haley. “She was explaining to me what exactly was happening and said 'I'm just convenient for her.' That specific sentence stuck in my head for a couple weeks and sparked the idea for the entire song.”
The Harmaleighs’ debut LP Pretty Picture, Dirty Brush received accolades from American Songwriter, Songwriter UK and more and Spotify featured “I Keep Ticking On” on its coveted Folk Pop playlist, amassing millions of streams and counting. The duo spent the bulk of 2016 “working regular jobs and saving up money” for their next musical chapter. They hit the studio with producer Paul Moak [Mat Kearney, Caitlyn Smith] and recorded the six songs on Hiraeth in just one week. As a result of the previous two years, their signature “Indie Americana” sound further solidified.
“Our last record was very folk-pop,” says Kaylee. “At that point, we were going through transitions and really trying to figure out what we wanted to be. When we finished that marathon tour and regrouped, we got the chance to decide who we are as a band. We wanted to utilize more electric instruments and go more indie pop with storytelling at the core. All of Paul’s productions are different. That was the allure of working with him. He helped us step up and define our style. This is really the first time we’re being true to ourselves.”
On “Lady Brain”, delicate electric guitars entwine with Haley’s hypnotic and heavenly delivery before crashing into an unforgettable refrain. “I was watching Orange is The New Black, and in one scene the main character Piper says, ‘Well, I’m going to use my lady brain and think really hard,’” Haley recalls. “I thought it was so fucking funny. I kept it in the back of my head. It’s a bit of a sarcastic song.”
Then, there’s “Mouthful of Cigarettes” which twists and turns through a bluesy lead line until eventually culminating on a powerful proclamation, “I am a fire without any wood.”
“I was sitting at a bar in Portland on month six of our tour,” Haley continues. “There was an ashtray full of cigarettes, and I was having this moral dilemma in my head. I thought, ‘What if I put all of that in my mouth and swallow the burning cigarettes because there are flames and maybe I won’t be burning out anymore?’ I thought it might spark the flame again.”
The flame has been sparked with Hiraeth and their journey really begins now…
They have played major festivals such as Phases of the Moon, Musikfest, BMI’s 8 off 8th, Nashville Pride & Key West Songwriters Fest. They released their debut album in Feb. 2015. Their single ‘I Keep Ticking On’ has reached over 1 million streams on Spotify. New Music is currently being created and expected by Spring 2017.
Roanoke is a rising folk/americana band based out of Nashville, TN. Lead by Joey Beesley (lead vocals, guitar) and Taylor Dupuis (lead vocals), the two come together to create rich harmonies and unforgettable songs of love, heartbreak, and exploration. Joined by band members Zach Nowak (mandolin and vocals), Kyle Breese (drums, banjo, and harmonica), and Jo Cleary (violin), Roanoke uses their undeniable musical chemistry to create a unique and captivating sound full of cultural influences, roots instrumentation, and catchy, memorable melodies.
Their newly released self-titled debut album Roanoke, is an invigoratingly classic Americana album filled with modern yet vintage tunes that make the audience sit and listen to a back-porch tale in true Americana fashion. The stories told in Roanoke are relatable, real-life tales of struggles, adventure, love, and heartbreak, such as “Heavy Goodbyes,”which is about coming to terms with having to leave someone you love, or the deep message in “Jordan” which touches on struggles with faith. With the album, Roanoke has struck a balance between the narrative songwriting of folk, the ear candy appeal of pop, and the roots authenticity of country music and are set to shake the alternative Americana folk scene in no time.